Making haste slowly
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- SIT to seek Supreme Court guidance on Maya Kodnani death penalty issue
- Tamil Nadu police bans Yasin Malik-linked pro-Eelam public meeting
- Kings XI Punjab end IPL 2013 campaign with a win
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
The shameless drift of the UPA has certainly buoyed the BJP. But the jury is still out on whether the party can fully come to terms with the obdurate realities of Indian politics. At the moment, the BJP's strategy seems to be this. The UPA is giving such a huge target that no matter where the BJP shoots, it can hit the bull's eye. But there is a real danger in indiscriminate shooting if your own defences are not in order.
The fact of Indian politics is that much of it is local. There are moments of crisis, where a party can hope to mobilise on a national wave. But we are not at that moment yet. The BJP's ground-up strategy looks as shaky as that of the Congress. The BJP's weakness in Uttar Pradesh is still a huge handicap. Nationally, it is competitive in probably close to 200-odd seats. It will have to peak simultaneously in all of those to be a serious contender. A national campaign may energise some of its cadres, but if it is not matched by local depth, the party may still remain a flotsam on the top.
The second challenge is leadership. L.K. Advani has tried to seize the initiative by calling for an anti-corruption rath yatra. But the dividends of such a move are doubtful. The BJP's own anti-corruption credibility is by no means unimpeachable. Advani has often been better on vague rhetoric than on governance details. In the current atmosphere this can be politically counter-productive. Instead of contributing to a more nuanced debate, the BJP will plunge headlong into acceding to over-the-top demands from civil society. There may also be an outbidding war in the BJP. Varun Gandhi's pre-emptive interventions, coming out in support of Anna Hazare before anyone else, and his rather pointed question on the BJP's silence on the Reliance CAG report, suggest potential for embarrassment from within.
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- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations