BJP's delayed Narendra Modi moment: Decoding the problem

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Decoding BJP's Modi problem
The chaos in the BJP over the announcement of Narendra Modi as the PM candidate signifies something more than a mere ego clash. It has perhaps marked the culmination of a structural change that has been witnessed in the party politics of the country over the past few years. What we are seeing in the BJP today could also become visible in the Congress tomorrow, the institution of Gandhis notwithstanding.

The Indian federalism is more vibrant today than ever. The Centre is not so powerful as it was once politically and the deepening of the democracy has made the regions the more prominent power centres. Both the national parties have seen the pyramid overturning over the years, the BJP faster than the Congress. The Congress might mock the BJP over its dilly-dallying today, but there will be no surprise if we see the grandson of Sonia Gandhi donning the mantle of Advani years from today.

Advani might raise a worry but can't prevent the change. He will be history soon

However, having said that the regional has emerged, the process is still some distance away from its completion and this actually makes the current system looks a bit vulnerable. But actually it is not. Advani might raise a worry today but tomorrow or day after, he will be history. His futile endeavour to stop Narendra Modi actually symbolises the eclipse of the past by the present.

MM Joshi made more sense than Advani

Another senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi made a more meaningful act on Wednesday when he advised party president Rajnath Singh to speak to the chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states before proceeding on the matter delicately balanced at the moment.

Today CMs matter more than the PM; it isn't just about Modi

In India of 2013, chief ministers matter more than the prime minister. It is not Modi's arrogance that he challenged the prime minister's Independence Day speech from Kutch. There are other chief ministers also who pose similar challenges to the Centre but because our 'secular' media is more obsessed with Modi, it is only he who makes the headlines.

As far as this author can remember, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mocked the PM, asking if she would beat up the latter if the Centre did not listen to her demands. The issue had drawn flak but since Banerjee is more treated like a politician who entertains, it never reached alarming heights.

This strengthening of the regional vis-a-vis the national has landed the BJP in the current soup. But the party was destined to witness this phase since it had always kept the two alienated from each other. Had there been no Advani, some other BJP leader would have played his role and only it is because of a respected patriarch like Advani that the differences have not take extremely ugly forms till now. But nobody knows what could happen tomorrow.

BJP must take the opportunity to bridge between the national and regional

But one thing is certain and that is the balance of power in the Indian political system has shifted and the biggest casualty is the BJP while the Congress looks a distant second. One report said that those leaders who have been opposing Modi's prime ministerial candidature want him to quit the chief minister's post for there is no precedent of a chief minister becoming the prime minister in the BJP. Those leaders have failed to read the reality. If the BJP doesn't ensure a smooth promotion of the regional leadership into the national one now, there is every possibility that the party could be torn into pieces tomorrow.

Problem is with party's mindset, not voters of MP and Chhattisgarh

The argument that Modi's anointment now could see the BJP suffer in the state assemblies is baseless. The problem is with the party's mindset and not the voters. If the BJP doesn't do well in the assembly polls even without declaring Modi as its PM candidate, who will take charge of the damage control in the next four-five months before the Lok Sabha elections?

One gets the feeling that Advani and Swaraj are buying time knowing well that the BJP chief ministers of the two poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are more likely to come out with flying colours and then their line of agreement could become: Why only Modi and not a Shivraj Singh Chouhan or Raman Singh?

If the plan is indeed so, then one must say that there is a great irony in it. And it is that the national leaders are thinking of picking up other chief ministers to counter another chief minister, which proves that it is the regional which dictates the game today.

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