12 May, 2021

Mask And The Masque

The party denies any Advani-Vajpayee rift but many see a behind-the-scenes succession struggle

Mask And The Masque
The bjp, which turned all of 20 on April 6, has been used to being feted and felicitated at its annual birthday bash. In fact, as it has moved from the fringes of Indian politics to its very heart over the past two decades, it would be safe to say it's been one long party, as it were, for the party. Except this time around, it was also a time for birthday bumps. Because the fallout of what is now termed the 'bjp Today controversy' has been not only to emphasise the indispensability of Atal Behari Vajpayee to the bjp in the current scenario but has also thrown up the first, if faint, contours of the long-term succession game.

To be sure, the position isn't vacant yet. And despite the frequent 'health scare' rumours on the political circuit, there is no good reason to believe that the prime minister, who is in his late seventies now, isn't in good shape. Or that home minister L.K. Advani is playing a Machiavellian behind-the-scenes role as some more-loyal-than-the-King Vajpayee admirers seem to believe. So, when bjp vice-president J.P. Mathur insists to Outlook that "it is the...

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