Rajnath's task: rediscovering leadership
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BJP president Rajnath Singh was upfront Wednesday when he admitted that the party had amended its constitution last September to enable his predecessor Nitin Gadkari get a second term. The party had indeed prepared for Gadkari's re-election before fresh Income-Tax inquiries against companies investing in his Purti group spooked it and the RSS.
Singh's remarks also virtually acknowledged that the party's decision was dictated by the turn of events over Purti. Not that it had not been highlighted earlier by the likes of Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha. But the party had chosen to be dictated by the RSS.
Over the last couple of years, the country's main opposition party has been seen drifting with the turn of events instead of being in the driver's seat dictating events.
The biggest example was sailing with the popular anger against political corruption highlighted by the Lokpal stir. Instead of saving politics from unscrupulous practices of politicians, the BJP fanned the fire to dent credibility of politics. It is a different matter that the campaigners went on to see merit in politics.
The saffron party has also appeared lacking some kind of internal gravity to induce rigour and cohesion within its ranks.
So much so that the party supports a resolution for the Lokpal in the Lok Sabha, but finds it faulty on crucial issues of federalism, among others, in the Rajya Sabha. The party supports the SC/ST quota bill in promotion in the Rajya Sabha, but its flock in the Lok Sabha rebels against it.
The party can also not deny the fact that the lack of internal rigour and cohesion borders on outright factionalism.
While the series of Assembly elections in 2013 and the next general elections will certainly be on top of Singh's list of challenges, but before that, he will have to bring in some cohesion in the party so that it does not get dictated by ripples beyond its control. It will be his task to make the party a credible player that can create ripples and ultimately turn the tide against the UPA.