Atanu Dey On India's Development

The BJP Must Get its Act Together

| 22 Comments

It is widely rumored that India is a vibrant democracy but one wonders if the rumors are wild exaggerations with little bearing to reality. I could be wrong but doesn’t the idea of a democracy include having an effective opposition to the ruling party? Or is it still a democracy if it is a one-party rule which does whatever suits its narrow interests because there is no opposition to provide the checks and balances that are needed to assure that the ruling party does not use its rule to enrich itself at the cost of the national interest? In a sense, one cannot entirely blame the staggering misgovernance of the Antonia Maino, aka Sonia Gandhi, led UPA — it is partly a consequence of the utter failure of the BJP to provide a suitable opposition to the misrule of the UPA.

To learn how disastrously divided the BJP is you should read the Express Buzz article “Divided and Ruled Out” by Prabhu Chawla. It is depressing but essential reading. Here’s a tiny excerpt from it.

Fighting to lose it all

The central leadership on the other hand seems busy consuming large quantities of the party symbol, the lotus. In history, leaders change in every institution and new groups are born. Institutions that succeed do not cast earlier mentors into political winter, especially in a summer of discontent— mainly because experience guides enthusiasm. Mysteriously, the BJP headquarters has discarded the authors of the party’s popular, ideological and strategic prominence— Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie. Once a party of titans, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was never afraid to speak his mind and encouraged a spirit of civilised dissent within the party, these senior leaders have been sidelined because they refuse to be part of any group and possess independent minds. Gadkari’s biggest challenge is how to manage the cabals within. In Delhi, the duel between the two Opposition Leaders in Parliament—Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj—continue to cause discomfort in the party rank and file. Political hostilities in Maharashtra went national when the BJP’s Deputy Leader of the Opposition Gopinath Munde rebelled against party chief Gadkari—an old Maharashtra hand—only to arrive at an uneasy truce.

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The satrap strife in the saffron party might end in the BJP squandering away a great opportunity to shape up as a credible alternative to the Congress, whose image has been battered by scams. . .

If that article is to be believed — and I don’t see any reason for it to misrepresent the facts — then the infighting within the New Delhi leadership of the BJP must be something unbelievable. The BJP’s ability to mount a successful (and sorely needed) opposition to the misrule of the Congress is inversely related to the degree of infighting within the BJP. The Congress party must be rubbing its hands with glee at the sorry spectacle.

What the BJP needs — and indeed what India needs — is a real leader. Someone who has the vision and the ability to motivate Indians to make India a nation of winners, not an India where the so-called leaders are whining toadies that the Congress party has promoted for so long.

While the first part of the Express Buzz article is depressing as all hell, the second part focuses on a hopeful sign for India. (It is a curiously divided article — it appears to end and then it starts off again.) That hope is a man named Narendra Modi.

His work culture in the party and in the state seems like a plan to establish credentials for a bigger platform—a worry for many in the party. BJP General Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda says, “When I was with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Narendra Modi was the in-charge. He remembers every task given to a BJYM worker, in the same sequence in which it was assigned, even after 20 days and asks for compliance reports.” As Chief Minister, Modi remains always unflappable. His message to the babus is clear: “Work has to be done. If you cannot manage, someone else will do it.”

Many senior BJP leaders feel insecure that at party conclaves, it is Modi who draws the maximum applause from the workers, with nationalist rhetoric and acidic barbs against the Congress. This, perhaps, explains why many BJP bigwigs are busy building bridges with other political parties. Hoping the NDA does well in 2014, the jockeying for support for the prime post has begun—Jaitley is assiduously cultivating Kumar, while Swaraj goes about wooing Jayalalithaa.

At the BJP National Council meeting in Indore in February 2010, when BJP President Nitin Gadkari formally assumed charge, Modi tore apart the UPA Government’s policy on national security, wondering why it was in a hurry to resume a dialogue with Pakistan. “As a mature democracy, there is even greater need to talk to the principal opposition party. Did they ever feel the need to talk to the BJP?”

In the BJP, it seems, the need to talk to Modi isn’t apparent.

I think the time will come when the BJP leadership will have to talk to Narendrabhai Modi. India needs an alternative to the Congress, and Indians don’t need a BJP which is just a Congress B-team. The BJP is the only other national party and it is time it realized that and behaved like one.

Let me conclude by quoting the concluding bit of that article.

Modi’s hits

■ Stable government; Modi is the longest-serving Chief Minister of the BJP
■ Consistently high economic and agricultural growth
■ No communal riots post-2002
■ Vibrant Gujarat summit attracts record investment which shows that Modi enjoys investors’ confidence
■ Administrative efficiency, modernisation
■ Gujarat, rated as best e-governed state, is set to usher in village-level e-governance
■ Swagat online grievance redressal that enables direct communication of citizens with CM besides steps like evening courts, Jyotigram electrification scheme, Kanya Kelavani Yojana have made Modi successful.

If Modi wins, India wins. So all is not lost since Modi will win. Modi has to win because I refuse to believe that India cannot get out of the hole that the Congress has dug for it.

  • http://crazylearner.in/blog/ taecher

    pretty hard thoughts for congress.But i too agree with you.

    A man like modiji is what India needs.

    Most of Congress leaders are disgrace on our motherland.They don’t allow good ones to take independent decisions.

    Look at late Arjun singh.He helped Anderson in escaping from India.A man who is responsible for the death of 5000 poor Indians.

    Congress is full of Arjun singhs.money minded devils

  • http://honestlynagpur.blogspot.com/ kautilya

    it will be an ideal scenario if modi becomes pm. but indian history is filled with events of betrayal. there are too many people inside and outside the country (read congress/left/ndtv/china/cia/isi) who would not like him as a pm. and these forces will converge even if there’s a hint of him getting closer to the seat.
    the deja vu of LBS always haunts to return.

  • Santosh

    BJP in its current form can not do anything.

    Sushma Swaraj had links with Romesh Sharma who in turn is linked to Dawood Ibrahim and hence Sushma has her weakness which is exploited by Sonia Maino by blackmail.Arunj Jaitely is a sitting mole of P. Chidambaram in BJP. Arun J was an advocate of Cheatamabaram in few cases.

    Every time Cong I has been in trouble Sushma and Arujn Jaitely put up a dissidence show and I think this is a part of the game.

    LK Advani has his Ram Janma bhoomi issue which is used for black mail by Sonia Maino.

    Vajpayee was a person with corrupt morale. Vajpayee’s son-in-law some Bhattacharya is stinking rich person now, has a five star Hotel in Himachal Pradesh, business links and deals with Cong I politicians and hence a nexus. Had Vajapyee acted on Bofor’s scam Sonia Maino would have been in jail 10 years ago but he had his vested interests of staying in power so he let Sonia and Quttorochi slip away. Of course Vajpayee was the main handle in getting Raul Vincci(Rahul Gandhi, the name used to fool Bharathvasi’s)out of FBI custody in Boston.

    BJP needs to cut all these corrupt people with no patriotism. I feel Nitin Gadkari is slowly but for sure doing his job of straightening things in BJP.

    BJP right now has only Narendra Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate. My thought is that BJP is going to project Dr Subramanian Swamy from Janata Party as Prime Minister in the next elections who as a PM candidate is unbeatable.

  • A

    Modi for PM
    otherwise we’re lost.

  • http://AjitJadhav.wordpress.com Dr. Ajit R. Jadhav

    Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Narendra Modi.

    And yet, I say, the Congress+ will, for the near future (~10 years), always form a better alternative.

    The BJP (esp. under Modi) did, does and will promote ideas and ideals of communalism and authoritarianism over those of (true) secularism and freedom. In principle. And they would also want to implement what they regard as higher, in a hurry. With a USA-imported sense of professionalism. In this regard, Modi indeed can be expected to be more efficient, as compared with others within the BJP, e.g., Arun Shourie. (None will ever project him for the PM’s post, I am certain. (Think why. (Hint: It’s not a matter of just his personal choices, even if he thereby possibly does not to want to become a PM. The answer is elsewhere.))))

    In contrast, the Congress+ will, with their socialistic allies abroad demonstrably disintegrated in the 80s/90s, and, as of today, with no ideas of any consequence left any more to guide them (unless pragmatism can be elevated to the level of great idealism) but with some sense of a better culture still not dead at the more grassroots level, will certainly give it a very determined try to promote all the four in front of their nose: namely, communalism (though the particular form of it which they love may differ substantially), authoritarianism, (true) secularism, and freedom. They will give all four an undiscriminated sort of a try.

    Therein lies the difference. Going by the fundamentals of each, as of today, and therefore, in effect for the next, say, 10 years.

    Unless the BJP intellectuals—let alone politicians—begin to talk in terms of individual rights and reason with more reverence than they in fact accord to Hindu (Cultural) Nationalism, there is no way that the aforementioned prospects for India are at all going to change.

    The difference is not just theoretical. Reason is a faculty that people do use—even if they can be (and most times actually are) very poor in intellectualization. In between (a) an unmitigated poison with only a thin but decidedly shining veneer of “development,” and (b) an unprincipled mixture of poison and food, if they do choose (b), it still is an exercise in reason. No matter how tired, exasperated, or frustrated they might be. I am talking of the politics at the national level, not of a state that has exported at least one individual from each village to the USA, where, today, they see a resurgence of religion-based politics.

    Indians gave BJP its chance not because they suddenly started favoring the alternative (a) over the alternative (b), but because Vajpayee happened to be a “right man in a wrong party,” and with their basic understanding, in some terms (not necessarily explicitly intellectual), they realized that the mixed system we have in India is functionally so top-to-bottom that a better guy (esp. of Vajpayee’s age and inclinations) could provide at least a quarter of a fresh breath—which he failed in doing with his half-heartedness. But yes, there was a 1/8 or 1/16th of a fresh breath. For instance, Gadkari could indeed get the highways up and running. A few profit-making PSUs could indeed be sold at below-the-market prices.

    Now, if someone fondly remembers the heady feel of shiningly being in power for those 1998–2004 years, ascribes the root cause of the possession of the power to the general people’s enthusiasm for Hindu Nationalism, then jumps around and begins praising people praising Jinnah in print and begins supporting kicking Jaswant Singh out, then stands up stiff and again pronounces appeal to Hindu Nationalism, and possibly begins projecting Modi as the future PM—all in all, with nothing but the Jansangh etc. agenda being brought forth and with the “right men in the wrong party” clearly having been shoved out of the picture—then what he himself is doing is not an exercise of reason. Even “slaves” and “stupids” evidently have been better than such a man, IMH{onest/umble}O. After all, never forget, the combination that is the Indian people and the Indian polity, also gave chances to Chandrasekhar, Gujaral, Deve Gowda. (Have I left out any former PM? Possible.)

    Though I don’t think that, for the next 10 years at least, I will seriously consider voting any of the BJP candidate no matter how personally good he may be (by which I don’t mean someone like Modi, of course), at the same time, I would also be extremely happy if the BJP begins consistently defending ideas of improving our polity based on the ideals such as individual rights, after completely removing their ideals of Hindu Nationalism. Honestly, I would be happy. And, if such ideas do take root through the BJP’s considerable (perhaps only subterranean) organizational might, I would be certain to change my opinions, obviously including also my voting preferences. But then, the point is: I don’t expect them to do so any time soon. After all, while talking of secularism, I did have to put the word “true” in front of it, just to be clear, didn’t I? (By true, I mean: a complete and in-principle separation of religion and state, e.g., as effected in the original and founding spirit of the USA.) The blame for having to do so lies far more with Modi & Co. than with the Haaz-travels-sponsoring Congress.

    Just two cents.

    –Ajit
    [PS: Another reply worth streamlining and posting at my own blog.]
    [E&OE]

  • Jatkesha

    ..will certainly give it a very determined try to promote all the four in front of their nose: namely, communalism (though the particular form of it which they love may differ substantially), authoritarianism, (true) secularism, and freedom. They will give all four an undiscriminated sort of a try.

    You amaze me Dr. Jadhav. Congress advocating (true) secularism. I am speechless.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Jatkesha, you wrote

      You amaze me Dr. Jadhav. Congress advocating (true) secularism. I am speechless.

      That’s Dr Jadhav for you — to amaze and astonish the readers of this blog. When I read his comment, I nearly fell off my chair. But we should know that the Congress continues to misgovern because there are people who vote for it. Therefore it should come as no surprise that opinions like Dr Jadhav’s exist. Unfortunate but true.

  • Kaffir

    (By true, I mean: a complete and in-principle separation of religion and state, e.g., as effected in the original and founding spirit of the USA.)
    __

    So Indians should blindly copy what the US does, while ignoring the differences of history and social make-up, or for that matter, the crucial differences between the two religions (Christianity & Hinduism)?

  • Vishnu Mishra

    @Mr. Ajith Jadhav: Everytime I come across people like you (fairly educated but still supporting Congress), I die a little inside…..

  • RC

    Yes, secularism is the issue affecting India. Development and food to eat are overrated.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    RC, you got that right. If only we had “true secularism” in India, it will be just peaches.

    I think it is the Hindus that create problems. First, they are communal — by definition. Non-Hindus are secular — again by definition. Second, Hindus cannot co-exist with people of any other religion. Evidence is all around you. They just kill everyone from other religion. Perhaps that is what Hinduism teaches — that non-believers should be killed. Unless you believe in the OneTrueGod of the Hindus, they just go out and kill you.

    India would be a paradise if only the Hindus are ethnically cleansed — like they did in Kashmir.

  • Nithin

    To choose a party either BJP or congress…..is like making
    a relative choice, both the parties are corrupt, may be congress
    is more corrupt than the BJP. So is this basics of voting for BJP?
    Enlighten Me….

  • Santosh

    Dr Ajit –> Pseudo Intellectual like MMS.

  • Shashank

    @nitin
    Since they haven’t had much opportunity to show their governance ‘skills’ at the national level, you can give them a go. Plus, no one can match congress in looting this country.

  • Eba

    @Atanu, A detailed answer to Dr Jadhav’s comment might be warranted. Comments like “When I read his comment, I nearly fell off my chair. ” are flippant in the best case, and should be avoided, or at least supported by more comments on your part ? Isn’t a reasonable discussion the point of the comment board ?

    From my understanding Dr Jhadhav’s comment do not state congress is secular, on the contrary it just says that congress actively tries to project itself as a secular party ( according to its own interpretation of secularism ).

    And also secularism does not immediately imply anti-hinduism. Surely a better path for secularism can be chosen ? your views on economic policies and government roles is quite interesting. Maybe a blog from you on how governments should interpret secularism is warranted, so that readers of this blog can better understand your thoughts on the matter ?

    On an end note, what is your opinion on Mr Modi’s role in gujarat riots ? I myself only know as much as I hear/watch from news media. I agree he is a capable leader, and a good chief minister with sensible economic policies, however the leader needs to instill confidence in the people that he will not discriminate on religion. I agree this does not mean being anti hinduism, but you cannot want a prime minister whose role is questionable during one of the worst riots. In this respect there are plenty of people in the congress party also who should not be trusted with the job who have simmillar involvements in past riots.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Eba,

      I will post a detailed response to your comment shortly when I have some spare time.

  • RC

    Here’s an article in The Economist, laying out details of success of Narendra Modi’s government which has ushered in major industrial development.

  • Suramya

    For those who have questions related to Mr. Modi’s conduct in 2002 Gujarat riots, please see the following video of his Dooddarshan address to the people of Gujarat:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIRMR8zW0iI

  • Oldtimer

    Different groups fear Modi for different reasons. The Congress “High Command” fears that he might put an end to dynastic rule. The corrupt section of the BJP fears him because he might put an end to corruption. Seculars are afraid that he may put an end to vote-bank politics, which will deprive them of the ability to ride to power with tiny vote percentages.

    The fear of Comrade Jadhav/Eba is that Modi will be far more successful in putting people like Binayak Sen behind bars. Modi is a sharp strategist and plays to win. He would not have bungled on the Binayak Sen issue. Let us admit it, the Chattisgharh state pushed for a maximalist position on Sen. While it is true that morally Sen is as guilty of mass murder as those he collaborated with, legally, the equal-guilt argument is not tenable. He did not kill anyone himself, nor did he help Maoists in any specific act of killing. Awarding life sentence to him actually ended up helping him, because it is difficult to explain why a guy who did not explode a bomb or press the trigger should attract such a quantum of punishment. With a Modi driving policy, it is far less likely that such a blunder would have happened, and far more likely that Sen would have served his five years without anybody being puzzled by the sentence. The awareness of Modi’s strategic acumen is what drives comrades’ Modiphobia.

  • Vinit

    Satyamev Jayate vs Secularism (Indians confused)
    ================================================

    Offlate, this is how I see most neo-elite Indians being confused to the core, being diven by media and Congress propoganda on Vote Bank Secularism.

    Indian Society and Hindus specifically do not have the EMOTIONAL MATURITY to deal with Terrorism because of this very confusion between Secularism vs Truth.

    I challenge you all for an open debate on which ideal of the two is higher?

    Standing by Satya/Truth will always lead to Secularism..

    But sticking to Secularism will lead to covering up the TRUTH…

    Example:
    Truth 1: All Living Beings are made in the image of God…

    Truth 2: 99 % terror strikes can be traced back to madrassah’s and hate mongerring Maulvis,

    Truth 3: 0.01% to RSS and Hindutva brigade

    Secularism 1: In the name of Secularism we cannot debate this TRUTH out in the open on TV shows/Public palces and cannot debate the FACT that the Inteligence agencies should be allowed to monitor Madrassah’s/Temples/Ashrams and the Government should regulate the Studies and Books of Madrassah’s/Temples where INDOCTRINATION takes place( which is already happening in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tajikistan etc) ….

    Secularism 2: While Muslims are justified to retaliate with Terror/Violence if a Babri Masjid is demolished, Or Muhammad Cartoon is published….Yet if a Hindu retaliates to Kashmiri Hindu genocide or for burning of Pilgrims in a train it becomes TERRORISM/GENOCIDE……..
    Government or Society CANNOT apply two different moral standards to the same set of people…..

    Any serious reform can only begin when a person/society has the ability to:
    First, Discover the Truth
    Secondly, Accept the truth as it exists

    Indians as a whole nation need to realize and debate this TRUTH in public that the roots of terror emanate from the KAFIR Ideologies of Islam and the concept of Muslim Ummah as oppsed to Universal Brotherhood etc….

    ONLY Then will this society be FREE of TERROR and NONSENSE that is pervading in the world

    Muslims need to realize and ACCEPT the TRUTH that if they are really peaceful they need to TEAR AWAY THE PAGES QURAN that calls for the Blood of Kafirs and creates divisions amongst humans by propogating the ideology of only Muslim UMMAH… Muslim cannot call themselves as PEACEFUL and LIBERATED unless they openly tear these pages of their hly book….

    I fail to understand why the new generation of Indians are so obsessed about SECULARISM?? Which is a borrowed word from the westerners who themselves shove it up their a**s when they wish to do so (ex: US invading Afghan/Iraq etc, France banning Burqa, Angela Merkel and David Cameron calling an end of Multiculturalism, And Geert Wilders is well known to all )…

    SATYAMEV JAYATEY…. HAVE COURAGE TO DEAL WITH THE TRUTH….
    TRUTH ALONE CAN DELIVER YOU TO FREEDOM AND LASTING PEACE….

    Namo Narayan…(I bow to the lord within all)

  • http://ketpan.wordprss.com/ Ketan

    Eba,

    Conduct of Modi during the Gujarat riots of 2002 is a very controversial issue, or at least I see it as that. There are many things said in relation to Modi’s presumed choices and decisions, but then most of them end up in domain of personal testimony, the veracity of which has not yet been established by any judicial process to the best of my knowledge. Most of these testimonies in fact, do not even involve Modi, just that a causal link is sought to be established between what would have happened and its happening on Modi’s accord.

    I only take one piece of statistic as the best possible cue to make a reasoned guess as to what might have happened. And that is the number of Muslims and Hindus killed during the riots. In all, approximately 1,200 people had died because of riots, of which approximately 900 were Muslims and 300 were Hindus. That is the ratio of deaths I’d expect to result given the proportion of Hindus v/s Muslims in the population with no ‘external’ interference (e.g., the administration trying to side with one of the two religious sides, which would count as ‘external interference’) or with administration trying to protect civilians irrespective of their religious belief (which would obviously not be counted as being ‘partial’ or ‘communal’). But what nearly gets ruled out is the hypothesis that the “Government actively sided with the Hindus”. Had that been the case, one Hindu would not have been killed for every three Muslims killed. At most, the government can be blamed for being inefficient or callous, but not of being ‘communal’, and I would say any specific antipathy towards the Muslims on part of the Gujarat administration gets effectively ruled out as a cause of so many Muslim casualties.

    Whether the government was deliberately callous, and if so, to what degree, is pending proper investigation and its outcome. And to what degree this callousness was tolerated and/or encouraged by the then Chief Minister remains to be further seen.

    It is good to question. It is good to question the role that might have been played by Modi or for that matter not played by him during the 2002 riots, but in the same vein, it is also good to question the questions that are raised. Merely questioning without providing reasonable evidence counts for little when the incentives for the mass media to indulge in propaganda are so high.

  • http://ketpan.wordprss.com/ Ketan

    Oldtimer,

    I agree with your assessment of how Modi’s winning would be an end to the The Family’s control over the nation, and also how there is a section within the BJP who have a lot to fear if Modi becomes any bigger politically, as that would mean a near end of their career. Modi does not spare any political rivals, and obviously the past acts of The Family make it very easy for a strong competitor to put them in a state of great unease. I’d heard that in his 2002 election campaign, he had not visited the constituencies of those BJP candidates that were opposed to him. His calculation was very shrewd. BJP lost a few seats, but yet, won sufficient numbers to ensure that none of those dissenting candidates would be able to face him again. And that is the reason despite such a hue and cry in 2007, with media fantasies of strong dissent by the Keshubhais and the super rich Surat diamond merchants, Modi’s tally only slightly increased compared to the previous performance (despite the anti-incumbency factor et al.).

    So, if Modi were to win in 2014, The Family would pack their bags and leave India, because this once if the The Family stays out of power, the present rate of inflation and hugely exorbitant and ever-rising expenditure required in remain politically relevant would ensure that all the savings would be used up. And that would take away the only The Family has over other Congress politicians who would stop treating them with such reverence and awe. But of course, that all would be possible only if Modi becomes the PM, the probability of which I am absolutely not sure of.

    And just like in the 2002 elections, he’ll also ensure that the dissenters would be shown the door out of politics in a shrewd manner (and not in in-your-face manner where planes and cars crash).

    You said:

    “He did not kill anyone himself, nor did he help Maoists in any specific act of killing”

    Do we know that for sure? [That is not a rhetorical question]. If he would have knowingly provided Maoists the kind of assistance that would facilitate murder, would that still not constitute some kind of culpability in legal terms?