The Congress government under Manmohan Singh has scored so many self-goals that it has lost credibility – there are allegations of massive corruption in telecom and coal block allocations to private companies, while growth has dipped due to lack of economic reforms.
The de facto Prime Minister of India Sonia Gandhi is on a quixotic quest to extend freebies on tax payers’ account that never enable the poor, while Rahul Gandhi’s process of confused self-actualization is unyielding.
Given such a scenario, all that the main opposition BJP needs to do till general elections 2014 is simply keep the ball in play for the Congress to blunder more. The recent Karnataka elections are an example of the Congress winning by doing nothing as the ruling BJP imploded under factionalism and corruption.
The BJP needs to get it right at the national level. Instead of a sedate, albeit constructive, waiting game the party has been scoring self-goals that has included not letting Parliament function normally.
Another suicidal instance is the open battle of supremacy between stalwarts Narendra Modi and LK Advani, one an emerging national star like Shikhar Dhawan and other like Sachin Tendulkar refusing to fade away.
The elevation of Modi as the electoral face of BJP has not gone down well with party patriarch Advani, who obviously retains his ambition to be PM of India at 85 as there is no defined skill set to be a successful Indian politician except staying alive. Manmohan and M Karunanidhi fulfill this criterion.
Advani resigned from whatever posts he still held in the BJP. Though he has backtracked, the message has been delivered — that he is very much in the reckoning for a bigger role, like consensus PM in a coalition, in the likely event that the BJP does not win a majority on its own steam, under Modi.
Usually Indians in any position of power are averse to giving it up as pecuniary and other benefits outweigh any moral responsibility, unless there is a more powerful slot on offer. A classic recent case is the side-stepping of BCCI chief N Srinivasan. This is not a new model of exercising power without responsibility. Sonia is de facto Prime Minister without being one.
So, despite the brouhaha about conflict of interest, spot fixing, betting, the big sharks of cricket have decided to do away with the smallest fish, cheer leaders in IPL matches, paid a pittance for dancing in short knickers. This does not change the way cricket is run in this country even by a whisker. There is no point changing the position of the bra strap when rest of the body is already naked.
Both Modi and Advani wear the same hardcore Hindutva stripes though they try to camouflage their ideology via differing veneers.
If the two leaders were allowed a tattoo each defining their political strategy — Modi’s would read a more practical, growth with governance, while Advani’s would state a more ideological, I am secular, to cloak a past seeped in aggressive Hindu nationalism.
Some part unseen rests the permanent tattoo — RSS’s little boys, the vision copied from Priyanka Chopra’s similar sounding daddy’s little girl.
In the past, Advani, the architect of the Ayodhya movement in the 90s that galvanized the BJP, prevented Modi’s political career from drowning forever in the Sabarmati. Advani saved Modi from being fired as chief minister of Gujarat by Atal Behari Vajpayee post the 2002 Godhra riots.
Today, Modi has moved on. His message of good governance and growth delivered via multiple technology platforms, media and performance in Gujarat finds resonance with resurgent and restless middle classes that want change for better
Modi sees himself as team BJP’s Messi or Ronaldo or Maradona, confident of single-handedly annihilating competition, within and outside, with his goal scoring abilities. The party cadres are with him.
But BJP stalwarts, including Advani, fear and envy the Modi juggernaut. To prevent being sidelined, they have quickly self-anointed themselves as spot fixed linesmen, desperate to rule Modi off side or better still send him off on a red card. Modi needs to be careful. Advani plotting his downfall can never be good.
Modi requires a good team, the midfielders who feed good balls and not rotten tomatoes that go nowhere when kicked. Party intrigues and infightings offer breathing space to others. Obstreperous Third Front aspirants that have miserably failed in the past throwing up ineffective consensus Prime Ministers such as the somnolent Deve Gowda and the professorial IK Gujral, see an opening.
Regional satraps such as Nitish, Mayawati, Naveen, Jayalalithaa, Mulayam, Mamata, Left parties, the supporting cast for long feel they could be the main stars, for a change. Even the Congress could find itself in a winning position again, despite doing nothing right, due to BJP’s self-goal scoring spree.