scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Thursday, January 27, 2022

Friends and leaders

Why BJP starts poll preparations with more problems than the Congress


January 6, 2009 11:27:14 pm

General elections are now near enough to seriously concentrate political minds. At this early stage it would appear that the BJP needs to concentrate its mind more than the Congress; of course both parties have hugely complicated tasks given their ambitions of heading a coalition to power. The BJP’s relatively tougher position is explained by two factors. One,its brand positioning as a coalition partner. Second,its internal leadership structure. In an irony that should make the BJP cringe,the party,after almost having written the textbook on how to run a successful coalition,now finds itself back to square one. It was unable and/or unwilling to take sufficiently convincing positions on either the dreadful violence in Orissa or on the investigations against so-called Hindu terror. The volte face on Hemant Karkare is striking even by the low standards of Indian politics. And this kind of politics has justly made the BJP a potentially troublesome alliance leader for many regional parties,even those who have no love lost for the Congress. The BJP’s “success” in the J&K elections is another good demonstration. It may have got more seats but its politics in Jammu has cost it friends of any kind. The Congress lost PDP and gained the National Conference. The BJP’s loss of NC simply cannot be balanced. So,for the RSS to now tell the BJP that it understands the latter will have to run a coalition is not proof of sensibleness. It shows the muddle the Sangh Parivar is in.

The RSS has been a player in the leadership issue as well. This has played out as a mind-numbing (for observers),but costly(for the BJP) theatre. If L.K. Advani has lost quite a bit of the stature he enjoyed in the political market it is because consumers are bemused by this tussle between him and Rajnath Singh. The post-Vajpayee national leadership crisis in the BJP isn’t yet fully resolved. Sonia Gandhi,on the other hand,has handled the same question in the Congress better,despite the many potential problems in the relationship between her and Manmohan Singh and despite typical Congress palace intrigues on such questions. The fact that the Congress,which formally says it hasn’t decided on the next PM candidate,sounds more convincing than the BJP,which says it has a PM candidate,should tell the BJP where its problems are.

The BJP just about has enough time to try and correct both these problems. It should begin by recognising that its rival starts with an advantage.GENERAL elections are now near enough to seriously concentrate political minds. At this early stage it would appear that the BJP needs to concentrate its mind more than the Congress; of course both parties have hugely complicated tasks given their ambitions of heading a coalition to power. The BJP’s relatively tougher position is explained by two factors. One,its brand positioning as a coalition partner. Second,its internal leadership structure. In an irony that should make the BJP cringe,the party,after almost having written the textbook on how to run a successful coalition,now finds itself back to square one. It was unable and/or unwilling to take sufficiently convincing positions on either the dreadful violence in Orissa or on the investigations against so-called Hindu terror. The volte face on Hemant Karkare is striking even by the low standards of Indian politics. And this kind of politics has justly made the BJP a potentially troublesome alliance leader for many regional parties,even those who have no love lost for the Congress. The BJP’s “success” in the J&K elections is another good demonstration. It may have got more seats but its politics in Jammu has cost it friends of any kind. The Congress lost PDP and gained the National Conference. The BJP’s loss of NC simply cannot be balanced. So,for the RSS to now tell the BJP that it understands the latter will have to run a coalition is not proof of sensibleness. It shows the muddle the Sangh Parivar is in.

The RSS has been a player in the leadership issue as well. This has played out as a mind-numbing (for observers),but costly(for the BJP) theatre. If L.K. Advani has lost quite a bit of the stature he enjoyed in the political market it is because consumers are bemused by this tussle between him and Rajnath Singh. The post-Vajpayee national leadership crisis in the BJP isn’t yet fully resolved. Sonia Gandhi,on the other hand,has handled the same question in the Congress better,despite the many potential problems in the relationship between her and Manmohan Singh and despite typical Congress palace intrigues on such questions. The fact that the Congress,which formally says it hasn’t decided on the next PM candidate,sounds more convincing than the BJP,which says it has a PM candidate,should tell the BJP where its problems are.

The BJP just about has enough time to try and correct both these problems. It should begin by recognising that its rival starts with an advantage.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement