The problems in the BJP over Nitin Gadkari – unable to challenge the Congress

Karnataka was a virtual goldmine for the BJP. For a long time, it has been scorned as the party that would win and lose
states in North India, but did not have the cross country reach of the Congress, and hence would always find it difficult
to win enough seats in Parliament to get close to forming a Government. And if it needed allies, well, one could always
make life difficult for the allies by pointing out that the BJP was a communal Hindu party and that the Muslim votes would
all vanish if the BJP was the alliance partner. The victory in Karnataka gave the BJP a chance to project itself as a
pan-Indian party, but then the fracas and the corruption that kept on getting showcased has probably broken that outreach
as well. The search for allies depends on whether the party can show itself to be on the upswing, and a good showing the
UP elections would also have contributed, but the results where were disastrous for the BJP. And pretty importantly, for
the past several months, Arvind Kejriwal has been primarily after the Congress, highlighting one problem after the other.
These were issues that the BJP should have taken up, but they did not raise to any great degree and ended up disappointing
a number of their supporters.
However, all this now pales (or actually, adds more problems) before the current crisis facing the party. The BJP has
several points on which to push against the Congress, and yet it is unable to do so. The Congress could have faced huge
crisis, with several points in which the first family of the Congrss have been pointed at (Robert Vadra and his land
deals, the dispute over transfer of National Herald and its large land holdings, etc) and yet all of these have fallen off
the chart. The BJP no longer brings them back up, they don’t network with the media to do more investigation in this area,
and they have essentially left it to Kejriwal to do all the accusations in this area. Any word of corruption, and the
finger gets pointed at Nitin Gadkari, primarly because of the many issues that have been highlighted in the holdings of his companies, the investors, and the fake ownership pattern for many of the holdings. Directors of the companies have been traced to his driver, and to numerous other such people who would obviously be directors or holding large ownerships.
And yet, in spite of the obvious problems that such a crisis forces on the credibility of the party, the party refuses to take any action. Given that Gadkari was foisted on the BJP by the RSS as a sort of outsider who could take the party away from the leadership feuds, Gadkari has not been remarkably successful. And these allegations of corruption bring down a main plank for the party (in the recent weeks, any attempt by the BJP to say something about corruption has been thwarted by the Congress talking about Nitin Gadkari). Right now it seems that the RSS is determined not to drop Gadkari, since it feels that the campaign against him has the backing of his rivals within the party, and it tried to get him a fig leaf of cover through the statements of Gurumurthy, yet that one has not really paid off. Further, when leaders within the party make statements about the desirability of Gadkari to step down, you know that it is inevitable, given the weak position that this will bring the party to. But will the BJP be able to do that in time ?

2 comments to The problems in the BJP over Nitin Gadkari – unable to challenge the Congress

  • Baru

    I think it is not RSS alone that is keeping Gadkari afloat. There is this elephant in the room (you guessed it right, the Gujrat strongman Modi) about whom nobody in BJP talks publicly with anything but extreme reverence, but many in the leadership (as well as among the NDA allies)secretly hates the prospect of his take over of the party in case Gadkarri tumbles out. Considering that Modi is likely to win handsomely in the assembly elections BJP leadership’s balancing act between pretending to be crusaders against corruption and bearing the Gadkari liability will become piquant towards the end of December when his continuance to lead the party will come to even sharper focus

  • Am not so sure about this. Modi really does not care too much about Gadkari and his strength, and now is totally depending upon a strong win to make his next move; or rather, getting more and more of them to ask him to step up.

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