If the government, which has been in power for a good nine years, is patting itself on the back on its achievements, what should the Opposition do? Show itself as a much better option you would think. The BJP clearly does not believe in this path. It knows full well that it has not covered itself in glory over the last few sessions of Parliament with its repeated walkouts and its disruptions which have prevented many progressive legislations from going forward. The BJP, quite simply put, has failed to emerge as a credible and cohesive alternative in the last nine years and it has no one but itself to blame for this.
Undoubtedly, the government erred on many counts, but blocking the functioning of the House and wasting the taxpayers' money is not exactly the stuff of good politics. The UPA 1 too saw the obstructionist avatar of the BJP on many occasions. It opposed the Indo-US nuclear deal although it was in many senses the architect of that, only to see the UPA survive the trust vote in 2008 and pick up the ball and run with it.
While it should have taken some note of that fact that it lost out to the UPA a second time around, the BJP failed to frame a comprehensive game plan of its own. Not only did it fail to capture the imagination of the people with an agenda that can counter the government's, the party from time and again has tried to flog its favourite agenda - Hindutva - which has diminishing or no returns. The discomfort that its allies, mainly the JD(U), have with a Hindutva agenda remains unaddressed. But if the BJP drops this idea it runs the risk of being labelled pseudo-secular by allies like the Shiv Sena. Moreover, with the exception of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who is working his way up the ladder with his track record on governance and his authoritative style of functioning, the BJP has done little to showcase the achievements of its other popular chief ministers like Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar who have really come up trumps.
Where it could have scored a point on corruption, the BJP has shot itself in the foot with the appointment of Narendra Modi's aide Amit Shah as the person in charge of Uttar Pradesh. Shah is currently out on bail and is one of the accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. Former party chief Nitin Gadkari is facing charges of funding dubious companies and was a great liability for the party before he had to step down from office. Moreover, in the last nine years the BJP failed to tackle the festering leadership crisis. It has not been able to come up with a single leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee who has a pan-India appeal. With little time left for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP must get its act together if it wants to see the lotus really bloom.