27 July, 2021

The BJP's Best Man

Ishan Joshi and photographer T. Narayan hop on to Vajpayee's aircraft and trail him around

The BJP's Best Man

This is the Atal Behari Vajpayee whom his supporters believe India needs, even if a section of the Sangh parivar may not recognise that. There is a sense of pragmatism—at times flirting with statesmanship—in the BJP's prime ministerial candidate as he leads his party to the hustings.

Because in the end, for the BJP, everything seems to be boiling down to this one man. Whose popularity and appeal far outstrips that of his party. In fact, at a time when popular support for various political formations in the country seems to have peaked, give or take a little, the BJP has pinned its hopes on Vajpayee to make the crucial difference between getting close to and achieving power. It is time for the best man to be groom. That, in a sentence, is the keynote of the BJP's election campaign for the 12th Lok Sabha.

Vajpayee set the tone for this move himself as he launched his campaign in Uttar Pradesh from Gorakhpur on January 22 in trademark style, playing to a packed ground on his bachelor status, and linking it to his desire to lead the country: "I came...

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