A compromise has been arrived at to resolve the BJP’s crisis with the party’s leaders and the RSS persuading LK Advani to carry on in his role. But many questions will remain.
Given the ugly events of the last few days, its allies seem to be reeling in shock. If the BJP was the locomotive that was going to pull the NDA ahead, it would now appear that some crucial bogeys have got derailed.
The rise of Narendra Modi spells a return to the party’s core competence of Hindutva, perhaps tempered with his development agenda.
Many NDA allies may feel that this is not what they signed up for. Certainly, the JD(U) which has always been uncomfortable with Mr Modi’s brand of politics seems to be having second thoughts. The problem it faces is the fact that its bête noire Lalu Yadav’s RJD is in the UPA.
But it seems highly unlikely that Nitish Kumar will be part of an NDA which will be decisively led by Mr Modi if it comes to that. Though Mr Advani was no moderate in his time, today he has come to be seen as a more acceptable face for the allies than Mr Modi, though no one doubts the latter’s charisma and popular appeal.
The signal that Mr Advani with his resignation sent is one of no-confidence in Mr Modi, and that is hardly likely to inspire confidence in the allies.
The Shiv Sena, which has no love lost for Mr Modi, has already expressed its deep dismay at Mr Advani’s move. Though parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal have said that this is an internal matter for the BJP, it too must be nervous of a divided NDA leading the charge.
A party ridden with factionalism at the top seems hardly an attractive proposition to lead a coalition. This is a time when the BJP should be trying to attract more allies before it begins its march towards Elections 2014.
Instead, what we see is a set of uncertain allies sitting on the fence. The BJP will have to get its house in order, but the problem is that time is really running out.