Friday, August 31, 2012

BJP treads with caution as rebellion brews

Even as rebellion against Chief Minister Narendra Modi is now open and direct, BJP is treading carefully vis-a-vis its rebel leaders in this election year. The party does not seem to be in mood to add fuel to the fire by taking actions against the anti-Modi camp and just wants to cut the loss.
Its stalwarts like former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel have been leading the anti-Modi campaign across the state, but none has faced any disciplinary action so far. Instead, the party waited for rebels to renew their primary membership during the recently held registration drive.
When Keshubhai, former Union minister Kanshiram Rana, MLA Mahuva MLA Dr Kanu Kalsaria and Bharat, Keshubhai's son, did not turn up for registration, the BJP sent its workers to the houses of Keshubhai and Dr Kalsaria with the membership form.
“We had waited for them to come and renew their primary membership. Dr Kalsaria and Keshubhai were even sent forms at their home,” said a party leader.
Top leaders maintain that the party does not want to intensify the rebellion. They fear old workers may get hurt in case they feel that founding members like Keshubhai are not being treated well by the party.
If Kesbhubhai enjoys clout over politically influential Leuva Patels, Rana has a strong base in Surat. Action against them may irk those who have been working for the party for many years, and that too at a time when Modi's image has come under the scanner for his alleged dictatorial way of functioning.
“They are hardly active in BJP now. Then what is the need for disciplinary action (against them),” said BJP national vice-president Purshottam Rupala.
When asked if this will send a wrong message to party workers, he said, “Workers are smart enough to read the right message.”
The MahaGujarat Janta Party (MJP), however, feels the rebels are still part of BJP, which is why the proposed “third front” is yet to get a name and identity. “We cannot fix a name or label over our group as most of its members are still very much with BJP,” said MJP president Gordhan Zadaphia.
In sharp contrast to this, the party had suspended suspended six leaders, including MLAs, for anti-party activities ahead of the 2007 Assembly elections, while Keshubhai and Rana were served showcause notices.