Ummid Assistant

Jamia Millia launches courses on China, Afghanistan

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

Despite yatra, Advani is no Vajpayee

Saturday November 26, 2011 12:23:15 PM, Amulya Ganguli, IANS

Related Article

Advani draws big crowd, many leave during speech

Thousands of people filled the spacious Ramlila ground here to witness the conclusion of the 40-day Jan Chetna Yatra of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, but many left before he concluded his speech.  »

Ramlila ground washed in saffron, green as Advani ends 'yatra'

Karnataka yatra exposes Advani's waning influence

Since politicians are generally suspected of hiding their self-serving interest under homilies, it is unlikely that there are many takers for L.K. Advani's claim that his recent rath yatra - his sixth trademark venture - has nothing to do with his prime ministerial ambition.

However, his purported goal may have already hit a few road bumps. For instance, he had set off in something of a hurry to, first, cash in on the momentum against corruption created by Anna Hazare and, secondly, because of his belief that a government under siege may bring the general elections forward.

Neither of the two expectations seems realistic at the moment. While the earlier euphoria about Anna has been dissipated by the revelations about the dubious activities of some of his close supporters (and his own preference for flogging offenders), the worst is apparently over for the government largely because of failures of the civil activists.

But since the change of scene does not mean that Advani will quietly withdraw to a retirement home for octogenarians, it is the BJP which will now have to contend with a plethora of prime ministerial aspirants in the party even if the contest is still three years away.

Although BJP president Nitin Gadkari has said that a nominee can be chosen in "a fraction of a second", it is obvious that the task will not be easy. For a start, no one in the party can be in any doubt that Advani is a serious candidate considering that he has so emphatically rejected the BJP's efforts to sideline him by making him the largely ornamental chairman of the parliamentary party after he insisted on continuing as leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha till 2014.

But Advani is not the only one in the ring. If he hoisted the anti-corruption banner to present his credentials, Narendra Modi also suddenly announced his presence by resorting to the unlikely ruse of staging a 'sadbhavna' (goodwill) show in aid of "social harmony" - an objective for which the Gujarat chief minister was not hitherto known.

But, like Anna's stumbles, Modi, too, has run into trouble with the court cases against him, the police officer Sanjiv Bhatt's allegations about the chief minister's complicity in the 2002 riots and the continuing denial of American visa for him, a snub which does not enhance Gujarat's 'asmita' (self-respect) on which Modi is so fond of harping.

It would, therefore, be reasonable to assume that Modi's sadbhavna rally was a wasted effort because it might not propel him to the frontline of the prime ministerial race. Besides, his tussles with Gadkari are no secret, especially after the latter inducted an apparatchik, who is Modi's bęte noire, into a position of importance in the party. Since the move was apparently at the behest of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), it is also obvious that the pater familias of the Sangh Parivar is against Modi.

The scene has been further complicated by the faint hints that Gadkari himself is not averse to throwing his hat into the ring. His weight-reduction regimen and decision to contest a Lok Sabha seat, most probably from his stronghold of Nagpur, have fuelled speculations in this regard. His objective may be to stymie Advani - and Modi. But, since he is known to have the RSS' backing, he cannot be ruled out.

What this internal kerfuffle means is that the BJP is yet to settle down. Unless it can sort out the leadership issue to the satisfaction of Advani and Gadkari, not to mention Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, who were the frontrunners before the rath yatri and the party chief entered the field, the party is unlikely to be seen as a credible alternative.
Its difficulties will be all the greater if the Congress can pull itself together with a few more definitive steps like allowing foreign investment in the retail sector, a move that has pleased the "great Indian middle class", to quote Communist Party of India (CPI) leader A.B. Bardhan's sarcastic compliment to the voting prowess of the 250-million-strong section after the Left's resounding defeat in 2009.

If the BJP missed the bus in 2004 because of the Gujarat riots, as Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, and in 2009 because its prime ministerial candidate, Advani, did not measure up to Vajpayee's exacting standards, it may fall short yet again because of the same problem - the absence of a leader of stature with pan-Indian appeal. Although Advani has been modelling himself on Vajpayee by posing as a moderate, he is not convincing, largely because of his fiery past when he flew the Hindutva flag with great fervour.

More than personalities, however, the BJP's main problem lies in the fact that it is simply not trusted by the minorities and the liberal Hindus because it has been unable to shed its communal image. As long as this unsavoury reputation remains, Delhi will remain 'dur ast' (far away) for it.


Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at





Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS







Top Stories

Amid opposition, India declares retail trade open

The government Friday formally announced its decision to allow foreign equity in multi-brand retail industry despite strong protests  »

FDI in retail will destroy livelihoods of 'crores', says CPI-M

Parliament adjourned again, this time on cabinet nod to FDI

Fact sheet on India's retail trade industry


  Most Read

Woman journalist arrested in Dey killing

A woman reporter with an English newspaper here was Friday arrested for alleged involvement in senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey's killing, police said. Jigna Vora had allegedly provided Dey's mobile number  »

Islamic hardliners not serious threat in Kerala: Chandy

There are attempts by Islamic hardliners to radicalise Muslim youths in Kerala, but it is not a "serious situation", says Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. "Some attempts are there, but we are not in any serious situation or anything like that," Chandy replied when asked if there had been  »


  News Pick

Euro zone democracy: Market forces over people's power?

Democracy may be an unfinished project, but can its imperfections be an excuse for Euro zone oligarchs to dismiss two elected governments? In the case of Greece, they added extra pressure to deny people their  »

India’s Business most foul?

All those who are taking keen interest in anti corruption campaign in India must watch out the two high profile cases relating to Maran brothers; Kalanithi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran, sons for late Murosoli Maran, leader of the DMK party and nephew  »

'New immigration law, online platform on the way'

To transform the immigration process, the government Friday promised to provide within a year an electronic platform to link Indian missions abroad and the concerned authorities to ensure seamless service for those  »


Picture of the Day

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Emeritus Senior Minister, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, unveiled the bust and the Marker of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, at Asian Civilizations Museum, in Singapore on November 20, 2011.

(Photo: M. Asokan )



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes










Contact us





    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.