It has always been a matter of debate whether to contest elections – Assembly or Lok Sabha – before or after declaring the party candidate for Chief Ministership or Prime Ministership, as the case may be. Some go to the electorate after declaring their candidates while others do so without declaring a leader. In the 2004 General Elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went to the electorate after declaring L.K. Advani as the Prime Minister in waiting while the Congress went on without declaring its candidate. Advani lost while the Congress made Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister. In the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, it was only the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which fought under the leadership of Mayawati as their Chief Ministerial candidate, but the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BJP did not declare their candidates. It could be conjectured that the SP will make Mulayam Singh Yadav as their Chief Minister, but nobody in the BJP had any clue about whose leadership the party was fighting under, leave aside its Chief Ministerial candidate.
The BJP Executive met in Lucknow and four different banners could be seen bearing the names of four different leaders – Rajnath Singh, Lalji Tandon, Kalraj Mishra and Vinay Katiyar – and different bands of supporters were sitting under these four banners, giving the impression of mushrooms under a big tree. The BJP leaders have lost their minds, it seems – they have lost their thoughts and have lost touch with the cadres. Today, even if Vajpayee was on his feet and he decided to contest elections, there would be no guarantee that he would win; the same is true for Advani. If the indications from the Sangh are any measure of things, it has made up its mind to retire leaders above 75 years of age and if this comes to pass then Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi will have no other option but to bow out. A senior Sangh functionary confided that votes come with ideology and not with Narendra Modi as the mascot. If Narendra Modi decides to retire today, the BJP will get the same number of votes.
It is a reality that the BJP today does not have a such leader who can resuscitate the party as a brand. But more importantly, the Sangh does not want the BJP’s feet on firm ground. The reason for this is that the Sangh had propped up the BJP as a political tool to further its ideology, but contrarily, the same tool is now undercutting the Sangh. Mr. Ramlal is a whole-timer in the Sangh and also the Organising Secretary of the BJP. To bolster his own position he called up the party cadre in Haryana and many other states and ordered them not to invite Sanjay Joshi; if he arrives despite that, he should be opposed. Therefore, Sanjay Joshi was about to court arrest during a rally in Gurgaon but was not allowed to do so by the party workers citing that he had resigned from the BJP. There are only two possibilities – either Sanjay Joshi is a charismatic person or the BJP does not want common people in its rank and file. The interesting fact is that Sanjay Joshi never ever resigned from the primary membership of the BJP. He only relinquished his party responsibilities on the dictates of party President Nitin Gadkari. But then what transpired that Ramlal had to call up people in different states, why did he grow so insecure? Maybe Ramlal fears that Sanjay Joshi might be made the Organising Secretary by Gadkari or the Sangh, which means Ramlal was anxious about his own position. A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary told me that nobody cares anymore about the organisation or the ideology. He lamented that such a mammoth organisation is being run by Madan Das Devi and Suresh Soni who, when taking decisions, rely for feedback and advice on their peons and drivers and use them to spy upon workers.
Let us talk of the Sangh’s wisdom. For the past 20 years, the BJP is being looked after, from the side of the RSS by Madan Das Devi and Suresh Soni and this is the same period during which the BJP has been ruined. Factionalism has thrived and internal fights have come in the open. Senior leaders of the RSS need to replace these two but the Sarsanghchalak and others at the helm are least bothered. They think that if the BJP is not listening to them so be it, because when the party would be reduced to two seats in the Lok Sabha, they will have to again turn to the Sangh. The BJP is not caring to support someone from within its own members for the post of Prime Minister and the Sangh could care even less. The BJP is bereft of even one person who can at least push the party to think over these issues: those who could, have been conveniently sidelined, like Govindacharya and Sanjay Joshi. A notable fact about the RSS is that it does not produce generals and colonels. Rather, it trains soldiers – the cadres and this is why nobody cares about who will be the Prime Minister in the BJP. The Sangh feels that the BJP was not able to produce any personality who was acceptable to all, except Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who could be considered as a worthy Prime Ministerial candidate. As far as Atal Bihari Vajpayee is concerned, the Sangh feels that he was destined to be the Prime Minister and that he had to don the mantle because Nehru had once remarked that Vajpayee would one day become the Prime Minister.
It is a reality that the BJP today does not have a leader who can resuscitate the party as a brand. But more important, the Sangh does not want the BJP’s feet to be on firm ground. The reason for this is that the Sangh had created and propped up the BJP as a political tool to further its ideology, but the same tool is now undercutting the Sangh.
If we see the top leadership of the BJP, it opposes the government over each and everything, but ultimately caves in to the government. Yashwant Sinha gives out statements against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) every other day but he is not sure whether he will get a Lok Sabha ticket the next time. The BJP is like an army that trains the soldiers itself but imports its generals. The BJP’s last stint in power is a witness to this fact. Arun Shourie, Ram Jethmalani, Sushma Swaraj, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha held important portfolios but did not belong to the BJP originally. The Sangh claims that these five have just exploited the party. The Sangh still also fumes over the fact that Jaswant Singh was re-inducted into the BJP after being expelled. Leaders who were not given party responsibilities tried to enlist support from other political outfits for exploring their prospects of becoming the President. The Sangh blames Arun Shourie for the BJP’s decline and claims that Shourie started bad mouthing the party once it went out of power and became weak perhaps because he wanted to get in the good books of the Congress.
The Sangh believes that being in power is not in the DNA of the BJP. The Sangh knows that its political arm does not have leaders. However restive the BJP might become, the Sangh – the political ‘guru’ of the party – does not want the party to get to the corridors of power because it is convinced that those who are masquerading as leaders in the BJP are worthless. The Sangh knows that the Congress will recapture power at the Centre. The Sangh has a logic for such analysis: Rahul Gandhi might be an idiot or a moron and Sonia might be from Italy and she might come under any barrage of allegations. Irrespective of all this, the people of the country know that once she speaks out, her party members will listen to her. Within the BJP no one carries such weight. The Sangh cites the example of Sanjay Joshi, who resigned from his party responsibilities but the party spokesperson, Prakash Javadekar, announced that he had resigned from the primary membership of the party. But Javadekar continued as the spokesperson despite this deliberate blunder and the Sangh again cites this as an example of the mischief that is going on within the BJP. Sangh leaders lament the fact that though the BJP puts up only a show of protest against the government but follows the government line when it comes to the crunch. They point to all the previous instances of this. The party is only misleading the masses under the garb of the Opposition. It is not worthy of being the main Opposition at all, until and unless it moves under the aegis of the Sangh. A quack is dangerous for anybody’s life and the BJP is full of quacks, sans any doctors. The Sangh does not even want that there should be a doctor who can cure the afflictions of the party. The BJP does not have any worthy leader and the Sangh does not want it to have one either.
One of the basic tenets of Buddhism is ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachchami’ (move under the auspices of the Sangh). Likewise, when the BJP leaders would get exhausted, they would look for the aegis of the Sangh and that would be the time for the Sangh to make wholesale changes. The Sangh wants cadres and not leaders. It would be then that the Sangh appoints its own chosen few to lead the BJP. Only after this happens can the BJP hope to get back to power with new strategies at work. The BJP can get the Sangh’s help in its quest for capturing power only if it agrees to follow the hard-line ideology of the Sangh completely. But the catch is that it won’t be able to come to power if it follows the purist line of the Sangh. What will the BJP do with 20 per cent of India’s population ? Will it make the 20 per cent Muslims of the country stand in a corner or will it throw them down a well? It cannot be argued that all Muslims are terrorists. It is only a coincidence that most terrorists are Muslims and it is also a coincidence because Muslims feel that they have been wronged. The day Muslims are instilled with the confidence that nothing wrong will befall them anymore, they will start defending this country just as people of other religions. The late Captain Abdul Hamid had laid his life in defence of India against Pakistan. This was a matter of pride for Indians, and was a reply from Abdul Hamid to a Muslim nation called Pakistan.
That was in 1964, but even in the Kargil War, many a Muslim soldier laid his life in the cause of the nation along with Hindu brethren. Therefore, neither are all Muslims terrorists nor can an entire community be stigmatised. The country cannot be run on this kind of narrow mindedness, and only shows the limitedness of the BJP and Sangh mode of thought. Either the Sangh should change its ideological framework or its mentality. Just as darkness always remains under a lamp that is burning brightly, no matter how much light the Sangh may try to generate, those under its aegis will always remain in darkness and those who live in darkness always push out the competent elements – Sanjay Joshi, Madan Lal Khurana or Govindacharya and others. Chanakya used to send prostitutes to Chandragupta so that the latter could become wiser, but the people just mentioned did not even go near prostitutes and were thrown out on complaints from drivers and peons. The country cannot run like this. Some of the honest leaders in the Sangh told me in clear, ambiguous terms, ‘They (the BJP) are not fit to rule the country’.