Veteran BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani threw a political bombshell on Sunday when he wrote in his blog post ĎSpeculations about Congressí fate in 2014: ďA non-Congress, non-BJP Prime Minister heading a government supported by one of the two principal parties is however feasible. This has happened in the past also.Ē
It surprised the political class, commentators and observers alike as Advani; unlike many other political leaders is a cerebral politician. He has very rarely commented or uttered a word without having mulled over it hundreds of times. He has been a strategist.
Way back in mid-nineties, he had made a forecast about the dawn of the coalition politics in the country and had also said that the coalition government would be led by either the BJP or the Congress. But then came the two short lived Third Front governments of Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujaral. Both these governments had enjoyed the Congress support from outside.
Advani, belonging to a rare breed of vanishing political tribe, does not say or write anything without an objective. His predictive statement of state of politics in the country in next two years obviously is not without a purpose or an objective. He, through his statement, is either trying to settle scores with some leaders in the party or he is playing the RSS game.
Whatever be the motive behind Advaniís writing, it has definitely hit his own party more than the others for that matter. The BJP leadership is at loss to comprehend the raison díÍtre for his pouring. The state of affairs in the saffron party is miserable. BJP president Nitin Gadkari, despite being a RSS choice, has failed to evoke confidence among his colleagues in the party. His lack of competence and his inability to carry all the factions along has made the party dispirited.
There are various factional leaders within the party but there is no single leader who can lead the party from the front in the next general elections. Undoubtedly, there is a vocal and assertive section within the party which wants Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to be projected as the prime ministerial candidate but a large section is opposed to him with the argument that he (Modi) would divide the party and the allies further. The JD (U) would not accept him.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already made his aversion to Modi known and has also conveyed the same to Gadkari. It would be very difficult to get the support of non-NDA parties for Modi. He, for all Muslim vote dependent parties, is an anathema.
Knowing full well that Modi does not stand a chance, Advani is, possibly, trying to help the BJP to do the backseat driving in the next government at the Centre. The BJP may not claim the prime ministerial post but may like to join the government and retain important ministries. This may be the game plan of the Sangh parivar.
Notwithstanding Advaniís prediction, the countryís politics at present is in a state of flux with the stock of every political parties not being very high in public esteem. There seems to be no party enjoying unbridled confidence of people. The national parties are, from among the political lot, are the most despised and are set to lose much more. Who would gain and who would lose how much is too early to predict as elections are about 20 months away.
At the same time to say that the strength of the national parties would be reduced to two digits in 2014 Lok Sabha polls defies the present political logic because there are over two dozen states and union territories where the Congress is going to be locked in direct contest with either the BJP or one of the regional parties. The BJPís reach is comparatively limited to about 15 states.
The regional parties are strongest in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu where the national parties appear to be standing on the margins. In total, there are 162 seats in these states but even here there are contradictions. For example, the two regional parties in Tamil Nadu, namely the DMK and AIADMK would not be the part of the same coalition. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, the SP and BSP would never go together.
Decision of the social activist Anna Hazare to enter the electoral fray has made the political analysis more complex. Hazare supported candidates either under his yet-to-be launched party or under independent category would impact the outcome of the elections.
There is a substantial mass of floating citizenry, which may or may not have voted in the past, is going to participate in the electoral exercise. It is likely to opt for candidates supported by Hazare or fielded by his party. Added to it are the followers of yoga guru Ramdev which may or may not throw their lot with the new party as there are many contradictions and points of disagreement between the two.
The election scenario would depend upon whether Hazareís party or his candidates enter in some kind of formal or informal understanding with established parties or not. In case, they decide to contest without an alliance or an understanding then the BJP would be adversely affected. And if the BJP is able to strike a rapport with the newly emerging party then it could well be a beneficiary but this seems highly unlikely.
The Congress too would be a loser because the middle class voters who had supported it in 2009 elections has turned hostile to it in the wake of scandals, corruption and rising prices.
In the political confusion that may prevail after the election, Advaniís prophecy may turn out to be correct?