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The internal strife within the BJP, something they can ill-afford




The BJP has been struggling every since they lost the 2004 general election. At the time of the election in 1999 (and earlier), Atal Behari Vajpayee was the undisputed leader of the BJP parliamentary party with LK Advani as the next in command. But Vajpayee did not brook any challenge to this authority, and even the RSS (which did not see Vajpayee as a compliant politician in the RSS mould) had to accept him as the leader of the BJP and of the coalition. It was also a recognition that Vajpayee was the only leader within the party who was acceptable enough to other parties, and it was a given that the BJP needed support of other parties in order to form a Government. The BJP has never had the all India reach that the Congress used to have, and without the support of other parties, it was impossible for the BJP to think about leading a coalition.
Consider the current position. The UPA came to power in the 2009 elections with an increased number of seats giving it more power vis-a-vis its allies as opposed to its first term. However, the UPA now looks as a weakened Government. The high number of scams have wrecked the credibility of the Government, it has been given severe admonishments by the Supreme Court on various issues, and the treatment of the fast by Anna Hazare literally forced the Government to be totally on the backfoot. The ongoing investigation into the 2G scam, and the culpability of senior figures of the Government has also exposed the infighting within the Government. At such a time, you would expect any serious opposition to capitalize on the opportunity to put the Government on the defensive.

However, the BJP seems to be steadily set on showcasing itself to be a party divided. Ever since the retirement of Atal Behari Vajpayee and the knockdown of LK Advani after his comments on Jinnah opened the field for a leader of the BJP. Ever since then, there has been a fight for the new leader of the BJP. You have several leaders such as Arun Jaitely, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, and Narendra Modi fighting to become the top leader of the BJP, with such tactics being highlighted in the newspapers at regular intervals. Apparently even LK Advani has thrown his hat in the ring again, and it was only a renewed push from the RSS that seems to have scuttled his efforts.
So, you have Advani going on a yatra (yet again), you have Narendra Modi indulging in a 3 day fast to highlight peace (although it will take a lot for Modi to be ever accepted by anybody outside of the BJP and the Shiv Sena), and you have some regular sparring between the other contenders. This is very distracting for the members of the BJP and others who would be counted as sympathizers of the BJP, since the next elections are 3 years away, in 2014. Right now, the BJP should be taking on the role of an active opposition if it ever wants to capture power again, and it seems to be going about the absolute wrong way of doing this.




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