All is not well in BJP

All is not well in BJP

By Pankaj Vohra | 26 December, 2015
Kirti Azad is no political greenhorn, he received training from his father Bhagwat Jha Azad, former CM of Bihar.
There was a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party always took pride in describing itself as a party with a difference. However, in an extremely short span, the BJP has become a party with differences. The feud within has rarely surfaced, but it is common knowledge that many of the top leaders do not see eye to eye on key issues and it is solely power which has been a cementing force.
Narendra Modi’s phenomenal rise to become the strongest leader within the Sangh Parivar has ensured that several of his opponents have chosen to either lie low or have confined themselves to the sidelines. Even founding leaders like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were made a part of the Margdarshak Mandal, which in political terms purports forced retirement. They along with two others — Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar — took the current leadership by surprise when they demanded accountability for the Bihar debacle. Their concerns have been ignored but it is only a matter of time when the quartet would strike back.
The basic problem within the BJP is that till the 1990s it functioned as one big family with Atal Behari Vajpayee and Advani as the unquestioned leaders. However, somewhere during the middle of the Vajpayee government’s tenure, Advani and his coterie started becoming stronger. The purpose was to fulfil Advani’s ambition of becoming the Prime Minister, something which remains unfulfilled till today. The party patriarch was subsequently projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate in 2009, but the BJP ended with 116 seats, 22 less than what it got in the 2004 Parliamentary polls. In other words, people rejected Advani who in real terms is also the architect of BJP’s rise in Indian politics.
Modi got his chance when he was chosen to lead the campaign as the Prime Ministerial nominee in 2014. He worked harder than any other political leader had done in the new century and his efforts paid dividends. The BJP not only got a simple majority on its own steam but acquired 100 seats more than when Vajpayee was the face of the party. The massive mandate placed Modi ahead of all his seniors and as a leader whose supremacy could not be challenged. Eighteen months after he assumed the highest office of the government, Modi continues to be the tallest leader, though his status has diminished after the BJP’s losses in Delhi and Bihar.
Therefore, in the circumstances that have arisen, there are a number of leaders who have decided to speak out on various issues. Shatrughan Sinha and R.K. Singh expressed themselves with candid candour while the Bihar election process was still on. Advani, Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha clearly favoured greater transparency in the working of the party. 
Yet, no one has still challenged Modi even if many of his actions and inactions are not condoned and endorsed by a large segment within the party. Since it is well known that Modi is not an easy target, the strategy of his detractors has been to attack his two most trusted colleagues, Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah.
Thus if during the latest controversy surrounding the DDCA, Modi and Shah decided to defend Jaitley and give him a clean chit, they did so consciously as they are aware that an attack on Jaitley is obliquely an attack on the Modi government’s style of functioning. It was, for the time being, paramount to protect the Finance Minister in order to snuff the fire from spreading further.
Kirti Azad, who is in the eye of the latest storm, is no greenhorn in politics and hails from a well known political family of Bihar. His father Bhagwat Jha Azad was both a Union minister and Chief Minister of the state and Azad has done his political apprenticeship under him. He is a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Darbhanga and has been keenly committed for cleaning up the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA), which most people agree is a den of corruption. He and Jaitley evidently have not been on the same page so far as running the cricket affairs in the capital are concerned. And his crusade (tirade) against the DDCA predates the Modi government.
Azad cannot be faulted for bringing up issues concerning the maladministration in the DDCA. However, his actions have also left no one in doubt that Jaitley was his intended target even if he has never brought up his name while making allegations of corruption. The idea is also to involve the Finance Minister in a web where he gets caught in the accusations of financial irregularities despite the fact that he may not have accrued any benefit from his association with the cricket body. The path treaded by Azad via the cricket field provides the former Test cricketer minor immunity, but it also exposes Modi to attacks from his opponents.
Azad is now attempting to resurrect the Margdarshak Mandal and give it the importance it has been deprived of, by forwarding his suspension case for arbitration to the senior leaders. In the process, he is sending a message that within the BJP the Mandal is also the appellate authority and above the present leadership. Between us.

There are 8 Comments

Advani threw away a lifetime's contribution at the altar of silly tantrums. Tragic really. In my opinion Jaitley isn't core a BJP man. He is a Delhi based rootless "leader" with a lot of connections.

Though a close confidante of Modi's, how people see Modi is very different from how they see Jaitley. While even the worst enemies of Modi do not suspect him of financial impropriety, they are not so certain about Jaitley's predilections in that domain. Given this, people's doubt about Jaitley's innocence has begun to grow with every squeak that the BJP has been making against the legal propriety of the Inquiry ordered by Kejriwal. It is time Modi stepped in to get Jaitley to face that Inquiry and prove his innocence. If not, both Modi and the BJP will end up paying an unacceptably high price, a split in the BJP being only a small part of it.

What ever be the case.Advani should understand that he had his chances.People rejected him.It was not Modi's fault after all.Now it the duty of Advani and other senior leaders,who are in their twilight years to help strengthen the party and see that there are no internal squabbles among the party leaders.They should understand that the people's faith put in BJP should not be so easily wished away.They in turn, help Modi and BJP govt at the centre to achieve it's objectives of taking India on a growth path,in which the Congress govt had failed badly.Otherwise the history and people of India will never forgive them,if they try to tred their own path,keeping the interests of the party and the nation aside.

Well said.

The "Quartet" has selcted the wrong time and wrong cause to attack Modi government.Loss in Bihar elections could have been the right cause for initiating course correction.Kirti Azad became vocal only after Kejriwal accused Jaitely of irregularities in DDCA.This happened only after Kejriwal's chief secretary was raided by CBI with legitimate complaints.AAP & Congress are only trying to embarrass NDA government.As opposition parties they are justified. The "quartet" can't stoop to the level of AAP or Congress to embarrass its own government.They are only proving that they are past by their sell by date.

The author puts Kirthi Azad on a pedastal. After all he is the son of an ex-congress c.m., and congress blood runs in his veins. What if he is a three time M.P. There are dozens of them like him. He was a mediocre cricketer and got to play tests because of his political connections. He wanted to wangle some post in the DDCA, which he couldn't get and he started attacking Jaitley. The author is obviously prejudiced against Jaitley, perhaps one of the few impeccably honest politicians to day. May be that is why others are not able to tolerate him. The so called margadarshaks should honourably quit politics or play true advisors to the party. Shatrugan Sinha, R.K.Singh, who are they? Do they have any political standing on their own. It is time BJP throws out such traitors from the party. DDCA is a section 25 company, and the proper forum to investigate its affairs is the Corporate Affairs Department of the Registrar of Companies. What locus standi has the AAP govt. of Delhi got to enquire about it. If they want they can lodge a complaint to the proper authority and furnish proof if they have any of wrong doing.

No matter how attractive it may look do not sacrifice principles for extraneous reasons. Jaitley may have not indulged in corruption personally like Manmohan but likehi Manmohan he turned blind eye to corruption to stay in his position. Kirti is right. Modi should order a high level credible enquiry which can not be influenced by a minister.

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