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Seeking Relevance

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Conspiracy theorists would say that it is a deep and diabolical plot by Rahul Gandhi to infiltrate and destroy the BJP from within – send in his ‘close’ associates as Trojan Horses. So, Jyotiraditya Scindia has been followed by Jitin Prasad, with Sachin Pilot maybe next. However, the more balanced interpretation of this phenomenon is obviously disillusionment among the GOP’s leaders with the manner in which the party is being run. Anybody who is in politics for the usual reasons, including making a difference, is bound to feel frustrated with its near suicidal approach to functioning as a ‘national’ party. It has become more than obvious to all but the completely blind that the Congress will do almost anything and ally with anybody as long as it is against the BJP. This has meant discarding any kind of principle or morality that may have guided the party in the past.

Scindia and Prasad are undoubtedly assets for the BJP in the important states of UP and MP. They are relatively young, have experience at the topmost levels and have exhibited maturity in their careers thus far. How much they will be able to adopt the ‘karyakarta’ attitude of service that the BJP prides itself in remains to be seen. Ambition has to be curbed in the confidence that service will be provided opportunity in due course of time. The BJP, on its part, cannot afford to overdo the opportunistic grabs as its own culture could seriously erode. This has been experienced in Uttarakhand, where the Congress lateral entries have been an obstreperous lot, unwilling to put service before self. They continue to disrespect BJP stalwarts in the confidence, perhaps, that there could be a safe ‘homecoming’ at election time.

The BJP is reportedly facing similar problems in West Bengal, where opportunism has descended to a level where ‘leaders’ are willing to eat crow multiple times merely to ensure they are on the ‘winning’ side. At the same time, it must be remembered that there is a ‘natural’ balance of power and behind these seeming betrayals, larger forces are at work. UP, for instance, is a caste cauldron that regularly throws up various permutations and combinations. Changing positions becomes necessary to checkmate the nearest rival. It can all be couched in noble principles but, at the grassroots level, it can become a matter of life and death for ordinary people. Consider this in the context of Akhilesh Yadav promising to replicate TMC’s politics of vengeance in UP. Leaders in the state who are answerable to those they represent are bound to respond the best way they can. The games have just begun, there is much more to come.