The Divide in BJP


There was a time when BJP’s politics was very ideologically driven and for long it had been integral humanism. Barring a few, none of the party members really seem to understand Hindutva or integral humanism. Apart from this BJP also needs to realize that ideology can neither be static or rigid, it needs to evolve and grow over time. The divide is brought to light by the events that followed the disastrous defeat in these elections.

The split in the Bharatiya Janata Party is coming out into the open even as it tries to clear out the discord. While pressing for the reconstitution of the party, senior leader, Yashwant Sinha resigned from his vice presidential post in the party. At the same time Rajnath Singh, BJP chief, has asked party leaders to cease from criticism in public and a breach would call for a disciplinary action.

BJP is still coming to terms with their electoral defeat amidst internecine arguments. It is the belief among some of the party’s senior members that the central leadership has failed to pin responsibility for the shocking defeat. The reason for this outbreak is believed to be ideological. Party leaders were upset because in charge of the poll campaign, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj have been elevated. It gives an impression that post Advani, backroom deals will pay more than an in- house consensus.

BJP needs to realize that it isn’t an issue of disciplining or pacifying critics like Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh. Some party members feel side lined due to such decision making. Having met with accusations, Arun Jaitley has now resigned as party general secretary and it is yet to be seen whether this helps to placate the situation. However, the self- proclaimed “party with a difference” has in the past also let personal ambition overpower party ambitions. BJP hasn’t managed to function as a team post-Vajpayee. A previous indication of something amiss was when in 2004 Uma Bharati spoke against top party leaders.

Amidst the worst political setback, questions are being raised on Advani’s ability to keep order in his house. Also a member of RSS-led by the Sangh Parivar, the party is afflicted with bigger ideological problems. Famed for his organizational skills, Advani couldn’t pull the party together. This has also to do with the fact that the party was unable to draw for itself a line of thought separate from that defined by the RSS.

The party needs to come to terms with the growing divide between its ideological obligations and political goals, especially after successive defeats at the national level. Despite the fact that it was discomfited by Rahul Gandhi’s speeches it failed to disassociate itself from it. There are also questions being raised regarding the party’s Hindutva ideology considering the spirit of the younger generations and their aspirations. Hard line ideology is still what a lot of party members propagate. One thing is for sure; BJP needs to pull its act together and resolve its inner conflicts as soon as possible. It needs to sort out its ideology and decide whether it wants to follow an ideology that thrives on social discord or to be more moderate and appreciative of pluralism.

Prakriti Sharma

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