Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gadkari ends smooth ride

Just a few weeks back everything was picture-perfect for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Though India’s main opposition party has been a pariah among the secular parties because of its communal ideology, it got wider acceptance as a reliable opposition that could fight the ruling front mired in neck-deep corruption allegations. With the general election fast approaching, the party was getting ready with its knights and rooks in the corners. It even tried to woo and take sides with anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal and his India against Corruption (IAC) movement.

But the party’s chief Nitin Gadkari has damaged that built-up image with his unholy don-seer comparison remarks, disowning it and finally offering a regret to save his as well as the party’s image. Even before that Kejriwal has dashed the BJP’s hopes of coming back to power at the Centre and proved how equally corrupt the country’s leading opposition too is.

His bait was none other than Nitin Gadkari, who they alleged had bogus companies to amass wealth of inappropriate proportion. Somehow, the BJP leadership managed to stop Kejriwal’s troop of Trojan horses by making a daring call to the Congress-led central government to prove charges against Gadkari.

But fate had something else in store for Gadkari. This time he digged his own grave for drawing an unholy comparison between much-revered seer Swami Vivekananda and mafia don-in-the-run Dawood Ibrahim at an award distribution function in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Senior party leader and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, his son Ramesh Jethmalani, other senior leaders Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrugnan Sinha had already raised their objection to him being at the helm of the party for a second term and demanded his resignation over the latest incident.

Drawing a silly comparison, but unfortunate comment from a politician of his stature, he reignited the fire that the party has doused following Kejriwal’s corruption charges. Now only one option was left for Gadkari: to quit party leadership and save his face as well as the party’s.

But that too will be suicidal for the saffron party in its stronghold poll-bound state of Gujarat where its star campaigner and Chief Minister Narendra Modi was fighting severe criticism for his anti-woman hoopla.

If Gadkari found brains of the seer and don similar, Modi’s take was the “million-rupee girlfriend-wife” of former UN undersecretary general and union Human Resources Minister Shashi Tharoor.

The Gujarat CM’s jibe came at an election rally in Himachal Pradesh, the result of which was expected along with the outcome of the Gujarat election on Dec. 20. Elections will take place in Gujarat on Dec. 13 and 17.

When the chief opposition is mired in such cheap controversies over top leaders’ avoidable remarks, the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi has got a breather and is having the last laugh. With left parties not anywhere in the scene, once again it was proved voters have no other way but to take shelter under the party, irrespective of its inadequacies and shortcomings.

It is no wonder that the BJP, a party with a communal agenda, has come to the forefront of Indian politics. Let it be blamed on lethargic Leftists who went astray from the common man. The party, which has done a “historic blunder” by pulling down the UPA-1 government, was busy rejuvenating itself when the common man struggled to make both ends meet due to price rises.

If a calculated, well-framed groundwork helped the BJP make a breakthrough in southern states like Karnataka and Kerala, that was shaken by controversies and allegations of corruption rose against its chief. With the Gujarat election a few weeks away, and Congress getting ready to infuse fresh and young blood into its cadres, the BJP was left with little time to come clean.

Gadkari’s resignation will be a momentary relief, but not a panacea. Now it has to sweat a lot to prove it is not in the lines of Congress and free from the clutches of nepotism and corruption. With lethargic Leftists, the Congress party is sure to have the biggest laugh in the contemporary political scenario. Boosted by widening rift within the main opponent, it is not difficult to see Congress eyeing the lion’s share in the upcoming general election. Just keep fingers crossed.

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