Why Advani lost 2004 and 2009?
Lessons NaMo needs to take from history
Mr L.K. Advani had originally as good an image among the lay masses as Narendra Modi has today. He spoke the truth. Never did unethical politics. Never took bribe. However he lost the prime-ministerial opportunity on two consecutive opportunities 2004 and 2009. Why and how?
By 2004, Advani ji had established himself on the four pillars, which later proved to be the “pillars of failures”, not the pillars of success. These were Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Annant Kumar. These four were intelligent foxes.
These four were not good people. They had no commitment to the caste-less politics which Advani Ji had himself followed and nurtured in the party working with caste-less leaders like Krishna Lal Sharma, Nanaji Deshmukh etc. People of India hated these four people which Advani had now decided to get support from and keep them around.
Advani was now known by the company he kept. The people’s hate for these four gradually got transformed into the hate for Advani Ji. Because of his over reliance on these four leaders, Advani gradually eroded much of his own authority and strength and ceded them to these four. Now he derived power from these, although initially these four had derived power from him. Gradually he was left with no say of his own in the party. None of these four had mass base. It was Rajnath Singh whose chief ministership period alienated the upper castes of UP from the BJP. And then the BJP became fourth part in seats tally in UP. Such a negative person, why was he made the president of the BJP at all?
A personal level opinion survey done by me many months back, showed that the BJP’s image in the minds of public was much below the Congress party, and the Congress would have won if these four had remained the main face of the party in 2014 elections. The people surrounding Advani were considered corrupt and power hungry. They were considered impolite and arrogant. They were found not to be concerned for the national goals, were concerned for their personal goals. It was found that Advani was often too weak.
Advani had showed his strength to expel Khurana, or Uma Bharati or Jaswant Singh. These were honest people and commanded respect of the masses. However Advani could never take any action against his own four supporters.
All the honest people of the earlier BJP government were gradually distanced from the leadership and finally the party. Some of them are Arun Shouri, Jag Mohan, ID Swamy, Jaswant Singh, etc. Other honest Hindutva people like Subrahmanyam Swami were kept at a distance from the party.
Advani did not show any strength against Mukhtar Abbas Naqwi when he gave the infamous “lipstick, powder” statement during the Mumbai terrorist attack. Had Advani expelled him from the party for his “insensitivity”, his public image would have gone much higher.
When Raj Thakare was attacking the Biharis in Mumbai, Advani did not open his lips against this, although the Congress gave statement against this. The active pro-OBC politics which Rajnath was pursuing had alienated the upper castes in UP. Advani did not do anything to curb Rajnath’s senseless castist politics. This caused much damage to BJP’s support base.
However, the image of the BJP got transformed when the signal was given that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime-Ministerial candidate.
Narendra Modi was seen as a man of paurush, a valiant person. He is seen as a human-lion, something like the image of nara-simha. Such a man was needed to cure the Indian corrupt politics and bureaucracy. People did not see much strength in Advani.
People wanted change—change in system, change in mechanism, change in laws. Modi could deliver these.
Had Advani surrounded by this “coterie of four” come to power, nothing would have changed. No anti-corruption law would have come. Nothing would have changed. BJP people like Sushil Modi etc need to be sorted out and better people placed even in the states if Narendra Modi wants to fulfil the promises he has made to himself and his mother—to take India to the number one place in the world.
Pre-Narendra BJP has failed to show its intention to bring about any institutional change in India. The Anti-Defection Law was brought about by Rajiv Gandhi. The Right to Information law was brought about by Sonia Gandhi. These two have proved to be the biggest hurdles to the political masters of India in their berserk behaviours.
On the other hand, the old BJP when in power enacted the Constitution Amendment Bill to neutralize the Supreme Court’s order quashing the reservations in promotions.
Bajpayi’s government criticised the Supreme Court for passing the directive to the Government to introduce the electoral reforms and for making ineligible the criminal politicians. On several occasions, Supreme Courts arms were twisted by the BJP government. These all incidents, and many more happened brazenly when BJP was in power, gradually convincing the masses that the BJP was no better than the congress.
However, Narendra ji needs to form a cabinet free from these old leaders who do not espouse any respect from the masses. New young people like products of IIT and MIT etc need to be brought into the council of ministers. Otherwise the same support base becomes enemy the next day. None knows it better than Arwind Kejriwal.