“BJP leadership in disarray”, says Advani’s

New Delhi, June 08: The BJP was “enfeebled” by so much “disarray” at the top never before witnessed in its history and its prime ministerial candidate L K Advani himself “failed” to assert his leadership at “crucial points”, says a key party strategist while analyzing its poll debacle.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, who is also a close aide of Advani, while giving an insight into the factors behind BJP’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections cited confusion about Hindutva, failure to overcome the party’s limited social base, negativism in its campaign and a leadership in disarray.

Writing in news magazine, Kulkarni said the BJP needed to rethink its approach to Muslims, Hindutva, the poor, the RSS and itself.

The BJP’s failure to convince the people on the need for a change was rooted in a combination of structural, political, ideological, organisational and campaign-related reasons.

“On the top of all these, we had the Varun Gandhi episode in the middle of the election campaign , which , along with other factors, clearly led to the consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of the Congress in UP.”

Kulkarni also said the cropping up of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s name in the middle of the campaign did not help at all.

“Never in the history of the Jana Sangh or the BJP was the party enfeebled by so much disarray at the top. The disorder at the centre and also in several states like Rajasthan, UP and Delhi demoralized the disunited party workers down the line with disastrous results,” he said.

“It is also true that Advani himself failed to assert his leadership at crucial points before and during the campaign,” he added

“Look at the irony. Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made an essentially weak Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh look strong by backing him solidly,” Kulkarni said, adding, “In contrast, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar made a strong leader like Advani, whose contribution to the growth of the party is enormous, look weak, helpless and not fully in command.”

Saddened by this, Kulkarni said many dedicated party workers bemoaned, “Atalji succeeded in becoming Prime Minister because he had Advaniji working for him faithfully and determinedly. Unfortunately this time, there was no Advaniji working similarly for Advaniji.”

On BJP’s future, he said the BJP can indeed bounce back. “But it can do so only if it first renews and empowers itself comprehensively — in its ideology, its geographical–social spread, its own political strength, its mass activity, its alliance-building, its cadre-based organizational network, and its leadership.”

Kulkarni said he also carried his share of responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“As one who was closely associated with the party’s election campaign, specifically the campaign of L K Advani, our prime ministerial candidate, I too committed mistakes, he said.

To be meaningful, productive and curative, collective introspection in the party must begin with each one individually, Kulkarni said.

Collective responsibility is a laudable principle, but it can often become a mask for persons in key positions at the central and state levels to evade their individual responsibility, Kulkarni said, adding, “This has often happened in the BJP.”