Has the Bharatiya Janata Party lost its political plot?

August 19, 2009

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday expelled former finance minister Jaswant Singh from its primary membership for praising Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in a book.

The decision to expel Singh came after the release of his book “Jinnah – India, Partition, IndependenceINDIA/” which the BJP said went against the party ideology.

As a visibly upset Singh, a founding member of the party, questioned the decision, the latest controversy to hit the BJP seems to have brought its internal conflicts out in the open.

Many pressing issues haunt the party as it begins its ‘Chintan Baithak’ – an annual brainstorming session.

The BJP was drubbed at the 2009 general election and faced a leadership crisis. Its elderly leaders are perceived as being out of sync with a young vote base and it has had an ideological falling out with its Hindu right-wing parent.

The BJP may need to take a hard look at these issues if it hopes to reinvent itself.

Singh’s book and its fallout have led some liberal thinkers in politics to question the wisdom of meting out punishment to an individual for expressing a personal opinion especially since larger issues like revamping the organizational structure of the party and its revival need to be addressed.

It is ironical that the controversy over Singh’s expulsion happened on the day the BJP top brass met in Shimla to chart out its future course of action after a dismal showing in the general election.

Do you think the expulsion of Singh, a veteran national level leader with a career spanning three decades, is yet another example of the BJP losing the political plot? Will it be able to resurrect itself in time for the next election?


His expulsion shows how desperate the BJP is getting these days.Our democracy is based on freedom of speech and expression.If an individual researches and writes a book in his personal capacity that should be welcomed.Infact Jaswant Singh has raised a very relevant question . What was the role of Nehru in the partition of India? There should be a public debate on this.
Satyamev Jayate

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive

Its all downhill from here for BJP. BJP has too much internal fight. On one hand, Advani gets to stick around his post Jinnah praise in Pakistan, while Jaswant gets the boot. It’s the height of double standard from top brass and leadership for the party. It has lost its spine and needs young breed to carry it forward, much like what Congress is breeding.

Of course, it is totally unfair to expel a veteran leader who simply put down his thoughts post 5 years of hard research on the subject. That too having sent the draft to Advani, its utmost senior leader, for a read before publishing the same!! He is simply being made the escape goat.

The RSS and BJP simply can not digest the opinion posted by Jaswant. To them, Jinnah is the core devil in their book. Obviously as the politics goes, if you remove the devil, you loose the plot to move people. Thus, BJP will still try to cash on this mantra, but it may last for long. As people will start digging up the graves and meeting archives and expose the details along with their own conclusions.

Argument though, can be made in favor of the RSS/BJP that Jinnah ultimately must be held liable for not accepting Nehru as Prime Minister and in turn blackmailed the opportunity to the worst case scene i.e. divide India which displaced thousands. This obviously is the stand of BJP on the issue.


Posted by Josh | Report as abusive

BJP is being dishonest and callous.. instead of squarely taking the blame for repeated election defeats – Advani, Rajnath et at are playing Stalinist commissars and making a mockery of hindutva, intellectual honesty, freedom of expression, contribution and hard work of a founding member…
“Vinashkale viparit buddhi” – another party is now going into terminal decline.. reducing options for the indian electorate – all because of petty egos of its ancient leaders, and the pussilanimity of its members

Posted by Gopal | Report as abusive

Yes. BJP is on the verge of self destruction. Post 2004, the party spent five years mourning the loss and without paying attention to how it should regain strength. Post 2009, it payed no heed to suggestions from some leaders to analyse the Party’s past, present and future. Instead, it has got into the habit of making more mess for itself. One wonders when will Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie will be shown the doors. Advani praised Jinnah, but is still the Party Chief. Poor Jashwant! On the other hand, we have numerous problems at the rural, urban, local and national levels to think over; why are our senior leaders so obsessed with the long-dead villains? Every Indian with a common knowledge knows Jinnah’s call for “Direct Action” in early 1947. To praise him or not to is a no-brainer.

Posted by anil | Report as abusive

No doubt that BJP has lost it’s charm…they were not able to implement the unified civil code during their goverment.

Anyway india will soon be a islam nation with the current islam population growth of 30 – 40% compared to 9-10% of other communities and BJP wont have any importance in future !!!

BJP need to bring up some strong and corruption free leaders from the young genration then only bjp will have an existence.

Posted by Roy Rogers | Report as abusive

Basically, since the time BJP tasted power at the center. BJP is paying the price of lots of confusion it created, particularly over the ideological and leadership issues.

The real problem within BJP was that a group of leaders feared-BJP was going away from Hindutva and the other group strongly believed that votes could only be collected by compromising with Hindutva. This was a great confusion BJP could not sort out yet. The confusion weaken the party and the leadership.

The crisis deepened after the lost at last general election. Advaniji stayed as leader in parliament, he would have thought otherwise – like handing over the role to new leadership had the crisis not deepened.

Now, the shocking expulsion of senior leader like Jaswant Singh is just a desperate attempt by BJP leadership to score points against opponents within BJP and to send a signal across the party that breaking discipline in the party would result only into disciplinary actions. However BJP has lost the plot.

Jaswant Singh is no exception and he may be reinstated later in the party, but the current turmoil is going to get worse in near future, it seems.

BJP has able, intelligent and visionary leaders however the party needs paradigm shift in its approach towards the people of India. It should address contemporary and development oriented results in the new era no matter the political damage it will have to suffer. India wants BJP and not just the other congress.

Posted by Pawan Khatawane | Report as abusive

It was very brave on part of JS to come out with truth. In democracy we must live with differing opinions. BJP is wrong here by expelling him. Let’s make friendship with Pakistan because India can never destroy 6th largest country with 5th largest Army and a nuclear power. India and Pakistan must live like US/Canada.

Posted by Zafar | Report as abusive

This a really sad day. India continues the path of Nehruvian darkness of banning books for questions existing ideas. The truly sad part is that, this is the party that was set to question the status quo.

Jaswant Singh is a respected politician and one of the founders of today’s BJP. It deeply saddens me that we as a people re failing to evolve at every test that is thrown at us.

People who can not agree to disagree and must banish the disagreement with an ostrich like behavior has no place in a progressive, civilized world. A truly dark day.

Posted by Amlan Chatterjee | Report as abusive

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