Tuesday, June 03, 2008

swapan dasgupta: BJP needs to be aware of snipers

jun 3, 2008


On May 24, the evening before the Karnataka results were to be declared, many reporters on the BJP beat were excited by a piece of information emanating from the office of one of the topmost leaders of the party. The BJP, they were told, was more or less ready to discard Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and install someone else in that post, before the Assembly election.

To an average person, unaware of the byzantine ways of political decision-making, the information seemed bizarre. Why should any party want to remove a popularly elected Chief Minister, one who had put the Centre on the backfoot after the Jaipur blasts, merely because the Gujjars had resumed their socially divisive agitation? After all, Vasundhara, despite some shortcomings, was the BJP's most agreeable face in Rajasthan. Her image of a tough, no-nonsense leader may have deprived some MLAs of their private practice. However, toughness is an attribute voters appreciate -- witness how much Narendra Modi's machismo helped the BJP in Gujarat.

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