It would be an understatement to say that Bharatiya Janata Party came out looking tired, badly bruised and without any direction at the party's convention in Mumbai last week. The party which claims that it is 'a party with a difference' came out looking like a group of political activists which has no common goal and no plans to do something good for the country.
The party's internal conflict dominated the meet which resulted in the debate whether Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa are going to attend the meeting. They finally came to attend the meeting but the very fractured convention could be seen from far, far away. The final culmination of the convention which ends in a rally gave even a more fractured image of the party when it was not attended by L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj. I totally agree with Ram Jethmalani, a BJP MP, when he in a letter to Nitin Gadkari, lambasted the functioning of the party.
These conventions are supposed to have serious debates on issues affecting the country and come up with resolutions in a united voice which becomes an impetus for the cadre to work hard with a sense of direction and responsibility. The convention in Mumbai totally failed to even remotely achieve this objective.
The same party which at one time was an embodiment of principles, character, nationalism and morality has totally drifted from its path. Unlike politicians from other parties, they were in politics for social service and to give something to the country...they believed in serving the country...they did not become rich overnight because of their political affiliation and activities. We may or may not agreed with their political ideology but their personal integrity was always above suspicion. This is, of course, the BJP of the past.
I fail to understand that why Nitin Gadkari was given an extension and made the party president for another three years. He has no national appeal and his face and image is not identifiable by the majority of the Indian population. His first tenure as the president of the party was marred by controversies and conflict within the party. The party got 47 out of 403 seats in the UP assembly elections...The electoral victory in Bihar was not a victory of BJP...It was a referendum on Nitish Kumar and BJP is in power in the state just by riding the coattails of Nitish Kumar. The party totally failed to build the second rung of leadership. After Vajpayee and Advani, there is not a single person in the party who has a national appeal. I don't understand that why Vajpayee and Advani could not see the future need of the party and tried to develop a strong second line of leadership...There were some very good people but the party is struggling to find a leader.
The general impression is that Nitin Gadkari is the nominee of the RSS which has a very considerable hold on BJP...RSS also has to understand the changing dynamics of Indian politics...RSS is not the only group which makes our voting population...They have to find a leader whose appeal cuts across the caste, state and party lines. Even movie producer/director Yash Chopra stopped giving roles to his son Uday Chopra after he realised that he does not have what it takes to make it as an actor. RSS and BJP should have adopted the same approach about Nitin Gadkari.
I can understand this situation about the Congress party...they do not need to develop a second line of leadership...The party starts and ends with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi... Everyone else is just a glorified 'durbari'... Most of the members of the Congress party who claim to be close to the Gandhi family have an invisible tail which they are supposed to wag before the family. Some people who were with the Congress party at one time but could not accept the Gandhi family as their leader because of the existence of some spine in their body and even though they are now part of the ruling UPA coalition, left the party and are on their own (Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee etc). It is so shocking and surprising that the governance of the world's largest democracy is so tightly controlled by these three people. They can give any position to their loyalists they want to... They wanted to make Dr Manmohan Singh and Pratibha Patil the PM and President of the country and they got it. All these three people have very mediocre education and even more mediocre level of intelligence. The set up of the Congress party was aptly described by a close friend of mine who also is a Congress MP:
Ek beta, Ek beti, Ek mayee
Isi ka naam hai Congress (I)
The Congress party has given so much fodder to BJP but the party was unable to capitalise on any of them. The scams (2G, CWG etc), rising prices of essential commodities etc were given to BJP on a platter but the party was unable to take it to the people and make it a national issue. The recent rise in petrol price is an example of political management of the Congress party. I feel that when the Congress party wants to increase the petrol price or the price of any other commodity by Rs 3, they increase it by Rs 5 and when there is a public outcry by BJP and other parties, they cut the price by Rs 2 and make the public feel good and just kill the issue. There is no doubt that they have a Ph.D in political management and BJP is still struggling to finish high school. The Congress party outsmarts and outmanoeuvres BJP on a daily basis. I feel that because of the rising prices, the role of sex in the life of a commoner in India must have diminished because the Congress party is screwing them everyday. The Congress party is as serious about dealing with inflation and corruption as Pakistan is about dealing with terrorism.
BJP has to realize that the world has changed and they should come out of their shell and shed their myopic views on issues and have a global perspective. They should be proactive and take initiatives on issues and not just play a reactive role. Even if BJP has to play a perpetual role of an opposition party, they can keep the ruling party on their toes because of their intellectual observation on issues. The party should have a vision and a goal both for domestic and international issues. The only person who comes to my mind who can take the BJP out of its mess is Narendra Modi. He has done a great job in Gujarat. He should be brought to the scene of national politics after the assembly elections in Gujarat in the later part of the year. Nitin Gadkari should make way for him to become the president of the party and become the face of the party in 2014 parliamentary elections.
BJP is a strong brand name but it also needs a brand name to sell the party. The brand name product has to be complemented by a brand name salesperson. Even if we give the best ingredients to an immature cook, the food would taste bad. When it comes to political governance, Narendra Modi is not only a good cook, he is a time tested professional chef. Let Narendra Modi be the catalyst for change and take BJP to where it belongs '“ to become the ruling party of India. He should not be restricted to just Gujarat. People like L K Advani and others in his age group should take a back seat and assume the role of the patriarch of the party. Narendra Modi's role should be as the first one among equals and he would have to make sure that all the old timers are respected and get their dues.
If BJP does not mend its ways, history would again repeat itself in 2014 and we would see either a member of the Gandhi family or one of its loyal '˜durbari' taking the oath of office as the PM of India.