Monday, June 9, 2008

With fair weather friends like these...

If LK Advani was apolitician on the lecture circuit in America, these past few months would have made him amillionaire many times over. His formal anointment as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate coupled with the party’s impressive victories in state and local elections have made him ahot commodity on the circuit. The very people who mocked at him behind his back are now lining up for appointments, seeking his presence at abook release, afilm premiere or even apower wedding. Unlike the PM, the man whom he may well succeed, Advani loves crowds, big and small, and is capable of bowling them over with his wit and can even make them part with their wallets for agood cause. Last week, at one such function, TV cameras caught him weeping when someone recited acouplet. Thank God for that, we are now assured that our leaders are as fallible as you and me. But Advani’s success will not depend on the number of book release functions or corporate seminars he attends since the audiences at such glitter gatherings are fair weather friends who leave you out in the cold when it’s not so sunny. No doubt seven victories on the trot is acreditable achievement, but there are four more crucial polls due later this year. There are many in his own party out to convince him that his coronation is just aformality. In reality, alot of them are waiting for him to do another Jinnah. However, the party’s dream of recapturing power will depend on how effectively he contains his scheming colleagues for whom personal ambitions transcend everything else. Advani should spend more time with his core constituents. They won’t sing his Hosannas but they will work for him tirelessly. Ultimately that’s what fetches votes.

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