The joke doing the rounds in political circles is the White House has denied that Barack Obama is joining the BJP, and the rumour that he will be officially welcomed into the party fold by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah on January 26 is a canard. Meanwhile, the BJP has denied that inducting Obama is not aimed at polarising the minorities. Jests aside, POTUS’s visit is undoubtedly a national victory for the Prime Minister. While it has turned most of Lutyens’ Delhi and large parts of the National Capital Region into a fortress, no sort of no-fly zone exists in the BJP’s political skies. As a result, hallelujah, it’s raining politicians of all hues, and has-beens, parachuting into the party as if there is no tomorrow.
Sure, for many of them, there are no tomorrows. They face obscurity and sunset as every other party stares at a bleak future, their leaders desperately planning strategies and synergies for survival. Ideologies and caste engineering are adapted and adopted as the smorgasbord of survival gets messier. The seasonal migrations to any party riding a popular wave is a wearying reality in India. Isn’t the BJP supposed to be a party with a difference?
Realpolitik doesn’t work on absolute principles but inconsistent reality. The BJP political magnet is attracting failed politicians and activists indiscriminately. Kiran Bedi joined, became BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, and acquired saffron hues, all within a week, creating mayhem in the party, which has grassroots leaders working in Delhi for decades. Then came Shazia Ilmi—the ex-cosmetic face of AAP—to join the BJP for the sake of “governance”. Krishna Tirath, the former UPA Union minister and Congress MP, also joined the BJP. Around the same time, Janardhan Dwivedi, old Congress warhorse and a Gandhi family loyalist known for his discretion, surprisingly praised Modi, annoying his party intensely—is it an indication that he too wants to ditch starched khaddar for the Modi kurta?
Amit Shah has set his sights on West Bengal—the cradle of Hindu renaissance during Colonial times with personalities like Aurobindo Ghosh and Raja Rammohun Roy consolidating religious patriotism. Ergo, Sourav Ganguly is queering the pitch for Mamata Banerjee, who is facing strong anti-incumbency sentiment for misrule and terror activities in madrassas in Bengal. TMC’s enfant terrible, Dinesh Trivedi, has joined the BJP. Some of Didi’s disgruntled ministers and MPs could be next. In Kerala, popular Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi is likely to join the BJP. The BJP needs numbers in the Rajya Sabha and it is important to win all upcoming state elections by 2016 if development-oriented bills have to be passed in Parliament. Hence, BJP is the new recruitment centre and para drop zone. But, the Modi wave of 2014, that swept away the pseudo-secular debris of the past has enthused an entire generation of energetic and ideologically motivated youth who want development. They should be groomed as leaders, and district level surveys should be conducted to identify new candidates for tomorrow.
Narendra Modi has brought fresh young faces into his phalanx: Smriti Irani, Piyush Goel, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Devendra Fadnavis and others. He has strengthened the government with tough men like Manohar Parrikar and Ajit Doval. The BJP should follow his example, and see the big picture instead of taking political polaroids. Otherwise the difference between the party with a difference and different parties could soon vanish.