The Rath Yatra Returns- Part 2
LK Advani has completed another mammoth countrywide yatra. Even though the current yatra may not have generated the kind of consistent hype in the national media that surrounded some of his previous endeavours, Advani has scored many a point which can't be ignored by either his own party or his rivals.
The most significant development during the last couple of weeks has been two of the senior BJP leaders - Rajnath Singh and Jaswant Singh - coming out openly in support of Advani as PM. And this might just signal a larger trend.
None of the second rung leaders will be happy if one pips the other to be the PM candidate. And that would imply that by default, Advani becomes the PM candidate, even though he is as qualified for it on merit.
The Yatra's concentrated focus on corruption perhaps restricted its success, for even though corruption makes for an emotive issue, Anna Hazare and his team enjoy an irreversible lead on the issue. This is where maybe Advani could take a cue from Nitin Gadkari and start spelling out the specifics of his development ideas for the nation.
Educating the masses on bio-fuel and solar energy could well be the next big thing that's waiting to be exploited in political speeches. If Advani's speeches can merge his crusade against corruption with a blueprint outlining a specific 10-year alternative development plan for the rural sector, it might just make for a surer winning formula.
The Yatra did pose of challenge of sorts for Advani when it entered Karnataka. After all that's one state where BJP itself has a lot to answer. Moreover the state unit, owing allegiance to Yedurappa was not supporting the Yatra. Advani had the option of skipping Karnataka on some pretext.
But true to his commitment, he went there and minced no words in denouncing corruption within the state unit of the party.
Strangely, as a result of the shifting equations within the party perhaps, Yedyurappa was all praise for Advani after the former was released on bail a few days later.
At the end of the yatra, it is only natural for critics to question if the yatra has served any significant purpose. However, what people don't realise is that it's only mass, on-the-road campaigning like these which can build as well as invigorate the party cadres. And without prepared cadres, fighting elections is anyway a losing proposition. Therefore, if Advani has chosen to do the dirty work himself, it ought to merit appreciation.
It is often believed that when you reveal your ambition to the world, the world sometimes conspires to deprive you from it. This time round, Advani is in no hurry to stake his claim to the country's top job. However, another yatra closer to the next elections could well see a greater consensus building up in his favour. This, sure, is an exciting phase in the life of the relentless octogenarian.
More about Tuhin A Sinha
Tuhin A. Sinha is an author, scriptwriter and columnist based in Mumbai, India.
Tuhin was born in Jamshedpur. He has studied at Loyola School, Jamshedpur, Hindu college, Delhi and the National Institute of Advertising, New Delhi.
Tuhin is best known for his novels, Of Love And Politics, That Thing Called Love and 22 Yards. That Thing Called Love is now out in several regional languages as well. Tuhin has scripted several TV shows, apart from having worked as story/script/creative consultant with leading Film and TV production houses.
Tuhin is also a guest columnist with TOI, DNA and some lifestyle magazines. A keen observer of national politics, the subject finds its way in many of Tuhin’s writings.
Tuhin is presently working on his fourth book, the Autobiography.
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