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Monday, December 28, 2009 12:35:35 PM, UNI

2009: Landmark year for empowering women through panchayats: With Panchayati Raj institutions completing 50 years of inception, year 2009 which...... Read Full

2009: An eventful year for Maharashtra

2009: A year of Congress triumph and MNS rise

New Delhi: The year 2009 turned out to be a crucial year for the BJP which has effected generational change in the party and the Parliamentary leadership, virtually placing its octogenarian leader L K Advani in the fade out mode.


The party reigns have been handed over to its Maharashtra leader Nitin Gadkari, who has been chosen to use his dexterity in political administration to lead a party which is yearning to emerge as an alternative to the Congress.


The party elevated Advani to a newly created post -- Chairman of the Parliamentary Party with powers to nominate persons of his choice to the constitutionally recognised posts -- Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.


Ms Sushma Swaraj, who functioned as Advani's deputy, has been promoted as the Leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha and Arun Jaitley has been promoted as the Leader of the party in the Upper House of Parliament. With this action, they will be able to function as Leaders of the Opposition in their respective Houses.


Jaswant Singh was eased out of the BJP in the context of writing a book -- 'Jinnah; India-Partition-Independence'. The party took exception to his statement that Jinnah was needlessly blamed for the Partition. Singh, who was invited to the Chintan Baithak, the brain storming session to discuss the causes of defeat in the Lok Sabha elections at Shimla, was asked to stay away from the Parliamentary Board meeting which decided to expel him from the party. Singh charged the party of acting without reading his book.


Whatever may be the fact, it is ironic that Pakistan's founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been the reason for Advani and Singh to lose their posts. Advani had to quit his BJP president's post after describing Jinnah as a secular leader and Singh was expelled from the party for eulogising Jinnah. He had to quit as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, a post he had been elected to as a BJP MP from Darjeeling, from where he won with the support of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.


The BJP may have emerged as the major political party in the Lok Sabha winning 117 seats but its failure to wrest power from the Congress despite projecting its best bet -- L K Advani, had come in for a lot of criticism in the party itself. Advani too was reluctant to become Leader of the Opposition after this debacle but was persuaded to accept it obviously to ensure smooth transfer of power. There was uncertainty about the timing of his quitting. Ultimately he had to give up the post of Leader of the Opposition making way to Swaraj to succeed him and give up a constitutionally recognised post entailing the status of a Cabinet Minister.






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