You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Modi could usher in a new era for BJP

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-05-2014 Gyan Varma

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s clear majority in the 16th Lok Sabha has not only established the indisputable leadership of Narendra Modi in the party, it has also signalled the beginning of a new era, ending the challenge posed by veterans such as L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj, after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee quit politics.

Members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, said Modi’s victory is important because the four-time Gujarat chief minister is an outsider and has come to power in Delhi with the support of people, especially the youth who represent the aspirational India. “It is the beginning of Modi era and the generational shift in the party is complete now. This is a watershed moment for BJP because it is the first time that BJP is not just the single-largest party but the party has a majority on its own. The outsider has challenged the establishment,” said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, RSS leader and member of the BJP.

BJP was formed in April 1980. Senior leaders of the BJP and RSS point out that the negative campaign against Modi by raising the issue of the 2002 Gujarat riots had, in fact, helped him because the riots are no longer an issue in the minds of people. “People want discussions on positive issues but there was a concerted effort to raise only negative issue by a section of the intelligentsia. Apology was not the real issue but it was made into an issue. Issues of Hindu or saffron terror have been rejected by the people,” said Rakesh Sinha, an RSS ideologue. With the backing of the RSS, Modi has established himself as the most powerful leader within the BJP. The plan of the RSS to start the process of generational change in the party by sidelining Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi during the election is complete.

While there are differences between senior leaders in all political parties, BJP is the only party that gives space for disagreements and differences to be raised within party forums at all levels, the BJP-RSS leaders said. He said there was space for debate and differences but leaders should accept a decision once the party takes a stand. “It is difficult to compare Narendra Modi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee because they are two different national figures. Modi is a more adamant and determined leader. There was leadership crisis at the national level, the expectations of aspirational India were not being met and people see hope in Narendra Modi,” said Sinha.

It is interesting that even before the Lok Sabha result was announced, party leaders, including BJP president Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, and Nitin Gadkari, had started visiting Gandhinagar, indicating who was in control of the party. Senior leaders Swaraj and Advani, who were reluctant to support Modi’s elevation as the chief of campaign committee and prime ministerial candidate of the party, will now have to come to terms with the new reality within BJP.

The rise of Modi has also led to state leaders like Amit Shah getting prominence in the BJP. Shah was not only made the general secretary of the party but was also given charge to improve BJP’s chances of winning in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Parliament. BJP won 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon