Every single person who has ever supported BJP knows it is a party with a difference! It is a right wing party! It is a Hindu Nationalist Party! It is a party which goes out of the box in questioning the constitution!It believes in repealing article 370, progressively changing our democracy from a parliamentary form to a that of a presidential form,increasing the efficiency of governance and getting rid of the nuance of coalition politics, which impedes the progress of our nation. It lays stress on development. It wants rapid industrialization of India, and the quintessential role of technology in the progress. It understands the importance of a dynamic foreign policy and the benefit of closer-ties with the US. It is perhaps the toughest party while dealing with naxalites and terrorism. And above all it is a champion of democracy! So why then, today, its numbers are close to double digit figures? So why today regional satraps ditch it,even at the cost of staying in opposition? Why today, the Lotus has failed to bloom.
Now think about this. In most TV debates,how many times have we noted this:the BJP lacked speakers. Whether, it was a fumbling Kulkarni or a monotonous Mitra or a firebrand ex-VHP member trying to justify riots. All it ended up doing was projecting a very negative image of the party. And this is just one such case.
Advani, for all his personality, could not assure the nation that indeed Dr. Manmohan Singh did not have the authority, that a PM of India, historically, has had. It was something which every Indian already knew.But he failed to make it seem an important point. Worse, when Dr. Singh retaliated saying Babri demolition was the single most achievement of Advani, he had nothing to rebuff, only meekly taking it personally and saying he was “hurt”. In his own words, he Was just a political strategist, an organizational man, never a mass leader. Perhaps, he has never changed.
The point is we lack leaders at the top. The party lacks leaders who can face the people and make them believe that the ideas supported by BJP are not distant dreams. And We lack leaders who can instill in people the faith that a right wing government would hasten the progress of the country. We abound in strategists, but we lack leaders.And here lies the biggest fault of this Saffron party.
One may argue that the ideals of BJP are themselves wrong and outdated. I beg to differ. If the policies were out of sync with the people, then Vajpayee would not have led a 6 year government in not so distant past.The issues it raises are real. It lacks the people who can make them digestible for the general people.
And hence, the need for re-invention. This was the same song sung by the party right after the 2004 defeat. Yet we failed to see much difference at the National level. Instead of getting rid of the Ayodhya champs and passing the baton to younger leaders, the party went back to rigid Hindutva, not realising that the value of the word was being lost at the people.It had almost become irritating at times, the way junior rank leaders of the party gave all the wrong clauses of Hindutva. And the small state election victories made it,yet again, a dangerously over-confident party.
So what would re-invention mean? It would mean a dramatic makeover of the top-brass of the leadership and a greater degree of control for people who are acceptible to the new India. People like Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nalin Kohli, for instance. And somehow, the party needs to have a strict and modern media face, with a capability of driving home the point it tries to make. Stammering people and Rightist ideology don’t go hand in hand.(Imagine a stammering Hitler,complete with his trademark moustache.)
Secondly, it needs to get the demographics-arithmetic right, and by itself. The strategy for sometime by BJP has been clear. Alienate Muslims, and bank on allies to capture that segment for the alliance. Though it may work sometimes, its never an ideal situation for a national party to move forward without bringing a large part of the society on board. All it required was a simple “sorry”. All it required was accepting the fact that, though it may nt have been directly involved in 2002 riots, it had the moral responsibility of administrative failure that led to people being killed. Sitting together with few Muslim leaders and getting their stamp of approval does not suffice. Its the general perception which needs to be changed. It has to go out of its way to woo minorities, if it has to survive in India. And that means, reigning in the hazardous activities of RSS and VHP and not being reigned in by them instead.The RSS and VHP are not a militant organization. They are a reserve force of volunteers, that if used with a constructive and inclusive mindset, could go a long way in helping in the country’s development and creating a soft corner for BJP, and thereby, defeating the pseudo-secularists.
Its not enough to woo minorities by flashing the development card. Every party has been doing that. At least every major party, with sane members, has been doing that. The one that projects inclusive development stands out to be the winner.
Its a difficult time for the party. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.And such action is the need of the day for the BJP.If it fails today, it will wither away and break into fragments like the Janata Dal, never being able to make a difference in Indian democracy again. But if it takes pragmatic and tangible action at restructuring the party, it can turn this failure into an opportunity to reform itself, regroup its leaders and strike back in five years, thereby bringing into effect Vajpayee’s prediction of 6th April, 1980:
” Andhera Ghatega,
(first few seconds of this video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su3rs1tHTNU