Ever since Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was appointed the chief poll campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party and the subsequent drama surrounding the sulking of senior leader L K Advani, it would appear that not all is well in the political party. Even as it wants to take advantage of the anti-establishment mood across the nation, given the pathetic levels of governance and policy-making by the UPA in New Delhi, BJP would do well to look within.
It has some things to its advantage. For example, some popularity polls conducted across the nation suggest that the BJP-led NDA has an edge over the Congress-led UPA. But given Advani’s unwillingness to step back from the limelight, and thus create factions, it could mar the party’s prospects.
On Friday, Advani had yet another meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who is the unquestioned kingmaker within the BJP. Without Bhagwat’s
support, Nitin Gadkari would not have become the party chief a few years ago, nor would Modi have been elevated to his current party position.
With Advani’s open revolt against Modi, the onus has fallen on Bhagwat to placate the rebellion. Advani’s new-found support for Gadkari as the party’s election chief for the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi and Rajasthan is an important development. Only a few months ago, Advani had reservations about Gadkari’s capability.
It is not going to be easy for BJP chief Rajnath Singh either, as he walks a tightrope between the various characters in this family drama.
Meanwhile, major coalition partners such as Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena might enjoy the situation. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, for instance, is taking his own sweet time to give his consent to assume charge as the new convener of the NDA.
To cut a long story short, challenges are aplenty before the BJP to not only set its own house in order, but to keep the NDA flock together.