BJP has given Uttarakhand a third CM in four months – a sign of a state unit in serious trouble. True, ex-CM Tirath Singh Rawat did not cover himself in glory, nor did procedural challenges of getting elected within six months of taking office help. Equally true is that rifts in the state unit that weighed down his two Rawat predecessors are now CM and two-time MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami’s albatross.
It’s not just Uttarakhand. Infighting within governing parties, BJP or opposition, is also highly visible in six other states that go to polls in 2022 – Goa, Gujarat, HP, Manipur, Punjab, UP. Recent years have seen infighting dramatically bring down governments in Puducherry, MP and Karnataka, with BJP playing an instrumental role on the opposition side. The question is whether factionalism will cost BJP a government or two too next year, or whether its tireless backroom operations plus some audacious front stage play will help avert any big reversal.
BJP’s claim of being a highly disciplined party where all differences are kept behind doors, has always been as much an image as reality. The point to note is that both image and reality have taken hits following the not-up-to-expectations performance in recent assembly polls and Covid’s second wave. BJP units in Karnataka, Kerala, Tripura, West Bengal are in ferment. Partly and ironically, this also reflects BJP’s earlier political success – so many social coalitions, old-timers, and imports coexist, and bargain loudly with the party leadership.
Recent weeks have seen senior party emissaries shore up both CM Adityanath and CM Yediyurappa, even as they gave a hearing to and placated disenchanted groups in UP and Karnataka. Both these leaders carry too much political heft to be unseated. By contrast in Uttarakhand the calculation is that appointing a young new CM may lessen the impact of anti-incumbency.
Dissidence may be on the rise, but BJP is miles away from the organisational car wreck infighting has put Congress in. Look no further than the Amarinder-Sidhu standoff in Punjab Congress. No dissident dare take on the central leadership in BJP. That’s not true for Congress.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Times of India.
END OF ARTICLE