BJP Future - 7 - Printable Version

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BJP Future - 7 - G.Subramaniam - 11-06-2009

The takeaway is that 75% of BJP MLAs are corrupt

So in future, seats must only be given to grassroots RSS-VHP workers like Nalin Katil

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-06-2009

<b>New BJP president from outside Delhi, says RSS</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Delhi, Nov 6 (PTI) RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has disclosed that the new BJP President will be someone from outside Delhi and the process has begun.

"<b>Yes the new leadership will be someone other than these four (Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar)</b>. This is what I have been told. That is what has been agreed on and I believe the process has begun," he told 'India Today'.

The term of the present incumbent Rajnath Singh expires on December 31 and there are various names doing the rounds for the BJP presidentship.

When asked whether he will get someone from outside Delhi in the 50 to 55 year age group, Bhagwat said "they will get someone from outside Delhi".<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

BJP Future - 7 - ramana - 11-07-2009

What are the facts in the Madhu Koda case? Please explain for the benefit of others.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-07-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Koda arrest imminent</b>
PNS | Ranchi/Patna
<b>4 note-counting machines found at house; diary listing booty mentions ‘Lalu’</b>

The reported move of the Enforcement Directorate and the<b> I-T department to arrest Madhu Koda any moment in the multi-crore money laundering case is giving sleepless nights to many top politicians across the country, especially in Bihar and Maharashtra. RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s name on Thursday allegedly figured on the list of those who received a slice of Koda’s ‘tainted’ cake, prompting the BJP to seek a probe into his role in the “loot of the State”.</b>

The arrest of Koda has become imminent mainly because the ED is satisfied with the evidence against him for allegedly carrying out hawala transactions and massive illegal investments in various companies. <b>The ED wants to thoroughly quiz the former CM, who is believed to have shared his booty with many political patrons.</b>

<b>On Wednesday, the I-T officials had sealed Koda’s Ranchi house and seized a number of documents relating to investments, four currency counting machines, jewellery, a laptop, computer hard disk and cash, sources said.</b>

The indisposed Chaibasa independent MP — <b>who is currently admitted in Apollo Hospital near Ranchi after complaining of stomachache, nausea and high BP — has now shifted from the ICU to a deluxe room. According to sources in the ED/I-T, the hospital has already been directed not to unnecessarily keep him hospitalised.</b> Sleuths are ready to arrest Koda in hospital and not to wait for his official discharge, sources added. “We have asked the doctors to update us with Koda’s health status and told them not to discharge him without informing us,” said an official.

Meanwhile, Apollo Hospital spokesperson Javed Akhtar said, <b>“His condition is stable but the doctors are constantly monitoring him. Samples — including TSH, urine culture and urine routine — have been sent for tests and the final report can be given only after we get the results.”</b>

The ED had on October 9 lodged a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against <b>Koda and three of his former colleagues — Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Bandhu Tirkey, along with his associate Binod Sinha and others.</b>

Even as the noose tightened around Koda, a diary seized during the raid carried out on his premises has started giving shivers to many political stalwarts who once patronised the former Jharkhand CM. A senior<b> Congress leader from Maharashtra has already called on the party chief to clarify his stand, source</b>s said.

The diary has names of a number of politicians, including “Lalu”, written on it. It was also revealed by sources that transactions had been marked against the name but whether the name refers to the RJD chief was a matter of investigation.

However, the RJD chief denied his involvement in any such transaction and demanded a probe as to who was the “Lalu” mentioned in the diary. He said there should be a thorough investigation to find out the connection of politicians with Koda, especially of the names mentioned in the diary.

<b>“I demand that even the names of all those who have Swiss bank accounts should be made public. The law will take its own course,” Lalu told mediapersons.</b> He had called a Press meet to declare his party’s alliance with the LJP and the Left in the Jharkhand poll. The former Bihar Chief Minister, who was instrumental in making Independent MLA Koda the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, was caught off guard when mediapersons quizzed him about his name cropping up in Koda’s diary.

The NDA leaders wasted no time in hitting out at Lalu.<b> “It was Lalu Prasad Yadav who had lobbied hard to install Koda at the throne of Jharkhand and Koda was known as his protege in the tribal State.</b> So Lalu’s role must be investigated in siphoning off Government money to an unbelievable proportion,” demanded Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

However, a visibly upset Lalu said the decision to make Koda the Jharkhand Chief Minister was a “collective decision”. He added, “If there is proof of anyone’s involvement in hawala transactions, then appropriate action should be taken. The decision to make Koda the Chief Minister was taken collectively.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

BJP Future - 7 - G.Subramaniam - 11-07-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Nov 7 2009, 12:00 AM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Nov 7 2009, 12:00 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->What are the facts in the Madhu Koda case? Please explain for the benefit of others.

Madhu Koda was BJP MLA, then lured away by Lalu to become UPA CM of Jharkand

He is accused of looting 2000 crores in 2 years

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-09-2009

<b>Students in Karnataka turn saffron

<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The row which started a week back, remains unresolved despite the intervention of JD Naik, Bhatkal MLA, and the president of the betterment committee.

Some students, who objected to some girls wearing a burkha to college, have been demanding the introduction of a uniform dress code. The college betterment committee, which held a meeting a few days ago, resolved to maintain status quo till the principal seeks a clarification from the Commissioner of Collegiate Education.

The committee had warned of action against students who tried to create disturbance.

A few students have been attending the college wearing saffron clothes with vermilion on their foreheads since Friday.

Some girls too attended the college wearing saffron colour veils on Saturday. “Why should we not do so when a few students were allowed to attend the college wearing burkha?” some said.

Naik told Express that guidelines have been sought from the government. Reacting to the students attending college in saffron clothes, he said he has asked the principal to take action.

Meanwhile, principal RI Khan said that the controversy would be resolved by Monday.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-09-2009

<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-10-2009

For all people who follow BJP a lot:

The problems in BJP now is more organizational than ideological. They have incompetent people in BJP. That is why they are suffering a lot. Arun Shourie has also explained that.

One of the most important position in BJP is "General Secretary -Organisation". Right now Ram Lal is holding the post. He is not up to the mark. He can't even understand UP politics properly. Some people in RSS want Muralidhar Rao to become next "General Secretary -Organisation". They think as Muralidhar Rao is a close to Govindacharya and Gurumurthy, it will be good. But he is far more worst than Ram Lal. This Muralidhar Rao is a total crap in understanding political issues, situations, developing new strategies for growth of party etc

For many of the problems in BJP, RSS is also an factor (may be not the only factor in BJP crisis). RSS itself doesn't have people of good calibre. For example Ram Madhav is pathetic. Even the so called "intellectual" Tarun Vijay is found wanting in most issues.

BJP is having a problem with two kinds of people:

1. Competent people - there are lots , but many of them nurture only personal ambitions like Arun Jaitley.

2. Incompetent people - there are lots and they sitting as dead weights in the party (this includes some RSS appointed people as well and not just aya rams & gaya rams) Rajnath Singh, Sughanshu Mittal, Muralidhar Rao etc

BJP's only hope is people like Modi, Manohar Parrikar, Nitin Gadkari. They are competent & also put organisation first. BJP's issue is not a ideological crisis. Nor it is about the role of RSS. It is plain & simple : incompetence in various levels.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-11-2009

News from some sources in India:

Advani is refusing to resign his post till once of his coterie is made the President. It looks like Mohan Bhagwat is fighting a losing battle. Though Mohan Bhagwat has said that the president will come from outside of Delhi in Aaj Tak interview, he may have to eat his words.

RSS is trying to negotiate that it will give it President Post to Advani’s supporter but it can be only Narendra Modi. It looks like Narendra Modi himself will be asked by the powerful Delhi group to convince the RSS that Jaitley should be made President.

It seems to stop the RSS effort to changing the BJP leadership, Advani camp came up with a brilliant idea where it said that ruling Chief Ministers & deputy CMs should vote as they bring the mass support. In that, the Advani camp managed to get the votes of Sushil Kumar Modi (Bihar Deputy CM), Punjab BJP president & Modi. The Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh & Himachal Pradesh were not in favor of Advani camp. So it became 3 – 3 tie between Advani & RSS. The remaining Chief Minister of BJP is Yeddyurappa was expected to go with RSS as he is in very close to RSS leadership & way of work.

Then Advani camp did a smart engineered crisis in Karnataka to cut Yeddyurappa to size. Yeddyurappa was naïve and got tricked.

Karnataka crisis:
Ananth Kumar meets Reddy brothers and tells them what to do and then goes to meet Jagadish Shettar. Ananth Kumar who is from the same town of Jagadish Shettar (It seems it is Ananth Kumar’s mother who got Jagadish Shettar in to BJP many years ago) meets and tells him what to do. After the crisis starts, the most amazing move is to make Yeddyurappa to come to Jaitley for help. Yeddyurappa is naïve and believes that Jaitley can help him and asks for help.

This is where Advani camp is very smart. Swapan Dasgutpa also pitches in and helps. Instead of going to RSS, Yeddyurappa who didn’t understand the trap went to Delhi. Already it had been decided that this crises will be solved on “Nov 8th – Advani Birthday”. Slowly Yeddyurappa understands that it a trap but it is too late. The crisis is resolved on Nov 8th with Advani gracing it on his birthday.

V.S Acharya is a nice guy, so he escaped. Shobha Karandlage has done excellent work as Rural Development minister. She has learnt from Narendra Modi’s work. Of course there are ego and personality issues. But she has brought in thousands of Check Dams, irrigation facilities in a short time. She is actually a good candidate for coming years. Let’s hope that somebody will continue her good work.

Outcomes are: Yeddyurappa who was getting into dynasty mode has been stopped on Dynasty politics. Now those Reddy brothers know that their name has been tarnished by media so badly every where they would really have to build the houses they promised. They would also have to work to get a name back. Sushma Swaraj will head the co-ordination committee and will keep Yeddyurappa in check.
The RSS has been out maneuvered.

The most amazing stuff in all these things is that Advani stubbornly refusing to quit unless his nominee is made President. His earlier nominee Venkaiah Naidu was not up to the mark. Many a times he was a rubber stamp for Advani. Then during 2005 Jinnah crisis Advani brought in Rajnath Singh. He has been a disaster.
But Arun Jaitley has shown that he has competence and has proved it many a times. But their ruthlessness might alienate some party members. They are so hungry for power that they many a times compromise ideology in front of cameras.

But if Arun Jaitley stops his leaking habit & his habit of planting new against other BJP leaders, then he can gain credibility. If Jaitley works to get BJP broaden its geographical base in Andhra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc it will be great. Jaitley has competence and listens to good advice.

BJP Future - 7 - Husky - 11-11-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-AryanK+Nov 9 2009, 08:24 PM-->QUOTE(AryanK @ Nov 9 2009, 08:24 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Students in Karnataka turn saffron</b>


A few students have been attending the college wearing saffron clothes with vermilion on their foreheads since Friday.
[...][right][snapback]102454[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->They look beautiful. Wish they'd turn up with Kungamam on their foreheads everyday. Kallai Kannadigas.
They can also put on some Chandanam, wear a Namam or Veeboothi (whatever they would at home) and tadaa, we'd have our own population as it used to dress everyday back.
I don't care about the burkas going, I'm interested in Hindus dressing Hindus again. They should just do it. After all, there is a reason why Hindus wear the Kungamam on the forehead all the time.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Some girls too attended the college wearing saffron colour <b>veils</b> on Saturday. “Why should we not do so when a few students were allowed to attend the college wearing burkha?” some said.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Veil? What veil? <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Forget making political statements, now's the chance for the Hindus to bring back the Hindu half-sari (or sari) and put on bangles upto the elbow, nosestuds, toerrings, earrings, necklaces, puja flowers in hair, kumkum+pottu and every other single Hindu item that these women had left at home in order to enter psecular education: this is the time for Karnataka's masses of lovely Hindu women to take back their rights to look their most smashing best again. Why miss out on that?
(As a side-effect, the burka clad unfortunates can then not fail to notice how they have no freedom and are effectively imprisoned by their terrorist ideology.)

The Hindu students should use the opportunity to finally drop the secular make-believe that enforces secularism=psecularism (i.e. conformity to christianism=the christian miseducation programme of systematically stripping heathens of their sacred heathen tradition) only on Hindus and not on christoislamics.
The enforced secularism in Indian 'education' (which is the preliminary step in christoconditioning) is invariably one-sided: it is the planned de-Hinduisation of the Hindu alone - this process is always aimed at the heathen only.
So Hindus ought to use the occasion to reverse this de-Hinduisation process and thereby reclaim the ground lost to erosion of their self.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-11-2009

Advani: Petulant Patriarch

The current crisis in the party stems from Advani’s now obvious determination to cling on to his post till his last breath, negating an August commitment to the RSS that he would step down in the month of October after installing a new generation of leaders in New Delhi. Soon after obtaining this reprieve, however, he used the good offices of the same Coomi Kapoor to convey that he would go only after the term of party president Rajnath Singh ended, so that he could have a hand in the selection of the new BJP president also.

In turn, pressures mounted for an early exit and rumours of a birthday resignation gained ground, much to his dismay. In retaliation, the coterie manipulated a crude threat to the party government in Karnataka, which was miraculously (sic) resolved to coincide with his birthday on 8 November.

But RSS had seen through the game and improvised a new strategy - to isolate Advani within the party and leave him high and dry like a beached whale. In pursuit of this objective, the Sarsanghachalak used a 6 November 2009 interview with AAJTAK news channel to declare unequivocally that the next BJP president would not be selected from the ranks of the four principal Advani acolytes, namely, Arun Jaitly, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar and M Venkaiah Naidu.

Many birds were killed with this single stone:

-         BJP cadres and leaders nationwide got the message that Advani will have no say in the selection of the next party president

-         BJP cadres and leaders got the message that Advani will have no say in the selection of the next Leader of the Opposition (which may be why he is now refusing to quit)

-         The claims by these four persons, who leaked to the media in August 2009 that Shri Mohan Bhagwat had divided the leadership posts among them – Venkaiah Naidu (BJP president), Sushma Swaraj (LOP, Lok Sabha) Arun Jaitly (LOP, Rajya Sabha), Ananth Kumar (Deputy LoP, Lok Sabha) – were thus publicly repudiated by the Sarsanghachalak, a stern snub by any reckoning

-         Both Advani’s birthday celebrations and the carefully calibrated Karnataka crisis resolution turned tasteless in their collective mouths.

There can be no doubt that Advani struck back by asking media cronies to lash out at the Sarsanghachalak. But it remains to be seen how many media barons will permit their organisations to be used to settle the personal scores of a fading political diva, and in the process alienate the rising and still invisible suns in the BJP.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-16-2009

<b>Kalyan Singh ends ties with SP, to rejoin BJP</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A day after SP chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav dumped his newfound friend Kalyan Singh saying he would never be allowed to join the party, Kalyan Singh was out with strong punches making the most pungent attack on Yadav even as his son Rajvir Singh announced resignation from the SP’s primary membership.

“Mulayam Singh has a long history of being opportunistic and betrayer. Now he is showing his true colours. I regret I could not see through all this despite repeated warnings by my well-wishers,” he said at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday.

Kalyan said the Congress was clever enough to understand Mulayam Singh, who, he accused of having lost mental balance over adverse by-poll results and was issuing baseless statement instead of making correct evaluation of result.

“Even if I agree for the sake of argument that the SP lost Firozabad seat because of Muslims being angry with it for me. But why did other castes including Yadav did not vote for it.? And what about Etawah and Bhartana—-the SP’s stronghold where there was no Kalyan factor?," he asked. He claimed the SP won at least nine Lok Sabha seats because of him and questioned where the so-called Muslim anger was then.

The Lodh leader said it was Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh who walked to him with an Olive Branch and not the vice-versa.

“They came to me and requested me to join the SP, an offer I reject outright but agreed to hold the hand of friendship,” he said. He also claimed that he attended the SP’ Agra convention only after senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav wrote a long letter requesting him to be present at the party convention.

“Mulayam himself put the red cap on my head, shouted Kalyan Singh zindaabad slogans with the entire city covered with posters and banners carrying my photographs. Not only this, Mulayam planned all my elections tours and provided a helicopter during Lok Sabha polls,” he recalled and quipped, “Kalyan Singh was good then!.”

Predicting the SP’s doom in the Vidhan Sabha polls in 2012, the former chief minister said, it was need of the hour to strengthen the BJP which alone, could strengthen Hindutva and construct a grand temple at Ayodhya. He regretted that the BJP got weaker because of him and vowed to strengthen the party from where ever he would be.

He said he was happy the way RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was trying to rejuvenate the party. Asked if he was going to rejoin the BJP, he said, his options were open and would take a decision only after taking his supporters into confidence.

When reminded that he made the same regret of having rejoined the BJP while announcing his friendship before the general elections, he said, what he said then was true in the context at that time.

“But what I say today is true in today’s context.”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Aya ram gaya ram.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-16-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Gadkari appears set to become next BJP president</b>
PTI | New Delhi
Nitin Gadkari appears set to become the next BJP president replacing Rajnath Singh in what is being projected as a generational change for the main opposition party.

<b>52-year-old Gadkari's name has been zeroed-in on for the top job </b>to revive the organisation after it suffered its second successive jolt in the Lok Sabha elections, party sources said on Sunday.

"Gadkari's name is final. He has been chosen by senior leader LK Advani after consultations with his party colleagues," a senior leader said.

Another indication of Gadkari's likely elevation came from reports from Mumbai which spoke of a race to occupy the post of Maharashtra BJP chief, at present being held by Gadkari who has made the party the main opposition in the State, replacing Shiv Sena.

The talk of Gadkari heading the party at the national level gained momentum after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat made it clear that no one among the leaders in Delhi would be entrusted with the task. He specifically ruled out Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar.

Bhagwat is said to have named Gadkari and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parikkar as the probable candidates for the top post while the party is maintaining that the selection has been made by Advani.

Parikkar appears to have spoilt his chances by his alleged remark dubbing Advani as a "rancid pickle".

A formal election of the next president is expected by the year-end with election officer Thawar Chand Gehlot issuing the schedule after the organisational polls in the States.

<b>Gadkari has been a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council for several years and his work as PWD Minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP Government had been appreciated for the number of flyovers in Mumbai, the Pune-Mumbai Expressway and beautification of Nagpur.

Gadkari hails from Nagpur, city that houses the RSS headquarters, and has been a prominent leader from Vidarbha.

The BJP leader, who is also an entrepreneur, is close to RSS which reportedly wanted an honest leader who has proved his mettle and one who has the drive and the ability to take everyone along. </b>

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-16-2009

<!--QuoteBegin-G.Subramaniam+Nov 6 2009, 07:44 AM-->QUOTE(G.Subramaniam @ Nov 6 2009, 07:44 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->The takeaway is that 75% of BJP MLAs are corrupt

So in future, seats must only be given to grassroots RSS-VHP workers like Nalin Katil


It would then be easy for the money bags to defeat the grass-root leaders!

Such is the Indian democracy!

BJP Future - 7 - Capt M Kumar - 11-19-2009

<!--emo&:drool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/drool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='drool.gif' /><!--endemo--> Allegedly, another reason that Modi may not very keen on taking up the post at present is because of the stigma still attached to him from the 2002 Gujarat riots. His last few forays outside Gujarat during the Lok Sabha elections were not particularly successful, and it is believed that the BJP's strategy of promoting him as a potential prime minister was a factor in their defeat.

While Modi maybe biding his time, what is certain that factions of the BJP leadership is convinced that eventually he will be the public face of the BJP nationally and that he may even lead the nation as Prime Minister some day.

BJP Future - 7 - Guest - 11-24-2009

I think the Liberhan Commission report is going to be a varaprasadam for BJP & RSS. So why do I think so? Unless Congress finishes off BJP & RSS with this report; such reports especially on "rightist" parties mobilize them more.

BJP Future - 7 - Capt M Kumar - 12-18-2009

NEW DELHI: BJP veteran L K Advani looks set to finally step down as leader of opposition and make way for Sushma Swaraj as LOP in Lok Sabha. After he quits, Advani is expected to be named chairman of the parliamentary party.

The sequence of events is likely to play out on Friday when the BJP parliamentary party meets. The meeting will adopt a constitutional amendment to create the post of chairman of parliamentary party and the MPs are then expected to elect Advani. Once Advani is elevated, he may propose Swaraj as LOP, which will be duly endorsed by the meeting.

BJP Future - 7 - dhu - 12-20-2009

[url=""]Gadkari new BJP chief, Rajnath steps down[/url]

BJP Future - 7 - dhu - 12-20-2009

A challenge for BJP’s GenNext

Kanchan Gupta

Quote:On a late spring evening more than a decade ago, some of us had gathered at Pramod Mahajan’s apartment — he hadn’t moved into a Lutyens’ bungalow till then — to discuss ideas for the 1996 general election campaign. Mr LK Advani had already declared Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and there was a palpable surge of support for the party which corresponded with the waning of the Congress. Despite the framing of Mr Advani and other senior leaders of the BJP in the Jain hawala scandal by a desperate PV Narasimha Rao (he even turned on his colleagues in the Cabinet who in turn turned against him and resigned from the Congress) there was great enthusiasm among party cadre. Mr Advani had seized the moral high ground and converted what Rao had thought would be a disadvantage into a clear advantage. In that election, Mr Advani was the non-playing captain though he led his team from the front.

Over chai and samosas ordered from an eatery downstairs, ideas were tossed around on how to package the BJP’s core message — good governance — and portray it through the persona of Mr Vajpayee. Till then, the BJP had not projected any single leader in any election; it was always the party’s ‘collective leadership’ that was projected as an alternative to the Congress’s dynastic leadership. The tragic assassination of Rajiv Gandhi midway through the 1991 general election had forced a break in the Congress’s tradition, catapulting Narasimha Rao to power. Since the Ram Rath Yatra days, Mr Advani had emerged as the most prominent face of the BJP; to suddenly weave a campaign around Mr Vajpayee posed a challenge to even Pramod Mahajan who was never short of ideas, especially when it came to election campaigns.

Among those invited for that meeting was an impetuous young man representing a big advertising agency which had offered to help plan the campaign — as had some others. This man suddenly said, “It would have been a lot easier had Mr Vajpayee been a younger man.” There was stunned silence. Obviously ignorant of the esteem in which Mr Vajpayee was — and still continues to be — held in the party, he had clearly upset everybody. Pramod Mahajan looked at him coldly and bitingly said, “This isn’t America where young upstarts are elected to high office. We value experience and we respect age. Please tell your agency we aren’t interested in its services.” The poor sod was halfway through his samosa and didn’t know what to say. “Ab aap jaaiye,” Pramod Mahajan added, literally asking him to leave the meeting.

I don’t recall whether anything concrete emerged from that particular meeting, but over the following weeks a campaign was painstakingly put together centred around Mr Vajpayee and based on the theme, ‘The man India awaits’, which, incidentally, was the headline of an interview-based article I had written at that time. That election saw the BJP emerge as the single largest party and form a Government led by Mr Vajpayee. The Government lasted for a fortnight, but it helped the BJP come to power two years later. The rest, to quote a cliché, is history.

The reason I cite this particular incident is to highlight the point that too much is made of a leader’s age by the New Delhi-based commentariat, more so when it comes to the BJP. Voters are less persuaded by a candidate’s age than by his or her perceived ability to deliver on promises. It is the sum total of a leader’s qualities that matters, not his or her age. Equally important is a leader’s ability to connect with the masses, to strike a rapport and secure their confidence.

Mr Vajpayee was not a young man when he became Prime Minister, nor was Mrs Indira Gandhi in the prime of her youth when she swept back to power in 1980. If Mr Manmohan Singh is widely respected at home and abroad, it has nothing to do with his age but his ability to project himself as an earnest and humble person of unimpeachable integrity. And, the BJP’s defeat in last summer’s general election was more on account of a poorly planned campaign and shoddy political management than either Mr Advani’s age or his leadership which has been variously described as ‘uninspiring’ and ‘jaded’ by his critics within and outside the party. But for bogus pollsters, stupidly brash aides and a ‘war room’ whose most creative contribution was the astounding promise of gifting every family living below the poverty line with a smart phone, perhaps the results would have been vastly different. Nor can we overlook the Congress’s surge in States where the BJP is at best a marginal player.

It would, therefore, be self-defeating for the BJP to believe that with Mr Advani standing aside for the next generation of leaders to take charge of the party’s affairs, the 2014 general election will be a cakewalk. Today’s ‘young’ leaders will be five years older when India votes to elect a new Lok Sabha, which means they will be pushing 60. If between now and then those who find themselves propelled to the frontline are unable to tackle the many illnesses that plague the party and fashion an alternative agenda distinctively different from that of the Congress and in tune with the aspirations of today’s voters, the BJP’s tally could dip below the 100 mark. The battle for votes has always been a battle of ideas; in 1996, 1998 and 1999, Mr Advani and Mr Vajpayee had the right ideas largely because they went with their instincts. It’s only when they allowed their ideas to be swamped by the mumbo-jumbo of courtiers and time-servers that they faltered and fell.

Contrary to what is being claimed, the BJP’s main problem is not the RSS but the BJP itself. Last week’s transition will be meaningless unless it is accompanied by a tectonic shift in the way the BJP sees itself. It can either choose to position itself as the only alternative to the Congress by being distinctly, ideationally and ideologically different, or it can persist with fashioning itself as a clone of the Congress, a holdall party with neither beliefs nor commitments but driven by the cynical pursuit of power as an end and not the means to an end. Mr Vajpayee had vision; he was the ‘big picture’ man who couldn’t bother about the details. Mr Advani had ideas; it was his job to fill in the details of Mr Vajpayee’s vision. What the BJP needs to regain its position as an unassailable foe of the Congress is a new generation Vajpayee and a new generation Advani, if not a leader who can combine the qualities of the two stalwarts who still tower above everybody else in the party. Age won’t be a criterion in deciding who qualifies as the new generation Advani or new generation Vajpayee.

BJP Future - 7 - dhu - 12-22-2009

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