August 08, 2020
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Changing The Party

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Changing The Party
IS Vajpayee changing the BJP? Is Sonia changing the Congress? These queries are being constantly raised and debated among the spielmeisters of Delhi. There are some who believe that bachelor boy Vajpayee, with his love of poetry and the pregnant pause, is inexorably leading the Hindu revivalist party into the garden of moderation from whence no self-righteous crusade may be launched.

Similarly, the lovers of Sonia claim the lady is changing the feckless behemoth she presides over into a party of greater purposefulness and a reduced propensity for pelf and compromise. No cheap alliances, no dubious tickets, no grasping for power at all costs.

It all seems a lot of empty fantasising. The truth of the BJP will only be known when on its own it wins 325 seats in the Lok Sabha and has to no longer waste its breath on piffling allies. Does Vajpayee run the party, or the party Vajpayee will then become clear.

As for Sonia, many insider accounts reveal that far from changing the Congress she's becoming of a piece with it. Imperiously she's shuffling coteries and advisors, with pure functionality, not cleanness, youth or commitment, being the criterion. Remember Rajiv, and how quickly he was seduced by Congress satraps and their venal ways, shedding both his initial ideals and advisors. The fact is it needs enormous personality and self-belief to change the very ethos of a major party. The last politician who pulled it off successfully was Mrs Indira Gandhi, and she changed the Congress much for the worse.

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