We were just discussing the other day what the BJP has to offer other than Narendra Modi's leadership to the people of India as a better alternative to the UPA's mediocre governance after party veteran LK Advani expressed a concern that the common man was completely disillusioned with the main opposition party as he was with the senior ally of the ruling coalition.
Old war-horse like Advani knows it better
Some fanatic supporter flayed Advani for trying to create a division in the party but after the humiliation that the party suffered at the urban local body elections in Karnataka, there can be no doubt that old war-horses like Advani are not practising politics for nothing for all these years. The Bhishma Pitamah of the party knows its gradual derailment better than many others who don't have a minimum clue on how to go about it apart from indulging in activities which are actually destroying the party and also themselves.
More than BSY, the BJP itself has ruined its chances
Political observers feel although the state assembly has its different set of factors, but the fact that the urban local poll results has given an indication about how things could turn out after a couple of months.
Some suggest that former party leader BS Yeddyurappa dashed BJP's chances. It could be true to a certain extent but doesn't give the whole explanation. The BSY's KJP has not really made a rich harvest in the March 7 polls. Even if the wards secured by the BJP and KJP are added, the tally falls far short of the Congress. Even the KJP fared poorly in BSY's home district Shimoga where the Congress and JD(S) did much better.
The BSR Congress by another BJP dissenter B Sriramulu also failed to achieve anything substantial. The party got 86 wards.
It seems that more than the rebels, the BJP has been seriously hit by issues like corruption and complete disharmony. The party was routed in Bellary where mining barons, the Reddy brothers had a stronghold.
Some political observers say that it is corruption and disappointing governance more than BSY which proved detrimental for the party in these elections and it will be a factor again in the approaching state polls. Time is too short for the party to recover from the slump, even in the urban centres, which constitute its main electoral hope.
Personal attacks on PM or Rahul baba won't take BJP anywhere
The BJP has no coherence in its party organisation at the moment. Its only strategy at the national level has been to attack the prime minister's silent nature or Rahul Gandhi's reluctant approach. But just criticizing personal traits isn't going to earn the BJP any real political benefit.
The UPA government has found itself stuck in scams after scams and all sorts of failure on the issue of governance and economy but the main opposition party could not find any substantial strategy to create pressure on the establishment. It played a pathetic second-fiddle role to Arvind Kejriwal or the media when it came to attacking the Congress-led UPA. Even the cunning Kejriwal used it to prove his impartial exposes of corruption by taking on former BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and the party was completely grounded.
Gadkari has done the party big harm
Instead of dealing with the issue decisively, the party went on dilly-dallying, thanks to the remote control from an outside body, until revolt erupted from inside. Gadkari had to go at a point of time but by then, the party had already suffered irreparable damages. The RSS-backed president from Nagpur, who was installed at the top and did not have any root connection, misled the party. Whether it is Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand or Karnataka, Gadkari's ploy has indeed cost the BJP dearly.
The result: The Congress continued to enjoy a better luck despite all its shortcomings. With the loss of Himachal and Jharkhand crumbling and Karnataka about to slip away, the BJP's survival is under a serious threat.
The party's final hopes are the three states where the respective leaders have attained a halo bigger than the party itself, and they are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. If the last two states are retained by the BJP in the assembly polls due later this year, the credit will go to Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, respectively, and not to the party for any special effort.
The problem with the BJP had been that it never really promoted its regional leaders at the national stage after a point of time. Initially it was understandable when two giants Atala Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani were at the helm but after the exit of Vajpayee and sidelining of Advani by the Parivar, the vacuum at the top became impossible to fill up. It is because of this reason that the BJP's top and ground leadership remained largely disconnected and disunited.
If Cong overdid on succession, BJP did little
If the Congress is accused of over-dependence on one family, the BJP can also be charged of trying to run itself as a shell company where there is no guidance to follow. Even the performing chief ministers, Narendra Modi, Chouhan, Singh and Manohar Parikkar of Goa, were not catapulted to the national stage earlier and we can see how Modi is trying to make his way out of the congestion to make a national appearance. The practice has been so rare that the party is finding no smooth way to project Modi as a national leader, even if it wants.
Things are looking ominous for the BJP. Its political ideology has been exhausted and the pro-good governance stance is hopelessly limited to a couple of leaders. There is no coherence in whatever the party is doing apart from chanting ‘Modi as PM'. Such escapist politics will take the party nowhere. The ship is undoubtedly sinking and even a Narendra Modi will prove to be inadequate to pull it up.
It's advantage Gandhis at this moment.