[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he revolt of the veterans against the domination of Modi-Shah coterie over the BJP and the Central Government may intensify in the coming days amid indications that more rebels are joining their ranks. Top sources in the rebel camp hinted that efforts were on to persuade two senior leaders to back their campaign to restore inner party democracy and fix accountability for the Bihar debacle.
Sources said that the rebel camp has reached out to those leaders who rose in the party thanks to the blessings of L K Advani. The rebel camp is in touch with two such central ministers who are also part of BJP’s all-powerful Parliamentary board. The Advani camp is trying to convince these ministers that if they do not speak out against the autocratic way Modi and Shah are running both the party and the Government, they will also be marginalized like other senior leaders. Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who once said he is treated like a ‘brain dead’ person by the BJP leadership, is understood to be coordinating the exercise to expand the rebel group.
This rebellion is the first serious challenge the Modi-Shah duo has faced since they established complete control of Gujarat over a party that has suffered two back-to-back setbacks in North India – in Delhi and Bihar. Both Modi and Shah are so inaccessible to even the senior party leaders that a silent resentment was building against them – especially against Amit Shah – in the BJP. It is well known that even Union ministers had to wait for weeks to get an appointment with Shah, whose vocabulary did not win him many followers either.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]ources said that the rebel camp is planning to pile up more pressure on Modi and Shah ahead of the parliament session beginning November 22. Advani camp reportedly feels that “weakened’ by the resounding defeat in Bihar and having lost the goodwill of a large section of cadres and workers, the Modi-Shah duo can not act against them. With many influential local leaders from different states waiting in the wings to settle scores with the Modi-Shah duo for sidelining them in the party they nurtured over the years, it will be a difficult task for Modi and Sah to tackle this rebellion.
BJP-watchers feel that if Modi and Shah allowed the rebellion to continue, it can gain momentum and more leaders could stand up against them in the days to come. The other option to crackdown against the rebels is also not an easy one since it could force someone like Advani to even contemplate the formation of a breakaway party.
After all, Advani camp has been so thoroughly marginalized in the present dispensation that they have nothing to lose even if they walk out of the party. The role of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh will be crucial in resolving the crisis. Only RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has the authority to bring the warring factions on to a negotiating table and restore peace in the party. But then those who know Modi and Shah would find it difficult to assume that the duo can enter into any negotiation from a point of weakness.
In addition to the statement issued by Yashwant Sinha on behalf of Advani, Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Jaswant Singh, several BJP leaders have openly rebelled against the party. They include members of parliament such as Karia Munda, Bhola Singh, Shatrughan Sinha and R K Singh. The voice of dissent can grow louder if the RSS does not step in quickly and decisively.