If the BJP found itself in an embarrassing situation before announcing that Rajnath Singh would be its next party president, it has no one to blame but itself. The problem started after the RSS insisted that outgoing president Nitin Gadkari be given a second term several despite charges of corruption against him.
This crisis could have been easily resolved if the party had allowed intra-party democracy and held elections for the post of its president. The BJP is known to complain non-stop about the Congress’ dynastic succession, or that other parties (with the notable exception of the Left) are all family-run businesses, where an ordinary person has no chance of rising without the blessing of the family that rules the party. The BJP prides itself on being different.
Yet, in not allowing well-known advocate Mahesh Jethmalani or former finance minister Yashwant Sinha to contest for the party’s top post, and in its desperation to achieve “consensus” in its choice of president, the BJP has done the cause of intra-party democracy a great disservice.
Sure, it may have elected Rajnath Singh “unanimously”, but few will believe that. Rajnath is also most likely an RSS choice. Few will believe otherwise.
The BJP could have set an example by holding free and fair elections for its top post. It should have allowed its best person to take office rather than let the RSS anoint a president. If the Congress has its high command in the family; the BJP has the RSS. It is India’s tragedy that the BJP is emulating the Congress, showing that as a party, it is no different from the others.