The party with a difference is surely a different party these days. It’s limping badly. One can draw parallels with Jinnah. The preacher of communal harmony in 1916 became the sole messiah of Muslim in 1946. Same way as BJP from the single largest party and the ruling one in 2001 is now, in 2009, an organisation that resembles more like Pakistan Cricket Board as far as infighting, bickering and power struggle is concerned. The change is swift and radical. The party which sells itself for its ideology is struggling to define it.
In the last 5 months, party has spent most of its time in defending venom spewing Varun Gandhi, trying to satisfy the ego of Jaitley and Rajnath Singh (remember Sudhanshu Mittal episode), ignoring the poll debacle, mishandling Vasundhra Raje episode and the expulsion of the veteran leader, Jaswant Singh. Yesterday, Sudheendra Kulkarni dissociated himself from BJP because of ideological differences. All these are clear signs of breakdown.
With A B Vajpayee out of active politics, at 81, Advani cannot be seen as the future of the party. In fact, many say that the decision to expel Jaswant Singh was taken to douse the chants (RSS chief among them) of instating younger leader at the helm. With no clear succession plan in place, this ego tussle between the individuals is bound to grow exponentially and there is no dearth of second string leaders in BJP. For every Rajnath Singh, there is Murali Manohar Joshi, for every Sushma Swaraj, there is Vankaya Naidu and for every Yashwant Sinha, there is Arun Jaitley. Not to forget the state stalwarts like Narendra Modi, Sushil Modi, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Kalraj Mishra, Ravi Shankar Prasad etc and then there is RSS burden to tackle.
BJP catapulted to the national scene with the emotive Hindutva issue and managed to encash it for few years. But, to be honest, the issue practically died down with the demolition of Babri masjid. Now there is a makeshift temple at the disputed site and everyone in the BJP knows in their hearts that the talks of proposed temple at Ayodhaya are mere fiction. They briefly tried to reignite same agenda on the name of Kashi and Mathura but realised that people don’t buy stale food. They then tried to tread the aggressive tone with the nuclear tests in Pokhran, Kargil and then Operation Parakram. Then there was the aggressive economic agenda which they tried to sell through much maligned 'India Shining' campaign and failed miserably. Since then, Congress has patented the idea of economic progress of India.
BJP now stands at crossroads, unable to decide what its core ideology is and what agenda to pursue. With only a handful of states in its bag and the ever diminishing seats in parliament, BJP now plays the role of opposition which can be passed as laughable at best. And with a herd of leaders with fat egos sitting at various influential positions within the party, their future looks bleak, atleast for the time being.