Who Will Not Unite Bjp And Where’s Gadkari Heading For?
The principal Opposition party BJP was geared up in its three-day party conclave held at Surajkund, Haryana, to train and finalise a strategy for its three hundred delegates from different states. The party is in a jubilant mood to take on the UPA-2 government and party chief Nitin Gadkari has become a more powerful leader as his renewal as national president for the second term is almost certain after the amendment in the party constitution. Mr Gadkari has the strong RSS support to head the party for the next general elections. And Gadkari seems to have done it in style to head the party by organising the party meetings in different states and had successfully cornered the UPA government on different issues ranging from Commonwealth Games scam, 2G scam, coalgate scam, etc.
In fact, Gadkari proved himself to be the most powerful leader of the BJP now and he has managed to survive the Delhi politics. But he has also critics within the party who say that he could not control himself to follow the principle of what to do, and what not to do, whom to follow and whom not. Despite strong RSS backing, Mr Gadkari could not emerge as a mass leader like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Now RSS pins its hopes on Gadkari to unite the saffron party, stop the internal squabbling at the Centre and in states. The problem with Gadkari is he wants to run the party like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP. The cadre-based political party like the BJP cannot run like a student organisation. The party has to decide and nurture a true mass leader whom the nation can rely upon. It is the duty of the party and cadre to grow a leader, who should be infused with the core ideology of nationalism and who has a vision to give a shape to our great nation, to lead the world.
In a cadre-based democratic party like the BJP, of course it is very difficult to project an individual leader as leader of the nation, unlike the Congress party. Our country had many natural prominent leaders like Gandhiji, Swami Vivekanand, Tilak, Gokhle and others at different times. But they are few to count. Atal Behari Vajpayee was a naturally self-made leader of the BJP. But after Vajpayee, there seems no one in the BJP to take his place. Even BJP veteran LK Advani could not reach near his position. And Mr Advani is still projecting himself to be the prime minister candidate of the party, if the situation arises. But in the present organisational set-up, there is hardly any leader to accept him for the top post and most disastrous is the fact that the party cadre, from top to bottom, is not at all accepting him.
After Mr Advani, many in the BJP would like Narendra Modi to lead. For, Narendra Modi has proved himself to be a natural mass leader, despite facing a negative media environment for a long time. Modi has never depended on RSS cadres to emerge as a good leader. For him, governance is more important than the party and the cadre. When some sections of the party and the RSS unit in Gujarat were openly criticising Modi’s style of functioning, it had no impact on the image of Modi among the masses. Modi has focussed on good governance and has followed the path of RSS ideologue Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay, to bring success to the Gujarat state. Modi has never done “Ganesh Parikrama” among important leaders of RSS and the BJP to rise to the occasion. He focussed on the development agenda as was followed by the former Prime Minister Mr AB Vajpayee. And now Modi is conquering the state and it is clear now he will obtain a clean majority in the coming assembly elections.
Former party chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh is another BJP leader who is also being rated highly. He had a good command of the leadership of the party when he was national president. A good speaker, Rajnath Singh has the edge over other leaders for his thorough understanding on the core RSS ideology and is champion of the cause of farmers. There are also other competitors like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.
In the present state of affairs, the BJP is in a very precarious position to take any call for the sorry state of affairs in the state organisations. Literally the party is on the crossroads on the issue of leadership crisis in the party. How come six persons at a time can be projected for the top job of NDA-led alliance? One can understand that in BJP important policy decisions are decided in core groups, but it has to project a leader at an earlier stage, like now, through whom the people could get a chance to read the leadership. It took long years for Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee to head the government. Vajpayee’s leadership was accepted across the party line and then only the RSS decided to announce his name for the post of Prime Minister.
Otherwise, during Ramjanmabhumi Movement, LK Advani was the blue-eyed boy of RSS and was the prime ministerial candidate of the then BJP. Since last one year Gadkari has told many times that the BJP has six prime ministerial candidates like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi for the NDA alliance. He says that he is not in the race of Prime Minister’s post now. Here is one party chief who says he will build every brick of the party to cement it, without any expectation, if one believes his word.
At this point in time, when there is no immediate threat to the government at the Centre, why one discusses in detail the leadership crisis in BJP? Mr Gadkari in his presidential address at BJP conclave in Surajkund called on the delegates to get ready for the polls, and advised the cadre to remain united with a large heart and move towards a bigger goal. He said: “Polls are possible at any time. Government may or may not complete its tenure.” Gadkari also promised good governance and pro-people policies if the NDA voted to power. The question arises: If the BJP is ready to rule the country then who is the front man of the party to lead the NDA alliance? As a party chief Gadkari has the responsibility to project decisive leadership before the nation. And Gadkari suggested that the cadre should remain united. But who will unite the cadre? Is the central top BJP leaders talking a same voice on leadership issue? Are the top leaders in BJP large hearted to send out the message to the cadre in the states to stay united?
On many issues, the party has lost the faith of middle class Indians. In fact, the Congress has snatched the urban votes of BJP and the party has remained silent. Only stalling the Parliament for a long time would not satisfy the Indian people. Everybody knows that the UPA-led government at the Centre has failed at many fronts to save the interest of the nation. But has the BJP, as a principal opposition party, played a decisive role on these issues, so that Indians can repose their faith in the BJP? The answer is no. If the UPA has failed to deliver good governance, the BJP has also failed to play the role of a principal opposition party. That is the public perception.
The first and foremost task before the BJP chief is to bring the BJP house in order. In states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Odisha, the state units have wide differences. In Rajasthan, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has not been attending any core committee meeting of the party since July 2012 and she is now residing in London and is not responding to the party call and also not attending any public meeting in the state of Rajasthan. She also stayed away from BJP national executive of Surajkund.
Also Karnataka strongman Mr Yeddyurappa was absent in Surajkund national executive. He is almost on the path of deserting BJP and is planning to form a regional outfit to defeat the BJP. The Central leadership has failed to tackle him and repeatedly sent junior members of the party who yielded no results.
In Odisha, the party has only seven MLAs and recently the legislative party leader Mr KV Singdeo presented his resignation claiming his displeasure with state party chief Jual Oram. It is said that a group under the leadership of National General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan in Odisha BJP is gaining ground against Mr Oram to dethrone him. Mr Pradhan wants a yes man of his choice to be the state president. The dissident group has many times met Mr Gadkari in Delhi to oust Mr Oram and State General Secretary Organisation Mr Panchanan Rout. In fact, Odisha Prabhari Mr Santosh Gangwar, instead of solving the dispute among the state leaders, recently told at the state party office that the State Organising Secretary Mr Rout would serve for a few days in the state and would be transferred soon.
All in all, a sincere approach is needed to unite the party cadres in states. The few examples here are only tip of the iceberg. The RSS has given enough power to Mr Gadkari, who is a resourceful organisational man, to build the party and its cadre. Only time will tell how he tackles the party and where the party is headed for.
By Deepak Kumar Rath from Surajkund, Haryana