High time BJP forgets Advani and gets going with its fresh leadership

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Three opinion polls have predicted a huge victory for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The Congress looks set to be decimated and this is a bound to be a big boost for the saffron camp, which was looking a jaded force after losing two consecutive elections and till the time Narendra Modi gave them the much-needed impetus.

But among all the good news, one question still remains. Has the BJP decided on how to take things forward under Narendra Modi's leadership? Or does all its game-plan start and and with Modi?

BJP has overcome a long succession struggle

The BJP, after a lot of struggle, has managed to overcome its succession problem. The party was essentially without a stable central leadership since the exit of the towering Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the mid-2000s. There was a reason for this. The party never strove towards elevating its next generation of leadership which was dwarfed by the Vajpayee-Advani duo.

The next generation of leadership in the BJP meant the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and the late Pramod Mahajan but they have been more effective as party functionaries than mass leaders. The scenario began to undergo a sea change after the party found a number of performing chief ministers emerging across the federalism. This development was a shot in the arm for the party which was slowing down because of an ageing leadership at the top.

A leader like Shivraj Singh Chouhan is more useful for BJP than Advani today

Leaders like Modi, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Manohar Parrikar gave the party the all-needed edge and after the disastrous show in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the rise of the next generation of popular leaders was a matter of time. These leaders contributed in two ways. First, they buried the problem of leadership in the party through a system of decentralisation and secondly, these state leaders, through their good work, proved before the country that changes can be made at the grassroots, unlike what its principal opponent Congress practises.

But with Modi as its new face and even promising to take the party to heights never achieved before, is the BJP feeling a bit complacent?

BJP shouldn't be thinking much about Advani but other leaders like Shivraj Singhs & Raman Singh's today

The recent news about 86-year-old LK Advani hinting at contesting the Lok Sabha polls this year (Read here) might be a bit of a shock for many, including the BJP workers. And when such decision of the patriarch coincides with the matter that the BJP is still not working on preparing its top brass for the future by utilising leaders like Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh at the national level, it baffles the political observers.

Advani out of sync with his own party supporters today

Advani perhaps fails to digest the fact that his time is over, and despite the general feeling against him in his own party (see poll). Nobody denies that the man had taken his party to unbelievable heights in the 1990s by mobilising people on Hindutva politics but now with the BJP looking to surpass all records under the moderate leadership of Modi, the veteran has been clearly rejected by time.

It is sad that the leader couldn't overcome the blow that he had suffered in the mid-2000s when he eulogised Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Pakistan perhaps to transform his image so that he would get backing as an alternative of Vajpayee. But that never happened and Advani met his Waterloo in 2009. The BJP had no other option from there onwards but to look elsewhere for a revival.

BJP shouldn't be preparing itself for another succession problem in future

If an individual doesn't know his limits, it becomes the organisation's responsibility to set things in order. The BJP handled Advani with respect even after he openly revolted against Modi's anointment as the prime ministerial candidate last September and tried to keep its inner tension under control. The recent poll results and the Congress's consistent decline put the focus off the episode but now with Advani again trying to sneak in somehow, the party should put its foot down and firmly hang the 'No Entry' board before him.

It is a much important task for the party now to rein in the Chouhans and Singhs to make the Modi team stronger and not get distracted in the useless debate like who would make a better prime minister, Modi or Chouhan. It will help the party in avoiding another succession problem in the long run.

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