Bhartiya Janata Party in self-destruction mode
M. M Khajooria
Earlier Jatinder Singh led a BJP deputation to Finance Minister Jaitley to plead for “an AIIMS for Jammu also”. Every one was free to charter his own course in politics. Sadly, in this case the prevailing political culture seem to have caught up with the gentlemen rather quickly. My main regret was that he proved me wrong. In my article titled ‘Don-t let the AIIMS controversy fester’ published on 30th April. 2015 I had written “There can really be no quarrel with the truth about the sequence of events and authenticity of facts disclosed by Jatinder Singh. Even otherwise, he is too much of a gentleman and being relatively a new entrant in the tribe of politicians reasonably free from the culture of duplicity and deceit that generally inform their behavioural pattern” And I do not like to be proved wrong.
Abrogation of Article 370 was the dominant political ‘Mantra’ of the party in its present and previous incarnations. Every year it observed ‘Shyama Prashad Mukerjee fortnight’ in the memory of the icon, who they believed ” fell martyr to the cause of total integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India”. in a Srinagar Jail and reiterate the resolve to realise his dream. When it came to power in the Centre under Vajpayee, the party assured its adherents of continued commitment which could only be fulfilled when they had numbers in the LoK Sabha to be able for form government on their own. The wish was granted by the decisive electoral victory in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Intoxicated with the new found power, Dr. Jatinder Singh, MoS in PMO was somewhat rashly tasked to fire the Article 370 salvo. Unable to handle the counterblast the step was hastily retracted. The roaring was substituted by mewing. A bad beginning by all accounts. Finally the agreement between the parties holding violently conflicting views on the all important Article (for both parties) paved the way for the out-of-the -world coalition was spelled out in the CMP of the PDP-BJP coalition, whatever its worth, implications and long-term fallout. The issue appeared to have been settled for at the least the duration of the coalition.
This, however was not to be. For some mysterious reason Central BJP leader on arrival in Jammu just can not resist the temptation to speak on Article 370. So BJP National Spokesperson, Sombit Patra told reporters in Jammu on 24th May. “As far as the abrogation of Article 370, it continues to be part of the core ideology of BJP but right now we don’t have enough numbers in Parliament to do away with it. But in future when we do have numbers we will work towards its removal”. M.J Akbar, another National Spokesperson of BJP told reporters in distant Patna on 25th May that “This is a constitutional matter and any kind of change in it can not be brought in the Parliament” Significantly, he was responding to a question on Prime Minister Modi’ stand on article 370 in the light of Patra’s Jammu outburst. M.J Akbar had taken the position akin to that adopted by the PDP, Congress and National Conference. But Jammu magic was infallible. Another Spokesperson of the party, Meenakshi Leekhi had the following to say the very next day in Jammu. “There has been no change in the ideology of her party as far as the removal of the Article from the Constitution was concerned. “BJP has not weakened is stand on the issue, but it is not something that can not be done overnight”. She stated which was the authentic voice of the BJP and the Modi government? If Akbar had stated the position adopted by the Prime Minister, on whose behalf were Patra and Lakhi speaking? Now MoS Jatinder Singh has come out with the oft repeated “on the back burner theory”. We have heard him before. In any case, if this was indeed so why was “the emotive core issue” allowed to be pushed on the front burner every now and then. More over, given the stature and credibility enjoyed by M.J Akbar, denial to be credible had to come from him, the President of the Party or the PM himself.
These were just two instances, illustrative not exhaustive, to show how the party “with a difference steeled by discipline’ was flirting with what can only be called the dangerous game of self-destruction.