Thursday, October 15, 2009

BJP unravelling rapidly. Is anybody concerned?

The BJP just continues to get sucked deeper into the mire of deceitful and duplicitous faction politics. In the process, it continues to get pushed farther to the margins of national politics.

On Thursday evening what used to be the all-powerful but is now a pitifully emasculated Parliamentary Board of the party met for an emergency meeting after LK Advani and his group sought a rethink of party president Rajnath Singh's decision that Vasundhara Raje must resign as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly. Rajnath Singh believes she should own up to the party's dismal performance in Rajasthan in the Lok Sabhal election.

It is another matter that not a single central leader of the party has as yet owned up to the party's total, absolute and humiliating rout in the Lok Sabha election. On the contrary, those who fashioned the party's election campaign, which proved to be an unmitigated disaster, have been rewarded. Dilli4 remains as powerful as ever, manipulating every twist and turn in the party's downward spiral.

Vasundhara Raje, who enjoys overwhelming support in the BJP legislature party, has refused to step down as instructed by Rajnath Singh who now finds himself in a minority of one in the parliamentary board. Even the West Bengal unit of the party appears to have cocked a snook at Rajnath Singh.

An unnamed 'senior' BJP leader has been quoted as saying "there are serious differences over the move to oust Vasundhara Raje". It's really now an issue on which Rajnath Singh has virtually no support in the parliamentary board.

At the end of three hours of discussions, the parliamentary board came to the decision that no action is to be initiated at the moment. Instead, status quo will be maintained till Rajasthan Assembly bypolls are over on November 7.

End result: Vasu is smiling; Dilli4 is grinning; Rajnath Singh is smarting. It also reflects on the RSS's say on BJP affairs -- whether it signals dwindling clout or shows confusion is for you to decide.

For all practical purposes, Rajnath Singh is now no more than a lame duck president whose writ doesn't run and whose decisions are being increasingly challenged if not ignored by top, middle and junior leaders in the central and State units of the party. The president's office stands denuded of power and authority.

Conclusion: LK Advani is not going anywhere. Rajnath Singh may have to opt out soon. Dilli4 remains untouched, unchallenged.

Irrespective of Maharashtra Assembly election results (the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance could suffer heavy reverses and losses and be left in the cold yet again)it is likely Nitin Gadkari will be brought in as president. He may want to put together his own team by bringing over young leaders like Manohar Parrikar. Whether he will succeed in doing so or be forced to become putty in Dilli4's hands is anybody's guess at the moment.

Bottom line: More than four months after crushing defeat in Lok Sabha election, BJP's entrenched discredited top leadership, including Dilli4, refuses to wake up to reality. After Thursday's meeting, I find the BJP resembling George Orwell's Animal Farm.

From here to oblivion could be a short journey, unless drastic steps are taken by the RSS. The BJP is fast resembling a tamasha, an embarrassing one at that. A shame and a pity.

The Sangh cannot, indeed must not, wish away its responsibility.


Anonymous said...

phew what a prognosis.

But are you sure the calculus of caste works well with SS, AJ & NG all 3 in positions of leadership ?

That question while of academic curiosity doesnt quite settle the fundamental issues with which you close the piece.

I think we should be prepared for a Congress monopoly till 2019 barring unprecedented bungling by UPA with acts of god and nature lending a helping hand.

My tweets from 2 days back on this.

It must be said of Rahul Gandhi he is admirably focused and on message albeit on the wrong side of issues

The sustained manner in which he is going about boxing the BJP in its own past rhetoric and putting a label on it puts the BJP on defensive

Barring any surprises in Maharashtra, will take a bi-generational shift for BJP before it is even close to challenging Congress nationwide

If the permanent stakeholders of the BJP had any foresight they will start investing in a 4th gen leader right now to be viable in 2019

Unless BJP gets prev inaccessible social grps to vote for economic interests it will remain a prisoner of past rhetoric shifting demographic

BJP needs Arun Shourie's integrity and intellect combined with Pramod Mahajan's realpolitik campaign skills

Reality however for BJP is Pramod Mahajan is dead and Arun Shourie no longer wields the sharpness of intellect he once used to

The movement needs to be completely reinvented and it will take atleast two election cycles for it to be viable discounting acts of nature

One hopes the results in Maharashtra hasten that process rather than provide a comfort zone for those pitching for a Cosmetic makeover

The current semi-final mindset pervading the BJP will be fatal, Narendra Modi cannot parachute into Delhi post 2012 and be viable nationally

It would take acts of nature & god for Modi to be viable - perhaps Pakistan implosion, incredible bungling by UPA with mortality catching up

Amrit said...

In one of my blog posts I had mentioned that BJP shouldn't focus on the next elections, but elections after that. They should spend this time rebuilding the party and generating grass roots support. With Rajnath Singh at the helm it has turned out to be a Bhartiya Joker Party.

Anonymous said...

Kanchan will be proved wrong on the 22nd. It ll be a sena-BJP government in Maharashtra

Arun said...

This decline is long term. After 2004, not for once did the party appear to be recovering. Some hardcore supporters may have been deluded into thinking that the party will revive. But objective observers were under no such delusions.

The only way for the Sangh is to form a new party and allow the BJP to be a regional player confined to its traditional strongholds like MP and Gujarat. A Two-Party-Coalition is better than a lone self-destructive entity. BJP to be minor partner in States like Orissa, Haryana, AP and WB

mpanj said...

Nitin Gadkari's choice (if true) will allow D4 to paralyze his tenure before it even begins.

No doubt he's a marvellous admin.

Sadly his demographic profile can and will be used against him.

Add to this - if he brings in Parrikar, a wisper campaign could easily puncture any attempts at a cleanup even before it begins.

Most Goans would take offence to Parrikar being described as M'rastian but with both Mohanji Bhagwat and Gadkari being M'rastrian Brahmins, D4 would have a field day using their allies in the Delhi media to suggest a M'rastrian takeover of the BJP.

Moreover, Gadkari would take atleast a year to 18 months to get his feet set and build a loyal, trustworthy team in Delhi.

By which time, his tenure will be on its last leg, making any meaningful reforms almost impossible.

The same arguments can be applied to Parrikar.

The more this situation is analyzed the more it points to our long held belief.

NaMo is the answer.

He has tremendous national appeal.

And the exposure as pary president would position him perfectly to be front runner for PM candidate 2014.

Which in turn will attach tremendous gravitas to any decisions (taken by him) made to reform party structure and leadership.

He can hit the ground running.

Pick him for a take over in April/2010 and line up BJP/Sangh/affiliates behind him.

There is no alternative.

mpanj said...


do you have a personal email where I could email you a suggestion.

Please advice.



Inquiring Mind said...

/** Kanchan will be proved wrong on the 22nd. It ll be a sena-BJP government in Maharashtra

The question, why it is taking two weeks after election for announcing of results?

With Navin Chawla in charge, and the previous experience of successfully rigging EVMs on a national scale, this time, it would be a cake walk for congress towards power.. they would do the rigging with ease and comfort without leaving any trail..

BJP/Shivsena has already compromised on the seriousness of the EVM issue but not raising it strongly.. Hope, the sure defeat of this time will make them relook in to this issue..

M. Patil said...

I will not be least surprised if Congress wins in Maharashtra.

With EVMs impossible is now possible. BJP after winning consolation prize(byelection wins) is happy to bury EVM fraud issue.

I am I the only one who is wondering if BJP actually wants to win or not?

M. Patil said...

Kanchan da,

Can you explain how/if the BJP central leadership is elected or appointed? What is the process?

seadog4227 said...

Actually, the article clarifies nothing for the public:
1) What is happening internally in the BJP?
2) What is their internal process?
3) How, if at all, has the RSS helped?
4) Are any mediators involved?
5) Are their public leaders at least interacting with each other?

The media cannot be trusted because it hates and sidelines the BJP anyway. I hope the blog writers have at least some contact with the BJP that is worth mentioning; other wise all of us are expert armchair philosophers.

Dhruv said...

In forums like these , one does sometime see concerns regarding Modi's acceptability as a national leader.

While his moving to the centre would definitely help with his national image, I think people underestimate his popularity and his reach ...

Among the educated classes, the industrialists, the bureaucracy and the armed forces , even the middle class , he is already regarded with a lot of respect and accepted as the leader, India needs.

Among the masses , everybody knows who he is and to some extent what he stands for after the last elections .. His presence would not have amounted to a large number of votes .. but then give people sometime to appreciate what Modi means to them ...

Anonymous said...


Please do not waste your time with BJP. The party leaders are only interested in their self promotion and not about the country. This party was supposed to be a party of people who are interestd in serving the country. If so, how can you explain the fight for positions? Modi is the only answer. He is the only one who can save this party.

sanjay said...

I wish things are not as bad as it seems. Post twin-electoral-loss BJP "seems" to have retreated into a shell, refusing to introspect and even read the writing on the wall, rather seeing it as a divine act.
But I presume they need some time and space for some introspection and brain storming. After all what we get to know is what the biased media projects.
Its a hard time for the entire rank and file of BJP. The current leadership which failed twice is seeing possibly the end of their political career and all the perks that come with it. The next rung of leadership is looking up to them to give the reigns of the party into their hands. Even the inevitable doesn't happen by itself, somebody has to trigger it.

Anonymous said...

the decline started when Mr Vajpayee prevented India take punitive action after Kargil. George's freehand on defense was a disaster. Since BJP is to be blamed for the current lack of defense preparedness and dud of a nuclear bomb, The BJP has to keep quite, swallow hard and watch manmohan and sonia doing a Gorby act on us slowly. We have no choice but to reuest Varnasi pundits to do poojas,request astrolegers to predict a change of fortune after couple of centuries and till then get ready to welcome Jihadis and crusaders as our fate.

Anonymous said...

dilli 4 will remain like that only. If they go there will be others. Delhi has far too many int operatives of all hues with tons of money in havens to corrupt any refugee or intellectual.

mpanj said...


Various commentators, Swapanda, Kanchanda, Offstumped, and others, have suggested the quite and quick burial of BJP in its present form.

If BJP should be politically euthanized, what do we replace it with?

Infact, with what, how and who?

Remember, BJP took decades to reach 180 seats and was facilitated by a series of mistakes and missteps by Congress and the pseudosecular establishment.

Most importantly, BJP and the larger sangh parivar was led by stalwarts, yet untainted by the vixens of power and corruption.

The list of today’s fallen BJP leaders, reads like a who’s who from those momentous days. Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Uma Bharti, LKA.

The baggage accumulated during years of power at the center and in various states is hard to jettison. It’s stench will be hard to scrub.

The only real answer is a brand new leadership.

But leadership alone will not do.

Like pieces on a chess board, several variables need to be adjusted, deftly, to bring about a change in fortunes.

But before a solution is formulated, we need to understand the underlying terrain.

What is India thinking? What are the challenges (micro and macro) she faces in the near and distant future? What type of leadership is she demanding? What does her demographic profile look like?

But most importantly, how will the dynastocratic interests, entrenched in the family business of politics, view and react to any attempts at change.

Will they use their immense power and reach to defang any new leadership and institutions that are installed?

mpanj said...

That our electorate has become increasingly cynical is beyond doubt. This cynicism is evident from the low voter turnout to the use of liquor and cash to win votes.

Voters cant be so na├»ve as to sell their votes for a bottle of hooch and a week’s worth of ration.

What drives this behavior is the feeling (fast turning into belief) that all political formations are the same.

Saab saale chor hai.

That NaMo can work tirelessly, stand tall and still concede 40% of the vote to Congress, is a telling indicator on how our electorate views the political firmament.

Another anchor weighing down BJP is a lack of geographical reach. You cannot be absent from a third of the nation and expect to rule from Delhi.

Already, BJP is fighting with only 60% of the potential votes (with minorities 20% and Dalits 20% seldom voting for the party) up for grabs.

What if we turn this disadvantage on its head?

How about if the BJP/Sangh creates a ‘Citizen’s Council’.

Council will comprise of prominent Indians – Dr. Abdul Kalam, Baba Ramdev, Dr. Kakodkar, etc.

The only criteria being a strong and proven nationalistic political orientation and a proven record of public service.

Allow this council to suggest candidates in states where BJP is politically absent and put the organizational might of the Sangh behind these candidates.

Such a program will not only enthuse and motivate BJP workers but also help address the growing cynicism plaguing our country.

If some of the selected candidates do not wish to fight on a BJP symbol – let it be. Support them anyway.

BJP has nothing to lose.

This plan could be tried in WB assembly elections and then again in UP. Both states in which BJP is irrelevant (or getting there fast).


Spade a spade said...

"Council will comprise of prominent Indians – Dr. Abdul Kalam, Baba Ramdev, Dr. Kakodkar, etc."


Nice naive thoughts! Kakodkar recently has got the extension b'coz he fibbed abt the Nuclear deal on the instruction of his master.

But anyway u have raised some valid points but 85% of ur post is merely a reiteration of "well-known" problems plaguing BJP. Though I appreciate ur efforts and time spend but there is nothing new in ur post, we already know abt this. I feel u could have tell us more abt the solution to bring BJP out from the morass it's in.

Since u've asked for our thoughts and not talked abt the solution much is my two cents. I think BJP top leadership needs some kind of "stabilizing" force(leader) who commands respect from all faction of BJP whether it's cadre, rootless, media base leaders or ostrich RSS. His/her authority and credibility should be like hajpayee. Note: I'm not suggesting this leader should be exactly like hajpayee what I'm suggesting is this leader should have last say on the matter like sonia have in the Dongress. In one line: He/she must have command, charisma, cadre love, colleague support, credibility, coherence commitment towards ideology, confidence in taking decision et al. When I think of these things name of only one man comes to my mind: Modi. Though he doesn't fit into my criteria completely but nonetheless he passes test of mine criteria easily. Other problem of BJP is its multiple center of power it needs only one central of power but the problem with BJP netas is then start abandoning ideology for money!. So many time bitten RSS doesn't trust these BJP netas who have bring it this pass where its very existence is in danger. But I still believe in only one center of power so they have to sort out this issue amicably, the mistrust between RSS, BJP must end. Now back to leadership issue b'coz the rot is at the top level. I feel NaMo can provide the sort of leadership I'm taking abt but his behavior of late has made me re-think abt him!! I've increasingly volatile, double feelings abt him. I'm not sure abt him as a top leader coz of two reason. Pls correct me if I'm wrong, ur inputs r invaluable for me. so the first reason is:

There is a section within BJP which believes to be a "national" leader or a PM candidate u ought to have "liberal", "moderate", "secular" image and this section-- which includes M.P BJP, divisive, cunning rootless thakur Rajnath, Rajnath's poodle rootless Thakur-Rajput Rudy who make an ass of himself on tv and Shivraj Singh camp et al-- I don't think will support NaMo wholeheartedly or perhaps could try to upset his applecart!

Spade a spade said...

Secondly, our NaMo too seems to succumbed to guileful propaganda of hardcore left-liberal media outlets. I mean. it appears he wants to get rid of his "image" (very much like dumb cry baby Advani who tried hard to become Vajpayee but end up loosing his admirers) which was created by traitor, powerful left-liberal opinion maker as of a rioter, murder, Muslim hater, communal man etc. In order to change that "image"(which doesn't exist in first place if we left certain misinformed section of society) or "perception" Modi has adopted new ideology known as development, vikas! He want to be development god. BJP leaders think development alone can fetch u vote and u can win election on its basis! It might be true for some state but not for India. There is a feeling he has abandoned "core" ideology completely which could be detrimental for him, I'm telling u, b'coz nobody can win election by "angering" its "core" voter.
What I'm want to say by mentioning all these things is he too doesn't have ideological clarity. Modi must understand that he doesn't need not to be extra careful abt his image coz despite massive besmirching campaign by left-liberal media public know truth! Barring few loudmouth people who swear by dirt of fake Gandhi's feet and secularism based on Hindu hatred, majority of India doesn't held him responsible for post-Godhra reaction. On the contrary many people privately support him.I myself have heard many hardcore Congi voter and hoi polloi saying "acchey marey saaley katuye..mai toh kehta hu inke sath aisa he hona chahiye" So he doesn't need to be extra focus on his image but at the same time it's also not right to undermine the power of Media. BJP will continue to suffer if India doesn't get the credible, strong right-wing media specifically in electronic segment; the void is really stark here. I'm not suggesting irrational ideas like opening a news channel to counter left-liberal propaganda what I'm saying is only a man with ideological clarity, coherence, determine vision can communicate with the masses directly and clear the rot brought by billi ke gu netas like Rudy, tiny, fat cat Sushma, man who dies to come on TV even if u slap him Jaitly, Ravishankar Prasad, Javedkar etc. In one line BJP needs some purging, some moral boosting before it becomes history. U guys r seeing this now but on Orkut, durng debates in communities, I've predicted death for BJP boldly many times in cases it faild to win LS election. I'm no NJP hater just a rational and hey by rational I don't mean I'm DMK walah for my rationality loony Right can blame my love for stock market!

Jiggs said...

I am not for dropping the towel now. BJP will come out of its predicament, it requires a VICTORY to fire up the party machinery.

I agree with Kanchan here that the transfer of power of the party must be hastened, however, with what we saw in August, I think it is too risky for the moment.

I was never a fan or Rajnath Singh, his appointment in 2005 itself was very amusing. His diatribe against Vasindhara Raje is senseless.

Rajasthan openly says BJP did not lose the state, they GIFTED it to Congress.

I am waiting for 2 things :

1. A victory in Maharashtra.
2. December elections in the BJP.

This will definitely bring back the good times for the party.

Jiggs said...

I am not for dropping the towel now. BJP will come out of its predicament, it requires a VICTORY to fire up the party machinery.

I agree with Kanchan here that the transfer of power of the party must be hastened, however, with what we saw in August, I think it is too risky for the moment.

I was never a fan or Rajnath Singh, his appointment in 2005 itself was very amusing. His diatribe against Vasindhara Raje is senseless.

Rajasthan openly says BJP did not lose the state, they GIFTED it to Congress.

I am waiting for 2 things :

1. A victory in Maharashtra.
2. December elections in the BJP.

This will definitely bring back the good times for the party.

Anonymous said...

A victory in Maharashatra is not good for BJP's long term prospects. The status quoists will use the victory as an argument to prevail in party power structure.

mpanj said...

@Spade a Spade:

Thanks for the quick response. I was hoping to start just such a discussion.

Yes NaMo is the answer. No doubt. And you’re right. He might be edging towards falling into the old psec trap of thinking that politically, India rewards psec liberals.

However, what happens if NaMo is lost. We have much to fear in this regard. He may be done in by a Pramod Mahajan type hit job or a YSR type accident or good old jihadi terror.

Then what?

Also he is almost 60. Does he have enough time to set things right?

For now NaMo is the answer, but what next?

Leaders are temporary, principles and institutions are permanent.

If you look at empires and nations through history, those that have survived and thrived for centuries, are those backed by strong institutions. Institutions that can withstand the excesses of a flawed leadership.

The Catholic church, American presidency and most Armed forces are great examples of this.

Our aim should be simple: Build a permanent majority for the conservative movement in India. Political players may come and go, but the structure survives and nurtures a revival, if and when one is needed.

Social change is the best and most effective means to accomplish this.

Witness how the catholic church is focusing on social change in India before placing its pieces on the political chess board.

The Sangh must aim to do this (and in key areas it has done just that). But BJP and India are fast running out of time. A drubbing in 2014 will destroy BJP and set it back 25 years.

Can we afford to wait for social change. It should be a priority, no doubt, but we must look for alternatives – Now.

Apart from a handful of leaders (NaMo being the obvious choice) the Sangh lacks a roster of leaders that can take on the combined might of internal saboteurs, political pimps, a pliant psec media and Congress’ entrenched interests.

mpanj said...

And you’re right Kakodkar may have sold out, but the general idea of ‘citizen’s council’ should be looked into.

In states like West Bengal, where BJP has failed to make a dent (apart from a seat or two) this idea may just have some legs.

It gives BJP a ‘Halo effect’.

Sure, the media and Congress will call it ‘making virtue out of necessity’ but when educated and upright individuals are backed in electoral contests, several positives will ensue:

1. The aforementioned ‘Halo effect’ – a general positive feeling about the BJP
2. Attracting the cynical middle class voter, back into the electoral process
3. Cutting into Congress’ vote in a multi-cornered contests
4. Huge rise in BJP’s credibility quotient

Besides, what real choice does BJP have in states such as WB, TN, etc.

Every battle needs a beachhead – a Normandy. Citizen’s councils may end up being BJP’s beachheads.

And this is just a suggestion. Several such ideas will need to be generated, tested, reconfigured (as needed) and implemented if we’re to win back India.

(Note: If India’s political marketplace was a homogenous, monolithic entity, we could have fixed several problems through a strong central leadership.

But in a country with a populace living in different eras, speaking in multiple tongues and aspiring for a diverse vision – a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.

Think of it as a pyramid where the (bottom) broad base includes a clearly defined right-of-center ideology and commitment to nationhood and each subsequent layer is built upon this base to address the needs of specific micro-segments and unique markets.)

Surely, such measures cannot (and should not) be implemented without internal restructuring i.e. the installation of a new leadership and new processes.

But leadership change alone, can only take us so far.

As Peter Lynch put it (and Warren Buffet reiterates) "Invest in a company which even an idiot can run - because some day an idiot will be running it'.

We need to make BJP - idiot-proof.

Citizen's councils may make a small contribution in helping accomplish just that.

p.s. True internal democracy is another pillar upon which to build this idiot-proof BJP.

Unknown said...

As long as people from RSS who donot contest elections control a political party which contests elections, this decline will continue unless UPA does some Harakiri. Electoral politics is altogether a different ballgame.

Anonymous said...

Many have talked about strategies in states where BJP is cypher but sadly factionalism is rampant in states (WB, Kerala, TN) even though there is nothing to lose. BJP is like a dead horse in its current form, RSS remote control, leadership and party culture.

Supporter said...

BJP seems to be going through the motions like a captainless ship. the present leadership has failed to make any difference whatsoever in the last five years or so. even the successes in gujarat, karnataka, mp and chhattisgarh seems to be inspite of these losers not because of them. Their uninspiring leadership has failed to enthuse the party, their presence has given an unhindered winning spree to the corrupt congress. Infact they genuinely deserve Padmashree for their service to congress. I wonder why they have stopped their demand for unmasking the people having dirty money in swiss banks. They got a good opportunity to redeem some of their self respect after a well deserved thrashing in last general elections by resigning immediately, now I don't think there is any of it left to be redeemed anyway!

Anonymous said...

Any comments on election results? Do you think Naqvi's statement about EVMs has some merit?

M. Patil said...

I wrote on Oct 16:

"With EVMs impossible is now possible. BJP after winning consolation prize(byelection wins) is happy to bury EVM fraud issue.

I am I the only one who is wondering if BJP actually wants to win or not?"

I am not the least surprised. I actually predicted Congress victory. I do not think this is because of Raj or MMS or Sonia. Sonia must thank Naven Chawla and EVMs.

What is the prinicipal opposition party (BJP) doing?

Anonymous said...

BJP's Delhi leadership is in pay of Sonia and/or open to her blackmail. Nothing esle can explain the goings on in BJP. BJP could have defeated Congress in Haryana with INLD/HJVC. Down with the corrupt BJP leaders.

Anonymous said...

Chaddiwalah and BJP both r perceived as regressive organization who can't take India forward. They talk nonsense on TV...saley ghuma fira ke ..lambhi-chaudi bateein kartey hai...inki image theek nahi hai...neta nahi hai salo ke pass...RSS the frozen in the past organization talk nonsense..listen folks I'm all for Hindu politics b'coz i understand the danger of can't be accepted unless reformed and our Hindu politics also helps us in differentiating us from congress..but BJP has made its ideology a whore which is sold on election eve...moreover fear of Islam has evaporated from the masses b'coz of two reasons first is economic progress, second is secular virus which baited the vast section of there is no info on this front...then there is most important issue leadership vacuum..development is no criteria for win election everyone should understand this...public actually in logo ko trust nahi karti..inki creditability destroy ho chuki hai..saley kehte kuch hai karte kuch hai...satta ke liye kuch bhi kar sakte hai....then there is simplistic, treta yugi approach of chaddi brigade...India has changed a lot and they r fast becoming irrelevant...we need complete rebuilding...we shouldn't hesitate to speak abt Islam..we should do other thing also I'm not against that but we should talk in a simple manner and shouldn't do the promise which we can't will tell u tomorrow...i'm not saying this in anger whatever I've written is truth and have written with cool and calm mind...