First, a few days back, the Economist wrote on the BJP, or the Big Joke Party:
leadership rivalries are only one of the party’s difficulties. The BJP’S grass-roots organisation is miserable. It needs to widen its appeal from urban, middle-class and mostly northern, upper- or middle- caste Hindus. And it needs some policy coherence—or less incoherence.
Swapan Dasgupta, a Delhi-based columnist, reckons the party is divided into three competing strands: a traditional, pro-Hindu, religious one; a pragmatic group keen to kick out Congress; and right-of-centre liberalisers. None has the upper hand, but the last two represent the BJP’s best bet for widening its appeal. The trouble is that large bits of the party reject their prescriptions.
And then today, Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express writes a Letter to Sonia:
you as Congress president are presiding over a party and government that are medieval in their workings. Your authority at the top is unquestioned. You must therefore shoulder the blame for the dismal farce this government has become. First, look at your party. It looks more like a series of ageing courtiers, more adept at palace intrigue, than winning the hearts of the voters. Like a courtly culture, loyalty seems to matter more than competence, envy more than collective action, unmeaning words more than genuine ideas. At least in vibrant courtly cultures, people ingratiate themselves by honour; in yours they seem to do so by god knows what. No one can understand why the Congress Working Committee continues to be dominated by people for whom only one phrase suffices: political liability. It is a collection of people not only far distant from the concerns of the country; they don’t even have an intelligent concern for themselves and the party. They are individually able, but it is a hallmark of a courtly culture to reduce the brightest to blathering hangers on.
Unfortunately, the medieval mindset has infected government as well. Most of your cabinet brings neither grassroots political capital, nor administrative competence.