Gadkari has a Dhoni problem

The rolly polly Nagpur man handpicked to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has many things common with the Ranchi man – No we are not talking about his girth.

Like Dhoni, Gadkari is from a (relatively) small town ;  And both were catapulted into a leadership unexpectedly.

However the similarities end here.  While Dhoni has taken to his leadership role quite well with an international trophy under his belt, under Gadkari, the party seems to be heading further south.

After tasting initial success, both BJP and Dhoni seem to be suffering from the same problem – their cupboard of resources is barren. While Dhoni and his men hardly look like the No.1 test team in the world these days, the BJP hardly looks like the national party, supposedly the main opposition.

If dhoni  heading a team with a toothless attack is clueless about getting 20 wickets,  Gadkari is clueless about putting the UPA under any political pressure.  And in politics, it is important to be in news if you cannot create news.

The next problem that Gadkari shares is the ageing leadership team. Much like Dhoni who has to replenish his ageing batting team very soon, Gadkari is having the problem of finding next generation of leaders who could realize his vision for the party.

Advani is ageing and perhaps given up the hope for the PM gaddi ; MM Joshi, though he may not admit, is also old.  Sushma Swaraj is too shrill while Arun Jaitley too suave to cause any flutter. And for the poster boy of BJP Narendra Modi, the problems have only begun. It can be safely said that the next few years of Modi would be spent in legal battles. The leadership slots are empty and for a long time.

BJP is fast degenerating into an issue-less and ideology-less political outfit. It’s claim of being a disciplined party is severely dented and has a pathetic track record of governance rivaling that of Congress.  Despite all the efforts, Modi has not been very successful in cleansing his image citing his governance record (which itself is under strain given the amit shah revelations).

Except for the JD(U) it doesn’t have political parties willing to ally with it.  In South India it is virtually a non-entity in 3 out of the 4 states. Yeddyurappa & co have ensured that it will be a very long time before BJP can come to power in Karnataka again given it’s dismal performance.

BJP’s existence is very much under threat as much as India’s rein at the top of the test rankings.  The world wouldn’t really come to an end if India is displaced at the top of the phony test rankings, but democracy in India will suffer hugely if BJP fails as a national party.

For starters, it will make Congress very complacent which is not a good thing for growth. It can also become dangerous for Indian democracy as we remember the lessons of 1975. A healthy democratic system requires a vigilant, responsible and effective opposition.

Whatever be the claims of other parties like the SP, BSP, DMK, ADMK and TDP, they continue to be extremely parochial, regional and partisan in their political views.  Their vote banks are based on caste or linguistic chauvinism and so these regional parties do not care much about issues of national importance.

A weak BJP though temporarily would be gratifying for the congress, could actually spell the doom. Congress could then become a puppet in the hands of these regional parties especially like the DMK milking every ounce of benefit in return for support.  A conscious and honest Manmohan Singh for example had to eat the humble pie when it came to dropping Telecom Minister A Raja accused of gross corruption in 2G auctions. A weak BJP could also mean that the loony communists gain significant national footprint which can never be for the good of the nation. BJP’s continuance as a national political force, strangely is as important to congress as it is to BJP itself.

So where does this all leave Gadkari ?

Gadkari needs to introspect and do it fast.  The first problem that BJP should address is being relevant to the masses of the nation. An impoverished country needs education, development and upward mobility and not one more temple. The sooner it realizes this, the better for BJP.

BJP has to maneuver it’s way from hardcore hindutva to being a party “also championing” the cause of Hindus.  Congress has mastered the art of ‘pseudo secularism’.  BJP needs to project itself as party which concerns with the developmental issues of the country and not a party which is prosaic about real issues.

BJP needs second generation of leaders to take upon the charm offensive of Rahul Gandhi.  It’s plan of using the’ blue bloodline’ of Nehrus has suffered a major setback given the fact that Varun Gandhi has virtually put himself out of contention with his ill-advised foot-in-the-mouth statements.

Gadkari is the man in the hotseat ; It is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity to steer the second largest political party to the throne of power.

Gadkari much like Dhoni needs teeth for his organization.  You don’t win political or cricket matches without resources to bowl the opposition out.

About hariharanbond
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