Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022
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Discipline Smothers Dissent And Ambition In BJP, But Yogi Begins Ascent To The Top

The past shows that the BJP has several aces up its sleeve when it comes to leadership changes

Photo: PTI

Until a few years ago, Chhattisgarh was among the states where the BJP had the str­­o­­­ngest hold. A formidable chief min­­­i­ster headed the state with an absolute maj­ority for three full terms (2003-18), with no challenge or threat to his authority. Raman Singh had the total support of the central leaders­hip and some of his governance practices even fou­nd praise among activists and civil society leaders. Still, Singh was side-lined after the party’s defeat in the 2018 assembly elections. Such is the crisis of second-rung leadership in the state today that with elections just a year away, the party is fran­tically looking for potential poll candidates, let alone a CM face.

Consider Gujarat, the party’s strongest fort, a state it has been ruling since 1995. After its chief minister, firmly in the saddle during 2001-14, moved to the Centre as the PM, the state has seen three CMs in a short duration. Perhaps nothing exempl­ifies the state of the second-rung leadership in the party than this. For a long time, a duo reigned over the party marked by a staggering number of seco­ndary leaders, before it was replaced by another pair. Observers once used to ask: after Atal-Adv­ani, who? Now they ask: after Modi-Shah, who?

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