R. Jagannathan in DNA argues that the BJP lost the plot not in March 2009, when the bugle was sounded for the latest election, but in 2004, when it stumbled to a shock defeat:
“The party’s public behaviour since then has been that of a bad loser, and nobody loves such a person. Soon after the defeat, we saw Sushma Swaraj threatening to shave off her head if Sonia Gandhi was made prime minister. The party looked foolish when Sonia abdicated in favour of Manmohan Singh.
“Then there was the unseemly behaviour over the UPA’s decision to induct “tainted” ministers. Sure, there was a political point to be made, but the BJP shot itself in the foot by becoming obstructionist in Parliament. Nobody was amused.
“In every subsequent encounter with the UPA—the Ram Sethu affair, the Afzal Guru episode—the party acted churlishly, opposing for the sake of opposing, and creating a ruckus in Parliament. The party’s thumbs-down to the Indo-US nuclear deal took the cake: it tried to scuttle something it had itself been working towards when in power. Everybody could now see the BJP’s desperation to score points.
“The last act in this tragedy was scripted by L.K. Advani himself, with his ill-thought-out taunts about Manmohan Singh being a “weak prime minister”. It took the Sonia-Rahul-Manmohan combine just two weeks to demolish him, providing a fitting finale to five years of foolish opposition. In short, the BJP was in self-destruct mode from May 2004.”
Read the full article: How BJP lost the plot