On June 9, 2013, the chilling atmosphere of Goa was on the backseat as the warmth in air increased due to the presence of one of the major political party (BJP) to manoeuvre on 2014 general elections strategy and to name Narendra Modi as its chief campaigner. The party was witnessing a leadership shift but architect of this party was missing, Lal Krishna Advani.

Later in September of the same year, the grand old man also skipped the major event of BJP of making Modi as the prime ministerial candidate! Was this just a intra–party democratic step of change of leadership within the party or beginning of new era in BJP sans Advani? BJP had a thumping victory in 2014 but it was clear everything was not well within the party!

Brief Timeline:

Lal Krishna Advani, born in Karachi was architect of today’s BJP. He was a pracharack in RSS shakha of Karachi and later became a member of Bhartiya Jan Sangha. He played a huge role in formation of Janta party (now BJP). Advani was charismatic hero figure in the early 1990’s, pioneer of the ambitious rath yatra.

He was the prominent figure of Ram Janmbhumi Campaign which was an issue close to the heart of majority people in India and thus we saw the rise of BJP in power in 1999 and aura of Advani. The current class of BJP’s politicians owe much to Advani for shaping their career as they would wait for hours to meet the projected leader of “hindutva” and its ideology.

 After two decades, has Advani lost his charm or he is just secluded from the party he himself built? He is a tragedy figure of Indian politics, prime minister in waiting who was the toast of town once has now succumbed to watch the game being unfolded from a distance. Right after the general elections of 2014 he along with Murlimanohar Joshi, were considered as margdarshak mandal (Guidance Commission) but rarely one seeks it from him now. He is never in loop of any decision making and is never seen giving his ideas now, is this rise and fall of figure like Advani, picture of the brutal politics or something more?

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Credits: NDTV

Current scenario and the seclusion:

Many people were surprised as Advani did not make it to the candidature of president election this year from national democratic alliance (NDA), however it did not come to me as a surprise perhaps for two reasons, first being the case which was reopened by Supreme Court in the matter of Babri Masjid demolition, the second reason is rather interesting which in slightest of probability may also be reason of the first, the Modi-Advani rivalry!

They never get along in last three years of governance and at times Advani even expressed his opinion blatantly where in August 2014 he went on to say, “More than our efforts, its opposition’s mistakes of last ten years that we are credited with this victory”, which was not coherent with the party’s leadership. But this rivalry, surprisingly is not as bitter as it seems to be, Advani was the one who had the then Gujrat CM’s back in 2002, when disheartened Vajpayee wanted to remove him, surely this would have meant end to the political career of our now PM!

It began when the party decide to go with Modi in 2014 election to which Advani had strong reservations and he skipped two major meetings where Mr. Modi was bestowed with the leadership. Gradually and slowly Advani started to lose his followers within the party, there are sympathisers but no followers now.

Advani also considered to contest election from Bhopal, leaving his regular Gandhinagar seat, which eventually did not happen. For Modi it did not make sense but few believe, coming to Madhya Pradesh, Advani wanted to pitch Shivraj Singh Chauhan against Modi!

Narendra Modi and Lal Krishna Advani has the baggage of same ideology of hindutva, the political corridor believes had BJP persisted with Advani, the result of 2014 was not possible. The age factor also went in favour of Modi. It may be true, but is sure as of now is his seclusion with this power shift.

The absence of Advani from political gathering is not what concerns, it is the way leadership has turned down to him, where his opinions are not taken maybe because it is not liked by the top leaders now or maybe they do not wish to have a different opinion. A man with immense experience is completely left out, there is no dialog taking place which implants a question, what’s more to it?

BJP always claimed itself to be a party which respects political discourse within the organisation unlike its counterpart Indian National Congress (INC) whose politics is hereditary in nature. Perhaps that is why there has been shift in power from Vajpayee to Advani to Modi, but BJP now not taking its senior most founding member in confidence is doing nothing but killing the spirit of intra-party democracy environment which they claim. Does this mean any voice within party against the ideology of few top leaders will lead to isolation as of Advani and the margdarshak mandal? Has BJP lost its essence of no individual being above party in today’s context? Intra-party democracy was only visible in this party whatever less or more, but if it is lost and hero worshipism has taken over, nothing can be more daunting!

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Author: Anubhav Kumar

You can reach author at: anubhav.afs@gmail.com 

He is pursuing law from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. 

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