WHILE CHIEF Minister Shivraj Singh’s camp is jubilant over Narendra Singh Tomar’s election as the State BJP president, a large section of the party sees ominous signs in the “government’s triumph over the organisation”.
From the beginning, the message has gone across the party cadres that since Tomar owes his new assignment to Shivraj Singh, he will behold to the Chief Minister for every major decision.
The message also carries an implicit impression that Satyanarayan Jatia had to go because he failed to coordinate with the Chief Minister. Nobody seems to be asking whether the Chief Minister also ever tried to coordinate with Jatia.
Old timers recall that in previous BJP rule, the then State president Lakhiram Agrawal acted as chief minister Sunderlal Patwa’s crony and this proved the BJP’s undoing in the subsequent assembly election.
Patwa had Kailash Joshi defeated in the State president’s election against Lakhiram with open support from the party high command. Although direct contest was avoided this time round, the high command fully backed the Chief Minister in State president’s selection.
During Jatia’s brief tenure, a semblance of balance existed between the government and the organisation. Jatia may not have been assertive enough but he did not give the impression of being the Chief Minister’s lackey either.
In fact, the Dalit MP from Ujjain could not assert because he was not allowed to do so. He apprised the central leadership about the lack of coordination between the government and the organisation a number of times. This proved his undoing. On one hand the leadership ignored his pleas and, on the other, the Chief Minister’s camp took offence at the State president’s complaints.
Jatia was never on good terms with Chouhan. The CM was wary of the State chief due to the latter’s proximity with senior leaders like Vikram Verma, Krishnamurari Moghe and Sumitra Mahajan. Vikram Verma had defeated Chouhan in the State president’s election in the past and since then there is no love lost between them.
Now that youth power has triumphed over the experience, senior party leaders are looking for their role in the new dispensation. It is incumbent upon Tomar to dispel the impression that he will be subservient to the Chief Minister. Party leaders say that “Mission-2008” could not be achieved unless Tomar chalks out a course of action for the party, independent of the Government.
He indicated distancing from the government soon after assuming the charge. In his speech he said, “Hoardings and (government) publicity cannot assure us victory in the next assembly elections.” Ironically, Tomar is still Public Relations Minister and a number of hoardings on the City squares display prominently his and the CM’s large pictures.
The new State president also told party cadres that greetings and garlands are ok but don’t expect him to allow them to sit idle.
Maybe he was playing to the gallery but Tomar said that the party would give regular feedback from workers to the government and the government would be made to act on the feedback.