What if the BJP had actually won the 2009 polls?

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The BJP’s poor showing in the 2009 elections after all the televised thigh-slapping, moustache-twirling, eyeball-flaring and chest-thumping has seen senior functionaries and factotums of the party wash their khaki cheddis in public.

Clearly much of this is post-facto rationalisation on the part of the “dissenters”, intended at positioning themselves, undercutting potential rivals, and carving out their own turf before the change of guard at the top, i.e. Lalchand Kishinchand Advani‘s exit.

In other words, rank opportunism.

But what if the BJP had won the elections and the NDA had formed the government? What tunes would these wise old men have been humming?

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# “There is a growing tendency among party leaders becoming too self-centered to serve the public cause,” says former defence minister Jaswant Singh.

# “It appears as if some people in the party are determined to ensure that the principle of accountability does not prevail so that their own little perch is not disturbed,” says former finance ministerYashwant Sinha.

# “Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made an essentially weak Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh look strong by backing him solidly. In contrast, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar made a strong leader like Advani look weak, helpless and not fully in command,” says Advani aide Sudheendra Kulkarni.

# “BJP hasn’t been able to impress on peoples’ mind the purport of Hindutva because they found it narrow-minded or did not find it useful in ascending the throne of power” says RSS ideologue M.G. Vaidya.

# “Varun Gandhi’s speech in Pilibhit caused the greatest amount of damage to BJP,” says former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra.

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny/ The Indian Express

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