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Working against itself

india Updated: Sep 12, 2013 16:58 IST

Hindustan Times
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The RSS-BJP meet, many thought, would resolve the issue of the party's prime ministerial candidate once and for all. But, like such meetings before, apart from very strong hints, no announcement has been made.

This would have been all right had there not been the undercurrents of very public tension among the top leadership on the issue of Narendra Modi's candidature.

The leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and party veteran LK Advani seem to want an announcement of the party's candidate after the assembly elections while the RSS, it would seem, wants it much earlier.

This pulling in different directions does no good to Mr Modi's image. He may be a polarising figure, but when members of his own party are reluctant to endorse him, it becomes all the more difficult for him to galvanise the rank and file.

The BJP is in a good position to exploit the political situation today. The economy is in the doldrums and it is hurting the common man.

There have been no major foreign policy successes in the UPA 2 and the jewel in the crown, so to speak, is the food security Bill and earlier the Right To Education Bill. But these will take time to kick in and this is where the BJP could have come in with its own recommendations.

But apart from opposing the UPA government on most issues, though it has lent its support to the crucial social security Bills, it has not really come up with a viable blueprint on how it will do things differently.

Mr Modi has, despite all his faults, several advantageous qualities. He has made quite a success of his state in terms of investment and development. It is this which should be showcased instead of the subterranean opposition to him.

What he or any other prime ministerial candidate from the BJP will require more than endorsement from the RSS is the backing of the top leadership. The party's parliamentary board meeting is due shortly.

There is no doubt that the party's supporters are hoping that it will resolve this tricky issue once and for all. But past experience suggests that it is too early for any aspirant to break out the bubbly just yet.