Do not believe anything unless it is denied” goes an old dictum for journalists. So too with L.K. Advani’s denial, in response to a news report, of any differences with BJP chief Rajnath Singh.
Advani is not usually known to react to media reports that focus on inner-party wranglings. Why did he choose to do so this time?
Many BJP and RSS leaders believe that media reports which show them in a negative light are often ‘leaks’ by their own colleagues in order to score brownie points with the RSS or Advani.
More so if the reports go uncontradicted by the senior leadership. There is evidence to believe that they are not wrong.
Such is the level of intrigue in the party that when Advani was declared BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in December 2007 just before Narendra Modi won an impressive election in Gujarat, it was seen by many as a pre-emptive move by his supporters to stymie any attempt to consider Modi as an alternative to him at the national level.
Party chief Rajnath Singh, who acceded to his position with the Sangh’s blessings, was expected to implement a plan that would have pitchforked the BJP into the electoral fray as the party most fancied to win the next general election well before the actual campaign began. But that has not happened.
The BJP is also seen to have failed to take full advantage of issues like terrorism and the faltering economy to corner the Congress. More worrying for Sangh leaders is that the party is losing its identify as well as it keeps aping the Congress.
Rajnath’s elevation obviously caused a lot of heartburn among the second-rung leaders of the BJP who were his seniors.
Some of his critics believe, that given his comparative youth, he is working towards consolidating the BJP for the 2014 general election rather than for the forthcoming one which will make Advani prime minister if BJP wins.