Dealing with old guards: BJP & Cong playing same game, but differently

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The two national parties, BJP and Congress, are witnessing a complete contradiction in their dramatic tales ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha election starting April 7. While the BJP is trying every means to tell its veterans that their time has got over and it is time to look ahead, the Congress leadership is running after its seasoned leaders to contest the election from various corners of the country. The pressure is so high that some of the senior leaders have decided to opt out of the election even at the risk of damaging their image.

[Read: Congress a 'cleaner' party now than the BJP: Rahul should be happy]

BJP & Congress playing same game, but differently

However, although the tales are contradictory, there is a common factor which has worked behind them and that is the top brass's strategy to evade any baggage of sort after the polls get over.

Why BJP doesn't want the old guards anymore

Take for example, the case of the BJP. The party has deliberately sealed the fate of some of its 75-above leaders before this general election, excepting of course Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi. But they were also forced to abide by the party's decision on the allocation of seats. Yaswant Sinha and Kailash Joshi decided to opt out understanding the situation while Jaswant Singh, Lalji Tandon and Kalyan Singh have been outright rejects. The rift between the old and the new BJP is clear but the party is eager to get over the Vajpayee-Advani era now and don a fresh identity.

Both the BJP and Congress are ensuring that their new leadership isn't affected

The party knows very well that if the old guards, who had served as important members of the BJP-ld NDA government in the past, are retained in case the NDA II is formed, the fresh leadership, which has overcome a lot of hurdles to take control of things, will face problems in running the show.

Why Congress wants the old guards to fight

But the Congress's strategy is just the opposite, although the end goal is similar to that of its rival. The top leadership is seen convincing senior leaders to contest the election to throw a heavy challenge at the Generation Next of the BJP. The move to field Captain Amarinder Singh against Arun Jaitley, a first-timer in Lok Sabha election, is an example. The decision to field Laxman Singh, brother of senior leader Digvijay Singh, against BJP's Sushma Swaraj is also a master stroke to put a pressure on Digvijay to contest the polls (may be against Narendra Modi).

Another advantage of this strategy is that it would revive the drooping shoulders of the grassroot workers when they will see that their senior leaders are giving it all to stop an opposition which is slowly gaining strength.

But there is another angle to the Congress's plan of action. The top leadership is forcing its veteran politicians to contest the election for it makes Rahul Gandhi free from any moral liability. For if the politicians, who have fought several elections over the years, win, then it will be the Congress vice-president who will get all the credit. But if they lose, then they themselves will be held responsible for failing to understand the pulse of their electorate. This way, the future leadership at the top will be in a safe zone even if the old guards perish.

One party doesn't want the old while another using the old and they are both doing this to ensure that the new leadership is not affected. The similarity of difference is quite remarkable.

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