BJP In Rajesthan Facing Vertical Split – Supporters of Raje Would Not Let Her Go
Misfortune never comes as a single. It is true with the BJP. After a series of revolts from the top leadership recently, over the party’s debacle led by Jaswanth Singh, Sinha and Shourie, it is time now for Vasundhara Raje to defy the party President Rajnath’s directive to resign as leader of the opposition in Rajasthan Assembly.
Vasundhara Raje, refused to resign as the leader of the opposition on the grounds that the party suffered much humiliating defeat in the parliament poll, for which top leadership did not resign but were rewarded. Her supporters, 60 MLAs among them, rushed to Delhi to meet the party President Rajnath Singh, who received instructions from RSS and directed Raje to resign. But she raised the banner of rebellion refusing to resign.
Earlier it appeared she was backed by Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely while Jaswanth Singh, Rajnath Singh and Murali Manohar Joshi were gunning for her. Now Advani too irked by the rebellion in the party refused to meet the party MLAs from Rajesthan, in a clear snub to Raje and left the matter to be decided by the party president Rajnath Singh.
Rajnath Singh told the party MLAs that it was no time and place to protest as the decision was taken by the core committee group of the party. She has to resign or face disciplinary proceedings.
Raje was under intense pressure to quit following the party’s drubbing in the recent State Assembly and Lok Sabha poll, where the party fared badly, winning only 4 out of 25 seats. She has few friends in RSS unit of Rajasthan, where they joined her critics with a demand for her ouster. But she refused to give in to their demands.
BJP is the only party in the country known for maintaining intra-party discipline though it was not free from groupism. But of late, when the chips are down, there are too many voices of dissent heard, more particularly from the top leadership. It is a clear indication that the top leadership is not a cohesive unit. Many senior leaders have different opinions about the party’s agenda and style of functioning. This is not a good sign for the party which is still to come to terms with the defeat in the last Lok Sabha elections.
These things are happening ahead of Chinthak Baitek of the party to take stock of the situation arising out of defeat and UPA’s faulty foreign policies following the Indo-Pak joint statement. Even during the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Indo-Pak Joint statement, BJP’s performance as a party was far below expectations, as the opposition fizzled out after the spirited defence by the Prime Minister in his 45 minutes long speech in the Lok Sabha. That settled the issue, leaving BJP high and dry.
BJP’s fault lies elsewhere. Soon after the results were known, courtesy demands that the top party leadership should have owned up to the responsibility and stepped down. But they can continue only after endorsement from the executive committee. Instead, the main architect of the party’s defeat Arun Jaitely, was rewarded with the job of leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Arun Jaitely, incidentally, was one of the first to raise the banner of rebellion against the party President over the issue of electioneering. That was one of the reasons for the party’s poor performance, coupled with handling of Varun Gandhi’s hate speeches. This has irked the senior leaders like Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, who openly criticised the party and its exclusive agenda.
It is now time for the leadership to instil discipline in the party. Vaundhara Raje, should be dealt with strictly if she refused to bow to the wishes of the party president. If she is let off lightly, then there would be more rebellion in the party from other units. Already there is a groupism in party leadership in Delhi, as is the case in state units. Let this not be widened.
Dissension, groupism and rebellion is not new to any political party. It is not BJP alone that is facing the problem of leadership crisis. It is prevailent in other parties too. But how well such rebellion is handled by the leadership to put up a unified show against UPA is very important. Already BJP has decided to make the Indo-Pak Joint Statement and Price Rise the main issue against UPA in any elections in the near future. This could be done only when the party leadership is united and working as a cohesive unit. But it is not the case today.
It is surely an internal party matter. But then Raje’s rebellion would send a wrong signal to others. That is the main worry of the party leadership. Jai Hind.