Advani in his Labyrinth

As more or less predicted by this Reader, Mr Advani is back in the saddle, though not as firmly as he would have liked to be. His well calculated move to manufacture a moderate mask as it were, has boomeranged, and he has for the time being failed to metamorphose into a Janus faced Atal.

This places the BJP in a dilemma, if not a downward spiral. With the more diehard elements in the Hindutva family now calling the shots and the need for the Party to broadbase its acceptablity for other parties in the NDA, there is evidently a headlong conflict. There are few options left.

To expect the other NDA parties to turn right wing in the BJP’s mould is difficult to believe but not an impossibility. The former socialist, George Fernandes is a case in point and there may not be a dearth of similar turncoats. In other words, the BJP’s numerical strength despite its decline in Uttar Pradesh, may make many a one- man party in the NDA turn a blind eye to a hawkish BJP leadership. Another aspect to be seen is how the second rung leadership can succesfully carry out Operation Janus Face- which this Reader feels is imperative for the BJP for its ‘being’.

Unless, the schisms within the Hindutva family turn out to be too irreconciliable and the party breaks into warring camps. Or develops a split personality. One still feels that things have not yet come to such a state and the contradictions are reconciliable. Because to have a split personality assumes the existence of diametrically opposite characteristics, which the BJP and the rest of the family does not carry at the leadership level, howsoever intrinsic these contradictions may be at the level of their social basis.

But the BJP continues to be a long term threat to the nation- and the decisive role for the BJP’s resurgence may now be played by the Congresss Party itself- its continued pursuance of globaliztion that adversely affects the poor, its lack of a long term social perspective (including its weak kneed secularism) and lack of a charishmatic leader that can appeal to a cross section of people. These remain its critical weaknesses, and the presence of the Left may help to make up at least for the first two. To what extent is another question.

The Third Front idea has been floated as an alternative again most recently by Prakash Karat the CPM general secretary. Little needs to be said of this at this time, except that it is an idea. However, one whose time has not yet come. The CPM’s dogmatism with a neo- Stalinist at the helm is evident, unfortunately it is the former die hards like Surjeet and Jyoti Basu who are more flexible and pragmatic than the newer generation of the CPM leadersip (Karat and Yechury). A case not dissimilar to the BJP’s in some ways.

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