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So what's going on in the BJP? Swapan Dasgupta in the Asian Age offers some theories:
Two games are being played simultaneously within the BJP. First, there appears to be a determined resistance by some BJP elders, particularly those in their mid-60s and above, to a generational change in the party... Alongside this battle against superannuation is the battle over ideas. A reason why the BJP has hitherto not permitted a structured post-mortem is rooted in the intellectual insecurities of a few leaders.But then he also offers us a touching insight into his belief-system:
...the post-defeat turbulence marks a quiet battle between those who want the BJP to be a wholesome and sober nationalist party, and those who have little inhibitions against making it a variant of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party".
Some of the comments to my earlier blogs have detected an apparent contradiction between my dislike of hardline politics and my support for Modi. That is because I believe that Modi will soon come to be accepted as the most enlightened and modern BJP face.
Just look at the regressive types who were trying to create a riot in Surat and you will see what I mean.
It's still very much the open season as far as the BJP is concerned. Vir Sanghvi says the middleclass has grown up, the BJP has not. And as if to prove him right, after Arun Jaitley, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Brajesh Mishra, Anil Chawla and Jaswant Singh, it was now the turn of Mr Yashwant Sinha to go public with what he points out are the problems with the party. Mr Rajnath Singh's problems clearly are not over, despite the gag-order that seems to have been more than a bit belated.
Meanwhile, Swapan Dasgupta responds to Sudheendra Kulkarni's observations in Tehelka and says that while some of them are unexceptionable, the real problem with the BJP was that "Advani didn’t attend to the problems. Instead, he embarked on the suicidal course of trying to transform a parliamentary election into a presidential one.... Advani strategy lay in bypassing a problem-ridden party..." and, indeed, that "[t]here are many in the BJP who insist that the problem with Advani was Kulkarni".
Pratap Bhanu Mehta feels that this public spat is a good thing and what the BJP needs is not so much a chintan as much as a manthan, a churning, to root out the poison. His pithy prognosis: it is a party of little men:
It is a party that thrives on victimhood: whatever happens is always someone else's fault. No wonder "atma chintan" is looking a bit like an oxymoron. Other parties have abandoned nationalism for opportunism. BJP did something worse: it made nationalism opportunism. No wonder its leaders cannot face up to the fact that most of them have been playing a game of such petty interests.
And he raises the more fundamental question about the party's future: "Is there any leader amongst this lot who has the minimal credibility to take the party in any direction?" Only to conclude with what is clearly the crux of the matter: "More than the RSS, it is now clear that what made the party viable was Mr. Vajpayee".