Advani Blamed VHP for BJP’s Loss in 2004 Election, New Book Says
LK Advani, who is perceived to have played a pivotal role in suggesting Narendra Modi’s name for the post of Prime Minister of Gujarat and then defending himself against demands for his resignation following the Gujarat riots in 2002, blamed VHP for the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the May 2004 General Election, says a book.
In his book Jugalbandi, which relies on interviews, private newspapers, and reports to trace the history of the BJP and its predecessor, the Jana Sangh, author Vinay Sitapati says that the party’s loss at the meetings was partly attributed to its focus in “too much ideology”. .
The BJP, which hoped to return to power in the Center, did not win a majority by 100 seats. “The RSS offered its own diagnosis: ‘The central elector and the cadre had developed a disinterest as there was a perception of dilution in their ideology’ … Advani and Vajpayee, on the other hand, blame too much ideology, and not too little . Although it was Advani who overruled Vajpayee and saved Modi’s career, he now realized what he had done. Advani ranted to a family friend shortly after: ‘The VHP cost us [the elections]. They have gone crazy, ”the book says.
The author goes on to say that the blame for the loss fell on the riots, for which Modi was blamed for failing to protect the minority community. “Vajpayee also blamed the Gujarat riots of 2002, claiming, ‘that is the mistake we made.’ At a BJP meeting shortly thereafter, he lobbied to fire Modi once again. But when he was out of the vote once again, Vajpayee followed the party line. Once again. There is no way of knowing if it was Narendra Modi who cost Vajpayee-Advani the 2004 elections. What we can say is that the attitude towards the alliance partners proved costly, ”the book says.
The book, which examines labor relations and ties between Vajpayee and Advani, exposes the tension in their relationships after Advani decided to back Modi.
In the chapter The Lotus Withers, which deals with the loss of the BJP in 2004, the author comments on Advani’s electoral management and says: “The blame for this rickety coalition must lie with Advani. It lacked the pragmatism that Vajpayee had displayed when he moved the BJP from untouchable in 1993 to being embraced by a dozen parties in 1998. Advani’s alliance with Jayalalithaa instead of Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu cost only 40 seats. Because those numbers could have returned Vajpayee to power. If Advani’s smartest moment was turning anger at Mandal into drive for his rath in 1990, his dumbest political moment was now.
He cites party leaders who identified Advani’s lack of organizational development capacity as another reason for the loss. The fraying of the Advani-Modi ties is also highlighted in the book. While providing details, based on media reports, on the fight that broke out between Vajpayee and Advani over the latter’s support for Modi, especially after the 2002 riots, it also sheds light on how Advani-Modi relations they were transformed before the 2014 general elections.
“One day after Modi was appointed campaign manager for the impending elections, the man who had spent his life building the Jana Sangh Party and then the Bharatiya Janata Party resigned from all party positions. The letter of resignation from LK Advani is worth quoting in detail: “For some time it has been difficult for me to reconcile with the current functioning of the party or with the direction in which it is going. I no longer have the feeling that this is the same idealistic party created by Dr. Mukherjee, Dean Dayal Ji, Nanaji and Vajpayee ji, whose only concerns were the country and its people. Most of our leaders now only care about their personal agendas. ”
The book talks about the rise of Narendra Modi as the second Hindu nationalist Prime Minister of India and “how the lotus was blooming once again, but with new gardeners.”