Reprimand, not revolt


That the ruling troika of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah regards itself as all-powerful is a truism; but what is astounding is the fact their delusion has been accepted as a well-known fact by many people. This is the reason that the letter shot off by party patriarch L.K. Advani and others in the wake of Bihar election results has been termed by a section of the media as a ‘revolt’ by the senior leaders.

The joint statement by Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar, and Yashwant Sinha dismissed the facetious explanation offer by the BJP for its defeat in Bihar assembly elections. “To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the Party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar.”

The statement expressed concern over the fact that the party has been “emasculated” in the last one year and was being “forced to kowtow to a handful.”

Such, however, is the awe of the Troika, and to such an extent it has been internalized by many opinion makers, that an important point was missed in the reporting of the letter: Advani and Joshi, apart from being the senior-most leaders of the party, are members of the Margdarshak Mandal or Guidance Council. Therefore, their views cannot be dismissed as the outbursts of some disgruntled element or undisciplined party activist—surely not as a ‘revolt’ by them.

Merriam Webster defines ‘revolt’ as, among other things, “to fight in a violent way against the rule of a leader or government” and “to act in a way that shows that you do not accept the control or influence of someone or something.” So, revolt is by somebody lower in the hierarchy against somebody higher-up. A sergeant, by willfully disobeying or disregarding his senior officer’s order, revolts; but if the general finds the same order improper, he doesn’t revolt against the officer; the general reprimands the officer. Thus, BJP Parliamentarians Shatrughan Sinha and Bhola Singh might have revolted by slamming Modi & Co., but Advani and Joshi have reprimanded the Troika. For they were appointed as members of the Guidance Council by the ruling dispensation itself; by castigating the Modi-Shah-Jaitley clique, they are showing the path to the party. In short, they are doing their job.

Yet, ignoramuses continue to talk about the supposed revolt and the possible ‘punishment’ for it.

On the face of it, the letter by Advani and others may appear as a move that weakens the party but it actually strengthens it. This shows that the BJP is both a party with a difference and with differences—a prerequisite for democracy in the party as well as democracy in the country. It shows that there are enough checks and balances within the country’s largest party to Caesarian propensities and sycophantic proclivities within it.

Hats off to Advani! He has proven that age is a number.


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