End of an era in BJP?
The talk of end of an era in the BJP effectively means the brusque and peremptory sidelining from key decision-making of L.K. Advani who, at the level of constructing and deepening the party’s organisation and morale, is the builder of the party in its present form.
Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was the charismatic one, even the glamour figure, who had the capacity of attracting other parties to the saffron formation which was then treated as a pariah of the political system. But Mr Advani was the key on which much turned; he was the direction-giver, the one who coined phrases such as “pseudo-secularism” to discomfit Hindutva’s opponents.
In Mumbai on Saturday, BJP president Rajnath Singh has said that as the party’s most senior figure, Mr Advani had every “right” to be “upset” at the turn of events (the anointing of Narendra Modi). This is exaggerated oriental courtesy signifying nothing, but even Mr Advani will concede that the decision he did not like was taken democratically to the extent that this can happen in the BJP over which RSS has the first right of tendering advice and ensuring compliance.
But whether a new era has dawned in BJP will be really tested when it is time for Mr Modi to attract post-election allies to form government. Should he stumble, it may become hard to ignore an entity such as Mr Advani.