LK Advani and the BJP: A tame truce?
- 12 June 2013
- From the section India
After a dramatic falling out comes what looks like a tame truce.
On Tuesday evening, veteran BJP leader LK Advani took back his sudden resignation, ending the crisis in India's main opposition party, in the words of The Indian Express, as "swiftly as it had erupted".
Mr Advani quit on Monday saying that the party's current leaders were "now concerned with their personal agendas".
But reports said he was upset over the appointment of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as head of the BJP's 2014 election campaign.
BJP leaders say Mr Advani changed his mind after receiving assurances that his concerns would be addressed.
It is not very clear what these assurances are: the party released a rather anodyne statement that Mr Advani's concerns about the functioning of the party "would be properly addressed and the [party] president Rajnath Singh will discuss the modalities of addressing these concerns".
Commentators do not seem to be convinced that Mr Advani, representing the party's dwindling old guard, and a resurgent young guard, led by Mr Modi, have buried the hatchet.
But the media appear to be convinced that Mr Advani took back his resignation after pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Hindu nationalist organisation from which the BJP draws its ideological roots. The BJP denies this.
The Hindustan Times believes that as a part of a face-saving move, Mr Advani will "retain a say in crucial decisions like the choice of PM candidate".
However, the newspaper added that "in effect though, he secured little or no more leverage over key decision-making than he already had before he resigned".
The Indian Express said the "peace appeared fraught with tension as rival factions continued to claim that the other side had suffered a setback".
The Times of India described Mr Advani's short-lived rebellion as a "storm in a tea cup" - this was the third time, the paper said, that he had tendered his resignation and withdrawn it.
The Hindu appeared to concur, describing Tuesday's developments as a "tame end to Monday's high drama".
"Having escalated the issue and castigated the entire leadership, Mr Advani had little option but to take back his resignation without gaining anything in return," the newspaper said.
Some commentators, like Swapan Dasgupta, have been critical of Mr Advani's "revolt", describing him as a "resentful faction leader" and "petulant veteran who can't stomach change".
"The tragedy of Mr Advani is that he has been living in complete denial of his waning appeal," Mr Dasgupta wrote.
The bigger fallout of the resignation drama, many argue, will be questions over the BJP's ability to cobble together a winning coalition ahead of the 2014 polls. At least two key allies have been making noises about their reservations over a Mr Modi-led election campaign.
"A party ridden with factionalism at the top seems hardly an attractive proposition to lead a coalition," says The Hindustan Times. Few will disagree with that.