BJP emasculated, forced
to kow-tow to a handful
By Sheela bhatt in The Indian Express, 11/11/15
© express news service
(Calculated criticism couched in cutting phrases comes from old guards headed by Advaniji: “Party emasculated, forced to kow-tow to a handful”, its “consensual character destroyed, no lesson learnt from Delhi fiasco, everyone responsible means top duo shrugging off their role in the disastrous debacle”. We are a democracy. So everyone concerned about the good of the nation and the ruling party should go vocal with their views (transparency vital) to help a viable consensus to emerge. Based on it the government should do a course correction to prevent further damage to the growth of the country caught in a bind to move forward in any direction. james kottoor, editor)
Barely days after its resounding defeat in Bihar, the BJP leadership today faced its first open challenge from within since forming the government at the Centre in May last year.
Four veteran leaders, including Margdarshak mandal members L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, issued a stinging statement — a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for London — that the party was being “forced to kow-tow to a handful”, its “consensual character has been destroyed,” and it has been “emasculated” in the last year.
Although no names were mentioned, the statement is being seen as an unprecedented critique of the leadership of BJP president Amit Shah and Modi. Seizing on the Bihar debacle to make their point, the four leaders, including former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha — he signed the statement — and Kangra MP and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shanta Kumar said that the Bihar loss showed that “no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi,” where the Aam Aadmi Party trounced BJP by securing 67 of the 70 Assembly seats.
“To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar,” the statement said, “is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar,” it said.
“The principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party has been emasculated in the last year…A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as of the way the party is being forced to kow-tow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed.” This was a rebuttal of the BJP Parliamentary Board’s conclusion yesterday that the party would take collective responsibility for the defeat.
Later, Joshi told The Indian Express that the decision to issue a statement came after “feedback” that he received from party leaders who met him today to wish him on the eve of Diwali. Joshi, in his Delhi residence since September 9 after undergoing a knee surgery, said: “While talking about the Bihar polls, many people who came to meet me expressed their feelings about the party, too. I felt that the time has come to express these feelings. A meeting with other senior leaders also happened all of sudden.”
While as many as five spokespersons were not available for comment and many party leaders declined to comment on the statement, at least four key leaders in the party hierarchy told The Indian Express, on the condition of anonymity, that Advani, Sinha, Kumar and Joshi are marginalised in the current set-up and their criticism would create “some ripples” in the organisation but would not “seriously impact” the leadership.
A Cabinet minister, however, said that the matter should be discussed in detail. Modi and Shah, sources said, were not exactly surprised by the statement. BJP leaders close to Shah think that the statement is “less about Bihar and more about taking control of the party.” The message is clear, said a leader close to Shah. “In January 2016, when the party’s new president is nominated, they want Shah to face a challenge.”