The elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chief of BJP’s campaign committee for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is not an unexpected development. Today, the party is missing a face that can improve its prospects, despite widespread anger against the scam-ridden UPA government. The party that was trying to project itself as a viable alternative to UPA suddenly went into defensive mode after Nitin Gadkari’s connection with the irrigation projects, and the matter of the dubious Purti group deals came to light.
Even after Gadkari’s exit, the party could not look beyond Rajnath Singh, who is a tested missile. Its predicament was further exposed when it could not project the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley as ‘gen-next’ leaders. BJP is currently banking on regional satraps such as MP CM Shivrajsingh Chauhan, Chattisgarh CM Ramansingh and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi. After B S Yeddyurappa’s downfall, the party lost Karnataka miserably.
So, the chips have been down for the party that saw growth under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. Though it stands a chance to unseat Dr Manmohan Singh’s government, it lacks the firebrand leadership with pan-Indian acceptance. The past two elections revealed that the BJP has failed to expand its base beyond the Hindi heartland.
So it’s not surprising that the BJP decided on Modi, even though he has earned more brickbats than laurels for his role in the Godhra riots. BJP is hoping that his Gujarat development model will help him again. The announcement is sure to bring optimism in the Congress quarters, as it is sure to polarise the Hindu and minority vote banks. While the BJP has managed to work out its own solution time will tell if it works for the nation.