If one were to give an honest definition of a political party, it would definitely be termed as a pack of wolves. Every individual is willing to live in cohesion till he gets his share of the bounty or in the case of the wolf, the spoils of the hunt. Loyalty to the pack or party is only tested and secured during trying times. It is during these frustrating circumstances that the character of a pack and political party is revealed. Most wolf packs and parties disintegrate during these demanding phases. Only the party led by a strong leader and a pack guided by a resilient wolf wither the storm.
Looking at the current political scenario in the country, it seems that not only the opposition but even the ruling party is engulfed in a cyclonic squall of change. The BJP has now been facing conditions hitherto unfamiliar to it. Tears and shock in the eyes of BJP workers witnessing the party cross the 272 mark perfectly explain the predicament in which the party is. Never before have they tasted so much power. The palates of their leaders are so intrigued by the bittersweet flavor of a thumping victory that they are willing to exercise selective amnesia when it comes to acting strong on corruption. Arrogant rebuttal of incidents like Lalitgate, Vyapam scam and irregularities in purchase of food items for schools in Maharashtra seems to have left a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth except the ruling party which has been intoxicated by the aroma of supremacy.
The monsoon session which extends till the second week of August is all but doomed. Political miscalculations, it seems, will cost the government heavily in the days to come. Like the rainy season, the session too was supposed to bring cheer for the BJP and its allies. They expected to push through important game changing legislations like the amendment to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 and the much needed labor law reforms. Rocked by the scandals the government is now on a slippery slope, more so because of the resolute stand taken by the opposition in ensuring that the parliament does not function. The party now faces its critical litmus test which may break or define its character.
A lot is riding on the leadership of the BJP to steer it through this ordeal unscathed and victorious. Unity is the need of the hour and one expects that a leader claiming to have a self professed 56 inch chest has everything under control. However in Indian politics expectations and reality rarely meet. For the first time in over a year the public is glaring through chinks in the BJP armor. Divisions within the party are slowly surfacing. It started with LK Advani agreeing to meet Kejriwal and now with leaders like Kirti Azad openly opposing the party stand on Lalitgate, the phenomena of public dissent is spiraling into frenzy. The most recent dissatisfaction came from Shanta Kumar, perhaps the most senior and honest leader in the BJP. He expressed his displeasure against the handling of the recent scams and was particularly perturbed about the Vyapam killings.
Having seen the BJP leadership led by Mr Modi give endless lectures on ideal governance, it will now be interesting to observe how the strongman conducts himself during this difficult monsoon session. He faces a demanding task of managing the opposition as well as differences within the party. The focus till now has been on establishing himself as a personality cult within the party. While this may have served him well, it may bounce back to bite him. Never has our democracy tolerated individuals who considered themselves bigger than Indian Polity. Indira Gandhi tried and had to face the ignominy of defeat after emergency, with her own close aides deserting her and contesting from the Janta Party. Will the PM show the political capital of 340 or fall prey to his own hubris, only time will tell.
Rohan Shridhar is a law graduate and legal activist from the state of Himachal Pradesh