Arun Shourie Did More Damage to BJP Than Good – His Continuance in The Party Harmful
More than Jaswant Singh, it was Arun Shourie who should have been booted out of the party long back. I have written on many occasions that it was Shourie’s comment in the midst of the 2009 elections that sent shivers down the spines of minorities and allies. It eventually cost BJP dearly.
During the election, the Shourie campaign suggested Modi had the prime ministerial stuff and he would replace Advani in the 2014 elections. It was unnecessary, as the 2009 Elections were not yet over. Secondly, who was he to suggest the replacement of a leader like Advani without drawing any authority from the party leadership? He was not even a member of the Executive Committee of the party.
This caused a great deal of embarrassment both to Advani and NDA allies. This also sent a wrong signal to voters in general and Muslims in particular, who were already nervous because of hate speeches by Varun Gandhi. This triggered an enblock exodus of minorities to other parties. The result was disastrous for the party. Arun Shourie’s comment on Modi hastened minority alienation from the BJP.
Arun Shourie is a fairly new entrant to the party due to his position as a journalist and an Editor of a weekly, with no mass base worth its name. The party immediately rewarded him with even a ministership in the cabinet and elevated his as a senior leader and a member of the inner coterie to decide on economic issues. Recently, he became very critical of the party especially of Advani, Rajnath and Arun Jaitely.
It was Arun Shourie who triggered dissension in the party in the first place. Soon after the elections, he shot a letter to Rajnath Singh to be circulated and considered in the Executive Meeting of the party that was to meet to introspect the party’s defeat. It contained critical remarks and observations against the party leadership especially that of Advani and Arun Jaitely calling for a deep introspection and action against all those responsible for the party’s defeat.
Emboldened by Arun Shourie’s diatribe, Yashwant Sinha joined him in criticising the party for rewarding Arun Jaitely and Advani with the post of Leaders of the Oppsition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively. Yashwant Sinha gave an interview openly criticising the party. But to everyone’s surprise, the BJP President did not take any action against them so far, though it was quick to pounce on Jaswant Singh for his book.
In his Walk the Talk interview with Shekar Gupta, Arun Shourie decided to go all out and lambasted BJP and Rajnath Singh, not sparing his mentor Advaniji.
After the expulsion against Jaswant Singh, everyone thought that it would act as a deterrant to others. But not with Arun Shourie, who is up in arms against the party, directly challenging them to take action against him.
It was not unexpected that Arun Shourie would indulge in such criticism of the party leadership. But when he called the BJP president “Alice in Blunderland” and a “Humpty Dumpty” it was highly unbecoming of him to say so many things, while still remaining in the party. If that was not nasty enough, he has asked all the top leadership to resign and allow the RSS to take over the BJP.
In the same interview Arun Shourie said the BJP today was a “Kati patang,” implying that it was rudderless, leaderless and clueless. He was also was highly critical of Rajnath and his style of functioning and also took swipes at top leadership including Advani. Shourie’s interview with NDTV was laced with sarcasm and sounded more like a frustrated man speaking.
Sources in the BJP say it was an outburst of a frustrated man whose Rajya Sabha term is ending. Shourie also said that the party leadership is surrounded by a coterie that will never allow free thinking and will only lead the party from one disaster to another. Does this not amount to indicipline, when a member criticises the president and other leaders of the party so openly?
A stunned BJP, not knowning how to react from one crisis to another, some senior leaders in BJP called Arun Shourie, a “Letter writing intellectual” for his letter to Rajnath calling for deep introspection and need to pinpoint people responsible for the poll debacle, not being aware of the ground realities. His obvious reference was towards Arun Jaitely and Advani. Shouri has no base of supporters. He entered the party as an intellectual and worked his way to the top leadership because of his clout with Vajpaee and Advani. But through his diatribe, he ditched both of them. This is very unfortunate.
Shourie did not stop with this. He wanted BJP headquarters to be replaced with leaders from state units. He even suggested the RSS take over BJP as it lacks direction and firm ideology. May be he was aware that his days in the party are numbered following the ouster of Jaswant Singh. He was next in the firing line along with Yashwant Sinha.
As things stand today it is likely BJP leadership will eject Shourie because of the nasty and barbed criticism against Rajnath. If that happens, the BJP will lose another major voice within the party after Jaswant and Kulkarni. But I feel it would be a good riddance since his continuance with this kind of rebellious mentality would vitiate the atmosphere in the party, which is on a course of recovery, like the proverbial one rotten apple would spoil others.
If the BJP sacks Arun Shourie, no one would shed tears for him in political circles. It was long over due. He did immeasurable damage to the party when the party was fighting for its life during the crucial 2009 elections. His projection of Modi as a replacement candidate for PM in 2014 elections was one cause of the party’s defeat. Getting rid of him early, is better. Perhaps that would happen before this article is posted. Jai Hind.