Wednesday, March 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM’s hold on BJP weakens
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
The two day meeting of the National Executive of the BJP which concluded its deliberations here on Sunday marks the beginning of the end of the “Vajpayee era” and return to the days of “collective leadership”.

Jolted out of its slumber in which the party had been put ever since charismatic and popular leader Atal Behari Vajpayee rode on the political scene in 1998 leading the BJP to the corridors of power, the 21-year-old party at least appears to be making a determined effort to fight the virus of “Congressisation” that had been eating into the very vitals of the party for the past few years.

Tehelka expose and the subsequent developments have definitely given a big jolt to the BJP and the traditional sections in the party heaved a sigh of relief expecting that the unceremonious exit of Bangaru Laxman and the ratification of K. Jana Krishnamurthi as the new party President at the two-day meeting in the Capital in their expectation would halt the rapid “Congressisation” of the once disciplined political outfit under Prime Minister Vajpayee.

How far the party would succeed in stopping the rot is a moot question?

However, the BJP, again under the leadership of an RSS pracharak, appears to be making an effort to put its house in order with Union Home Minister L.K. Advani remote-controlling the direction.

But the path is not easy as there are many inbuilt contradictions within the party and in the National Democratic Alliance which will make the task all the more impossible.

The price of remaining in power is too high and the BJP will have to pay it, the party leadership along with the RSS are conscious of it and that is why a fire-fighting strategy was agreed upon during the two-day session.

A conscious effort is being made to minimise the damage to the party which took place in the aftermath of Tehelka revelations. Aggression has been chosen to defend the party from the attack of its political adversaries.

The strategy is to attack the Congress and the Left parties and spare political outfits like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

A concrete evidence was clearly visible when the BJP and NDA leaders from the Prime Minister to the lowest was repeating in one voice that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had called Mr Vajpayee “traitor”.

While the Congress would be the main target of attack, the RSS and its sympathisers would try to put the blame for corrupt ways of the NDA government on the nature of coalition politics and to some extent on the Prime Minister Office that means Brajesh Mishra, N.K. Singh, Ranjan Bhattacharya and others of the same ilk.

In days to come, a weakened Vajpayee dependent on the party like never before will come under tremendous pressure from the party. The Prime Minister will have to distance himself from Mr Brajesh Mishra and company.

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