“Kasam Ram ki khatey hain, Mandir wahin banayenge”, L. K. Advani pledged to build Ram Mandir in Ayodhya that cemented BJP a place as a major political party in Indian polity. Advani’s ratha yatra and dynamic leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with other BJP heavy weights, such as Murali Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha dominated the political circles of Delhi in 1990s and the first decade of this century. But where are they now? Even the media has stopped reporting about them or their whereabouts.
Yashwant Sinha, who is well past 75 years of age, explained, “All those who are above the age of 75 were declared brain dead on May 26, 2014,” while replying to a question at an industry meet. This cut off point signifies that almost all senior BJP leaders cannot be taken in the Modi cabinet. It also indicates that Modi virtually has no competitor for the prime ministership post. At the time of swearing in ceremony of the current government, there were rumors that Advani’s name can come up for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post and Murali Manohar Joshi’s name for the Defence Minister’s post. However, these possibilities disappeared in the thin year and these two BJP’s senior leaders’ were left with nothing but silver lining. Advani’s name was also doing rounds for the next presidential election’s candidature, which too, died a natural death. It is hard to believe that Modi was not involved in these happenings!
Moreover, if the trait of the senior ministers of the current Modi government and the pattern it presents is delved judiciously, it can be concluded that most senior ministers don’t have mass base support. Arun Jaitley, is in the number two slot position of the Modi government, who could not even win the last Lok Sabha election. The Railway Minster, Suresh Prabhu, too, is devoid of any mass scale support. Sushma Swaraj, the current minister of External Affairs, does have mass popularity, but had been largely sidelined in the campaigns of the recently held state polls.
All these together raise doubts that whether Narendra Modi encourage strong leaders of BJP to emerge apart from himself. Unlike in the Vajpayee regime, when the ministerial cabinet was filled with a number of leaders of mass appeal, the Modi government showcases a one man show and a dictatorial kind of leadership. BJP, always pride itself to be a democratic party and pointed fingers on Congress who could not free itself from the Nehru/Gandhi legacy. But is the same kind of pattern developing within BJP as well? The evidences say, it is!