Uttrakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s resignation over charges of alleged centralisation of power, rule by officials, and a growing amount of anti-incumbency may not form the news for the BJP. Though the party may argue that it has the ability and capacity to act tough against corruption, politically, this point fails to take off as the opposition would like to portray this incident as not a one-off incident.
A few months ago, there were murmurs of sacking Biplab Kumar Deb, Tripura Chief Minister, becoming thoroughly unpopular amongst the workers, cadres and voters of his party and the state, respectively. However, Deb was able to tide over the discontent by setting the arithmetic right after arranging for interaction with the top brass of the BJP, offering key profiles and positions to his loyalists in the party and government.
Similarly, Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal too ensured an edge for himself by containing the conversations around his possible replacement with his number two Himanta Biswa Sarma, who jumped over to the BJP from the Congress in 2016. Sarma was discouraged and demoralised over his treatment by the Gandhi’s, as for the Congress keeping the organisational structure relatively weaker is a strategy for instilling unflinching loyalty and obedience by the party people towards the first family.
Comparatively, the BJP has a better track record in dealing with dissent within its ranks, assigning its representatives with important organisational and ideological roles and responsibilities, aiding in the party’s extension and expansion. But in doing so, the lieutenants will have to look to the leaders and not otherwise as it may invite contempt.
No doubt, a Trivendra Singh Rawat, Biplab Deb and Sarbananda Sonowal can be exemplary as leaders if not popular mass leaders. But they don’t forget they carry the risk of being dislodged, daring to defy their leadership on crucial legislation and policy matters and themes.
Or they stoke a rebellion in the party unit of the state as was the case with Vasundhara Raje Scindia, who was an all-time powerful Rajasthan CM until her defeat at the hands of Ashok Gehlot in the 2018 Rajasthan assembly elections, initially falling out of favours with Amit Shah and Narendra Modi as she was too smart as a princess and politician.
Either you confidently conduct the likes of Amit Shah and JP Nadda in the BJP to secure your political surety and survival or take upon the task of safeguarding the interests of the foot soldiers — karyakartas and panna pramukhs who are the soul of the party, not less than any top leader.
The RSS may come to your rescue if you are in their good books; leave aside the rest.