Monday, September 12, 2011

Advani's Antim Yatra

The BJP conceded three goals in quick succession very much against the run of the play. Till a few weeks back, the party was in somewhat aggressive mood and tried to capitalize on the atmosphere created by Anna Hazare. It started appearing that the BJP would finally outplay the Congress. But then, like a bombshell, came the report of the Lokayukta and subsequent drama, which forced the party to get rid of Yeddyurappa. All this happened at the height of the Anna’s movement––that is a few days before and after his 12-day fast.
In the earlier two occasions the crusade against corruption has helped the BJP and erstwhile Jan Sangh. The party fully consolidated its position during the 1974 JP movement in Bihar and Navnirman movement in Gujarat. Thus gradually it emerged as the strongest of the five constituents of the Janata Party, which was formed in 1977. The conglomeration ruled the country for less than three years. The Janata Party disintegrated and in 1980 the Bharatiya Janata Party, instead of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, was formed. 
Similarly, the BJP fully capitalized the Bofors kickback issue for its own political end though it was V P Singh, who first raised the issue. Advani fully mixed the battle against corruption with the religious issue of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This ultimately paved the way for its victory. It thus led a 24 parties alliance and ruled the country for six years.
However, this time the crusade against corruption is not going to cut much ice. There is no Emergency in the country as in mid-1970s. Nor is there any scope to once again whip up the religious sentiment as in late 1980s and early 1990s. Now the voters of the country have tested the ‘honesty’ of the party with a difference too. Several scams rocked the country during its six years rule between 1998 and 2004. The then national president of the BJP, Bangaru Laxman, was caught in camera accepting Rs one crore from a fictitious arms dealers.
In the states, Karnataka has shown a new way to loot the country’s treasure. Octogenarian Advani finds his party in a very tight position. The second rung leadership of Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are no match to the stature of Vajpayee and Advani while there is no dearth of partymen who want to keep Narendra Modi away. In that way Advani once again had to take up the responsibility of leading his team and playing another innings. 
Advani’s position is like Australian cricketer Bobby Simpson, who had to come out from retirement and lead his team after almost the premier players rebelled and joined World Series Cricket organized by Kerry Packer between 1977 and 1979. But that was just a stop-gap arrangement. Advani knows his role and is no doubt too old to captain the team, which is now packed.
Soroor Ahmed in Two Circles. More Here.

Advani's Antim Yatra

There is nothing more revealing in politics than a old, doddering politician who buries his head in the sand and tries to gauge the prevailing wind of public opinion. And so it is with the “former future prime minister of India“, Lalchand Kishinchand Advani who has announced what many are derisively calling his “Antim Yatra“.
At one level, Advani’s impromptu announcement of a nationwide tour at the age of 84 is proof that the flame of ambition has flickered feverishly despite the renunciation of key posts (like leader of opposition and party president) at the less-than-gentle nudging of the extra-constitutional knicker lobby that really wears the pants in the BJP.
At another level, the “Antim Yatra” is proof that the BJP is now officially bereft of both ideas and leadership. That it took the success of Anna Hazare‘s campaign for the lead opposition party to take up corruption as an issue reveals plenty about what it has been doing these past two and a half years since the 2009 electoral defeat.
And that the BJP leadership thinks that it has the credibility to talk about corruption, when its own governments and leaders in Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttaranchal and Chhatisgarh are battling (or stalling investigation of) serious charges of corruption shows the hypocrisy of it all.
Above all, Advani’s announcement of a yatra throws cold water on the aspirations of almost the entire second generation of leaders in the BJP, all of whom privately envision themselves as national leaders and almost all of whom entertain dreams of becoming prime minister.
Questions: Will Advani’s “Antim Yatra” evoke any response? Is Advani’s “Antim Yatra” merely to save his skin now that the reprehensible cash-for-votes scandal has landed squarely in his court? Notwithstanding the Congress’s plight, does the BJP have the credibility to talk of clean, corruption-free governance? Will Advani be acceptable as the face of the BJP in 2014, when he will be 86?
Courtesy : Churumuri. Here 

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