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Tuhin A Sinha
Monday , November 21, 2011 at 12 : 42

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 among the best-selling authors in India, a columnist and a screenwriter. Starting in 2006 with his first book, That Thing Called Love, an unconventional romance set in a Mumbai monsoon, Tuhin has written five novels. They include The Captain (formerly 22 Yards), Of Love And Politics, The Edge of Desire and The Edge Of Power. Tuhin is acknowledged among the most prolific Indian writers with a maverick knack to experiment with new genres. While his first book was an offbeat romance, The Captain was a cricket thriller that explored the underbelly of modern cricket. Of Love And Politics was a political thriller. His last two books which comprise the Edge series can be called socio-political thrillers with a strong feminist skew. Tuhin is a screenwriter of several popular TV shows, the most noteworthy being Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Star Plus. Apart from his fiction novels and scripts, Tuhin is a keen political observer. His columns on Indian politics appear regularly in India’s leading dailies. Tuhin has a regular blog on ibnlive.com. He also appears frequently on news channels on discussions around politics and cricket.