Ummid Assistant

Applications open for Manmohan scholarship at Cambridge

Opportunities for Indian students in US

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

BJP's 'galaxy' - more liability than asset

Saturday January 26, 2013 02:15:03 PM, Amulya Ganguli, IANS

For all of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley's claim that his party has a "galaxy" of leaders, it has had to fall back on an old and controversial warhorse, Rajnath Singh, for the second time to be the party chief.

What this means is that, in actuality, the BJP's cupboard is bare so far as members of leadership potential are concerned. Moreover, the potential embraces a whole gamut of complicating factors.

As a result, there is no easy ascent to the top. The BJP's greasy pole, therefore, which is the phrase denoting upward mobility, is greasier than in most parties.

Nothing demonstrated the conflicting ingredients of the leadership battle than the rise and fall of Nitin Gadkari. If, in the Congress, the scions of the Nehru-Gandhi family parachute down to the top of the party pyramid, in the BJP, it is the patriarchs of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who determine who will descend from above to take charge of the party.

The starkness of this choreographed procedure has been highlighted twice in Rajnath Singh's case. The first time was in 2006, when then party president L.K. Advani was ousted by the RSS for committing the unpardonable sin - in the saffron brotherhood's eyes - of praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah on a visit to Pakistan in 2005.

Even at the time, the choice raised eyebrows because Rajnath Singh was - and still is - regarded as a "provincial", the unflattering word used by Jaswant Singh when he was dismissed from the BJP for repeating Advani's folly of lauding Jinnah in a book.

But provincials are apparently the kind preferred by the RSS because they lack the faint traces of cosmopolitanism, which includes fluency in English, which the BJP leaders based in Delhi tend to acquire.

So, when Rajnath Singh's term ended in 2009, the RSS turned to another provincial in a state which is farther away from the national capital than Uttar Pradesh, which is Rajnath Singh's home province.

But, in choosing the little known Maharashtrian, the RSS hadn't considered how his business ventures will come to haunt him. The praise which a saffron scribe heaped on Gadkari's business acumen when he became president is unlikely to be repeated now.

What the toing and froing between Rajnath Singh and Gadkari show is that even if there are leaders in the BJP who consider themselves capable of being the chief, the special predilections of the RSS keep a lid on their aspirations. So, it isn't only the absence of secular credentials which is a hindrance to someone like Narendra Modi's prime ministerial hopes; the penchant of the RSS for the less sophisticated is another roadblock before the party's smooth functioning.

Gadkari's involvement in a scam also undermines the party's offensive against the Congress on the issue of corruption. Throughout the period when civil society activists were agitating on the subject, the BJP had to remain in the background because of the scandals surrounding its chief minister in Karnataka at the time, B.S. Yeddyurappa. Now, Yeddyurappa's exit from the BJP will not help the party much.

The BJP's hope, therefore, that its return to power will be facilitated by the Congress' decline under the weight of corruption and policy paralysis may not be fulfilled. Not only has the party failed to fill its leadership vacuum caused by Atal Behari Vajpayee's retirement, it has also been unable to firm up its economic policies as in Vajpayee's time.

As much is evident from the role of a spoiler which it plays in the context of the government's economic initiatives. As the BJP's opposition to foreign investment in the retail sector, and earlier to the Indo-US nuclear deal, shows, it has opportunistically forsaken its traditional rightwing image and taken a leftward turn in the belief that "socialism" still has a future in the country.

But the leadership wrangles, the taint of corruption and absence of clarity on economic issues are blocking the party's forward movement. Whatever impetus the party had acquired from the Ramjanmabhoomi agitation has long been dissipated.

Although the recent upsurge among its cadres helped to bolster several leaders in the states - Modi in Gujarat, Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh, Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh - they cannot move to the national level for various reasons, of which Modi's disadvantage is well known.

The others cannot be elevated for two reasons. One is that it will create a vacuum in the states and the other is that their ascent will be resisted by the ambitious Delhi-based leaders - Advani, Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and others. In a way, therefore, Jaitley's boast about a "galaxy" of leaders is true, but it is a liability rather than an asset.

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




Home | Top of the Page


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

Comments powered by DISQUS



More Headlines

Aurangabad native lives his passion in Chicago

PM pays homage to the unknown soldier

'Vishwaroopam' screening stopped in Kerala after protest by Muslim groups

Governor felicitates chawl girl who topped CA exams

Dalit writer to Javed Akhtar: World can't be atheist like you

11 injured as Kashmir mosque ceiling collapses

19 injured in Kumbh Mela fire

Vocalist Rashid Khan dedicates Padma Bhushan to people of Bengal

After banquet take leftover food home: Chinese netizens

PETA wants Goa schools to stop endorsing leather shoes


Top Stories

Probe all blasts since 1992: Asaduddin Owaisi

Saying he suspected the involvement of Hindutva forces, the Hyderabad MP referred to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's statement that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and  »

Activists seek wider probe into 'Hindutva terror'

Nothing wrong in Shinde's Hindu terror comment: Narayanasamy

Home secretary backs Shinde on 'saffron terror'


  Most Read

Pranab warns Pakistan, hails Indian youth and woman

In his maiden Republic Day eve speech, President Pranab Mukherjee warned Pakistan not to take India's friendship for »

Complete Text of President's Republic Day address

Rajinikanth urges Muslims to withdraw protest against 'Vishwaroopam'

Saddened by the ban on his close friend and colleague Kamal Haasan's "Vishwaroopam" in the state, superstar Rajinikanth has urged Muslim groups to withdraw their protest.    »

'Viswaroopam' screening stopped in Hyderabad after complaint by Muslims


  News Pick

Vice president favours voters' right to reject candidate

Vice President Hamid Ansari Friday called for addressing limitations of the country's electoral system and favoured giving the right to reject candidates »

Massive fire in Mumbai's Mahim slums, six killed

At least six people were killed and seven injured in a fire that gutted over 50 hutments in southern Mumbai's Mahim area early Friday, officials said. According to the BMC Disaster Control Centre, the fire broke out around 5 a.m. in the Nayanagar slums in Mahim and quickly spread, catching   »

Out on bail, Asaduddin Owaisi blames Congress of 'vindictive politics'

MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi Thursday alleged that his and his brother Akbaruddin Owaisi's arrests were a "personal vendetta" against them and their party by the Congress-run  »

Palestinians threaten to approach ICC over Israeli settlements

Palestine has said continued Israeli settlement in occupied areas near Jerusalem will leave them with no choice but to take Tel Aviv to the   »


Picture of the Day

Pradeep sings “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon” before prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru at R.M. School, Mumbai, March 21, 1963. It is a song that is sung on every patriotic occasion, had moved India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to tears and its strong morale-boosting words provided solace to a nation agonized by the defeat in the 1962 India-China war.


Recommend the story to your friends



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us


The Funny Side

Education & Career

    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.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.