The BJP's Premier Debate
Image Credit: Flickr / Al Jazeera

The BJP's Premier Debate


The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is getting scorched by the wrong debate at the wrong time: who should be prime minister?

Elections in India aren’t due until May 2014. But this hasn’t stopped an unseemly, unacknowledged cold war erupting between two prime ministerial hopefuls: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his one-time mentor and eternal prime minister-in-waiting, L.K. Advani. As a result, Modi skipped the first day of the party’s National Executive meeting that began in New Delhi on Friday.

The whole debate on who should be premier if the BJP takes power has taken a nasty turn with Gujarat BJP chief Balbir Punj describing Modi as ‘the best prime ministerial candidate.’ Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, meanwhile, said that there were several strong prime ministerial candidates in the party, and argued the BJP wasn’t dependent on ‘one yuvraj (prince)’ – an obvious and uncharitable allusion to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Though Modi’s media managers have gone on a clarification overdrive, the political grapevine suggests that Modi hasn’t taken kindly to Advani’s decision to embark on yet another political tour from October 11. Indeed, Modi is said to have been particularly annoyed with Advani for initially planning to start his tour from Gujarat, apparently announcing it without having consulted Modi.

The fact that Advani changed the venue to Bihar has further deepened the gap between Modi and Advani. The tour will now be waved off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a Modi baiter who is seen as a much stronger candidate for premier than Modi because of his secular image. 

October 8, 2011 at 15:59

both are too old men for a country where 30%+ are under the age of 25 years

also, modi would be an utter embarassment – aren’t there countries that still deny him entry? advani would fare no better as he is firmly associated with the destruction of the babri mosque

personally, i hope the bjp simply disappears – the rest of india does not want to tango with the western states’ twisted perception of either indianness or hinduism

S. Muralidharan
October 4, 2011 at 02:56

Somehow, Rajeev ji, this article of yours escaped my attention. We should all be weary of an extremely dangerous trend that’s emerging in witch-hunting of whistle-blowers. Both the National Parties are following this pattern. No single individual in National Politics is superior. He may have mandate in a particular state, but this does not give him acceptance, by default, by other States. They should leave this decision to the people at large, after all, they are required to take the mandate from them. The rule of law should change now. The one who claims to be the PM candidate should enjoy at least 40-50% mandate from the eligible voters from across the country. Past actions of his are aberrations which is coming to haunt the party every now and then. Though he possesses every quality to lead the country, therefore, the party is taking a very cautious step, not giving enough rope to his personal hegemonism. Advani ji may have had some hidden agenda when he announced his yatra, yet again. He wants to get himself projected as the contender for the next PM. This announcement, like last time, had created a ripple within the party now. The party is trying to under-play this Yatra for now by giving different theme to this, but apparently would culminate in a total chaos within the party during the course of general elections.

S. Muralidharan
Head, Planning & Strategy, Knowledge Foundation

October 3, 2011 at 09:10

If the proposal to contest Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate is opted by the BJP, it would hurt the image of Democratic India & that will be the biggest Election faiure for the BJP in the coming Elections in 2014. Mr.Narendra Modi is well known for his anti-Muslim stand and a strong staunch of Hindu sentiments. He has allowed a half-month manslaughter and killings of thousands of Muslims & almost two-third of Indian citizens are well aware of his attitude as a non-secular person.

First, Mr.Modi would bring a big failure to his party in coming Elections, if the party declares him as the PM candidate. If the party still does that, and if chances pave way for Modi’s winning by right ally for BJPs and right support at the right time, then India would see the major blow for secularism & face deepened split in the already existing split between it’s two major religious people, the Hindus & Muslims.

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