Vir Sanghvi takes the recent suggestions made by Arun Jaitley ('can there be a BJP without shrillness? Its chosen persona is of the Hindu with a grievance. And a party of grievance can hardly mumble its complaints'), Swapan Dasgupta ('The BJP without Hindutva is like Pizza Hut without the Pizza') and after dealing with them, comes to the third suggestion: that new leaders will revitalize the party, and writes on Advani wanting Sushma Swaraj to succeed him:
But is Sushma a 21st century leader? It is not unlikely that Rahul Gandhi could be the face of the Congress during the 2014 campaign. Is Sushma going to be effective in countering all the things that the Congress will claim that Rahul represents: youth, a forward-looking approach, empathy with the Kalawatis and other disadvantaged people of India etc? Read the full article at the Hindustan Times
It is hard to say. Certainly she will have to transform her persona from the xenophobic, rolling pin-wielding middle class housewife she now represents. And with Sushma at its head, the BJP will more or less have embraced shrillness as its tone of voice, regardless of what Jaitley wants.
But if not Sushma, who? Arun Jaitley perhaps. But does he have the electoral credentials any mass leader will require? Narendra Modi? Could be, even if the current mood is against him.
But do any of these people strike you as having the ability to lead the BJP in the way that Vajpayee did?
Meanwhile, Swapan Dasgupta has a very coherent explanation for his insistence on the need for the BJP to abandon the H-word:
Its nominal presence on the BJP platform deters the modern Hindu and frightens non-Hindu Indians. It raises a profound question in the minds of voters: "What sort of India does the BJP want?"
The answer, I am afraid, isn't very wholesome. Muthalik may be anti-BJP and Togadia may be on his own crazy trip but together they espouse Hindutva. The moment a political party has to explain that "their" Hindutva is different from "our" Hindutva, it has lost the plot.
Is it any wonder that BJP governments in the states want to dissociate themselves from Hindutva.