Five Forty Three

Revolutionizing Indian Election Analysis

The 1989 Advani Parallel for Modi in 2014


A major milestone of BJP’s history came about on September 25th 1989 when the party’s national executive met at the Shanmukhananda auditorium in Bombay. It was in the run-up to the 8th Lok Sabha elections that many opposition stalwarts and ideologues were trying to bring about an alliance between the BJP and the Janata Dal to oust the Bofors-tainted Rajiv Gandhi regime. The main stumbling block for such an alliance to fructify was V.P. Singh who had recently joined the Dal and was vehemently opposed to what he berated as a “communal party” (at least in public). One of the chief negotiators from the saffron camp for a broad opposition coalition was Bhaurao Deoras a genial RSS man who had friends cutting across party lines. Deoras suggested only seat sharing instead of an alliance as a solution to the vexed problem of lack of opposition unity.

A foxy V.P. Singh wanted seat sharing only in states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, but wanted to keep BJP out of the loop in the then undivided UP and Bihar which together accounted for as many as 140 MPs. He wanted to ride on BJP’s strength in Western India but was unwilling to forego Muslim voters in the heartland. Many in the saffron circles, still weary of a 1984 like result when BJP spectacularly under-performed by winning just 2 seats, were willing to make compromises of all kinds to stay politically relevant. In fact, it is quite well-known among the saffron camp followers that the top leadership of the Sangh and the still fledgling BJP were inclined to accept seat-sharing arrangement on V.P. Singh’s terms for the ostensible reason of defeating Rajiv Gandhi.

One man though stood strong on his ground, rejecting any purely opportunistic seat-sharing arrangement. He spoke thus in the Bombay national executive of September 1989, “If they come, with them; if they don’t, without them; and if they oppose us, in spite of them… irrespective of what the Janata Dal does, we are determined to get rid of this most incompetent and corrupt Rajiv Gandhi government”. He stuck to the principle of either a seat-sharing arrangement everywhere or nowhere.

Only one man possessed such clarity of thought in the initial years of the BJP, he was none other than Lal Krishna Advani, the then president of the party. His tough stance stood the party in good stead as BJP made a historic leap from 2 to 85 MPs in the 1989 elections. It was indeed a strange long jump seldom seen in democratic elections anywhere in the world, let alone in India. BJP had arrived on the national scene, and from that point in time of history, the party has never looked back.


Had Advani not stuck to his guns in 1989, BJP may well have suffered the fate of the Janata Dal which kept shrinking with each passing election even as BJP kept growing. Today Janata Dal does not exist, while BJP is the only national alternative to the Congress. But, unfortunately, the same Lal Krishna Advani who once conquered all the adversaries of the BJP with his clarity of thought, is today a confused soul. It was Advani who had articulated in the same Bombay session of 1989 that BJP believed in positive secularism, whereas Congress and other parties believed in vote secularism. He had then gone on to define positive secularism as “justice for all and appeasement to none”, a political philosophy that is the corner stone of Modi’s BJP in 2014!

Political philosophies are never prisoners of individual leaders, for age cannot wither them nor custom stale them. As today’s Modi speaks of “Constitution as the only holy book and India as the only religion”, the Advani of today sulks that his party is not as “inclusive” as it should be! As today’s Modi speaks of governance for all and appeasement for none, the Advani of today is more enamoured by the pseudo ideas of “inclusive growth” propagated by the likes of Nitish Kumar. As today’s Modi wants to take a decisive right turn in the economic trajectory of India, the Advani of today is all praise for socialist leaky cauldrons like NREGA. History has a strange sense of humour reserved for old men who refuse to gracefully accept their own ideas transforming into more viable political entities. History ridicules them as a petulant child who cries for his lost toy.

L.K. Advani’s spectacular achievements of the 1990s are indeed praiseworthy, but it must also be remembered that it was Advani who made it possible for the BJP to go below the 20% mark for the first time in two decades in 2009. When a party goes into the sub-20% vote-share region, its electoral significance gets reduced by a factor much larger than what is borne out by mere numbers, for seat conversions are almost halved in late teens as compared to early 20s. In simple terms, a party that goes into the sub-20% vote share is clearly on a path to national suicide!

20th PercentileBJP was in danger of going the Janata Dal way of disintegrating into many regional parties, but it has avoided that disaster almost at the last moment by reinventing itself. A large part of BJP’s reinvention has been brought about by one man alone, Narendrabhai Modi. As BJP is once again set to make a giant leap like it did in 1989, Advani and his cabal are proving to be the biggest hurdle. Today’s Advani probably believes that his own political ambitions are far greater than the political philosophy he has given birth to. What else explains his dramas every day and the deliberate attempts to sabotage the party’s chances by forcing wrong MP candidates at crucial levels? Let us do four simple case studies spread out in four different parts of India to understand this phenomenon of wrongful candidate selection;

Bidar (Karnataka): After long deliberations, BJP has fielded Bhagwant Khuba, a virtually unknown entity from this seat that is represented by former CM Dharam Singh of the Congress. It was widely speculated in Karnataka political circles that state unit of the BJP had sold out to Mr Singh who is virtually non-ambulant due to age related disorders. B.S. Yeddyurappa tried valiantly to put up a fight against Dharam Singh by nominating someone far more capable (Suryakant Nagamarpalli) but to no avail. The state unit of the BJP which sabotaged the chances of the party is extremely close to Advani.

Sonepat (Haryana): Any child in Sonepat will tell you that BJP had a great chance of winning this seat if it had nominated Pradeep Sangwan, but instead the ticket was given to a Brahmin Congressman who was even rejected by Congress in an assembly seat! That too in a totally Jat dominated seat with more than 5 lakh Jat votes where there are hardly 5k Brahmin voters. BJP’s ticket distribution in Haryana only points to one thing, that the party is averse to creating Jat leadership in the state to take on Hooda. With such support from BJP, CM Hooda is an extremely happy man today! Once again the Advani faction is said to be the sole culprit of this Haryana disaster.

Hoshiyarpur (Punjab): Phagwara MLA, Som Prakash was virtually believed to have won this seat this time on a BJP ticket (he had lost it narrowly by 366 votes in 2009), until the party interfered (read as Sushma Swaraj) to give ticket to a definite loser Vijay Sampla. It is believed that the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha virtually made it a prestige issue that Sampla be given the party ticket, lest she walked out of the CEC meeting. Does one need to point out the Advani connection?

Rajgarh (Madhya Pradesh): Try and ask BJP cadre here about Mr Rodmal Nagar and all you would get is blank stares. Nagar is BJP’s candidate to take on the Congress in a seat said to be a stronghold of Digvijay Singh. If ever there was a chance of BJP wresting this seat from the Congress, this was the one, as BJP was on a historic high in Madhya Pradesh coupled with a strong anti-Congress wind blowing across the heartland, it was indeed a cocktail of success made to order. It is still a mystery as to why such a lightweight as Rodmal Nagar was recommended by Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Sushma Swaraj (both very close to Advani).

These are just a few examples as there are scores of such other abject surrender stories woefully told by hapless BJP workers (Udampur in Jammu, Basti and Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, Chhindwara in MP… the list is long). One aspect is almost clear to any unbiased observer of the BJP – that the battle to win 230+ is all but over now, for the party has already given up on many seats even before the first vote is cast. Now it is possibly the battle for 200. At least now Modi should take a leaf out of the Advani parallel of 89; had Advani given into the compromise formulas of many BJP leaders, history would not have been created in 1989. Narendra Bhai should demonstrate the same fearlessness in dealing with elders of BJP today, for he has a historic role to play – the deliverance of India. Individuals like Advani don’t matter beyond Dilli TV studio debates, what really matters and what history will judge you upon is the doctrine that you adapt. Positive Secularism will outlast Advani many times over.


Author: Dr Praveen Patil

A story teller and aspiring writer with special interests in Indian electoral politics

31 thoughts on “The 1989 Advani Parallel for Modi in 2014

  1. Good analysis of the ground realities and depressing to learn of realities at ground where BJP has given up before a vote is cast. Wish Narendra Modi could do something to change the fortunes of those seats.

  2. It is one of the best articles I have read in recent days. Thank you. And please keep writing. I have not seen many writing with such clarity and such involved detail.

  3. Though an out sider, Madhu Kishwar was right when she wrote about 160+ club within Delhi BJP.This will be the case of Hindu Droha, if BJP ends up around 200 in spite of what is going on.May be the God will intervene to ensure that the designs of these schemers fail.

  4. nobody knew aap candidates in delhi elections still 26(apart from kejriwal & sisodia) unknown AAP candidates won . Hope modi wave is strong enough to compensate for ticket bungling

  5. If Narendra Modi is DESTINED to become PM with 272+ for BJP on its own (excluding allies), NOBODY can stop that. Let the 160 Club play their game, AAP candidates will cut “secular votes” in many constituencies to give Namo a majority on his own.

  6. Sir you are right about all the seats that you have written. Bjp will lose atleast 25 seats because of bad candidates. Why is modi not doing something about it? Surely he knows what is happening.

    Cant we all together make enough noise on twitter facebook and whatsapp to make changes now? Our voice should reach modi

  7. I donno Mr. Patil. I think you have gone overboard in critiquing a perceived shadow group which is believed to be set to sabotage the changes of BJP. As much as I like, should I say ADMIRE, Mr. Modi, history stands a testimony to the fact that glorification of any candidate is not in the best interest of any sustainable social movement be it a political party or otherwise. I think it’s the idea of putting all eggs in one basket speaking from economical jargon that troubles me. But strangely enough I don’t see a good alternative either (meaning spate of BJP wouldn’t be half as good if not for projection of Mr. Modi on to national stage). So, while I do admit that I don’t have a great alternative theory to propose, I find it not very convincing to question the integrity of some of the leaders you are citing. Mr. Chauhan is a well accomplished, upright person with a lot of integrity. SS is no less – for someone who’s seen her from close quarters can vouch. I personally feel that in contemporary times we seldom find folks who have the credentials and character to question the Integrity and Commitment of Mr. Advani Ji towards BJP and India as Nation. Yes, he’s a human being. Perhaps we might disagree with some of his assertions or view points. But to blatantly basket him/them into demonic characters appear to be a little farfetched IMHO. I sure hope my view points would persuade you to take a step back and re-think your line of thought which is accusatory with not so much merit as your otherwise well balanced analysis seem to indicate.


  8. As an apolitical observer of events who worries for his country, let me state what I think.

    Unfortunately, given the damage the Sonia congress has done to the economy and defense potential of our country, priority number one has to be to defeat it in LS2014 to the extent that it never again revives politically. Restricting/obstructing the margin of BJP’s victory in the name of “cherishing democratic principles”/“obstructing authoritarianism” is short sightedness (upholding the smaller dharma at the cost of the larger one) at best. Current circumstances are such that winning LS2014 is more important than the “fundamental democracy” of the BJP especially when “fundamental democracy” seems to mean having to allow the whims of a few respected senior leaders make the task at hand more difficult.

    First and foremost, the country needs to rapidly build up economic strength and defense potential if it is to retain its full sovereignty even as an unfriendly China turns into a full fledged superpower. The main reason we are not going in this direction at present is indecision (which often appears to be deliberate) by the govt. on various fronts. Sometimes, some of this is forced upon the system by an unnecessary plethora of laws. For example, something is wrong in the way things are if we have to import coal because of various rules preventing us from exploiting our own natural resources. Another example: something is certainly wrong if we are not procuring a single new artillery gun for our defense forces when at least two-three reputed companies are willing to manufacture good artillery indigenously.

    To change this, we need a government with two things: 1) A decisive leadership (right now, right or wrong, one individual has come to represent this in the minds of the people. The people’s opinion on this must be respected). 2) As decisive a mandate as is possible in the current circumstances (the more decisive such a mandate, the lower the chance that AAP like forces will be tempted to engineer endless protests/chaos).

    If achieving this requires BJP taking the road to what you call “inner party authoritarianism”, so be it. Protecting the country’s national interest is far more important than retaining the BJP’s original character. The people at large seem to have sensed this to some extent. It is unfortunate that some leaders do not see this for whatever reason. Of what use to the country is a BJP that sits as a permanent opposition (in the name of retaining its “original character”) while left-liberals in various avatars retain a grip on the central government and systematically erode the country’s ability to independently pursue it’s national interests ?

    There is a reason I put expressions like “inner party authoritarianism”, etc in quotes. When the cadre by and large seem to want something, and a few leaders obstruct that, is it really inner party democracy ? Conversely, when objections by the few unconvinced leaders are overruled, it is a violation of “fundamental democracy” ? I think not. Also, “authoritarianism” would mean that other leaders have been totally sidelined and not given any say whatsoever. Going by what the above article writes, this does not seem to be the case. Unfortunately, what seems to be the case (to a ringside observer like myself) is that wherever certain leaders have been given a say, they have done their best to reduce the margin of victory and give the opposition a lease of life.

    One can only hope that the people brush all this aside and single mindedly vote keeping the big picture in mind rather than the local candidate……..

    • I think somehow somewhat of an inaccurate message is being conveyed – which MSM is trying hard to do – of that of Modi being an Authoritarian (inner party or otherwise)! which is as far as it can get from the truth. Contrary to popular perception ModiJi is a very very accommodating person. But he is very tenacious while making decisions and steadfast once it’s done.

      The state of affairs of our country is such that we can pin our hopes on almost anything – let Modi aside for a moment. But that SHOULD not be an excuse for us to lower the bar of expectations of building and conducting a national political party. Sure enough, despite the so called Delhi-Gang standing in way of ModiJi, ppl would still vouch for him any day, and more so under current circumstances. But that should not be used as an excuse to not build up a very strong, principled political party.

      Again, I think we need to make a distinction here as to where the culpability lies. These are sensitive times. Any argument specially constrictive ones given to BJP to make itself better is unfortunately seen as an ego-pitch against ModiJi. In fact propulsion of ModiJi to National stage was BJP’s collective decision (not that of ModiJi alone). So, it’s a collective responsibility to ensure highest standards of ethics and principles are upheld and practiced by the top leaders of the party – including ModiJi and the rest of the brigade.

      I would like to contest the thought that almost every other leader has hindered chances of ModiJi. We have to graduate from this suspicious mindset and believe that well-wishers try to do their bit – which may be counterproductive at times – but are done with best of intentions in mind. The best part of ModiJi, IMHO, is that he’s had the stomach to digest ills with a positive mindset about the efforts from the brigade for he knows he HAS to rely on the same folks to deliver once he takes charge at the center stage.

      Last but not the least, it’s one thing to take a cold hard look at things from an observers point of view when we DO NOT have the privilege of being in the midst of action. I doubt how many of the critiques of the DelliGang have been privy to the information, circumstances which lead to certain decisions which are deemed to have been done to quell ModiJi’s chances. For once, let’s appeal to the better side of people as we need it much more than ever; Positive feedback goes a long way and a needle of suspicion might deter the motivations.

      Uttara Mimamsaka

  9. Not sure if you are real LKA, but if you are then one thing is clear that your era is over. Instead of creating roadblocks you should act like a father figure helping/guiding BJP cadres

  10. Test comment posing as LKA.

  11. All powerful Advani could influence seats in K’taka and Haryana but not his own seat. Enough said. #notcredible

  12. writing style ,not like LK ,LK writes big paragraphs with commas not full stops .

  13. If you really are LKA, here is my two penny’s worth:
    Without naming the man, you have made it clear at whom you are training your guns. I am sorry to hear you say so, so very explicitly because I still feel that there is nothing NM has demonstrated by way of his dictatorial tendencies. The only thing that we see in him is his decisiveness, something that we saw in you till about a decade back. Something for which we admired you too.
    A leader has to be decisive if he has to implement policies for the benefit of a nation. He has to be ruthless in the face of opposition if he has convinced himself that what he is doing is right. And therefore if a leader behaves decisively, he is to be admired for it, not condemned. All those leaders who we admire today after decades of their ceasing to be had the same streak in them.
    I hope that Modiji, in future, will crush ruthlessly and without remorse all those who stand in his way and, indeed, in India’s way and in India’s quest for greatness. He has demonstrated quite well the change he can bring about in his state of Gujarat. We support him because of these credentials. Therefore, if people – no matter what their stature is today and however glorious their past deeds are – stand in his way, we will continue to support him if he crushes them and casts them aside.
    Let me add that I have a lot of respect for you but you are doing nothing to allow me to sustain that respect. In fact, your activities and pronouncements of the past few months have done everything to belittle that respect.

  14. The problem with nostalgia is: everything looks just perfect in that period:-) I lived my adolescence in 90s and it just looks a perfect decade to me due to the same nostalgia thing but we all know, it was not.

    The comparison is just useless.. There was no PERFECT BJP ever, which worked like a well synchronized machine. The political parties always had people with individual egos .. Similarly, there was no perfect ticket distribution in ANY political party EVER, .


    • I’m not sure who you are Mr. Dharmpal. Neither I have any insight into your exposure to BJP. Believe me if you are longing for it’s government now… Mr. Advani … has been longing for it since 40+ years. He’s lot more vested into this than anyone you can possible think of excluding the PM annointee of the party. So, please stop discrediting everyone without proper evidence. Please!

  16. This is my opinion only. I think Modiji is trying to get as many seats as possible in 2014 so that he can form the govt. He knows for sure that once that is done, he can start implementing his development based agenda and that in 2019 it will be a no-brainer for people to vote for BJP. By which time everyone in BJP would have seen what a development based agenda would do.

    I just hope that he gets enough seats to implement this without much obstacles. India needs Modi more than Modi needs India.

  17. This article is the best example of spreading propaganda in the guise of analysis. First they claimed if Modi is declared PM, BJP can easily get 272+, yes the “272+” campaign of BJP is still, there are pamphlets being distributed through out the country, there is no ideological statements in it, there is no mention of Party vision, It has Modi and Modi alone. One of the campaign slogan is “Vote for India, Vote for Modi” (Reminds you of “Indira is India, India is Indira”? ,if it does, then you belong to Advani camp attempting to sabotage Modi’s prospects!). Even though Modi Brigade in BJP knows very well, 272 is a distant dream, they cannot accept it openly. Now they cling on to 230 (Did they reconcile with this ‘Magic Number’ after one opinion poll projected 230 for BJP?). But wait, as election days are getting closer and closer they know, even 230 is quite a task and BJP may not get there. So we need scape goats, after all the GOD Modi (Did you hear the chant of “Har Har Modi” replacing Hara Hara Mahadev in Varanasi by some Modi Brigade?)is, he can never be wrong, He can never have any limitations. So if he is unable to deliver the numbers, then someone else is at fault, who is better candidate than Advani , so Modi brigade preempts the results and start blaming Advani even before the single vote is cast and results are out.

    Just few days back Modi denied ticket to Rajendrasinh Rana, 5 time MP from Bhavnagar constituency in Gujarat. what is his fault? He is close to Advani, that itself is Unpardonable, Additionally he is accommodating Sanjay Joshi in his Delhi MP residence, How can Modi forgive him for this sin? So he denied him the ticket. Haren Pathak , 5 time MP from Ahmedabad East is still uncertain about his candidature this time, Ahmedabad East is one of 5 seats in Gujarat where candidates have not been announced yet, In all probability, he wont get ticket too. his Sin? same as Rana, he too is seen as someone who is close to Advani, after all he was Mos Home when Advani was home minister. If Advani really has so much say in candidate selection, how come he could not defend his own supporters and re-nominate the sitting MPs who won 5 elections straight?

    MM Joshi has been shifted under the whims and fancies of Rajnath, Modi, Jaitley trio, all three could select their own seat themselves, irrespective of the views of others including sitting MPs. Jaswant singh is another senior leader who is perceived as close to Advani, so he was not considered worthy enough to contest in BJP ticket in Barmer, despite serving the party for so many years, he is no match to defected congie who joined just a week before! And Yet Advani with so much say, could not even prevent this? Only in some random seats where there is perceived wrong candidate selection, Advani becomes so powerful! Wow, Great analysis and totally impartial indeed!

    Uttara Mimamsaka, glad to see your comment. I am still a proud BJP supporter, because BJP still has few people like you who are not sold out any personality cult.

  18. The way things are going for the past 2 weeks it looks like BJP is heading towards 160 mark. Advani & his coterie is making sure that NaMo doesn’t become the PM.

  19. Hi Sir, this is really a great analysis and kudos to you for all your analysis.
    This is really scary situation. I did not know that 160 club will become so active and try to damage BJP so much. I hope NaMo will do something before it is too late. I was also curious to know that, why BJP did not field Kiran Bedi, Subramanyam Swamy. These two were crusaders against corruption. If BJP would have fielded them, I am sure it would have given huge momentum to Modi wave across country. I really feel pity and now afraid that If BJP gets less than 200 seats then chances of NaMo becoming PM are less, as this 160 club will become active by that time. NaMo and Rajnath really need to do something. There are also chances that some secret deal happened between sonia and 160 club.

  20. Its sad that while everyone is gunning for Advani coterie (of which Modi, Jaitley used to be a part not long back) , people are not concerned about a person who has risen from a nobody to the second biggest person in BJP. His achievements being:
    a) performed as CM so that BJP reduced in UP from 57 in 98 to less than 10. Almost killed the party there except his caste leaders.
    b) performed as National President that BJP lost miserable to UPA in 2009. Trying hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2014 too.
    BJP can keep hoping that they would get 50 seats in UP but the ground reality is that due to poor candidate selection and lack of organization, even 40 would be a difficult number.

    • @Akshat,

      I am told 37% of the tickets in UP are given to Cong/SP/BSP defector. BJP cadres asked to work for those whom they were working against all this while. Local leaders ignored. This is nothing but digging own grave. Look, what is happening to Jaswant Singh, Founder member of the party denied ticket and the seat was given to congie defector. How can Modi Brigade hope to win 230 seats with poor candidate selection?

      In Bihar seats are wasted in the form of LJP alliance, Paswan who couldnt even win his own seat last time is given 7 seats this time! There is a resentment among BJP workers in Bihar, BJP could have easily won 30+ seats, now they are contesting only in 30 seats. Paswan was inducted only to satisfy Modi’s ego as he left NDA over Gujarat Riots, there is no Political sense behind the decision.

      I wonder why there is no “analysis” on these issues, What was the need to select some random seats and target Advani? It betrays nervousness of Modi camp!

      • Dear Abhinav Bharat,

        Thank you for being an avid supporter of BJP – Traditional or Modern 🙂

        1. I think the sole purpose of ticket distribution this time around is based on winnability of candidate. Period. The most distant second criteria is if a stalwart can be accommodated later, they are kept off from the ticketing list for the respect the party wants to show them by showing them an easy route (to be read as RS nominations, representations in discretionary committee memberships, etc).
        a) My suspicion is that the likes of Pathak and Rana would be amply rewarded – justifiably and duly so – post elections. At least so I hope.

        2. I think you seem to hold Modi in contempt for collective decisions of CEC. Perhaps that needs a second thought, IMHO.

        3. I’m sure you agree that hardcore votes of any party are likely to remain with it. At least every party thinks so. Swing voters are swayed by many factors; in this election I think Modi factor is predominant one among others such as local candidature et al. So, what do you think of the proposition to offer seats to defectors? Always? Never? In the context of this election when no-holds-barred strategies are being employed by morally challenged ruling party coalition?

        4. Paswan’s induction was as symbolic as it could get IMHO. He was the first one to desert NDA branding it communal. His return really sounded the bugle of change in perception of NDA. His following would fall to about 3.5-4% of votes (as minorities are expected to ditch him for his move), but that 4% could make a huge difference in the seats BJP is contesting. So, yes, local caders have to bite the dust for all they have been fighting against some of these folks all their lives. In the greater interest of maximizing electoral victory, some adjustments are necessary but unavoidable eveils IMHO. Let’s look at it differently. I think the story with Paswans, and the ANNA* parties in Tamilnadu, are similar. One can never expect a committed loyalty from any of these folks. Same is true with Glamour driven Andhra parties. But even if we can bag a few more seats by a pre-poll alliance so much will be the benefit. I doubt if Paswans would ever be considered hardcore NDA supporters as the’re sheer opportunists. But if BJPs tally is increased by 2-3 seats because of him 1) Not aligning with RJD/Congress and 2) aligning with NDA – don’t you think its a worthy option to explore and consider?

        5. Coming to Jaswanth Singh – Have to admit I have never been a fan of his since time immemorial. For his stands appear dubious to me all along. Remember his issue of not stepping down as Chairman of PAC? That was shameless to say the least. In fact he’s directly responsible for the Rajasthan’s debacle in last elections, as many would rightly argue. He appears to be so egostic that he finds an alter-ego in a lady who is almost three generations younger to him to fight with. I mean where is Maturity and Magnanimity? I’m left to believe he’d even get to ego-tussles with his own GrandDaughter. He’s the biggest egoist of all. I think all tall leaders are complicit in denying him ticket. Considering the PAC episide, I think he deserves all the treatment he’s getting now.

        I think the larger point I’m trying to make with all my discussions is that we’ve to uphold the DEMOCRATIC setup in our party. There’s no point in switching from one form of dictatorship to another. Unfortunately some people in so called Modi brigade are so vociferous that the rest of the world comes to think of it as the handiwork of Modi himself. From what little I’ve seen of Modi, he’s not as autocratic as he’s being projected to be…and knowing or unwittingly, some well-intending NaMo brigade members are also to blame for this image creation of Modi.

        I’m glad we are having this discussion in the OPEN – for I believe we’ll collectively emerge stronger and more committed than ever – which precisely is the need of the hour!

        I’d love to hear your thoughts about issueing tickets to defectors if you will.


  21. This is a great post for rookies to get an understanding of a facet of the upcoming elections that is not really covered by our mainstream media. I learned a lot and I thank you for that, sir.

    Have a read of my post about the use of social media in the 2014 Indian elections here:

    It would be great if you could leave a comment with your views and feedback!

    Keep up the great work!

  22. Dear Uttara Mimasaka,

    I have been a staunch supporter of BJP ever since I started following politics in my high school days.Being a RSS swayamsevak, I have always supported BJP on the basis of its commitment to Ideology. There is always a great expecation from BJP compared to other parties,So I always find it difficult to turn blind eye whenever BJP is going against the ideals it stands for or start behaving like just another political party rather than behaving like “Party with Difference”.

    1. I respect your view points on the logic behind icket distribution, I do think you are being overly optimistic when you say the likes of Pathak and Rana would be amply be rewarded. Let us consider the issue of Veterans like Jaswant Singh bit later. Now, Leaders Like Rana or Pathak doesnt need any “easy route”. They are mass leaders who are winning the elections for 5 to 7 terms straight and they have grip over the constituencies they represent. Infact, Constituency like Ahmedabad East can be won by big margin by someone like Pathak even if he decides to contest as Independent. That is why Rajnath Singh pressed the panic button and invited Pathak for discussion last evening. But, there is nothing to worry for Rajnath singh as leaders like Pathak are dedicated soldiers of the party who can never go against BJP, no matter what.

    Below two articles are quite informative to understand why denying Pathak a ticket is a loss to BJP as party.

    ‘Harin Pathak had uncanny ability to connect with people and care for their sentiments’ [Times Of India]

    “Why Modi had to get rid of Harin Pathak” [Rediff]

    [Not sure whether comments with Link are getting posted, So giving the title of the article]

    We all know the real reason behind denial of tickets. This is not the first time it is happening. Modi has systematically destroyed Gujarat BJP and made it one man show, he sidelined anyone whom he perceived as his rival or his competitor in State Politics. Right from Haren Pandya, Suresh Mehta to Kanshiram Rana. we all know there is a familiar script. KanshiRam Rana 6 time MP from Surat was denied ticket last time. Even then he stayed loyal to the pary, just few months before his Death he joined GPP, hoping to recover Real BJP from the clutches of Modi! With denial of tickets to Rana and Pathak, Modi has completely eliminated everyone who is senior or powerful than him in the state with connect to the masses. Now Gujarat BJP only has “handpicked” leaders who owe their rise to Modi and loyal more to him than the party.[ Hope you know what happened in Mumbai National executive 2012, Entire Gujarat BJP threatened to boycott the meet along with Modi if Sanjay Joshi wasnt ousted]. So, to think there is some other reason for their sidelining is to not accept the reality.

    2.I would have been forced to reconsider my opinion, if all these decisions are announced by press meet after CEC Meeting, They all are added as” addendum” in the BJP list of candidates. Be it decision to deny Jaswant singh a ticket or decision to deny Pathak a ticket , it was announced separately, not released after CEC Meet. Even Sushma Swaraj has accepted it openly, that some decisions are not approved by CEC but taken by state party later. You can argue that there is resolution passed for state party to release candidates etc. But then, these are all just technical arguments.

    3.Regarding ticket distribution to defectors, I agree, in any election, there will be local considerations which forces any party to give ticket to defectors. But then, even you might agree, that there will always be some extra-ordinary reason for preferring a ticket to defector from rival camp rather than your own leaders.If it happens in so many seats(38% in UP), Then giving ticket to defectors is not the exception but it has became the pattern and norm.When party denies tickets to veterans like Vinay Katiyar but welcomes congress defectors with open arms and gives them ticket, It surely raises question mark. When Modi camp claims that there is “Modi wave” across the country, yet you dont trust the veterans to win but cong defectors to win, then your intent are suspect.It seems like an attempt to sideline Ideologically committed leaders of the party who will have the guts to question Modi when he wavers and replace them with bunch of opportunists who are more interested in their own personal interests rather than Party or Ideology. It is an attempt to dismantle the organization.

    4. I respect your understanding of electoral equations and analysis of the same. I would be glad if BJP really benefits from this seat sharing arrangment.But I think, LJP will benefit out of BJP more than BJP could benefit out of LJP. Ever since Nitish ditched BJP, BJP has consolidated its position in Bihar, In Politics, when you have upper hand, you have to go for the kill. BJP can win more seats out of its own strength if it contests more seats. Even Cong wasnt much interested with Paswan, neither is RJD, Because of LJP’s diminishing prospects in elections. Even if BJP-LJP alliance gains substantially, we can be sure that whatever LJP tally can be, we can never claim to be our own, as you told LJP is not a trust worthy ally to be entrusted with 7 seats(Either they win 1 out of 7 or 7 out of 7. They are reducing BJP’s indepdent tally and NDA’s tally in a way because parties like LJP can never be trusted, same is the case with parties like DMDK, PMK in Tamilnadu. PMK is a ran casteist party in TN which is responsible for Anti Dalit riots in various part of the state over the past 2 years. PMK couldnt even win a seat in 2009 inspite of being in ADMK alliance. PMK is on the verge of extinction in the state, But alliance with BJP gave them new lease of hope. BJP is helping casteist party like PMK to rejevunate itself at the cost of its own image and its long term prospects in the state. I find remarkable similarity in allying with LJP in Bihar and PMK in TN. DMDK is another party in TN who can never be trusted as an ally of BJP. DMDK, as recent January was in talks with Congress, their alliance with BJP is out of oppourtinism and rejection of congress is because cong is staring worst ever defeat in TN.

    But, DMDK alliance is atleast makes political sense, because DMDK being a fence sitter, if they are not wooed in to BJP, they can be easily wooed by Cong, there by helping congress to win 1 or 2 seats in TN which will be face saver for cong. But alliance with LJP, PMK has no such political compulsions. MDMK is the only trustable pre poll ally of BJP, as MDMK can never go back to congress. They have no option but to stick to NDA.

    5. I must admit, that I have never been a huge fan of Jaswant singh too.I have always found him wavering when it comes to core ideological issues of the party. For the same reason, I was totally unconcerned when he was expelled from the party over writing a book, Because few months before his expulsion, in one of his Interviews, he even questioned BJP’s Ideological positions, he was ridiculous enough to ask “What is Hindutva” in an Interview to Burkha Dutt, inspite of serving BJP for so many years. [Looking back, I think Jaswant was treated unfaily, BJP cannot expel someone from the party unceremoniously, Just because he wrote some book and perceived some historical personalities differently. It has shamed BJP more than it has shamed Jaswant singh.] Regarding PAC episode, After expelling unceremoniously, It was too much to expect on the part of BJP , He could have never resigned immediately. But He did resign with in 3 months, There is no compulsion for him to resign as PAC chairman, But he eventually did resign and said that he remained in the position only to make a point that the position of PAC chairman is a constutional position and it would have send wrong message of party partisanship if he were to resign on the basis of BJP’s request. I think he had a point.

    On his equations with Vasundhara Raje, yes, it has never been good. While I admit, Jaswant has to take share of the blame,It would be unfair to him, if we dont take Vasundhara Raje’s autocratic style of functioning, It is not just Jaswant who is finding difficult to cope with Vasundhara Raje functioning, but there were/are many people with in the party in Rajasthan. In 2008, Vasundhare Raje gifted the state to congress, because of her own blunders. Though Jaswant singh’s opposition to Raje then was all known, But Jaswant could have never impacted the final outcome of the election. Main reason behind the loss was Raje’s adamant attitude towards RSS, She never developed the trust of RSS, She always comes across as someone who disliked the veterans in the party and sidelined those(especially those leaders with RSS background) who questioned her style of functioning. RSS’s dislike for Raje is well known, the main reason behind the loss in 2008 was due to too many rebels in the fray and lack of RSS support.Jaswant may be a egoist, but Raje is no different, so much so she lost the elections only because of her arrogance and her inability to chance her autocratic style of functioning to the extent of earning the wrath of RSS.

    Yes, Jaswant singh has many negativities, Inspite of all his shortcominngs you mentioned, Dont you think BJP as a party is expected to treat its Senior leaders with little more dignity. He is saying he was expelled over a phone call last time, and this time he was denied ticket over a phone.If BJP is really planning to accomodate Jaswant singh in some other positions post poll( even by RS Berth etc) which Arun Jaitley was alluding to, Why didnt Rajnath singh reach out to Jaswant singh and conveyed party’s plan to him personally, Why such minimum courtesies were not extended to a senior leader like him who has held so many important portfolios in the only BJP government from 98-04? Inspite of all his negativites, do you really think a congress defector who joined the party a week back is better than leader of the party who served for so many decades? This point of winnability or lack of it is all nonsense. Sona Ram Choudhry might have won Barmer seat twice in 98& 99. But It was Jaswant singh’s son Manvender singh who defeated him by huge margin in 2004.So the whole point of winnability falls flat, Sona Ram choudhry couldnt even win assembly seat just 6 months back, now he is considered as the only winnable candidate from BJP? We must accept that Jaswant singh was humiliated because he did not share good equations with Raje and He is not someone who will chant “NaMo NaMo” in BJP and he is seen as someone who is close to Advani. These are the real reasons for denying him the ticket in Barmer. Unfortunately Modi camp in BJP was so “decisive” in denying the ticket to Jaswant, that it didnt care for the image of party just 2 weeks before general elections. 2 Weeks before General elections, party is getting bad press and internal clashes are out in open. It is disappointing to see that top leaders in BJP did what they did inspite of knowing the repecurrsions of it, No one even tried to reach out to jaswant even for name sake.

    • Obviously some exceptional points. Thank you for taking time to share your views.

      For now, My priority is to ensure maximum seats for BJP (I’m a very small time well-wisher, that’s all. DO NOT HAVE ANY affiliation to any party let alone post). If that means focusing on positives than constructive ones, I guess I’ve to compromise a bit there. But rest assured, there’s a definite time to clean up the mess and we shall certainly do so at the earliest.
      Please pardon brevity with the response. Some caveats are understandable; others perhaps debatable. With your kind permission we’ll continue this debate after a while. Your posts have been enlightening to say the least.

      I somehow think ModiJi is being made out to be the modern day Chanakya. Honestly, Modi is not an individual any longer. He’s the Phenomenon; a phenomenon of Hope for billion Indians. Many cadre officers, strategists, individuals and labours alike are rigorously concentrating their efforts on the home so called Modi and that’s how the phenomenon is rising. So, to somehow think Modi as a one man show and to make him responsible for all deeds – both good and otherwise – seems a little farfetched to me. Perhaps I could be wrong. But I DO NOT think for a second there’s a single human soul or a brain who can take the whole nation along! It has to be collective effort. And the point of nation building is nothing more than seeking a series of coinciding objectives, as opposed to focusing on a singular ideal too far ahead in future. In that sense, I think it’s time to consolidate and focus on BJP and BJP alone…for that will automatically take care of any number of Modi’s in the run 🙂 If some people smear that to be MoDi for BJP, well we’ll rectify them in due time 🙂

      I’ll leave you with one small thought – we’ll be back to square one and will have to start re-building the core of the org all over again! But the point I’m optimistic about is simply this – Such an attempt would any day be better under a Modi Government than any other form at the center. I hope I’m not hoping against the hope here.

      I hope I can continue to debate about this with you in time to come….perhaps even after we are through with May16th 🙂 when the litmus test result would be available to look back on our respective assertions 🙂

      I’d like to leave you with a small incident going back to 25 years. It’s a personal experience. There was a guy who was most suitable for a post in South India. Till that time he’d been holding on to it for over 6 terms. He was apparently replaced with a relatively inexperienced, not-as credible alternative by Honorable YadavRao Joshi ji. Obviously being in my teen I was horribly upset as I had a lot invested emotionally behind this chap. With all immaturity I confronted Joshiji. His answer that day would come to change my perceptions for ever. He lent me very patient ears and finally opined “We have to teach the replaced guy how to win elections. How long do you want to keep the Winning candidate tied to this?. Most importantly we as an organization have to learn to produce more winning candidates for our sustained survival. If we start looking for one after extracting the last bit from a great leaders, a leadership vacuum would ensue at the demise of each great leader”!

      I am not for once saying the Ticket distribution committee had the wisdom, wit, or integrity of Mr. JoshiJi. Perhaps, pinning our hopes on such a scenario having taken place behind the scenes would help us better to be motivated toward our immediate goals!


      • Dear Uttara Mimasaka,

        It was nice to have a discussion with you, I am looking forward to have discussion with you in post poll scenario too. We might have some differences in perception, but we both want to see the present congie government to be replaced by BJP government at any cost/[Stress is on BJP government. My anticipation is more party centric in this regard, not individual centric]

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