After the announcement of the formal split between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal United (JD-U), the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is left with three alliance partners ~ the BJP, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. Mr Sharad Yadav, JD-U President, has resigned as National Convener of the NDA. Mr LK Advani continues to be the Chairman of this shrunken body. He reportedly contacted BJP President Mr Rajnath Singh after the split to point out that it was Mr Narendra Modi&’s elevation as Chairman of the BJP National Campaign Committee that had led to the split. What was the point of Mr Advani reiterating this obvious fact which every child knows? It can only be that it was stated as a complaint and a vindication of his opposition to Mr Modi&’s elevation. So, what will Mr Advani do next? Will he resign again or will he sulk as a dissident attempting to stall the party at every juncture?
Readers might recall that before Mr Advani had withdrawn his resignation, I had written that the political developments on the ground dictated that a split in the BJP was the natural and welcome option. A split was advocated in order to polarise the party on a genuine political issue. It is always better to split honestly and take the issue of discord to the public rather than continue with a hypocritical unity based upon dissidence and constant covert sabotage. Mr Advani failed to act then. Now, the logic of ground realities has driven him and his party sympathisers to confront the same hard decision they failed to take earlier due to lack of courage and conviction.
If Mr Advani did not deem the continuation of the NDA important, he should not have expressed his displeasure publicly in the first place. If he thinks it vitally important to the future of the BJP, he should take his opposition to its logical end. That is how honourable and principled politics should be conducted. It does not behoove a senior political leader to sulk and promote dissidence.
A few days ago, advising Mr Advani and his followers to split and join the proposed Federal Front, I wrote: “Both factions of the BJP would gain. Unfettered by dissidence, Mr Modi could exploit his enormous popularity at the polls, which his followers believe he possesses. Mr Advani would have the opportunity to test his belief that only inclusive politics can succeed in India by strengthening a Federal Front. Both Mr Advani and Mr Modi can test their beliefs. The public could judge. The nation would gain.”
This writer stands by his advice. The question is, will Mr Advani and his followers within the party stand by their beliefs?
The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist. He blogs at www.rajinderpuri.wordpress.com