The elections are over but the job of fixing blame is still on. And now, it’s the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that are differing on the reasons for the party’s dismal performance.
While many BJP leaders believe the party lost because of its hardline image, the RSS thinks the defeat has a lot to do with the infighting in the party, poor candidate selection and failure to connect with the masses.
The infighting is glaringly obvious. With the BJP scheduling its next national executive meeting for June 20 and 21 for stocktaking, those in the party who are pro-change are calling for “re-inventing” the party without appearing to give up on its core ideology. These leaders also expect new RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat — seen as more practical than his predecessors — to cheer changes that show the party in tune with younger voters.
But those opposed to the pro-changers blamed ticket distribution, poll strategy, Varun Gandhi’s hate speeches and the mid-course projection of Narendra Modi as future PM candidate. The debate is seen as a precursor to the hunt for a successor to Rajnath Singh, whose terms as party chief ends next year.
After the results, L.K. Advani (82) had said “people have voted for bipolar polity — having two main parties” and indicated that correctives would follow.
Arun Jaitley (56) believed the people voted for stability and against disruptive and obstructive politics. He said “shrillness does not pay”.
Sangh leaders, however, said the BJP shouldn’t blame ideology without some soul-searching as they felt the reasons for the BJP’s defeat lay in its functioning. A senior RSS functionary, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “Not all in the BJP think Hindutva is behind people’s rejection of the party. How do you explain the win in Karnataka, Gujarat and Jharkhand?”