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R Jagannathan in the DNA:
No one, least of all Advani, can be in any doubt that the party needs new faces, younger leaders. But the intriguing question is this: why are democratic parties like his unable to handle succession with grace when dynasties, caste-based parties and Stalinist cabals are able to do it easily enough
...Why can't it [the BJP] simply solve its succession problems by holding an election instead of hoping to get a leader anointed from above?
It must be something in the Indian character. We are afraid of the outcome of democracy. We are afraid that if we make party elections a free-for-all, we may end up with someone unexpected. In short, we are more fearful of change than we need be. Which is why in our transition from feudal society to modern democracy, we have stopped for shelter with caste-based and dynastic parties. Barring the BJP and the Communists, all Indian parties are run by dynasties or caste-based aggregations, or both. There is almost no exception.
Why is this so? The answer lies in the nature of caste as an institution.
...centuries of caste-based protection has made Indians reluctant to change. They are afraid to abandon the old, even when it had outlived its utility. We change leaders only when there is no option, and even then we fret about it. We prefer feudal leadership to open democracy because the former gives us a sense of permanence while the latter brings us the threat of change. This is why the RSS, with its feudal and paternalistic culture, is easily able to replace old leaders without fuss, but its more democratic affiliate, the BJP, is not.
While he is absolutely right in his characterisation of other parties, the question must be asked: Is the BJP really a democratic party? Or is the real problem that while definitely "more democratic" than the rest, it is only pseudo-democratic? For if it were truly democratic, it could simply have held elections. Is it not too convenient and a bit of a copout, though interesting, to invoke the caste-system in this case? For that should apply equally to the other caste-based and dynastic parties as well. We could easily, for instance, explain all resistance to change by citing the Newton's first law, as well. The real reason here, as elsewhere, could be simply this that a small coterie finds it convenient to let the status remain quo for some more time. Clearly, more democracy is the answer: if the country as a whole can deal with change, so can the BJP. Or other parties, for that matter. All one needs is a system in place that ensures an election, rather than a mere selection, takes place.
Witticism of the day: Ramesh Srivats on Twitter Goa leader likens Advani to rancid pickle. In other words, he is Bhrasht-achaar.
Ashok Malik in The Deccan Chronicle:
It was said of Ronald Reagan that he was the “Teflon Man”: nothing (no scandal) stuck on him. In the post-2004 period, Mr Advani became the “Fevicol Man”: he just stuck on to everything, every post. Did he really have to bring this upon himself?
...Whatever its other shortcomings, the Sangh leadership has been extremely courteous to Mr Advani. It has told him he has a couple of years to fade away from the party hierarchy and decision-making.
Till then, he can be guidance counsellor to a team that will probably be put together by the RSS.
Yet, as his “talent hunt” brainwave suggests, Mr Advani is not reconciled to his own irrelevance. He plans to use his grace period to keep himself in the limelight or merely in the news. Bheesma thinks he is Arjuna, believes he is the hero and the Pandavas and Kauravas are peripheral characters, and wants the script altered to his convenience.
This is not a modern Mahabharat; it is a political tragedy.
Read the full article: Advani’s fall: From Iron Man to Fevicol Man
It was Arun Shourie's turn to have a go at BJP, in particular its President Rajnath Singh and Mr Advani. One of the highlights -- a reconfirmation of what Mr Jaswant Singh had said about how Mr Vajpayee wanted Mr Modi to resign after Gujarat riots in 2002 and it was to be done during the BJP's national executive meet at Goa in April 2002 and how there was a "coup" against him.