After obstruction, time for introspection
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Going by the mood within the BJP, the coal block allotment controversy appears to have cleared, what L K Advani thought in June, were dark clouds hovering over the party.
The party succeeded in paralysing Parliament for three weeks with its 'maximalist' demand for the prime minister's resignation. After flirting with Team Anna and Baba Ramdev, hoping to become the automatic beneficiary of the anti-Congress mood, the BJP has somewhat wrested control over the "battle against corruption".
Its confidence is reflected in its assertion that it does not mind "majestic isolation" in its quest to hold Prime Minister Manmohan Singh politically accountable for the coal scam and the economic gloom.
Obstructing Parliament, however, is easy given its strength. Even a two-member TRS has done it. The real challenge is to sustain the momentum outside Parliament.
Catch phrases such as " ukhad fenko UPA sarkaar ko " reflect the BJP's battle readiness and belief that the UPA is on the brink. But the political and perhaps personal compulsions of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati could prolong the BJP's wish for early elections. Until then, it has to sustain its high-pitched campaign.
It will take more than paralysing Parliament and addressing press conferences in state capitals to convert the "battle against corruption" into a movement against the government on the lines of the JP movement or the VP Singh wave.
Though the party is invoking Emergency and Bofors in its campaign, there is no clear protagonist and the BJP's collective leadership will have to make way for clarity on this. Otherwise, given the jostling among BJP leaders, the process to "choose the first among equals" can be damaging.
Moreover, the saffron party has to add new allies to the NDA. With the exception of Subramanian Swamy's Janata Party, it's recent attempts have come a cropper even as Nitish Kumar is showing withdrawal symptoms. The fact that the NDA will be a serious contender in only about 385 Lok Sabha seats across 18 states, the magic figure of 272 will be a struggle. Focusing only on anti-Congressism is unlikely to fetch electoral dividends in states such as Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
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