Once a force to reckon with in the BJP, K.N. Govindacharya is credited with the party’s social engineering strategy. He talks to Panini Anand:
How do you slot Modi? His way of functioning, the claims he makes?
For a western state like Gujarat, with its ports, long history of trade and connections, exchanges with the western world, development was inevitable with or without Modi. I accept the fact that he activated the administrative machinery in his initial days as CM but today it’s morphed into a super-centralised monolith...which is unhealthy and creates an undemocratic atmosphere. There’s a picture of growth projected, but it discounts the common man’s socio-cultural prospects.
So you believe his style of functioning has damaged the BJP in the state?
I have mixed feelings about it. But the super-centralisation has stopped internal growth and democracy within the party, and this is damaging in the long run.
Why hasn’t the BJP dealt with the problem?
Well, earlier the organisation was always supreme. For the first time in the party’s history, this tradition was broken with Narendra Modi’s insistence that he would not participate in the BJP national executive if Sanjay Joshi was there. It’s the first time the organisation was brought to its knees by an individual. For similar transgressions, the action taken against Ram Jethmalani differed from the action against Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh. So the problem in the BJP is now not only due to Narendra Modi; the party leadership has been unable to tackle issues in a proper manner.
There’s been a beeline of leaders—from Sanjay Joshi to Keshubhai—leaving the state or the party?
There is disappointment in the RSS, VHP and even among state BJP workers. The BJP should have thought about the challenges ahead after the 2004 general elections. Ironically, they were unable to do that at the organisational level and now at the national level as well.
Why is no one raising their voice? From Advani to Jaitley to Sushma... everyone’s silent?
The ambitions of the self have bypassed ideology and party. That’s why there is opportunism, confusion and ignorance. They are behaving like ostriches with their head stuck in the sand.