Infighting Leaves BJP Red-faced Ahead of LS Polls
The saffron party is going all out to achieve its objective – Mission 272+. The party, moving in a direction set by its prime ministerial candidate, has recently run into troubled waters. With many within the party raising objections to the seat allocation of various candidates, it is important for BJP to project a front that looks stable and not desperate, especially after giving tickets to ‘popular’ candidates who are new to electoral politics. For example, Khirron Kher’s nomination had stock resentment among some local BJP leaders, prominent among them are Dhawan, party district unit president Sanjay Tandon and two-time former MP Satya Pal Jain. Hema Malini’s entry in the poll fray from Mathura has irked the local leaders since a dozen were in line for the ticket.
Giving tickets to tainted candidates hasn’t gone well with the party members either. The Advani-Sushma Swaraj duo may have cried foul over the inclusion of tainted leaders like B S Yeddyurappa and former BSR Congress chief B Sriramulu, but both have been given tickets, as they openly professed their loyalty to Modi. Similarly, opportunistic alliances have been formed keeping only realpolitik in mind; Ram Vilas Paswan and RJD’s Ram Kripal Yadav who made their names by touting their secular credentials and opposing Modi were welcomed and given seats of their choice in Bihar.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani was at it again, this time over his LS candidature. Advani, who had openly displayed displeasure over Modi’s rise in ranks in the party, finally relented after senior BJP leaders, including party prime ministerial candidate Modi himself, ‘emphasised’ that the patriarch should stick to his old constituency Gandhinagar. Advani loyalist Harin Pathak has been replaced by actor Paresh Rawal in Ahmedabad.
Just few days after, BJP had to placate another senior leader. Jaswant Singh, who was also denied a LS ticket from his favoured constituency Barmer, told IANS that there will be ‘repercussions’ because of the many differences that have come to the fore in the party. Jaswant, though, made it clear that he would file his nomination from Barmer today, and it has to be seen if it would be as an independent, clearly placing the onus on the BJP to contact him.
“Party leaders have forgotten their responsibilities, ideals and obligations towards the people and to the party,” he said, without taking any names.
It is learnt that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had asked the Gujarat CM to reach out to the miffed leaders.
That is not all. The decision to induct the controversial Pramod Muthalik, who has courted controversy with his comments criticising a Pakistani actress and has been named in around 50 cases, in the Karnataka BJP unit was reversed within hours after the top leadership was left red-faced. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was vocal in his opposition to Mutalik’s entry. He also cautioned the party leadership about the damage it could cause to BJP’s prospects all over the country. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj also conveyed her disapproval of Mutalik’s induction.
Muthalik quickly became a trending topic on Twitter with the hashtag #muthalikmukhtBJP (muthalik free BJP, modeled after the BJP slogan ‘Congress mukht Bharat’).
Arun Jaitley, in his website, said leaders should learn to accept ‘no’ as an answer and it is a test of their loyalty. Here’s what the senior party leader wrote in his website:
In the election season, many political persons desirous of being candidates succeed in getting a party nomination. Many more get left out. A political party is built upon the support of millions of political workers who have sacrificed their time and energy without ever aspiring to hold elected office. What does a politician do when after a successful political career the party is unable to accommodate him once? That is when his discipline and political loyalty are to be tested.
Membership of political party is a privilege. It is also an act of self oppression where personal views and ambitions are subjected to the collective wisdom of the party. At times, the party may flood leaders with privileges and positions. On other occasions, the leader may have to take “no” as an answer to his desires. How does a politician or a leader react to such “no”? He must accept the decision with a smile. This becomes a test of his loyalty and discipline. Restraint and silence are always a preferred option. Over-reaction may prove be a transient storm in a tea cup. Silence is always dignified and more gracious.