Dropping too many catches
The infighting within the BJP is undermining the party’s effectiveness as a strong Opposition.india Updated: Mar 10, 2011 22:40 IST
The butterfingers BJP seems to have consistently dropped every single platter on which the UPA has gifted it politically volatile issues. In the latest instance, even as the government is scrambling for damage control in the wake of the price rise, the 2G spectrum scam, the Commonwealth Games fiasco, the interrogation of moneybags Hasan Ali Khan and the court verdict against Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) PJ Thomas, the BJP has dropped the baton once again. A serious difference of opinion between the party’s heavyweights, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and the party president Nitin Gadkari has deflected attention from the government’s dodgy record.
While Ms Swaraj chose to be statesmanlike and expressed the need to move on after the prime minister took responsibility for appointing a CVC who was allegedly part of a corruption case, Mr Gadkari is keen to milk the issue for all it is worth. In this, he is joined by the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley who also thinks that it is too early to let the prime minister off the hook. This is one issue which has caught the public imagination and made a prime minister who has always seemed to hover above the fray say mea culpa. A tailormade issue to make political capital out of for any sensible Opposition party. Had the party taken Ms Swaraj’s path of rising above political differences for the sake of democracy, it would have paid dividends. Equally, if it had decided to go hammer and tongs at the government, there would have been many takers. But here we see a situation in which the party’s leaders seem more eager to put each other down than best their political rivals. Earlier too, Mr Gadkari publicly chastised Ms Swaraj for her critical remarks against the party’s star campaigner and showcase chief minister Narendra Modi. In both instances, Mr Gadkari made no effort to resolve things in a private manner, preferring instead to letting it all hang out in public.
This undermines the party’s effectiveness as a vigorous Opposition and amounts to playing into the hands of the government. It is clear that there is a power struggle on within the party. But to get its hands on actual power, the party has to project the image of being cohesive. The government has never been in a more weakened state than it is today. But if the BJP continues to let crucial issues slip through its fingers, it is handing over the cake, the platter and all the trimmings to its main rival.