M.R. Subramani
M.R. Subramani

News Editor-cum-Commodities Editor who thinks there is always a lighter side to everything, from business to politics

M R Subramani

Of horses and BJP!

M.R. Subramani | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on June 15, 2013

BJP needs fresh blood and Modi is one capable of infusing it.

Has the BJP enough people to win over the youth? The answer is currently, only Modi has that power.

Advani should know that you have to always bet on a winning horse or the one that holds promise of winning. Have his ambitions to rule the country clouded taking a decision that could help his party in the long run?

Just imagine this situation. Suppose, the Indian cricket team is in a mess and searches for a new leader, can we ask Sunil Gavaskar to come back from his retirement and lead it? Or can we recall Saurav Ganguly, especially when a couple of the new players seem to be playing well?

This reminds me of a past event that relates to betting on horses. Back then, you could bet on horses in Tamil Nadu and I knew of an uncle who relished betting. The problem was he always chose to bet on the wrong horse! One day, his father called him and said: “You should first learn which horse is likely to win before you bet. There are newspapers that give you guidance and you should also look at the track record of horses.”

Not that the uncle’s father was a punter but he was trying to drive sense into his son. It was in vain and the son ensured that whatever his father earned was lost on the saddle, forever.

Now cut to the present situation. The situation in the BJP where Advani is throwing tantrums after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been asked to head the party’s campaign in the 2014 elections is similar to one being hell-bent on destruction.

Someone should have told L.K. Advani about betting on winning horses. A learned and wise man like him should surely weigh things before doing anything, at least in public.

Possibly, Advani is reminding you of the child that cries “I want that choclate only” when offered other alternatives. It is different from being child-like and childish and what the veteran has done relates to the latter. The problem with Advani is that he has failed to exercise his democratic duty.

A surprising charge, isn’t it? But when you have a party, forum and leaders who would willingly lend an ear to you, shouldn’t Advani have attended the Goa meet? Agreed, the party or the main players had made up their mind but there is always an opportunity to tell the party and its leaders what you think?

BJP, in my view, is a little more democratic than either the Congress or the regional parties. And Advani commanded respect within the party, until this happened. That is one failure on his part. Just one? No, there are other shortcomings too.

For example, Advani after the elections to the Karnataka Assembly made a comment that his party had erred in not taking action immediately against Yeddyruappa. Fair comment, you could say. But then, he was party to keeping Yeddyruappa in the chief minister’s chair. If he says people were unwilling to listen to him then, he should have done then what he has done now. Resign from all positions in party. Did he do that? Why?

As one who has attended press briefings addressed by Advani, I have always seen him come across as a suave politician. I have always found his comments precise and meaningful. And I think he knew how to drive his point home.

One incident I that I will ever remember is how he intervened when a tough question was posed to Atal Bihari Vajapee as soon as he resigned after Jayalalithaa withdrew support to the National Democratic Alliance in 1999. Then, Vajpayee had been saying he would not contest elections anymore. So, when he handed over his resignation with his ministers and walked back to face a battery of reporters on the fringes of Raj Bhavan, I asked Vajpayee: “You have said you will not contest elections anymore. Do you still stand by it?” As Vajpayee searched for words, Advani with a wave of hand told Vajpayee that he would field it and said: “It is for the party to decide!” The party decided to make Vajpayee Prime Minister again and to me, it was one of the best Governments the nation has ever had.

More importantly, Vajpayee’s handling of a rainbow coalition is a lesson on how to handle alliance partners, save for the single moment when Shiv Sena replaced Prabu. Is this the same Advani who said “party will decide” now wants a decision to be made at his door?

When action was taken on Uma Bharathi for her histrionics before the cameras during a party meeting, he was one of those who said the party forum was always there to express their feelings!

Getting back to betting on horses that win, the BJP perhaps is right in throwing its lot behind Narendra Modi. In 2009, the BJP had an opportunity to throw out the Manmohan Singh Government but frittered it due to over-confidence. It thought people will blindly vote for it despite not having parties that could win crucial votes in some States.

For BJP, Modi is one who holds promise. For any party, what matters is the confidence and the mood of party workers. If Advani has not experienced what the grassroot workers wants, then he is far removed from truth. If you have to swing your workers into action, you have to present them with hope. None in the BJP, I bet as of now, presents that hope. Second, the track record for Modi speaks for itself.

Agreed, the Gujarat riot hangs around his neck as an albatross but let the courts decide since the people of his State don’t see him harming them, at least the majority. Third, the most important factor, is that in the next few elections that follow, the youth will have a greater say. It was the youth that was responsible to bring back Samajwadi Party back to power, swayed by Akhilesh Yadav. Therefore, it is important that the party needs someone who can win the imagination of the youth.

Today, there is none other than Modi who can do that. The industry, too, is looking for someone who can deliver. In Modi, they see such a person. In the long-run too, the BJP could stand to gain.

Advani may cite Sushma Swaraj or Shivraj Singh Chouhan as alternatives. But the question is can they deliver? Sushma led the BJP to wrest back Delhi in the last Assemby elections. But she just couldn’t deliver. There is no doubt that Sushma is a fighter or what we sportsmen say, a valiant loser on the lines of Vijay Amritraj or Leander Paes.

In politics, you need a winner, even if a bad one. Has the BJP enough people to win over the youth? The answer is currently, only Modi has that power. Enough proof is evident on the Web and let’s trust them to queue up when it is poll time.

Rahul Gandhi may be younger than Modi but he earns more ridicule than respect.

All said and done, BJP needs fresh blood and Modi is one capable of infusing it. Since coming back to power in 2009, the Manmohan Singh Government has only got from bad to worse. Each passing day sees new scams rolling out of the cupboards. The Congress and its partners need to be sent packing immediately. The only man who looks likely to do that job is Modi. We need a change for the better and Modi seems to offer that.

Economists or statisticians may show various data to prove that it could be a tough call for Modi. The Government may try with the cash subsidy and other things but you cannot undo in six months what you have done in the last nine-and-a-half years. But what all seem to discard is the effect of a wave.

The coming elections in 2014 will surely witness an anti-incumbency wave. Maybe, something akin to what we saw in 1978 when even the Old Congress managed to win two seats in Chennai. So BJP which ended third in Uttar Pradesh could even win most of the seats in the northern State since Modi is likely to cut through factors such as caste or other things. It is unfortunate that Advani has simply chosen to close his eye to all these. Or is it that he still feels, as Manmohan often hits out at him, he has a birthright to be the Prime Minister?

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Published on June 15, 2013
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