LK Advani’s resignation from major party posts yesterday is likely to strike a blow to the BJP’s efforts to lead the NDA to victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as it has brought to the fore divisions in the party on the issue of leadership.
Advani’s resignation in a letter that conveyed his concern over “personal agendas” of most party leaders yesterday created ripples in theBJP and plunged it into serious crisis. The BJP was hoping to perform credibly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, expand the NDA ahead of crucial elections and create a winning momentum against the ruling UPA.
The opinion polls last month had predicted that the NDA was gaining ground and the party was keen to sustain the mood. However, Advani’s resignation has created concern among NDA partners and come as a dampner for the BJP. Rizwan Qaiser of the Department of History, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, said Advani’s resignation will weaken the BJP and the NDA. He said Modi had proved to be “a polarising figure” even within the BJP. “Parties such as JD-U will think about their own future. BJP will also find it difficult to attract allies,” Qaiser said.
BJP sources conceded that Advani’s resignation has the potential of affecting the party’s prospects and, by implication, those of the NDA. They said Advani resignation would reinforce the impression about divisions in the top ranks of the BJP and that suggestions had been made that differences within the party should be kept away from public glare. “The issue coming into public realm is not in the party's interest. It would have been better if the matter had stayed in the party fora,” a party functionary said.
NDA constituents JD-U, Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday voiced apprehensions over Advani’s resignation. The JD-U said the resignation was not good for the health of the NDA. The party is also opposed to projection of Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA. The BJP has faced constant criticism over not being able to put its act together as a credible alternative despite the UPA having been hit by a series of scandals.