Frequent change of CMs in BJP-ruled states signs of growing high command culture

Express News Service

MUMBAI: The BJP, once a party-driven and governed by the local cadres and leadership, are now ingrained with high command culture the way it exists in the Congress.

The sudden and surprising replacement of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ahead of the 2022 state assembly polls shows that the BJP is more like Congress where the high command’s diktat rules the roost. The high command culture of BJP was also witnessed during the replacement of Karnataka and Uttarakhand CMs. Like Congress, every right of choosing the state leadership is given to the high command bypassing one-line resolutions by the elected representatives.

Professor Surendra Jondhale, a political scientist at Mumbai University said that the Congress structure and culture have been slowly sipping into the BJP.

“BJP is no different than the Congress now. The replacement of Vijay Rupani is the latest example of the growing high command culture in BJP. BJP’s high command has been in the search of leaders more trustworthy to PM Narendra Modi who can win elections looking at their previous performance. Vijay Rupani was not very popular among the BJP cadres. He was not even a mass leader. Despite all these things, Rupani was made a chief minister by removing Anandiben Patel and the same rule was used to replace him now,” Professor Jondhale said.

Prof Jondhale said that PM Modi is in the high command in the saffron party above Home Minister Amit Shah. “Narendra Modi does not want to repeat the 2017 state polls where the BJP was stuck in 99 seats in 182 members of the state assembly. They struggled to cross the 100 seats,” Jondhale said.

Jondhale said that no high command wants another alternative leadership to grow strong in any state that can pose threat to them. “The high commands empower themselves and weaken others including a growing state leader by finding some or other reasons. So, a state leader will always depend on the party’s central leadership to win elections.

“They do not want leaders with independent minds. Therefore, the BJP has become more like Congress when it comes to managing the party. During its regime, Congress used to change the chief ministers of any state on their whims and fancy. That the high command in Congress that time was very strong like what Narendra Modi is today in BJP,” Jondhale added.