Office bearers have become a rare sight and senior leaders are spotted once in a blue moon. The media room has been lying locked for three days now. The sight is a far cry from the days before the election results when the party held daily media briefings. But today, its half-a-dozen spokespersons are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps, the BJP feels that meeting the media would make things worse as the party is yet to recover from the shock of its electoral defeat.
But why just spokespersons. LK Advani, the leaderaround whom the campaign was built, has not stepped out of his residence or spoken to the media. The iron man of the BJP, who said he was quitting, not only decided to stay on, but also failed to display any grace in defeat.
Other senior party colleagues have also gone missing. The image of politicians being hard-boiled leaders who can take both victory and defeat in their strides has taken a beating. Perhaps, the blow to the party is bigger this time than in 2004 and hence, the shock much greater.
In 2004, the party refused to accept defeat for months during which it kept hoping the UPA government would fall and the NDA would return to power. By the time it became clear that the government would stay, the BJP found hope in the economic mess and differences between the UPA and Left parties to make its bid to recapture power. But as things turned out, people voted for the Congress.
Some BJP leaders are seeking consolation by contending that the verdict is neither a rejection of the BJP nor a pro-Congress mandate, but rather a result of different factors coming into play in different states.
The factors, they say, favoured the Congress mostly, but they also benefitted the BJP in some states.
But a nagging doubt remains in their minds. The BJP is not only 90 seats behind the Congress, the number of its seats has also declined and so has its overall vote share. The party needs to do serious stock taking. But for now, the leaders are evading not just the media and the people but even their own cadre.
*Rajesh Sinha, Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:17 , http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1257601