The ancient ruler, the powerful warrior Emporer Vikramaditya was made to undergo all sorts of sufferings and hardships following a curse of God Shani. He lost his kingdom and had to wander in the wilderness for long, his hand and leg were cut off, forced to work as a slave in an oilman's household. God Shani became terribly angry on the king for ridiculing him after listening to his birth story. Shani heard the remarks of Vikramaditya and place a curse on him. God Shani was so powerful that even his own Guru, the Parameshwar, God Shiva could not protect himself from the gaze of the god and had to undergo its gruesome experience. Although being the revered guru of Shani and having been given a concession minimizing the period of torment to a mere 3.45 hours, God Shiva had to face all humiliations and even reached the brink of death. Such was the power of Shani.
God Shani had never been in the list of deities worshipped daily by the Hindu believers. Unlike most of the Hindu gods there were very few temples devoted exclusively to God Shani. He was remembered only when one was in prolonged trouble and distress. However, the scene has changed and the popularity graph of Shani god has now been on the rise. In fact he is seemingly the most popular among all Hindu gods at present. Many temples constructed exclusive enclosures to facilitate the increasing number of devotees of Shani God. He is the god of the common man, the people who walk on the street. One does not need to take the pain of standing in long queues to get the glimpse of the deity and pay their obeisance and obtain blessings. One can find him everywhere. On the pavements, in the traffic inter-sections. His image cut-out on a metal sheet, painted black and placed in a tin partially filled with sesame oil. Put one rupee, two rupee or five rupee coins in the tin which you can do even while sitting in your vehicle for you can find number of children carrying the tin with the image placed in it at all the traffic junctions. the popularity increase of Shani also manifests the present day difficulties and miseries faced by the people, and the helplessness to tide over the deep crisis they are in. The effect of the gaze of Shani not necessarily is limited to just individuals; it appears that no collective forums, organisations or political parties enjoy immunity.
However, the Party sine its defeat in the 2004 general elections became a mere shadow of what it had been in the past. Its decisions even well intended gone awry. Even while remaining the largest political party in the opposition side all its efforts to score political points over its opponents failed miserably. Most of its friends, the allies left them. Couple of prominent leaders had left it or had to be expelled from the Party including the fire brand leader Uma Bharti and Jaswant Singh. It was invisible as a main opposition party in the previous years and BJP conceded the role of opposition party to other political formations. In the last elections too it did try all the tricks it knew which were selling like hot cakes in the past, but did not evoke much response lately. And now the party is in a whirlpool of crisis that it never had faced in the past. One could not have imagined the kind of factionalism and bickering now rampant in a disciplined cadre based Party like BJP, a Sangh Parivar outfit. In fact the birth of BJP itself was a bit awkward. Generally political parties form their Trade Union, Youth, Student, Cultural fronts etc. But in the case of BJP, they are the progeny of RSS which claims to be a cultural organisation (though their deeds do not match the claim). Now the BJP might erase the 'difference' in their campaign slogan 'A Party with a difference', for the difference is no where visible.
Nothing seemed to be working towards rejuvenating the party. the changes effected in different important position in the party including the post of President and leaders of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha did not yet bring any visible positive change in its functioning in the respective areas. In fact the new President's foul mouthing of leaders of other political parties put the entire party in an embarassing position compelling it to unsuccessfully defend its president. The victory in Karnataka Assembly elections was seen as a solace to the spiralling woes. But that happiness could not last long as its leaders and ministers got exposed in different alleged scams ranging from illegal mining to sexual harassment charges. The breaking up of coalition government in Jharkhand was yet another blow to the party.
If any individual leader had been affected most by the crisis in the party, it is L.K.Advani. Advani, one of the two stalwarts, had all along been made to remain in the shadow of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Vajpayee's image as a moderate Hindutva politician helped BJP garner the support of various allies to form the government. However, when Advani tried to shed his hardcore Hindutva image and to recreate a secular credential by showering praises on Jinnah, it not only did not enhance his image but, in fact, boomeranged. The RSS leadership seemed to have disowned the same Advani who was instrumental in the growth of Bhartiya Janata Party into one of the most significant political force in the country. The statement of the Sangh leadership that BJP required a generational change was like sprinkling salt in the wounds. He mutely suffered when the second rung leaders, even those who claimed loyalty to him in his hay days, were vying each other to replace him.
The present crisis throws light on the dilemma not only the BJP is in, but also exposes the waning control of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh. The formation of the BJP was a well thought out political strategy of the RSS to further its otherwise limited mass base and interest by penetrating into areas where the RSS or its other branches like VHP directly could not get acceptability. And the meticulously carved out image of Atal Behari Vajpayee helped this masquerading act perfectly. This had also helped BJP to emerge as one of the largest political force in a short time and achieving the goal of grabbing power by forming government at the Centre. However once they were leading the government the leaders of BJP also fell in the inherent traps of the system. In the public glare the BJP and its leaders got a larger image than that of the larger Sangh Parivar itself. The power, money and glamour intoxicated them. Their transformation from that of merely unknown Swayam Sewaks into the power wielding glamorous section and given to enjoy all the pleasures the system offers corrupted them. And they realize that to remain in power they have to make some ideological compromise. Hence some of the leaders of the BJP try to create a niche different from the image of a Sangh activist which put them in direct conflict with the larger Sangh Parivar ideology. On the other hand in the process the RSS has been losing its grip on its own political arm, the BJP. It is only natural a political party with wider mass support and enjoying political power tries to assert itself. This situation is unique in the case of the BJP for in all other political parties the core ideological doctrine is a prerogative of the political party itself
The BJP presumably is experiencing the effect of Kandaka Shani (Sadhe Sati). And the only way left for the BJP and its leaders is to accept the fate as it comes and pray to God Shani to shorten the period of misfortune.