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Right wing purge

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The changes that have taken place in the BJP are akin to the Communist style purges where the emergence of a new order is axiomatic with the exit of the old. Indeed, compared to the left wing purges, the one in India’s only right wing party have been rather slow in coming.

The changes that have taken place in the BJP are akin to the Communist style purges where the emergence of a new order is axiomatic with the exit of the old. Indeed, compared to the left wing purges, the one in India’s only right wing party have been rather slow in coming. The old order was given enough time to read the incoming signals and fashion a respectable response.

The right wing bosses actually blame both Advani and Joshi for their present fate. Even when the electorate was moving Modi-wards, the two veterans did not see the writing on the wall. Joshi was reluctant to vacate his Varanasi Lok Sabha seat for Modi, and Advani remained critical even after the electoral victory. However, this clearly is an RSS-driven decision.

gratitude is an old fashioned sentiment that has no room in politics, and in India we do not have the tradition of treating our elders gracefully in any field. The reality is that it is the new generation that feels threatened by the elders

It would be recalled that it was Nanaji Deshmukh, the RSS strongman in politics during the mid-80s, who had talked of 60 being the retirement age in politics. He followed what he preached. Even after the defeats in 2004 and 2009, there were calls from RSS that the BJP elders should step back.

But as Vajpayee faded out due to ill health, Advani stuck to his position rather stubbornly. Perhaps, he has been nursing a grouse that having worked for four decades to build the party since its inception, he was being edged out when it was time to enjoy the dividends of his labour.

But then gratitude is an old fashioned sentiment that has no room in politics, and in India we do not have the tradition of treating our elders gracefully in any field. The reality is that it is the new generation that feels threatened by the elders. Their mere presence is seen as an obstacle to the emergence of the new order. But now we have the era of complete one-man control in the BJP, and its government.

For those who have been watching the political developments in Gujarat since 2001, when the Modi era actually began this comes as no surprise. Indeed, it would have been shocking, if something else had happened. This actually is the Gujarat political model in action.

That the Sangh parivar plays the old game of rewarding the loyalists and punishing the bad boys is also clear that on the day of the purge an old loyalist like Kalyan Singh was rewarded with a gubernatorial berth in Jaipur. So, there are incentives for good behaviour and the boot when you go awry. As swayamsewaks and elders perhaps Advani and Joshi failed to take this into account.

But the game is not yet over. Vajpayee due to his illness has actually moved beyond the pale of such mundane developments, and may still be rewarded with a Bharat Ratna, whereas Advani and Joshi may get some consolation prizes, so that the Sangh and its apparatchiks may liberate themselves from the label of being heartless.

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