We all know that the BJP is in disarray. But it seems that the BJP has finally realised that it is in disarray. After being left at the altar by the Shiv Sena in the NDA’s choice of presidential candidate, one of the last spotlights that has kept the BJP politically visible was switched off: its ability to still maintain that it is central to a national Oppositional entity. Former BJP President LK Advani has criticised present BJP President Rajnath Singh for his role in the party’s debacle that was the Uttar Pradesh elections. This being politics, Mr Advani’s criticism of Mr Singh was done in the usual roundabout way. Speaking at the concluding session of the BJP’s national executive in New Delhi, he rattled off a list of ‘what is to be done’. “Strict disciplinary action” is needed; anything that weakens the unity of the party and its “cohesion at any level” should not be tolerated — this was Mr Advani’s prescription for a cure. Unfortunately, Mr Advani’s “self-criticism” only underlines the rifts and fissures — and frankly the complete turmoil — in the BJP. For as the old saying goes, whenever a party is down and out, there is a free-for-all.
The (professional) relations between Mr Advani and Mr Singh held up as long as the BJP maintained its identity as the main opposition party. Increasingly, that space — of Opposition — seems to have been eroded over the months. How else can one explain the UPA government getting away with some very debatable policy statements in the last six months? When you’re too busy fighting each other, you don’t have time to question others’ perceived faults. Since Mr Advani’s statements pertained to the UP electoral results, it is important to note that Kalyan Singh, an important player in the BJP’s internal politics refrained from uttering a word about the debacle. In other words, courtesy Mr Advani, the blame lies in the current party presidency.
Mr Advani may still have a twinkle in his eye about becoming a BJP Prime Minister in 2009. That, however, looks very unlikely — not only because of the situation that his party now finds itself in (in the wilderness) but also because he himself is fast becoming a Vajpayee No 2. The BJP better think up of a proper first and second rung of national leadership. For, we are looking forward to a proper Opposition in the nation’s politics.