|Dilemmas of Defeat: Whither BJP?|
By Ram Puniyani
|The humiliating electoral defeat continues to dodge the BJP. In quick succession lot of things are happening, old pillars are crumbling, earlier cracks are on display with bigger clarity and those who joined the party in the hope of basking in the glory of power are deserting. In the process a lot of things which were slightly hidden are becoming glaringly obvious.|
After Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party he talked about certain incidents which show the true nature of the party and the major political personalities involved. Later some of these points were confirmed by Arun Shourie, Brajesh Mishra and Company. The first point which strikes an observer is that it is the nature of people who have come out with statements. First in the row was Yashwant Sinha, then Jaswant Singh, followed by Arun Shourie, another one, Sudheendra Kulkarni, was prompt enough to leave the party. What is common about them is that they all are not having RSS background. Most of BJP leaders, trained in RSS shakhas kept mum on the reasons for defeat and state of disarray in the party. Sushma Swaraj is an exception anyway, as women are not allowed to be members of RSS. Some of the beans which were spilled during the process are very revealing.
Jaswant Singh pointed out, later confirmed by Arun Shourie, that Vajpayee wanted to sack Modi when the Gujarat carnage was on. It was Advani who blocked it. It reflects as much on Advani as on Vajpayee. When Vajpayee raised the issue of dealing with Modi, Advani retorted that if that is done there will be bawal, severe turmoil, in the party. As they went for the Goa meeting Modi offered to resign and as if on a cue most of the top brass of the party attending the meeting opposed it. After he realized that most of the party is with Modi in executing the anti minority carnage, Vajpayee changed his tune and said those words, which subtly went in for Modi's defense, The words were "but Godhra also happened!" This episode shows that while Advani was hard core in supporting Modi line of violence against minorities, most the party stood by Modi, endorsing his violence and making him a Hero. This is what happens when one is trained by RSS, trained in 'Hate minority' sentiments. The character of most of the BJP top brass is there for all to see. But what about Vajpayee, he talks of action against Modi and when he sees that most of the party is for supporting what is going in Gujarat, he goes on to give a hidden justification for what Modi was doing. Not only that he made a weak willed attempt to resign but was 'easily persuaded' to stay on. The swayasevak, the RSS soul in his body, was alive and kicking and he went on to serve the full term.
Advani's lies about Kandhar episode do not need further criticizing the person, who driven by the ambition to show his iron man character, kept lying to the whole nation, that much about his leadership qualities. He is not alone in this. Earlier at one point of time Vajpayee had also claimed to be the part of freedom movement and having gone to jail for the same during 1942 Quit India movement. This lie was exposed by two journalists of Frontline, but this has not become so known to the public mind. Vajpayee had been mistaken to be the participant of Quit India agitation by the police and arrested. After his arrest Vajpayee clarified in a letter written to the authorities that he was not part of the procession; agitation but was a mere onlooker to the procession organized by the youth who were part of the national movement. On this ground he sought his release from jail and he was duly released. So in that sense, what Advani has done is not something which the earlier top BJP leader has not done. The cash for votes scam also shows very clearly as to what low level BJP can stoop for the sake of power.
Now despite the fact that the BJP is in tatters, it will not die. The reason is, BJP has been a mere political arm of RSS. At most of the crucial junctures RSS has been controlling BJP from behind the scene. The only difference is that now all is in the open. To begin with majority of BJP workers, leaders are from RSS background, totally indoctrinated in the ideology of 'Hate Minorities', in the ideology of Hindu nation. The statement of Shourie that RSS should take over BJP is a bit complex. Shourie must know that as a BJP member he is mostly amidst RSS workers, barring few. On the top of that RSS always keeps a watchful eye on what its subordinate organizations are doing and keeps coordinating their activities. Its agenda is clear, to bring in Hindu Rashtra over a period of time.
Since the electoral debacle, many a commentators said that BJP can give up Hindutva and survive as a rightwing opposition. Such a suggestion has no place in the real politic, as BJP is nothing but a political child of RSS. It has autonomy to work in the given framework, the framework laid out by RSS. While the current RSS Sarsanghchalak says that BJP will decide its own policies that statement is merely something from the World of make-believe. As things are becoming clearer RSS has taken a total and direct charge of the tottering party.
What is the trajectory for future? For some time, with RSS imprints being very direct, the other NDA allies will opt to remain aloof from NDA and BJP. As happened in 1996 all the opposition parties refused to touch it even with barge pole. They came around the next time as it emerged as the big party and lured by the power, they hung on to BJP. It is likely that despite all its efforts BJP will become a marginal national outfit for quite some time.
It does prevail in the form of its power through states, where it is implementing Hindutva agenda with full vigor. It is also likely that it will try to build itself more through states than at national level. Till RSS is alive BJP will be there, goes without saying. The only difference will be the speed of infiltration of RSS agenda of Hindutva by infiltration in the state machinery, media and education will become slightly slower than usual.