After the massive electoral setback, India’s principal opposition party, the BJP, is struggling to find its feet.
Even as Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani has promised to undertake an all-India tour to pep up BJP cadres and identify young talent, the BJP is bracing itself to face a fresh challenge in the wake of the Liberhan Commission's report on the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.
As hardliners and moderates fight to fit the BJP in a redefined Hindutva mould, the real challenge before the party, however, is to hold on to its strongholds.
One thing is clear, be it Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh, BJP chief ministers, ministers and party functionaries are on their toes because of the pressure on them to improve governance, tone up administration and delivery.
Across the country, the BJP has been forced to take a close look at the way the party's organisations are functioning.
The Gujarat BJP unit is not willing to discuss openly the poll results. Modi gave the party only 15 out of 26 seats, improving the 2004 tally by just one seat. Though Advani wants BJP's performance to be probed, Modi is in no mood for it. But the party is in for a major reshuffle where the entire leadership will be replaced.
The BJP won only 16 seats, while the Congress won 12. Party leaders, including CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have admitted their mistake of nominating old faces in the Lok Sabha polls. Realisation has dawned that the Chouhan magic which worked in the assembly polls cannot work all the time.
Though B.S. Yeddyurappa sealed of 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats, his work isn’t done. He has adopted a two-pronged approach: improvement in administration and gear up BJP for the bypolls by expanding its social base.
Fully aware that he has been handed a crown of thorns, new CM Ramesh Pokhriyal succeeded B.C. Khanduri in the wake of the BJP losing all the five Lok Sabha seats. His first task is to improve the supply of water and power. But the party is yet to come to terms with the worst defeat since 1991.
The BJP-Akali Dal ties are strained, particularly after the Lok Sabha polls saw erosion of its urban vote bank. BJP lost two of its three seats; the lone winner being Navjot Sidhu from Amritsar. The BJP has blamed the Akalis for its poor show and demanded a new power sharing deal, which Akalis haven’t really been bothered about.
(With inputs from state bureaus)