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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's wrong with debate?

Some of the respondent to the blog have expressed their unease at the openness of the debate. Many of the comments have been quite irreverent and even insulting of senior leaders of the BJP. Almost every BJP leader from Advani and Rajnath Singh to Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley have come in for attack and some praise. The RSS too has been subjected to critical scrutiny.

Should all this happen in a blog which is avowedly sympathetic to the Right and the BJP?

I see no harm in the exercise for a number of reasons:

  • There is a temptation on the part of the BJP to avoid all debate in the name of discretion. There was no debate after the 2004 defeat and the UP Assembly debacle. The consequences are there for all to see.
  • Discussions cannot be confined to private, closed door meetings that involve "trusted" people alone. It is important to understand what the average party sympathiser and BJP voter thinks and feel.
  • It is irrelevant that some comments may be uninformed. Perceptions also matter in politics.
  • Apparatchiks don't like rocking the boat. They are inclined to minimise the setback and pretend that its back to business. That way they are not threatened.
  • I am appalled that there is a move to amend the BJP Constitution and allow the party president to extend his term by another 2 years. If this happens, the BJP motto should read: Nothing succeeds like failure.
  • There is no threat to the viability of the BJP if hostile elements pick up critical comments. Does anyone seriously believe that the political wing of the IB is unaware of what is happening inside the party. Moloy Dhar's Open Secrets names some prominent BJP functionaries who were providing information to the IB in the 1990s.
  • There is an elaborate filter through which information is gathered by the RSS leadership. Some of the top rung are blissfully unaware of the transmission losses.

I feel that we have only just begun the debate. In the coming weeks, I will raise more basic questions such as the one no wants to confront: IS HINDUTVA A MILLSTONE ROUND THE BJP'S NECK?

But that is for another day.

203 comments:

1 – 200 of 203   Newer›   Newest»
No Mist said...

good that you raised this point Swapanda ... BJP needs all the criticism that is there if it is to stand up again on its feet.

I will be looking forward to your raising THE MILLSTONE issue ... there is a lot to be said on it ...

Anonymous said...

First thing BJP needs is honest electronic media, pronto!
No matter how the BJP has degraded (or not), it is still better than congress.
Since best form of defence is offence, it is imperative that there be media that discusses today's important issues ( like Binayak Sen's ) and force BJP and the incumbents to take a stand. Rather than going on and on about what is wrong with BJP, the leadership should move with lightening speed to somehow (I don't know how) get friendly TV channel. Congress is no saint, it is the most corrupt party ever (at least the Lalus and Mayas don't pretend to be otherwise). But congress still won!
And , Manmohan is no saint either. If he had any integrity, he would have contested for Lok Sabha!

So, the question for BJP is not why they lost, but How they should win in 2014.
Enlightening people is the most important issue.
No matter what else they do or whoever else they chose to succeed will be portrayed by the congress supporting media in a poor light!

MVR said...

Hi Swapan, I don't know if the BJP leaders would ever read these questions. But Atleast you answer these questions for me and take some suggestions forward.
1) Is BJP really losing middle class and youth support?? I mean, isnt the growing urban poor a reason for BJP's debacle in Delhi and Mumbai?? And how is it that BJP has both the municipal corporations in its hand and yet fails miserably at higher level?

2) During NDA's regime, BJP couldnt implement its 3 core issues. But what stopped it from all the other issues concerning middle class of this country??Why didn't BJP do anything about speeding up judicial reforms?? Why didnt Advani do anything about empowering the police and policing system of this land? Why didn't BJP behave like a party with a difference when in power?

3) What happened to the party that it seems bereft of ideas and leaders?? It was a party born out of cadre and movement. It cant give any excuse for lack of leaders. It has people who are attached to it emotionally, unlike congress.

4) Sorry to say this but party today seems like Congress during the times of Sitaram Kesari. I feel Party should start weeding out power mongerers. It cant play with emotions of its workers and sympathisers. Party still has support in the middle class, youth and upper caste. Only if it cares about it. Why is it that nobody seems interested about the growth of the party.

Are there any press conferences happening at BJP now a days?? I mean I dont hear anything from the opposition even when the government is in Chaos already.

Balaji said...

2 more years for Rajnath Singh? what the bloody hell?!!

I need to choose between freedomteam.in and Loksatta then. Anyone thinking of reviving the Swatantara party?

Kaushik said...

First comment, I think. :)
Yes, debate is necessary very much. I can only sit back and pray as to the BJP taking up most of the relevant issues being discussed in this blog.
One step in the right direction is this - http://election.rediff.com/interview/2009/may/26/loksabhapoll-interview-with-chandan-mitra.htm
One of the first sane and honourable reactions I am seeing from the BJP. May Chandan and Swapan's ilk increase in the BJP.

Anonymous said...

I though BJP was going to have elections and the party president was going to be elected. If the current president stays on for two more years, BJP will get back to two seats for sure. We can debate how long it will take.

Anonymous said...

IS HINDUTVA A MILLSTONE ROUND THE BJP'S NECK?

------------------------------------------------

Be beware when u write on this topic. Calling Hindutva a millstone for the BJP would earn u only bricks and bats. Leave the question of criticizing Hindutva directly I promise u I'll be there to criticize u severely if u even connoted that Hindutva is an impediment for BJP. U folks have ruined our party for god sake at least now allow it to go to basics.

Dr. Karan Thakur said...

Dear Swapan,

I totally endorse you views, it is high time that some serious introspection is at lease started, lest the BJP falls back the business as usual mode. Clearly, the changes in direction and the lessons of 2004 have not registered with the leadership, what to say of elections 2009. Just the mind-numbing silence on part of the BJP is hard to ignore or reasonably justify. While it is courageous to take defeat in one's stride, assuming that repeated defeats are the exception rather than the rule is living in fool's paradise.

Keep Writing!

Anonymous said...

Hindutva is not a millstone round BJP's neck. Btw, I am a supporter of BJP becoming a right of center party but protection of Hindu interests is something it cannot give up.

BJP has top show that it stands for other things such as developement apart from Hindutva. I think that message has been a little weak.

Anonymous said...

then, the first question should be: How do you define Hindutva?

I define Hindutva as my right to be proud of my rich cultural heritage. Am, I asking too much?

Mehul J. Rajput said...

Hindutva is not a millstone around bjp's neck. It is the definition of Hindutva which has been skewed by the ELM (English Language Media) which makes anyone supporting hindutva as pariah. I would say BJP should be the torch bearer of hindutva, which stands for assimilation of others in to the society.

And yes BJP should move the current president out. I do not think he is charsimatic enough for influencing people and lead them.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Dada,

Hindutva is a bogey used MORE by Congi/CPIM etc to rally minority vote than BJP. And there are self-hating Hindu Middle class who always want to be apologetic. And fundoos appearing in TVs who can't do better.

Look at the forehead of Rahul Baba- his Tika is bigger than that of Advani, Modi. Nehru did not need any Hindu symbol. Indira flirted selectively with Hindutva. Rajiv was a successful practisioner of Hindutva politics, more than LKA.

Or look at Sonia's wrist.

Discussion is good, should be welcome. However, as this blog caters to a minute fraction of Indians (that too half from NRIs from USA who can't vote), the responses are of limited scope or value even though they are most enthuastic.
Take a simple example:

Why did BJP loose so badly in Rajasthan?

Was it because suddenly people of Rajasthan woke up and discovered virtues of Rahul Baba and how communal, unsecular, fundamentalist Hindutva have been so far thus rewarded Congi and banished BJP?

Obviously not. Its a mix of caste, minority vote, honeymoon of Congress Govt, infighting in BJP..............people did not agree with priority of governance of Raje Govt etc etc.

If one hears too much of NDTV/CNN-IBN/Psuedo fundoos it will appear- suddenly, by magic, people of Rajasthan have become bastion of secularism while for last 6 years they were communal bugs !! hehe...

Who is fooling whom?

Ninad Laud said...

As you rightly noted in the ToI a day after the elections, the party has paid the price for having shied away from asking the hard questions after 2004.

I hope your involvement/association can make some difference this time round. Can't wait for the day when you actually get the party to debate the basic question you've posed for another day.

The earlier the better, for people who desire to support a right of centre political group, can do without having to defend or be seen sympathetic if not supportive of zealots who can call themselves the latter's affiliates with impunity; a bunch you once termed "vodoo hindutva".

What the "children of BJP voter's" want is not unheard of; simply because the NDA under Vajpayee [with all its dissensions] was a prototype of the desired outfit. Development and progress was its USP. Wrong alliance arithmetic in 2004("the BJP lost it") should not have meant the end of this progressive avatar of the party.

We are tired of grappling with "peripheral issues" and antiquated ones at that, raked up by a bunch and missing the plot in the process.

We live in hope that they debate and look up to you to get them to debate.

pradeep said...

Hi Swapan,

I'm appalled to see that the BJP leadership is less energetic and serious than its supporters about the debabte. There has been a lot of ideas given to the party thorugh its net forum (www.lkadvani.com) but haven't seen a single communication to its supporters in the forum. Mr. Advani and his team is showing their weakness by delaying in addressing the poll debacle through constructive debate within the party. No is showing the sense urgency to own the responsibility and build the party. Coming to changing the constitution, the BJP shouldn't change the constitution by extending the president term by 2 more years. If this is done, the scrutiny of checks and balance of the existing president is delayed by 2 more years. The RSS rightly said, most of BJP's time was dadicated to e-campaigning, which resulted in disconnect with the grass root level.

Regarding HINDUTVA, yes it has become a milestone to the BJP. This milestone can only be achieved when the BJP comes to power on its own.

Anonymous said...

Debate unfortunately is missing from all political parties. Think what would happen if somebody in Congress says that Rahul is not qualified to be PM. There are fundamental questions for BJP that have been raised in this election; and if it avoids debate then the consequences wont be pretty.

Arun said...

Conclusion? .. Time to split the BJP, regionally. Atleast in states where it doesn't have presence right now.

Jaideep said...

Swapan,
While I appreciate your concerns regarding the lack of debate in the party what I fail to understand is why are all of us calling for such a debate only now. The organisational problems in the BJP have not arose only after the defeat in the elections. Are all of us also not guilty of turning a blind eye to these weakneses before the elections?
However the point you have raised about discussions in closed door meetings is a valid one. But the larger point has to be that no party (including the BJP) is truely democratic in nature. All state unit presidents, city unit presidents etc are elected by a manufactured consensus. Wouldnt a simple change in the functioning of the BJP whereby a lowest level functionary in the party is truely elected by a democratic process not give a new life to the party. This change needs to be triggered though at the highest level. For example when the time comes for electing the leader of opposition wouldnt it be healthy if say a Murli Manohar Joshi contests against LK Advani and they actually have a debate about what direction the BJP needs to go. If such a precedent- irrespective of the outcome of the debate- is set it would be impossible for fixers and manipulaters to grab party positions. It would send a signal that if Advani can be challenged to a leadership position openly then challenging anyone else at other levels is not about rivalries but about a genuine difference of opinion and inner party democracy

Karan said...

Yet another amazing post Swapanda... I agree with most of the points that you have made. I agree that a party like BJP should not distinguish between RSS and non-RSS members. Having said so, I would also like to make a point, RSS provides BJP with disciplined cadres. That RSS has gone through a transmission loss, is as much as RSS's fault as much as the perception about RSS in the youth. I agree with you that the constitution of BJP should not be ammended as per the party prez's choice.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong in debate. BJP should debate sooner than later.

1. Do they want to be part of lunatic right or should their focus be center right with good governance?
2. How do they want to reform the system and parties or do they want to be dragged into "All politicians are same".
3. Modi was independent of VHP and RSS in Gujarat with Governance as platform. He succeeded. BJP can do too.
4. As many readers pointed, Priamries is the way to go. Show every Indian that BJP is a party with difference.
5. Should they follow the same policies of "Muscle and Money power"?
6. How can we follow policies that benefit masses and preserve centuries old values.

Anonymous said...

Arun jaitley has written a good sober piece in the IE which makes sense.

ramana said...

IS HINDUTVA A MILLSTONE AROUND THE BJP's NECK ?

Yes and No.

Hindutva as RSS reminds its shakhas is constantly evolving alongwith the times. Inherent in the definition is large room for nuances to reflect the modern times. The underlying universal appeal of Hindutva must not be dismissed.

The failure to reflect this rests mainly on those who allowed a sort of 'static' Hindutva to prevail. The results are for all of us to see. Whether it is the ugly face of Rama Sene, or Varun Gandhi's distribes (seriously why are BJP folks so obsessed with having a Nehruvian Gandhi in the party? ) against Muslims (nobody asked the young man, would he show the same firmness if the perpetrators of the crime were Hindus and not Muslims) or opposing the nuclear deal for really silly reasons (many RSS leaders I interacted with have a very strong anti-American bent very similar to the Communists !).

This failure to communicate the nuanced approach to Hindutva by both RSS and BJP has contributed to this image of ogre.

Atalji articulated this very nicely whether he was in Pakistan or on the shores of Sri Lanka during a regional summit. Advaniji understood this much better than anybody else. Swapanda you have reported and wrote about this many times.

Most interestingly, both Doctorji and Guruji of RSS articulated this sort of nuanced view of Hindutva. Sadly most people who refer to them, either have never read them nor digested them.

Again, thanks for initiating a nice debate.

( Not long back, I raised a similar question, of a Sangh leader, 'If Kalidasa were alive today, would he have anything to do with Sangh', suffice to say, it was not the question to ask. :-) )

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapda,

You are doing a great service to BJP and its supporters by asking some basic and fundamental questions which should be asked by the leaders themselves. If the objective is to capture power then it is paramount that BJP brand of Hindutva is redifined. Otherwise BJP can be a very good opposition party for the foreseeable future.

doubtinggaurav said...

SwapanDa,

Debate on blog is all good but I seriously doubt that it will reach the powers that be in BJP. Also I have been following the threads here with interest and I must say that it would be a terrible mistake to abandon Hindutva. By the way it may interest other readers that Republican party in US is having similar debate between Rush Limbaugh-Cheney( Base/conservative) vs. Colin Powell (Elite/moderate)

Venugopalan said...

Yes. I think such ostrich like attitude (real or percieved) will not help BJP.Let them involve intellectuals (both right and left) and have serious and public itrospection.

Anonymous said...

Chandan Mitra has correctly summed up in his interview to Rediff.

BJP's lost its base among urban and youth because they do not see it as a forward looking party. How is the BJP going to address this?

More importantly he says:
"It also had a better understanding of how things were working on the ground. The others, BJP included, failed to see that reality."

So BJP leaders failed to see what the ground situation was. How come?

The party built by Atal and Advani is now floundering. People like Rajnath Singh,a mediocre person who puts himself ahead of anything else, is rising fast because of his friendship with RSS folks.

Party has lost its urban base. How much of that is contributed by its stand on nuclear deal. BJP/RSS should ponder over that.

The young people who are voting for Congress will be lifelong supporters of Congress. I can only see that Congress will continue to surge and BJP will go back to 1989 tally, if not 1984 tally.

http://www.rediff.com/election/interview/2009/may/26/loksabhapoll-interview-with-chandan-mitra.htm

Anonymous said...

BJP has no hope in hell of getting back middle class and youth support of it projects leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajnath Singh.

On the contrary, we are seeing people like Rajath becoming more powerful. Only God can save the party.

Anonymous said...

How did BJP/RSS did not understand the ground realities which Congress understood better. Is it because of under estimation of the Congress by the BJP.

sundar said...

BJP's growth was directly related to the Hindutva rise and its dip is directly related to the slowing down in articulation. If we compare this to a cricket match (ODI or 20/20) after the blitzkrieg of fielding restriction there is a middle over hunch where the party is concentrating on singles and a few attempts to slog have resulted in fall of wickets. Now they need a sheet anchor who will focus on building the innings. They are no fielding restrictions now, shot selection is very very important. The middle overs whether in ODI or 20/20 resemble a test match. We need a person who would play for the target which is 272. For this Be innovative, take calculated risks, cut out aerial route, milk the bowling somebody like Joshi or Apte should be the president of the party and somebody like Yashwant Sinha or Jaswant singh should be LOP. Prepare the ground for sloggers to take over leadership after 3 years. We should project a sober outlook for the next 3 years. We should not grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons, if in the process we are not in the news magazine itself - no issues. Rajnath Singh should be made prabhari of the party for UP so that he is tasked to rebuild the party which he has brought it to this pass in UP.

Anonymous said...

Swapanda, debates are all fine but how many ministers is NDA going to induct in their "Shadow Cabinet". Will us dilliwallas get some representation.

Anonymous said...

Usually a setback brings all the theories of doom.

I really don't see BJP as a party biting dust anytime soon. There is no other significant alternate party to take the pie of BJP party.

But, even now, the only problem I see among many commentators is about personalities. Narendra Modi or not, Jaitley or not, it is more about principles and ideologies to which a party stands, people are irrelevant. As long as a party stands for what it preaches, leaders would be born among themselves.

Politics could very well be a long battle, there are no shortcuts to power, by alliances or mere pre-poll gimmicks, one has to stand long to bear the fruits.

zoomindianmedia said...

Debate and Disagreements are part and parcel of any effective organisation.

Avoiding unpalatable facts is not discretion. It is stupidity. Problems BJP is facing are serious. Updated blog below examines some.

http://zoomindianmedia.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/election-2009-analysis

As a battle fit organisation evil mafiosi Congress I today is better than BJP. That is a fact Sangh Parivar has to confront, find out reasons and fix them quick.

Rightist collapse now will be disastrous for India.

Anonymous said...

Now every expert is saying to reduce the control of RSS over BJP. They should first understand why BJP was created from Jan Sangh. Allready BJp has forgotten Swadeshi. Now they want to forget the other principles. When inspite of 183 Mr Govindacharya suggested BJP to sit in opposition, some power mongers chose other wise. Where they left Govindacharya, a selfless servant of mother india.
Now the same power hungry folks want anything to get to Delhi.
I will stand with strong RSS instead of BJP.

Sudhir said...

On a totally different note, what do you guys think about Arun Jaitley defending Ram Gopal Varma in SC ? I've heard the trailer, and it is a clear insult to the anthem, so was just wondering what made Arun take up this case!

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

SWAPAN,

I think its important that my two articles are read here - these are vitally important to INDIA. As Congress dithers, we see CHINA moving in from Pakistan, to Nepal, to Bangladesh, to Burma and even to Sri Lanka (Hambantota port). If we are not smart, India will see Chinese Navy berthed in 3 yrs time either in GWADAR (Balochistan, Pakistan) and / or in HAMBANTOTA (Sri Lanka). To many of you this may not make sense, but for the future of INDIA - to strategic planners this cannot come to pass - if INDIA is to retain any semblance of "power" in the region.

Link 1: http://bengalunderattack.blogspot.com/2009/05/interview-with-dr-wahid-baloch-making.html

Link 2: http://bengalunderattack.blogspot.com/2009/05/pakistans-nuclear-arsenal-us-insistence.html

Jai Hind

Anonymous said...

Lets take an example. Nitish Kumar in Bihar has won. Do you think is it development ? Answer is yes or no. Behind the mask of development the new social alliance has been formed and vote bank of Lalu, paswan has been cut across using subtle caste equations. Lalu has even said after the loss that if development was the issue he would have won Bihar easily given his work in Railways.

The point is casteism, regionality, Hindutva is a crucial deciding factor. But it works as a catalyst provided something else is there to show. It is a mix of these tricks that decide who wins.

Another example - look at the conflicts going on for ministerial berth. Too many equations floating around.

Apart form all this, BJP has to expand its base in many states - TN, AP, KL. Or else they will lose the war without contesting.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Swapan,

Debate is essential to get to the truth. It is necessary even and I laud your attempt. Maintaining status quo by keeping your hands over your ears will not make you go far - yes you can continue to sit on a throne that is on a quicksand - by trying to manipulate party constitution to increase the tenure will exacerbate this decline. After all nothing fails like complacency.

However much I admire Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie, I will blame Jaitley for washing home dirty linen in public (S Mittal episode). These infighting are best kept indoors.

The horror of succession to Advani that caused RSS to step in to stem the rot is another "sick" episode.

BJP is no longer a party of discipline - it looks like a "gold digger" - a desperate spouse looking for a rich husband!

I think HINDUTVA is not understood - what exactly does it mean? Does it anti - MUSLIM and / or anti ISLAM ? Does it mean RAM MANDIR at all costs? Does it mean RAM SENE type hooliganism against so called WESTERN DECADENCE - Valentine's Day et al? Does it mean OLD MEN in RSS shouting for AKHAND BHARAT while CHINA quietly and efficiently encircles INDIA?

But SWAPAN - you must carry on with this blog - you must get to hear from a cross section. As you have pointed out about T&D (transmission and distribution) losses. The average T&D losses in INDIA are around 16%.

At one point T&D losses reached 50% in DELHI. Then T&D was called (Theft & Dacoity) losses for power distribution in Delhi. Only in DELHI !!

Anonymous said...

While I disagree with violent Hindutva, what is BJP without Hindutva? The same Hindutva that made BJP come to power in Delhi in such a short period cannot be discarded because of an election defeat.

You do not shake off an ideology just like that. In India, there is a genuine need fro Hindutva and BJP is the only party which provides that. Now that should not be the only thing it provides.
In fact BJP provides good goverance but somehow it was not able to highlight that to the electorate.

The issue is that its leadership is tired and hackneyed. Frankly, Advaniji was not coming up with anything new.

In fact Modi is something new and represent a positive force. Now however, he is tarred by this defeat.

Having said that I cannot think of any leader apart from Modi who is a true mass leader in the BJP.

He can be portaryed as a desi (son of soil) fellow as opposed to the elite Rahul.

Anonymous said...

Chandan Mitra's interview is the best explanation of BJP's defeat. Compare that to what Advani and Jaitley have been saying about bipolarity and third front helping the Congress.

It is nothing but denial. Seems like the electorate treated BJP just like another opposition party.

So much for a party with difference.

Ghost Writer said...

Advani and Rajnath Singh should go on principle - and probably Jaitley too - to be honest (with the provisio that he can be reinstated later). It does not matter how moderate the BJP gets, it will never get the Muslim and Chritian vote. When the BJP starts an election - I am sure they look at a map and say "these places Muslims can decide a contest as Muslims - hence we have no chance". So naturally - the next move is consolidate your own vote bank and hope to get allies. The question is - will the increment of votes you get on being moderate be greater than the votes you lose as your base deserts you. This is a real toughie - and the answer may actually be a no.

As a middle path - maybe the BJP should bump the Mandir question to the assorted Dharamacharya Sabhas and focus on high constitutional issues - Uniform civil Code, Article 370 and the like. That way they are reformists without being revanchists. Finally - the perversion of first-past-the-post means that the Congress won so many more seats even though it increased vote share by only 2%. There is a lesson there for the BJP - surely it can look at the results; see where the losing difference was marginal and assess if moderation will help get a winning swing

Anonymous said...

The issue is not whether Hindutva is a millstone.

The question is whether BJP has done anything for Hindutva. Did it build the Ram temple. Did it do anything to stop conversions. No.

Yet around election time, Advani starts talking about Ram temple. Looks like the biggest hypocrite.

People now see them as a party which used the Ram temple movement for political purpose and then dumped the issue.

That is why BJP does not have credibility as a Hindutva party.

A simple thing it could have done is provided money to poor Hindus for pilgrimages just as Muslims get haj subsidy.

It is funny to see that BJP which rode the Ram temple movement to power wants to discard Hindutva so that it can win elections. It is laughable and such discussions can take place only in internet chat rooms.

rone said...

hindutva is not a milestone around BJP 's neck .But it is a scetion espefialy some VHP elements who wrongly intrepret Hindutva and take it as a license to hooliganism, forgeting dharma-morals is the mile stone.Moraly correct hindutva is not a drawback.Fighting for hinfu dharme and hindus in a democrting a nd rule abiding way is the way forward.

Anonymous said...

Hi Swapan,

Everything you are saying seems perfect and in order. It is extremely important for an open and constructive debate on the loss and analyse all aspects.

On you last comment "Is Hindutva a millstone around BJP's nect" I have an observation and sorry for pre-empting the debate.

I think there is nothing conflicting between "hindutva" and "right of centre". They can perfectly co-exist. The issue is not hindutva itself, but the perception, understanding and communication of the ideology of hindutva. Hindutva is a great idealogy and the BJP should steadfastly stick with it. What is required is that BJP and RSS should clearly remove the mis-perceptions of hindutva, ensure its idealogy is clearly articulated and proven that it is a great idealogy with nothing communal about it. That and only that is the real solution. This communication is required even within the rank and file of RSS and BJP itself.
Also, the sporadic extremism by the bajrang types should be completely stopped. It only gives bad name to hindutva. They should instead fight their causes democratically. for eg. keep filing 100's of cases in courts against illegal conversion.

parasuram81 said...

Swapanda,
I entirely agree with the debating aspect.Also this whole talk of RSS and its umbilical cord with BJP.Really!r they serious abt it..in fact,going by the reports,they messed up BJP's chances in two huge states,Rajasthan,MP and also Gujarat where they were adamant n stupid not to mobilize the cadre whole-heartedly.I know there may have been some localised issues with them,but to ignore the fact that Congress would directly benifit form this in a bipolar contest is both stupid and deceitful.They must first prioritize their approach,do they stand for purity in ideology or can they may be pragmatic and wise enough to negate congress by fully backing BJP as its the lesser evil.To me these r the critical questions.Sorry for a long post but one more thing I am really baffled abt is Mr.Advani coming out and saying left is responsible for its defeat.This is the precisely why people feel creepy and cynical abt his 'strong' credentials.For God' sake,why cant he concede honestly and say we screwed up.Even going by his alibi,why didnt he cobble some allies in the fist place for all of those 5 years in opp to occupy the space of the left?This is perceived disingenuous and selfish and hence its loss of credibility among the youth and middle class.And finally one word on Rajnath Singh.God forbid,if he's made President again,its the surest way to go the Congress way as in 1998 and self-destruct.Thank you so much again for stimulating a worthy debate!

iamfordemocracy said...

Swapanda, thank you for saying it so. BJP sympathisers were quick to pounce on any critical opinion in any forum thus far, leave alone the party platform.

Reading all those critical comments after your post, I really feel sad that this platform became available too late. Rajeev's blog started well but degenerated quickly because of the strict censorship. Those who praised the leaders no end before the elections are now rushing to blame them. Had people had a chance to speak their mind earlier, the picture might have been a little different.

Everyone must remember that in th 50's famine, the chinese top brass did not come to know about food shortage. As a result, china was exporting grains and thousands of chinese were suffering because of hunger. BJP clan is going through a similar experience. (It was Amartya Sen's research that pointed this out, but then even to mention Amartya Sen with kind words is a sin on Rajeev2004 blog).

Please keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da. Is it really fair for BJP or any other party to discuss the poll debacle in the open? I have not seen any political party do that. How will it help the BJP?

Secondly, Arun Jaitley has provided his analysis on what went wrong in the elections in his piece in the Indian Express. What do you think about that? Does it appear satisfactory to you.

That is the way the party is telling its supporters about what the party feels. That same analysis is also given by middle class neutral folks.

What more is required of the BJP? Clean up of people who are not performing and corrupt, Yes. But discussion of core ideology on the internet. That does not make sense.

Also, there is plenty of time to fix things. A lot more things will go wrong. While we have a desire to make ourselves feel better by making sure that BJP is fixing the problems, there is no need for the party to knee jerk and give in to these demands of internet chatteratti.

zoomindianmedia said...

Yesterday I had suggested a story for pioneer.
Rogue Catholic Priest is a Serial Pedophile

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/25/2579456.htm?section=world

I dont think Pioneer has published news pertaining to the subject as yet.

Probably Poor Chandan Mitra has better things to do than running the newspaper. Or his xian education background biased him to withhold facts. Or probably poor chandan thought it will be communal to report facts. Or is he too slow, not even to have seen the news, let alone act.

(Some comments on Pioneer:
(a) Look and feel of pioneer can be enhanced.
(b) Pioneer website is more 'journalistic' rather than 'mass communicationistic' and comes across as jaded
(c) As the one of the few papers committed to nationalist cause, it could have done far more both in terms of presentation and stories for nationalist cause.
(d) National role out

Chandan perhaps was too busy doing other activities as different from his job. I dont know.

Or is Chandan being constrained by Thapar Seth. Please note that despite sarcasm, the suggestions and thoughts to Chandan are well meaning)

It is a disgrace to Indian journalism that a foreign jounalist with a modicum of integrity has to publish catholic pedophile.

Anyway one more good story that Pioneer can use is presented here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nWKCF2HM-I


PS: While we Indians have a tradition of debate tharka (logic), execution of action plan will be the key.

Anonymous said...

Well, if a person like Rajnath Singh remains president it will be quite a dip for the BJP in urban areas. This person is totally without any spark!

Deepak said...

Swapanda,

You have put the proverbial cat among the pigeons by taking up the 'Hindutva-millstone' issue. I feel there are three kinds of people whose vote matters for BJP :

1) Hardcore supporters : Mostly Hindutva fans, who will anyway support the BJP, irrespective of what happens. Stronger Hindutva pitch will probably motivate more of this segment to to the poll booths. But unfortunately, this segment is not enough to win elections.

2) Middle-class and Youth : This was the stronghold of the BJP from the '90's. It was this group who were disillusioned with the Congress pandering to minorities and corruption and voted decisively for the BJP. But now, this group feels that a) Manmohan is a decent man b) Enough of temple, the point is already made and most important c) BJP is a moral policing, regressive party. It is c) which has resulted in this bloc voting against BJP in many states, causing the great defeat. So, Hindutva will NOT win this bloc back. BJP has to position itself as a good party and as a 'party with a difference', rather than 'party with differences'. There is no doubt that it is this bloc which can make the difference between a BJP Win and rout (eg : they voted against in Delhi and Mumbai and for in Karnataka). The Mangalore pub attack and Varun Gandhi ensured that BJP lost this segment.

3) Farmers, OBC, Dalit : This bloc will vote based on issues and the prevalent mood. eg : Mood in Karnataka is pro-BJP, so they voted BJP; mood in Rajasthan is anti-BJP so they voted Congress.

BJP cannot abandon Hindutva, as it will lose its core voters, but it cannot overdo it. A balanced approach is required, where nationalism is projected, as against minority-bashing. The average performance in Gujarat and the rout in Orissa are clear pointers to the failure of over stressing of Hindutva.

So, solution is to restore the lost sheen, by focusing on nationalist policies, clean politics and exposing the Govt. failures, even while offering co-operation.

Balaji said...

And finally we start discussing Hindutva. Good.

There is/was/will be only one definition of Hindutva: Its Fascism.

“A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with Hindu decline, humiliation or victimhood at the hands of Muslim and Christian rulers/evangelists and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants [Sangh], working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites [Upper castes/royals/rich], abandons democratic liberties [like justice, minority rights] and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing in Gujarat and Kandhamal and external expansion into places like Pakistan.”

There is no question of explaining Hindutva to the voters. Becos BJP supporters have been living in fool's paradise about what Hindutva stands for. Savarkar, who wrote the treatise "Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?" and who probably coined the word 'Hindutva' had no doubts at all that he was a Fascist. And BJP's founding fathers like Syama Prasad Mukherjee and Deenadayal Upadhyaya and even Guruji Golwalkar had no doubt at all that Hindutva was non-sense and that Jan Sangh and RSS will have nothing to do with it.

If you go to the BJP website, on the Philosophy tab, there are two parts.

Integral Humanism and Hindutva (Cultural Nationalism).

1. The part on Integral Humanism, there is no ambiguity whatsoever. BJS president Deenadayal Upadhyaya had spelled in explicit terms what Intergal Humanism means and that Humanism alone is Jan Sangh's philosophy.

2. But the part on Hindutva consists of varied articles consisting so much non-sense, that its surprising BJP folks thought it necessary to put them up on their website.

No wonder the average BJP worker has no idea what Hindutva is and foolishly gives whatever definition he/she likes. Hindutva is Fascism. Plain and simple. Abandon it and embrace Intergal Humanism, which is BJP's only official ideology.

Vineet said...

Just like some political families control this country, some media families control the media. If they distort Hindutva to show BJP in bad light should BJP discard it? The media families have a stake in a Congress govt.,so they go about it.e.g. the Ram Sene episode, they fought against BJP, but the media made sure BJP is identified with them.

Anonymous said...

Swapan Ji,

Please tell Advani ji and other good leaders that,
we can't anu more accept Rajnath singh as the President of BJP .Please we as core base working on the ground are humilated by this kind of decisons.we need a leader who can re energise the BJPs cadre not the selfish Rajnath.If BJP appoints him God save BJP...............No NO to rajnath i think he should be throen outtoday itself

zoomindianmedia said...

Sudhir

Jaitley is perfectly legitimate in defending anyone on the issue of Indian anthem.

That apart National anthem was among the ugly rabits that Gandhi's nationalist muslim (oxymoron?) boy nehru pulled out of his british hat.

Many Nationalists are offended by Jana Gana Mana. In the history of nations, India is the only nation that has as its anthem, a song eulogising its imperialist occupier.

"Jana Gana Mana", was a song penned by Tagore welcoming King George as "Bharata Bhagya Vidhaata-Arbitrator of India's Destiny".

The poem was composed in December 1911, precisely at the time of the Coronation Durbar of George V, and Statesman of those days called it a paean in praise of "the overlord of India's destiny". "The Bengali poet Babu Rabindranath Tagore (loyal subject those days) sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor." (Statesman, Dec. 28, 1911)

Also check out Original Vande Matharam Video(not the fake AR Rehman/bharatbala islamic one)below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj1Iy4nRMkc

Swabhimaan said...

I don't know where Balaji read that Hindutva is fascism!!

Swabhimaan said...

Orissa failure was not because of Hindutva. I have first hand feedback from a friend from Orissa who talked to people from different strata- a VC, a maid, a student. To his surprise (my friend is an ex-anti BJP person and now he is neutral), none of them said that BJP is communal. All of them thought of the BJP candidates from Orissa as useless and corrupt. There are also candidates with criminal cases against them. The BJP must learn to talk about such things and take a stand on these issues. I won't be surprised if the BJP is wiped out in a few years going by the way its leaders are conducting themselves. This is what worries me because I don't want this to happen.

hyderaoji said...

Hindutva is not the major issue. BJP strayed from basic values or Dharma. See my satirical take @ hyducnations@blogspot.com.

BJP needed to press home basic themes of Economic & Social Upliftment, Governance & Security. It stressed none of these. It came across as extremist & disruptive. It forgot that the economy should be the issue & the only issue. It was opportunisitc on the Nuclear Deal & the Varun Gandhi episode. A positive gesture on both of these would have done wonders to show that the BJP stressed constructive & moderate politics.

The fact that the trio of Advani, Rajnath & Modi when shown up against the trio of MMS, Sonia & Rahul, the winning team was the one which kept its tone more moderate, more poor friendly and more media friendly.

Indian Nationalist said...

Swapan if you are so irritated with the Hindutva neck why dont u join congress where I am sure u will succeed.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,

While analysing the verdict we shouldn't get lost in the details.
BJP lost the elections not because of the failure of its strategists, but because of absence of any strategists. BJP only has a few good intentioned people masquerading as strategists, it is not to undermine their contribution, or political acumen, they are still an asset, and their loss will be real loss for BJP.
However, the same is not true for Congress, they successfully neutralized the "Party with a difference" plank of BJP by projecting Manmohan Singh and by deft media management. They successfully neutralized anti incumbency in AP, Maha and TN. Their media management is impeccable. All this looks elementary in hindsight, but BJP badly needs people who know where the party will be five to ten years from now.

Anonymous said...

Dear Swapan, I remember you having said that the BJP needs purging and I totally agree. The question is how many people need to be kicked out and how many ideologies need correction. Hindutva is what made BJP what it is today so completely giving up Hindutva will fundamentally change BJP, I do no think this is what BJP needs. Some people MUST GO, also the RSS has to change it's ways, it needs to realise that powerful public figures like Advani and Modi cannot be expected to fall in a line drawn by it all the time. The RSS is a very good and important social organization but it must know that the BJP is not it's fiefdom.

Also the Right DEFINITELY needs it's own electronic media as soon as possible and I do not think anybody who wants to start such a media channel which is sympathetic to the Right needs to take permission or consultation from anybody not even the BJP because the BJP/RSS are Rightist parties/organizations, they are not 'The Right' itself.

zoomindianmedia said...

Apparently as a mark of respect for martyrs of 26/11 attack, the super performing rahul congress yesterday decided resusticate the career of the man who made outstanding contribution - shivraj patil. his services to mafiosi family will be rewarded.

Mr said...

if you are going to abandon hindutva, can anybody answer how BJP is going to function as party. Because you will not only lose your cader but will also lose hindutva money.

Party need finance to sustain itself. it can either come from core supporter or it will come from corrupt practice.
So i am assuming now you will propose congress way of having swiss account.

Sundararaman said...

I do not know how Savarkar's articulation of Hindutva could be considered as Fascism. I think Mr.Balaji has not studied Savarkar.

Oldtimer said...

BJP will get Muslim and Christian vote NOT by seeking that vote, but by getting more and more Hindu vote.

Anonymous said...

Debate is essential and that's just common sense. Hindutva is an intellectually shallow, backward looking ideology of victimhood and retribution. It is not a set of ideas rooted in self-confidence. Rather, it draws from the exact opposite. It is past its shelf-life. Savarkar was unapologetic about his fascism (good for him) but India is a moderate, centrist society which will vote on moderate, centrist lines. The youth of India are now a confident bunch who are interested primarily in the future. Integral humanism holds much promise. Hindutva holds none.

Best wishes

Suren

zoomindianmedia said...

Swapanda

Put this message across to your friend Arun J.

Jaitley has provided his take on elections:

His Key Points:

"The results have demonstrated that there was a surge in favour of the Congress across the country"

"Even in the face of the Congress surge, it spared the opposition in states in which the chief ministers had governed well"

"The ethical criterion cannot be disregarded any more."

His conclusion "Sober governance helps, shrillness does not. Moderation and understatement are virtues".

He also wanted regional parties to rethink association with communists.

Some Comments:

1. Congress I (islami-isai) is very low on ethics. still it won.
2. Why was there a surge for congress if there was one. And equally why was there not one for BJP. What actions of congress are responsible for surge.
3. Why did the surge not touch karnataka/orissa.
4. Orissa is no-one's example of good governance. And Uttarakhand is one's example of good governance. Why despite suppering with 3rd front Navin Patnaik triumphed and why khanduri could not win a single seat?
5. There is gratuitous advice to the regional players to move away from commies. Probable reason TDP and ADMK did not ally with NDA was bcoz of the fear of losing minority votes.
What is going to be BJP strategy to grow from here. Is BJP going to try any out of box initiatives in key states?

After Last elections too Jaitley wrote a similar piece. Next time, we would want Jaitley to do an analysis on why we won.

zoomindianmedia said...

Can BJP learn a thing or two from Pawan Kumar Chamling.

As long as I can remember, he has been screwing congress i (islami-isai).

Sundararaman said...

I am not a person who blindly follows this ‘ism’ or that ‘ism’ or define myself as anti this ‘ism’ or that ‘ism’. I am neither a fan of Savarkar nor a hater of Golwalkar, Upadhyayaji or for that matter Mahatma Gandhi. I have not come across any literature criticising Savarkar’s Hindutva by Golwalkar or Upadyayaji.I am not thorough on that. I would be happy if some inputs are provided. I feel we should not centre our themes on the basis of views of X or Y, that would be limiting our thought process. Why should we reject Fascism in toto? Which aspects of Fascism are good? – is to be analysed. No system is unmixed blessing and no system is an unmitigated disaster. This I feel is the underlying theme of Hindutva and that should be our guiding principle. Aah no BhadraH Ritavo Yaantu VisvathaH. Let noble thoughts come from all directions. That is Hindutva. Branding and demonising is a Western concept. In India even in religious scriptures there are praises for demons. If we take Ramayan, there are many eulogies to Ravana. In Mahabharatha in the climax of War, Duryodhana derides Krishna in the vilest of words, Vyasa says that hearing this Devas showered flowers on Duryodhana. So much for our honesty about History. This is directly in contrast to the western method of writing History in a one-sided manner.If branding is very necessary in the current day milieu Hindutva can be replaced by Dharmatva but the kernel shall be drawn mainly from our concept of Hindutva, the articulation for which shall continue to be drawn from the scholarship of last century including of Savarkar. I have posted this one other site where repeatedly attempt to run down Savarkar's Hindutva was made.

night walker said...

Swapanda,
I do believe Hindutva is the thread binding the bjp ,
take that away and you have another congress party.
What hurts bjp the most is a low voter turnout ie
when you have all the minorities coming en mass and voting against the bjp while the hindus arent voting at all.
My feeling is Ram Mandir is no longer an emotive issue , Hindutva has evolved to stand for quick decisive development.
The bjp did not seem appealing with Mr X singh at its helm.
the BJP has to retake its rightful place in the centre-right scheme of things . My take would be tone down the rhetoric ,bring more people to your fold.Once you are in power stick to your core.The bjp has to show the english media its mettle,no matter what they do
,they are going to demonize you ,so why spend your time in some commie leaning newsroom. They need their own
news channel now ,both in hindi and english.Correct me if i am wrong, still no thank you message from Mr.LKA?
One more factor I see is the loss of Pramod Mahajan has hurt the BJP hard. After the 2004 election debacle he was candid enough to take responsibility ,who has taken his spot this time round.The bjp might as well be out of power for the next 10 years ,but it is time it undergoes a renaissance of sorts and if we still have the GOP of India in power after that God help us all.

Balaji said...

The following is what Guruji Golwalker writes about Savarkar's Hindu Mahasabha in his 'Book of Thoughts' under the title 'Reactionary Hinduism'.

Source: http://www.hindubooks.org/bot/p1-ch7.htm

-------------------------

Reactionary Hinduism

But, unfortunately, what do we see all around us today? Some are Hindus, not out of conviction, but out of reaction. To give an example, our workers once approached a prominent Hindu leader during the signature collection campaign demanding ban on the slaughter of cows. But they were greatly shocked to hear him saying, "What is the use of preventing the slaughter of useless cattle? Let them die. What does it matter? After all, one animal is as good as the other. But, since the Muslims are bent upon cow-slaughter, we should make this an issue. And so, I give you my signature." What does this show? We are to protect the cow not because the cow has been for ages an emblem of Hindu devotion but because the Muslims kill it! This is Hinduism born out of reaction, a kind of ‘negative Hinduism’.

There are some for whom, the term ‘Hindu’ is of use only to serve political objectives. Because a Congressman or a Socialist or some ‘X’ thinks in terms of ‘composite culture’, they stand up and say that they want a ‘pure’ Hindu culture. Stranger than this is the cry of ‘Hindu Communism’! A person can either be a Hindu or a Communist. He cannot be both. It only means that those who shout about ‘Hindu Communism’ know neither Communism nor Hinduism. This is all out of reaction. Once a gentleman asked me whether we are organising Hindus in order to counteract the various activities of the Muslims. I simply told him that even if Prophet Mohammed had not been born and Islam had not come into existence, we would have taken up this work just as we are doing it today, if we had found Hindus in the same disorganised, self-forgetful condition as at present. The positive conviction that this is my Hindu Rashtra, this is my dharma, this is my philosophy which I have to live and set up as standard for all other nations to follow-well, this should be the solid basis for Hindu reoorganisation.

If, then, we are not to be mere ‘political Hindu animals’ or Hindus out of reaction, we must live as Hindus by conviction, capable of expressing that conviction in all aspects of our day-to-day life. The mere propagation of Hindu thought in literature and newspapers takes us nowhere. For instance, Veer Savarkarji wrote a beautiful book ‘Hindutva’ and Hindu Mahasabha based itself on that pure philosophy of Hindu Nationalism. But once, the Hindu Mahasabha passed a resolution that Congress should not give up its ‘nationalist’ stand by holding talks with Muslim League but should ask Hindu Mahasabha to do that job! What does it mean? It only means that the hybrid nationalism of Congress was of the pure variety, whereas Hindu Mahasabha represented the Hindu counterpart of the rabidly communal, anti-national Muslim League! How did this strange perversion set in? Because, the deep-rooted conviction which would spontaneously evoke the ready affirmation "yes, this is Hindu Nation" under all conditions, even in dreams, was not there.

hyderaoji said...

ps. my blog should be http://hyducinations.blogspot.com/2009/05/pandavas-lost-this-mahabharata-war.html

Sorry.

Hindutva is not the major issue. BJP strayed from basic values or Dharma. See my satirical take @ hyducnations@blogspot.com.

BJP needed to press home basic themes of Economic & Social Upliftment, Governance & Security. It stressed none of these. It came across as extremist & disruptive. It forgot that the economy should be the issue & the only issue. It was opportunistic on the Nuclear Deal & in the Varun Gandhi episode. A positive gesture on both of these would have done wonders to show that the BJP stressed constructive & moderate politics.

The fact that the trio of Advani, Rajnath & Modi were shown up against the trio of MMS, Sonia & Rahul. The winning team was the one which kept its tone more moderate, more poor friendly and more media friendly.

Anonymous said...

Swapanda,

do you know if the BJP has ever conducted focus groups with a cross section of their voters and Congress voters.

This simple exercise would serve as a kick in the pants for so many of their delusional leaders.

I have heard and read in many places that NaMo, for instance, reads and follows news through multiple channels without any filters.

Do other leaders have their ear to the ground?

Anonymous said...

Arun Jaitely shld joing Congress (I), if he is uncomfortable with BJP .

Chap was sulking on te eve of the elections.

Ethics Haa!

zoomindianmedia said...

Swapan-da

Hindutva being an millstone across BJP's neck is not true.

Hindutva is BJP's strength. The gains that accrued on account of Hindutva was not consolidated on many places. While BJP consolidated in Karnataka, it did not consolidate in UP on account of short sightedness of Vajpayee in particular and short sightedness of other leaders.

At this point it needs to significantly enhance its perception prorogation/perception management skills, network to tap hawa which invariably leaders like Modi with their superior local idiom are bound to create.

india15august.blogspot.com said...

How the British labor party chooses its candidates

Each constituency has an organization of the labour party members in that area - it is called Constituency Labour Party (CLP).
Functions of the CLP include selecting the local Labour Party candidate for a national parliamentary election.

Where there is a sitting Labour MP, the CLP organises a 'trigger ballot' to decide whether it wishes to carry out the full selection procedure outlined below or simply endorse the sitting MP as their candidate at the next election. It is unusual for a sitting MP to 'lose' their trigger ballot.

In the event that the MP is from an opposition Party, the sitting MP is retiring or has lost their trigger ballot a full selection is organised. The candidate is selected from a list of approved candidates which the party maintains. The National committee lays down procdeures on the list - if the list should be an open list or an all-women's list.

The CLP can choose whether or not to select a candidate on the Labour Party's Panel of approved candidates. If it chooses an outsider, its decision is subject to approval by the national committee (to avoid controversial choices). In such cases, the national committee satisfies itelf that the candidate reaches the standard required to join the Panel.

My Notes: This seems quite open and democratic. A panel is made of persons wishing to offer themselves as candidates of the party. The persons must satisfy the requirements of candidature. The locl party members then meet and vote to choose the candidate from the list. Candidates who are on the list have an incentive to meet the people of the consittuency, hoping to get party votes. This is what 'nursing the consituency' meant in earlier days.

If this process ws adopted, perhaps the local parties may have chosen different candidates in many constituencies in MP and Uttarakhand. Who knows - these candidates may have won also.

www.india15august.blogspot.com

Random Dude said...

I dont know if the BJP is ever going to realise this.

The BJP needs an image makeover....but this is not toning down of hindutva, but a re-channelisation of its efforts.
Their efforts have to be channelized to project themselves as the champion of the poor.

Right now, it is the congress which holds the exclusive patent over this demographic. Relying on the indifferent middle class will not work.
The BJP did not have a coherant issue in this election.

Plss make Modi as the LOP. Modi has to take care to raise mass isssues which can sway an entire nation.

Anonymous said...

http://www.lkadvani.in/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5743&p=0

Evidence of Fraud in Tamilnadu lok sabha polls. Who knwos how many more seats was won due to fraud.

Ram Srinivasan said...

I'm from IIM-A, and my peer group is mostly from the IIMs / IITs and the educated crowd. Many people in my peer group are either embarassed to support BJP or are outright against BJP because they think BJP is divisive, or fundamentalist.

They are mostly comfortable with Congress, & dont like the regional & caste based parties.
While there are many things this group doesnt like about Congress, given the alternatives, Congress somehow gives them greater comfort. This is something that BJP needs to tackle.

Though, these people mostly dont vote, but I do see a greater awareness in the need to take active part in Politics.

Most of them were also surprised by the BJP's opposition to the Nuclear deal, found the attacks on Manmohan Singh, somewhat justified, but in very bad taste and were put away. As most people know that MMS, is inherently a decent man, who was dealt a bad hand.

I dont mean to sound elitist here, but I think BJP has lost the Upper Class votes which was its strength in the past. BJP needs to find a way to reach out and be acceptable to this group, if not for votes, but for the fact that they are opinion leaders, & could signal greater acceptability of the BJP as a party. I think this is critical if BJP wants to come to power.

Ram

ghatotkacha said...

Is Hindutva a millstone around BJP’s neck?

Many people have different definitions of Hindutva.
1. For some, Hindutva means a the movement for making India a Hindu country
2. For others it is a call to arms against Islamic and Christian activities considered inimical to Hindu interests
3. Some define it as true secularism (Governance for all and appeasement to none).
4. There are also some who identify particular issues as Hindutva (Ram mandir, Ram Sethu, Kashi-Mathura mosques etc.).
Whether Hindutva is a millstone around BJP’s neck depends on which of the above versions of Hindutva it choses to embrace. I personally would like BJP to go for the number 3 for the simple reason that this brand of Hindutva is something that will appeal to a larger cross section of people.
Some here have argued that minorities as it is do not vote for BJP so why should they even bother. What these folks need to realize is that the battle is not for the hearts & minds (and finally the vote) of the minorities but of the large moderate Hindu population. Points 1, 2 & 4 do not find a resonance with the large number of people in India. This lack of support for these points could be for a variety of reasons viz. people don’t care (they are more worried about food, water & development), liberal media having influence on the people’s mind or any others that you can think of.
However, to say that BJP should totally eschew Hindutva is also not a feasible option IMHO. BJP/RSS need to redefine Hindutva to highlight its softer aspects.
It needs to put some issues (listed in point 4 above) in cold storage for a decade (Ram mandir is a classis example … there will be nothing lost for Hindus if the final settlement for this issue is delayed by 10-15 years. We are not running against time here. Hindus haven’t prayed at the temple for the past 500 years … it doesn’t make any difference if we don’t pray there for another 20.). Focus should be on development and the debate should be steered around that.
As for point 2, they also need to continue working against Islamic & Christian Missionary activities but this has to be done with sophistication and subtlety. Violence will only cause more harm to the movement. We need to use legal means … challenge these activities in a court of law …. Use peaceful means to protest. Convert people back using the same techniques used by the Christian missionaries.
Lastly, BJP needs better media & image management. By media management I do not mean that BJP should start kow-towing to the media but put forward able speakers (Nalin Kohli, Chandan Mitra, Narendra Modi, Arun Shourie & Arun Jaitley) in front of television audiences who are able to propogate BJP’s point of view to the people who get their information solely from news channels. As for image management, once the SIT verdict is in and NaMo is cleared (as most of us expect him to be), BJP should go on the offensive … file PIL’s and defamation cases against the likes of Teesta Stetalvad and others of her ilk and push your point in each and every forum. Even if the final judgment on the defamation cases may not be exactly how we want it, in the court of public opinion Narendra Modi will already have become a wronged man.
Therefore, in conclusion, I am of the opinion that BJP/RSS should not treat Hindutva as a millstone but should strive to redefine and highlight the softer side of it.

Nihar said...

Hindutva = Hindu human rights

"Is Hindutva a millstone round BJP's neck?" That is a question that not just the BJP but the whole of Sangh Parivar has to contemplate upon. Rather, let me change the question slightly "Has Hindutva become a millstone round BJP's neck?". The difference is obvious

The Hindutva movement of this decade is an example in how a movement based on identity politics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_politics) should not be. This is in contrast to what it was in the nineties.

What was different then? What has changed so drastically now? In the nineties,BJP was seen to be truely representing the identity politics of the Hindus whose aspirations were being grossly ignored. Although the Ayodhya issue remained on the forefront, it represented innumerable other issues of marginalisation of Hindus (eg the rights of Kashmiri Pandits etc). The BJP was seen to be seeking justice for the peacefull Hindus against attrocities, against genocides and against discrimination, the fight against which form the essence of any movement based on identity politics. BJP was unappologetic about these issues.

In this decade, while the BJP took all these issues for granted, it started making hardline symbolic gestures (including the ones like protecting Varun Gandhi). People do recognize dishonesty atleast if were to be so blatant. For example, a few months back when the Supreme court convicted the criminals involved in the Marad massacare of the poor Hindu fishermen of Kerala, the BJP hardly had anytime to even issue a statement in this regard. Did it ever care to show some concern even when the massacare happened? Ideally somebody of the stature of Advaniji should have gone to Marad himself. Such gestures were never extended to the BJPs own support base. And the political managers had the arrogance to think that they could win back the support base by the statements of the likes of Varun Gandhi.

In short Hindutva in nineties meant 'Hindu Human rights' today it probably means extremism atleast to some (including of all people Swapanda himself). Do we need to abandon Hindutva? many think so. But I for one feel, it needs to be articulated properly

Ajay said...

There is nothing wrong with open debate.

If anything, BJP needs to engage more with its ground-level supporters

Ajay said...

Loose Hindutva and loose BJP.

All you intellectuals may be in a hurry to get rid of it. Do that and see BJP slip away in Karnataka and Gujarat

Anonymous said...

one question for Mr. Swapan Dasgupta who never misses an opportunity to apologize for Kandhamal incident. On May 18th, 2009 a similar incident of somewhat similar scale (in terms of casualities) happened in Cheriathura,Kerala. Most of the secular media decided to skip it. Will someone tell me why?

Sundararaman said...

The purported criticism of Hindutva is not there in the extract from Golwalkar. If at all anything there are only good adjectives for Hindutva as a beautiful book.

Vinay said...

debate is good... but whats the outcome... will there be action plans... will this input go to the party people??? ... these are the issues which need to be decided before we debate , debate and debate.....

anybody listening.... will BJP carry out an investigation here... Swapan mate - with all the contacts you have- can you push for a serious investigation here... i smell a dead rat here from Congress via EC...

http://www.lkadvani.in/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5743&p=0

Anonymous said...

Sushma Swaraj working with non-baniya/jats/khaps but lowest of the firma of haryana.

Jaitely , taking up casing of lowest strata of of UP.

Then Swapan, then you should use Your skills for them.

Where & When did Hindutva hampared the aspiration of these two Jewels of Neo-BJP . untill then I am willing to suffer Raj nath's of Societies..

Its bcoz of these two jewel besides rhymer from AP Advani went down, Oh the blessing of Sudheendra Kulkarni and sucking upto Shekar Gupta..

What's wrong in expressing a opinion.

Anonymous said...

It is important to realise that Hindutva has built a bad reputation because of the violent consequences that have been seen after Babri, Godhra and Kandhmal. When people call Hindutva a bad idea, they are referring less to Hindutva in an ideological sense and more to the observable consequences of Hindutva.

Another related issue with using Hindutva as an ideological backstop for the party is that the ideology does not have the intellectual rigor needed to re-assure people that it is benign. Three things militate against it being seen and perceived as benign -

1. Savarkar's writings date from pre-partition days and his call for a "Hindu nation" is no longer relevant after independence was achieved and Pakistan was created. Going back to that leaves people wondering what Hindutva proponents want to do with the minorities

2. Golwalkar's writings are contaminated by unfortunate references to Germany. Admittedly these references are from 1938 and prior to the time that the full extent of Hitler's designs came to be known, but hindsight is 20/20 and the effect today is to provide a convienient handle to discredit Hindutva.

3. The third issue are the consequences of Hindutva in action. These are less easily dismissed than the first two issues as they are not abstract ideological issues.

BJP_supporter said...

Your question is 'Is Hindutva a millstone around the BJP's neck?'. I will do it differently - is Indian political secularism a millstone around the Hindu's neck?

Just look at some of the issues and see where the 'secular' stand is. If BJP has to abandon whatever little 'Hindutva' it pretends to espouse now, it will need to embrace this 'Secularism'. So it is important to go back to the basics and understand that.

1. Induced conversions. Should certain religions have the liberty to change the demographics, interfere and destroy cultural practices, thus set off tensions in society etc?

2. First claim on resources. This is not merely rhetoric now.

3. Foreign policy. Should India vote against Israel, and vote in favor of Lanka, on a war crimes issue? What is the basis to that?

4. State control of only one religion's places of worship. Paying a pittance to this priests, with no facility to the pilgrims. Contrast with separate terminal in airports for another set of pilgrims.

5. Proposals for religion based reservations, against the constitution and presidential orders of 50 years standing.

I can go on, but I think you can do it well too if you try.

From another angle, if Sri Rama Sene should be the millstone around BJP's neck, how is it that a certain union minister raising a very divisive point around 26/11 in parliament is not a millstone around the other party's neck? Why do we accept this ex-union minister and his party as secular?

From yet another angle, if BJP announced that it drops whatever it means by Hindutva, would it change people like Fr. Cedric Prakash?

BJP_Sympathizer said...

Hindutva is at the core of BJP. If it loses Hindutva, it loses its identity. So, there is no question of diluting or losing Hindutva.

Whether some people like it or not, the Jana Sangh (the predessor of BJP) was started by RSS and the present BJP is being influenced by RSS.

Coming to power should be important for BJP. But more important is to present an alternative rightist ideology to Congress's soft leftist ideology.

Kanchan Gupta said...

The last time the party did any proper analysis was after the 1984 general election. The report was discussed, debated and published. The BJP had a tradition of open debate, deliberation and discussion. I once had the occasion to glance through old records of the Jana Sangh. The National Executive would deliberate at great length and then adopt resolutions (one liners would be fleshed out), not the other way round. It's harsh to point this out, but it's true: Debate died the day the party passed into the hands of one person from the collective leadership of 5 seniors. Bogus 'maryada' replaced intellectual rigour and integrity. Contrarian views came to be seen as dissent (as opposed to disagreement). And flatterers took over the court!
But it's not this alone. I think ultimately what has hobbled the BJP is its lack of credibility -- eg, the 2004 manifesto talks of barring foreign-born from high office. Fact: The BJP introduced and piloted a Bill removing the clause in the Citizenship Act that barred such individuals via the reciprocity clause just before the election!

Anonymous said...

Much of the debate here seems to be just on how to win election. The debate should start with the question of whether politics should have anything to do with hindutva (and of course its associated violence, riots, hate-speeches, moral policing etc). Politics should be first and foremost about protecting the rights, justice, freedom, dignity, welfare etc of all citizens. BJP seems to have no such vision. What exactly is the vision/plan of hindutva politics?

Pradip Singh said...

'Hindutva' like 'secularism' is a much abused word. It has almost become meaningless. If Hindutva means standing up for our cultural heritage, when there is an all round assault on it, yes I am all for it. And if BJP (or RSS) feel that it has become a libaility for them, then they should vacate this space so that a genuine nationalist organization can come up which can fight this battle in future.

However, if Hindutva stands for opportunistic and cheap attempts at exploiting religious sentiments as in the recent episode involving Varun Gandhi, then it has no place in Bharat or Hinduism as it runs against the basic tenets of the Bharatiya darshan. It weakens the nationalist position and strenghtnes the antinational forces.

Yes, there is a dharmyuddha on. And we must fight it. With integrity, honesty and intelligence. We have to be very careful that while it is our duty to fight this battle, we must not allow ourselves to become the mirror image of Islamic fascists. That will destroy the very essence of Hinduism and Bharatiyata. And let me emphasize, there is no Bharat without Hinduism. Here I am referring to 'cultural nationalism', not 'political nationlaism'. The motivation is to protect our cultural asmita. In this battle, we must, of course, take with us our Muslim and Christian brothers who share respect for the Bharatiya cultural nationalism.

The battle is for our very existence as Bharat. While BJP, like any other political party, must employ an effective politcal strategy, there is no purpose in winning elections if that comes at the cost of compromising on the very reasons for the existence of the organization.

Anonymous said...

Vote Count Tamper in 6 suspect states?
Was Vote Machines Tampered?
Declare Elections Null & Void.

http://www.politicsparty.com/hatch_analysis.php

n said...

EVM Software tampered
Vote Count Tamper in 6 suspect upa ruled states?
Was Vote Machines Tampered?
Declare Elections Null & Void.
cec chosen by congress to win elections
and prez patil chosen for close contests.

http://www.politicsparty.com/hatch_analysis.php

voters have a right to know evms are tamper proof.Do we? never seen anyone addressing this.Indians are cowards but fear is natural? do we have to be stupid too.no most hav minimal brains.

Bhaskar Mitra said...

The hindutva issue does need to be sorted out...It is the elephant in the room.

There is no point debating what the actual meaning of the word....what matters is how it is interpreted...Hidutva today is seen as a militant for of hindu nationalism based on a "hindu identity". It does not have much to do with hinduism. A hindu, who will not even kill an animal, cannot justify killing of innocents in the name of religion.

Hindutva today stands for mobocracy. If RSS/BJP want to see a nation based on hindu values, the first thing they need to do is to live those values....That means taking a tough stance against people in their own movement who try to define hinduism in militant terms...When chauri chaura happened, gandhi immediately stopped the non-cooperation movement....that is the sort of leadership BJP needs. Had advani taken a tough stance against varun gandhi, the result of the election would have been different.

But nobody in BJP leadership is willing to stand up to the VHP or RSS....and so the party collevtively declines..

Anonymous said...

Hindutva should not be considered a 'millstone' around the BJPs neck, it should be the driving force behind every political party in India.

Sudeep

zoomindianmedia said...

ram srinivasan

ur observation about IIT/IIM alumni seems inaccurate.

In the educated class BJP has the lead. In the internet, BJP's lead over congress was significant. In Bangalore, Mangalore, BJP crushed congress despite blatant communal mobilizing by the congress. Bangalore is most middle class of Indian cities with cosmopolitan population mix (Of course bangalore has few slums compared to what you would find in chennai or mumbai).

Some youngsters fooled by media propaganda may go with congress. As you said, BJP has to get back what is its natural constituency.

Again it boils down to the same thing. Ability to set up an effective national message delivery mechanism.

Anonymous said...

Ram,
Like your knowledge is shaped by western authors of textbooks, your knowledge of BJP and Congress is shaped by the media. No wonder you and your ilk thinks the former are demons and the latter saints.

Shankar Iyer said...

Although the comment is tending towards abstraction, with a reason, as a consequence it attempts to understand the fundamentals of the ongoing debate. Any movement with a cause which has sprung about outside the political arena, if it has to see the light of the day, has to culminate into a political establishment. Every movement's aim and goal is political power. The paradox is: a political party can never survive with an ideological purity, which the idelogue's tend to believe. To believe so is mere idealism . Power is the goal and power once begotten will lead to corruption. Idelogy erosion will happen. There is no escaping that. There is no midpoint or point of reconcilation. If at all there is one it is built upon compromises or corruption or pragmatism. What this drives at is: While one might still cling and fight for his ideology, one has to take responsibility for the actions which has led to the erosion. It is not only to consider defending the 'fringe elements' futile but one has to completely take responsibility for the 'extremist elements' that it has given rise to and proving to be a threat to another set of ideolgies one possesses ( namely, non-violence, secural structure of the nation etc...). One cannot evade it by saying that these extreme elements are not our doing, they are a consequence of something else. No they are precisely the consequence of our own actions. We saw it in Gandhiji. He took responsibility for each and every element of the struggle or movement. And also, This is why perhaps he wanted to completely dissolve Congress once the movement reached, in his view, it's end. But Did the movement found it's end? No, the movement had to find it's goal in political establishment only and we know the consequences of everything that happened thenceforth.

Anonymous said...

The undercurrent in all debates i feel is ideological. it is not that the 'other' side is any less nationalistic or carry a diluted partriotism. atleast, there is no evidence to come to such a conclusion. every one of us have a feeling towards our nation. the majority nurture a positive feeling towards their nation, build a vision and work towards it in their own ways. but among this majority there is a divide . the problem is with different conceptions of 'india' and as it seems now both conceptions seem antagonistic to each other, vowing to cancel each other. both sides derive their idea of india from the past, from it's history. One conception draws its idea of india from a more distant past, that dates back before india was subjugated to foriegn forces. this group wants to erase from the memory the india of last 800 years or so . it necessarily looks at the modern history with extreme suspicion, from a victim's perspective . it wants to remodel today's india from this point of view. india before subjugation was predominantly hindu and hence this kind of nationalism is inseperable from the hinduness of india and is somewhat uncomfortable with pluralistic outlook and westernisation. the other group concieves india from the recent modern india which underwent enormous changes under foreign rule. it refuses to go back past this modern history and see what india was like before the foreign forces invaded. it forgets that india is not one among the many nations. it is indifferent to the fact that india is one of the oldest civilisations in this planet earth. because in the last 800 years or so india has underwent changes in its essential character (hinduness) and was forced in a way to become pluralistic, the hinduness is only one component of this kind of conception. more important becomes the pluralism, tolerance towards other culture, intermingling of other culture etc... this kind of conception is more susceptible or open to westernisation. both want to march ahead and take india in a different direction. the conflict is between these two ideas of india. one side is being too stubborn in refusing the changes that this india has gone through, irreverisible changes in recent past. it has to answer how the secular structure of the new india is to be maintained. it does not try to find any solution in this direction. it tends to be exclusionary. the other side is equally to be blamed for being dispassionate and disregarding about the civilisation that is india which goes past recent modern history. it is inclusionary but does not bother about the dilution of essential indianness.

this is the essential underlying debate of all debates i feel.

Anonymous said...

Let me begin wid sayin dat i m a hardcore BJP supporter.. but dis time round i was actually glad 2 see d Congress win.. one reason bein L.K.Advani.. d other bein d BJP still caught up in an era of itz own.. itz brand of Hindutva politics does nt suit a modern India in a globalized world.. d Ram Mandir and Moral policing jst do not ring a chord wid d youth.. i hv d utmost regard 4 Mr. Modi.. but in dis election he was more of an irritant den an inspiring figure.. not everything has 2 b abt u Mr. Modi.. hope he learnt a lesson.. arrogance has no place in poitics n also dun take Indians(esp Gujaratis) 4 granted.. i hope he changes himself as i see a big national role 4 him in d nt so far future..n yes d silence n denial of d BJP leaders baffles me.. dunno y is it difficult 4 dem 2 accept dis verdict.. Congress was d better team.. hope d BJP regroups in due course of time.. dey hv many challenges in frnt of dem.. hope d BJP changes 4 d betta

Anonymous said...

I am a supporter of the BJP; specifically the party manifesto as projected in 1990's.

The electoral success in 1999 led to a dilution of the manifesto as the NDA came to power based on a agreement with "like-minded" allies.

Five years of governing and five years in the wilderness have not taught the party anything...diluting your ideology comes with peril.

The BJP today is just another party after power....I have looked hard for something the BJP would do that differentiates it from Congress. I cannot find it...BJP says we will do it better...excuse me for scoffing.

Unless the BJP defines itself...and offers something different...why would anyone vote for BJP?

I cannot ever think to vote for Congress but it tells me something about the leadership in the BJP that I wonder why I should vote for the BJP.

That is really sad.

Anonymous said...

Swapan, there is nothing wrong with debate. In fact, a level headed debate is desirable.

I believe that the perception that BJP has ceased to be "the party with the difference" has a lot to do with its erosion of support.

As far as Hindutva is concerned, the word means different things to different people. If it means being anti-Muslim, anti-Christian etc, then many people include myself would want to be excused. If it means speaking out for Hindus and not apologizing for being a Hindu, it can succeed.

The Ayodhya movement had its best times when it was still a nonviolent mass movement, based on genuione grievances of the Hindus. There is ample space of a non-shrill Hindutva that does not come across as socially regressive or hateful of other religions. If those who advocate the hard-Hindutva politics come to the center of the BJP from the fringes, where they are right now, it will be a tragedy.

Balaji said...

People who want to steer BJP away from the fascist Hindutva agenda and towards Integral Humanism can draw inspiration from Nanaji Deshmukh. Here's the link to his Chitrakoot Project (http://chitrakoot.org/html/index.htm) and a pdf copy of Integral Humanism (http://chitrakoot.org/download/IntegralHumanism.pdf).

Vineet said...

Regarding Rajnath & Jaitley
- Jaitley is no angel & Rajnath is no evil.
- both are equally important for the BJP.
- Jaitley got inserted abusive language articles against some BJP people in ET, the same paper which ridicules BJP.
- however Jaitley relentless efforts in Punjab, Bihar, Karnataka for bringing NDA govt. is praiseworthy.
- jaitley's diatribe against Rahul Gandhi fell flat on the face when common sense said that RG is working to a plan that worked.
- it is Jaitley who can handle the Congress media in BJP. No one else seems to have that knack.
- Rajnath with all his shortcomings, comes across as humble, down to earth, is not evil as made out to be. He has seldom done loose talk.

BJP needs both type of people and all sides have to sit together in a room, blurt out their misgivings against one another. Sometimes complex problems have very simple solutions.

Ram Srinivasan said...

Re. Zoomindia,
Let me clarify, I'm strong BJP supporter & have been deeply distressed with our countries politics, & even made sure I voted in this elections along with my family members this time.

My observations is based more on personal observations from my peer group & dont claim any kind of statistical significance. But I also believe that majority / or significant sections of the people in this social group, will agree with my observation.

BJP doing well in Bangalore is not an indicator of how this social group feels, as this group is a numerical minority & rarely votes in the first place. A better way to evaluate how the educated & professional upper class feels can be seen from the likes of Meera Sanyal & Gopinath standing for election & the support they got from corporates. Gopinath had contested as a BJP candidate in the past, but decided to stand as an Independent, & I think that highlights the message / perception problem that BJP has.

Also, while BJP I think ran a significantly better operational election campaign than Congress. The Congress still fared better, that only proves, that the problem is with both the perception of the BJP & its message & not the campaign.

Re. Anon,
We have to learn to deal with the world as it is not as we want it to be i.e. Media's distortions of the BJP & its image is a given. The question is how we deal with it, rather than crying about unfair media, or using it as a justification for the current problems.

BJP is not going to win in future, on the basis of its core supporters, i.e. most of us on this blog & other forums like friends of bjp, lkadvani or BJP workers. But by convincing people who currently dont consider voting for BJP either out of inertia or because they dont like the policies, leaders or negative perceptions. I'm not talking about the minorities, but the majority of the Hindus. We have to ask the question why dont they vote for the BJP, How can we convince them to vote for the BJP, till BJP does that, BJP cant come to power. We will only end up preaching to the converted.

To better understand what this will take, I suggest that people take the initiative to speak to Congress, Communist & other parties voters & try & convince them to become BJP supporters, then we will have a better idea of the problems BJP faces. Sitting here & pontificating among ourselves is a fools errand.

Ram

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,

Though your question "IS HINDUTVA A MILLSTONE ROUND THE BJP'S NECK?" is intellectually stimulating and is sure to give orgasm to some scholars. The more important question now is "IF BJP IS ACCOUNTABLE TO RSS, IS RSS ACCOUNTABLE TO THE COUNTRY AND THOSE WHO VOTED FOR BJP" I would not be wide off the mark if I say that not only India but the world has a stake in BJP - being the principal opposition party of India.

Sanjay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
zoomindianmedia said...

Ram

I agree with the thrust of your thinking. Sections of educated youngsters were not comfortable with the BJP. Probable reason is the media distortion. Nationalism as an institution has been undermined, warped ethical standards has been camouflaged/condoned by corrupt Indian media.

There is a set of suggestions for BJP.
http://zoomindianmedia.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/election-2009-analysis/

I request you to critique the above analysis.

Anonymous said...

HIndutva is a Millstone
-----------------------
Yes Hindutva is a millstone for the BJP. Hinduism by definition has almost never had any one 'central' organization espousing it's cause, and the BJP for one doesn't deserve to be such a central organization. Instead I would recommend the term 'Nationalism' to replace the entire Hindutva idea that the BJP tries to claim ownership of.

The BJP's official website has the most inane articles on the subject of Hindutva - proving that they themselves have no clue about what exactly their position is vis-a-vis the Hindu religion.

It would be best if BJP abandons it's politically opportunistic love of Hinduism (which the electorate has anyway rejected) and embrace other right wing values like nationalism, national security, free market orientation etc.

As for protecting Hindu interest/ culture etc, I'm sure the RSS and other organizations can continue their work in that arena, and allow the BJP to develop as a more acceptable national party.

Balaji said...

At the risk of being laughed at, I wish to propose a formal division of the BJP. Hindutva people can form a party of their own. The names like 'Hindu Mahasabha', 'Hindu MahaSena', 'Ram Sena', 'Hindu Sena' sound appropriate. Let them follow Savarkar's Hindutva. Let such people and organizations like VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Amarnath Samiti, Ramajanmabhoomi Nyas, Rajnath Singh, Arun Shourie, Varun Gandhi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Prabhakar Bhatt, Ram Madhav, Tarun Vijay, Pramod Muthalik etc join hands to form Hindu MahaSena. VHP has always advocated such a hard-Hindu party and will provide the required cadre support.

The Humanists in the BJP (supported by moderate elements in RSS) can continue on their middle path. Golwalkar, Deendayal, Nanaji and Vajpayee can be the idols for this New BJP. Even reclaiming the old 'Bharatiya Jan Sangh' name maybe appropriate to reinforce the point that Deendayalji's Integral Humanism is the driving force.

And please don't dismiss the above theory as fantasy. Such a division is not unheard of. Democrats split from the Republicans and the libertarians exist along with Republicans. A more relevant example is Israel. The conservative parties totally dominate the landscape there with Labour pushed to the fringes. If Kadima and Likud can co-exist, so can Bharatiya Jan Sangh and Hindu MahaSena!

hUmDiNgEr said...

Swapan,

I agree with Ram Sreenivasan. I am from IIM-C and most of my peers and friends strongly believe that BJP is communal where as CONgress is a safe bet. They don't even bother to read BJP's manifesto. They think that BJP has a regressive agenda.
BJP needs to rethink on how it is articulating its Hindutva(Nationalist) agenda.

Anonymous said...

Why not a Muslim as Bharatiya Janata Party president? If a person with high social standing (even if he is a Muslim, Ex APJ Abdul Kalam) becomes the BJP president for the next 3 years, it will send out a new message that BJP is a Nationalist Party and it believes in Cultural nationalisma and not religious nationalism.

Shankar Iyer said...

Balaji: The proposed fantastic division speaks all the more of why these seemingly divided forces should remain under a single banner. Reminds me of Hegel's dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis forming supreme absolute power!

Anonymous said...

How about shah Nawaz Hussain? An active BJP member. He is also quite articulate.

Anonymous said...

Why not a Muslim as Bharatiya Janata Party president?
================================

This is a grave mistake. In fact BJP is doing these kind of mistakes already. They must imbibe the fact that minorities cannot vote them no matter they construct temple or not, no matter they destroy temples, no matter theycall Jinnah secular, no matter they recruit only muslims.


Regarding Hindutva - it can never be ruled out. Politics is about people. There are hundreds of variables that connect with people. All variables count in politics. Hindutva can never be ignored.

Anonymous said...

To Ram and hUmDiNgEr,

In public most BJP supporters pretend to dissociate themselves with BJP but when they goes for voting they votes to BJP. Take mine case for instance I -- a hardcore Hindutva-vadi-- also pretend to be a secular person in college b'coz of the presence of Muslim and Christian student. If u want to know the truth then do the secret ballot test among them I'm sure BJP will win hands down.

BTW how can they feel comfortable in supporting that Congress who started reservation and Quota politics again ? I can forget that scene when Mumbai policy mercilessly wielded lathis on peacefully protesting students of IIT-Mumbai. So chum their dissociation and denunciation with the BJP is merely a pretension. In their heart its a different story. We shouldn't read much in such gestures.

india15august.blogspot.com said...

Is sacrifice a political weapon?

Sonia Gandhi declined to accept the Prime Minister's post in 2004. While many motives can be attributed to this act, why not accept the easiest explaination: She never wanted to be PM. She felt that she can serve the people of India without becoming the Prime Minister. Now, we shift to 2009: Rahul Gandhi declines any post in the Govt because he wants to build the party.

This brings up the question: Is sacrifice a political weapon used to effectively overcome opponents? For arguments sake, let me say that the act of sacrifice is really to obtain bigger political gains. But, the act of giving up is noble. No matter what the reason behind it, society is richer for the act. Mr Advani gave up any possible claims for the post of Prime Minsiter in favor of Atal Behari Vajpayee. This provided the BJP with power at the centre. LK Advani also refused to accept any position while he was under scrutiny of the hawala cases (the cases were later dropped..). This enhanced his reputation.

Then, something has gone wrong in the BJP where the act of sacrifice is now completely missing. The Indian public wants to see leaders with shine. They will compare the BJP leadership with that of the Congress. It will be India's good fortune if leadership of both the parties is above average, the best of the best. The BJP leadership must accept this challenge to sacrifice its power and position for the greater public good. Some suggestions: accept responsibility for the defeat by resigning, move from Delhi to states where party work needs good leaders, announce publicly that the leader will not be a candidate for public office (renounciation in favor of the poor people who will get a chance to move ahead in the party). In the BJP itself, Nanaji Deshmukh followed the path of renounciation - he will be rememberd for ages while the others will simply dissappear.

my blog: www.india15august.blogspot.com

socal said...

Anon:" Take mine case for instance I -- a hardcore Hindutva-vadi-- also pretend to be a secular person in college b'coz of the presence of Muslim and Christian student."

Anon, if you've to hide your sympathies, hasn't your cause lost already? Shouldn't you be able to speak out boldly and freely about something you believe in.

Forget talking to Muslims and Christians, quite a few BJP supporters don't even speak with other Hindus on it's politics to avoid being seen as contentious. And I think this is the job of BJP leaders and its intellectuals to provide there sympathizers/supporters with a vocabulary to speak with. The simplest one that always amazes me is the pro-life/pro-choice dichotomy. The two stands are so different yet, the supporters can speak with equipoise and moral reassurance just by the choice of those words. Imagine if it were instead anti-choice/pro-abortion, and the horrible connotation it carries.

Adhitya said...

What's with Arun Jaitley purportedly refusing the Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition post? It's important for the BJP to have someone like him leading the party in the Upper House to effectively articulate its views. (The reasons stated in the Indian Express are potentially embarassing.) Is is possible that Mr. Jaitley is biding his time till the elections for the post BJP President?

Anonymous said...

Regarding Balaji's idea of dividing BJP into two, similar to Likud and Kadima in Israel. The problem is that Indian political system does not allow that. Two right wing parties will end up struggling for the same vote bank. Therefore, even if there total votes is greater than Congress, they will loose. For example, MNS in Mumbai is an extreme right wing and its presence lead to huge loss to BJP-SS alliance.
On the other hand in Israel or some other European countries, your numbers in parliament depend on number of votes you poll. Therefore, right wing parties can be divided and in the end if they get more votes than others, they can jointly form a government.
So, I hope now you understand why BJP can not be divided.

Anonymous said...

ram how do you know that gopinath was not denied a ticket by bjp?THAT is no argument

Anonymous said...

Hi Swapan,

Since everyone seems to be outing their origins, I am from AIIMS and most of my peers now think similarly to what Ram says. And the single biggest factor that has shifted their views is the BJP's studied non-response to religion-related violence that involves the VHP/BD/SRS types. This is seen as a dangerous precursor to a Pakistan-like situation. I will now go one step further; I spend part of my year in rural India, where there is a clear demarcation of support for the BJP across class lines. The poorest tend to have a sense of comradeship with their fellow poor, regardless of religion and dislike the BJP's religion-based rhetoric. They say this openly, as long as there are no likely BJP/Sangh Parivar sympathizers around. The middle class, and especially the traders, tend to support the BJP. Women, cutting across class lines, greatly admire Sonia Gandhi. The 2 issues they tend to sympathize with is the loss of her husband and her renunciation of 'material' power. Hardly any women see her as a foreigner; the commonly used phrase is (to translate roughly) 'daughter of India'. Attacks on her make them rather pissed off. This, I am sure, will be a bitter pill to swallow for many of the commenters here. But that's the way it is, for better or for worse.

BW

Suren

Arjun said...

Dear Swapan,

Please find below a link to an article by Rajinder Puri in the outlook. given the details in his article, it is safe to say the BJP is finished. It has no future and we should all save our breath.

the link:

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20090528&fname=puri&sid=1

Anonymous said...

All the criticism of media in this blog is unjustified. We have one of the finest media in the world, sample this: -
* "Times Now" newsreader questions her counterpart in "Geo TV" from Pakistan - "Is this blast in Lahore a high intensity explosion?"
* Caption on NDTV reads "BLAST IN LAHORE SHATTERS WINDOWS"

harish said...

Swapan da,
Why did you get personal with sagarika ghose yesterday on cnn-ibn ? :)

Anonymous said...

Rajinder Puri is no god. As fas as I know, he has never said anything positive about the BJP.

I think Arun Jaitley is best suited to be the next President of BJP.

Rajnath Singh has annouced that he is not seeking another term. A very positive thing for the BJP.

BJP has to survive the Congress upsurge which will continue for some time and be around to come back when there is anti incumbency against the Congress.

Anonymous said...

Arun Jaitley is too important to be doing parliamentary work. He has to take charge of strategy of the party and possibly be the party president.

Anonymous Coward said...

For the benefit of readers, who don't have the patience to read Rajinder's Puri's long article, I'm presenting some salient points. EXCEPT THAT IT HAS BEEN MODIFIED FOR TODAY'S REALITIES.

-------------

With what conviction can we ask the voter to vote out the government when we cannot even provide him with an alternative government? We will not be in a position to do that because in the last analysis we were neither large-hearted enough to assimilate other parties, nor bold-hearted enough to go it alone. Victims of half-measures and confusion, we fell between two stools.

If we persist with the futile bid for alliances with reluctant parties [like TDP, ADMK, TC, BJD] which consider us too communal to go to the people with, even at this hour, we will invite political suicide.

The party’s style of functioning suggests a caucus, not a collective democratic leadership. This caucus headed by Advani includes such luminaries as Arun Jaitley, Swapan Dasgupta, Chandan Mithra, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Balbir Punj, all non-entities who have never contested any election and are accountable to no-body and even write blog posts claiming they are not members of the party, is ruining the party.

One office-bearer [Arun Jaitley] alone was supposed to look after UP, Bihar, Jammu, collect funds for the party, as well as look after the election management of the National Democratic Alliance while it lasted. How could one person discharge all these duties effectively? How often could this office-bearer visit the areas under his care during the past one year?

http://www.petitiononline.com/mh09elec/ has argued for weeks persuading the party to have no truck with the Shiv Sena in Mumbai.

It may be seen from the above exchange that the BJP is neither democratic nor disciplined. It seeks blind obedience in the name of discipline.

BJP_supporter said...

Some one mentioned that there are a hunderd ways to connect to the voters, and Hindutva is definitely one.

That perspective is getting lost in the all-or-nothing approach. This approach tends to simplify the issue to a ridiculous level.

BJP came a very respectable second in the Kanyakumari seat in TN. The Church supported DMK's candidate. The ADMK-CPM candidate (sitting MP) lost his deposit.

How did the Kanyakumari BJP achieve this? Because Swapan da wrote columns or Ram Srinivasan peddled an elitist line or I wasted my time typing this comment?

There is a lot of clamour for 'growing' the BJP in TN. What should be the approach for that? would it make sense to pick up the issues and approach in Kanyakumari and spread from there, first in the districts neighboring Kanyakumari? If the issue is indeed a Hindu issue, should the BJP shy away from it because Delhi studio-wallahs do not like that?

That leaves the field wide open for the congress - they can have A.R.Antulay say a very divisive line in the parliament, they can have the church issue voting diktats, and still win the admiration of elitists like Ram Srinivasan here. But the elitists will still need to remember that their fondness for St.Stephens type elitism is way past its date. St.Stephen's is now with the likes of Rev Valsan Thampu.

To the intellectual who clubs Arun Shourie with Pramod Muthalik - Thank you Sir. Shourie deserved this.

doubtinggaurav said...

As some one persists in connecting Veer Savarkar with fascism I am reminded of following quote from Politics And The English Language

"The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable'"

Anonymous said...

This is not a BJP-friendly paper but still this news seems credible:

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1259888

Can such a party have (or deserve to have) a future?

Ram Srinivasan said...

Part 1/2
hUmDiNgEr, Suren,

Many thanks for the additional data points, that clearly validates our individual experiences. Suren's experience in rural areas I found very valuable. I think the message is clear, before we all run around like headless chickens (apologies to Ronen Sen), accusing the media of bias, EVM fraud, and every other consipiracy theory under the sun. BJP, & Sangh Parivar clearly has a lot to do to put its house in order, I point out some of the top (not all) issues that I think needs to be addressed.

1. First & foremost, it needs to decide what its long term goals are. Whether they believe in what they say i.e. fair treatment but no appeasement of minorities or whether they believe in replacing minority fundamentalism with majority fundamentalism, and believe we can eliminate the Muslims like the way Hindus were practically decimated in Pakistan / Bangladesh.

2. How to achieve our goals, by persuading people or trying to beat people into accepting our viewpoint. I think we all agree, that the so called secular parties believe that keeping minorities happy by appealing to the fundamentalists, but I think we can also agree muslims are amongst the most backward community in terms of education, income levels etc. I think the opportunity exists for the right to talk & co-opt the moderate elements in both the Muslim & Christian communities, e.g. Barelvis vs Wahabis (Narendra Modi in Gujarat), & Evangelicals vs the moderate segments of older Christian Communities in India.

3. Positive message vs negative message, the message is critical, whether BJP/right chooses a negative campaign e.g. opposition the Nuclear deal, denigrating Manmohan Singh or a positive campaign e.g. good governance in BJP ruled states, the fantastic ideas in the BJP Manifesto that was just lost negative campaigning, will to a large extent impact, our ability to appeal to the Youth and new segments of the population.

Contd.

Ram Srinivasan said...

Part 2/2

India faces huge challenges, the quality of governance, is very poor, as the bureaucracy still behaves as if they are the rulers (Pre-independence culture), this affects the poor the most, most of us upper class, dont see this as we avoid the government where we can & when we have no choice bribe our way through. But the poor who are dependent on the government for pretty much everything, have no choice. The Mumbai attacks & the terrorist attacks earlier are a classic example of poor governance in action, while there are issues of minority appeasement, I make the case that better quality of governance can make a significant dent in the extent of the problem, specific issues to note are police reforms, eliminating corruption in the issuance & use of ration cards, passports, other sources of identity, etc.

There are many free market ideas / approaches that can be used to tackle both the governance & the problems of poor & backward communities in India, these if adopted can help the BJP expand its reach.

Another aspect I want to touch on is the issue of conversions, why dont the organisations like RSS, BD, SRS, take a more active role in reforming Hindu society & reaching out to the poor, in the way evangelicals do. I know a lot of charitable work is being done by RSS, & money is a constraint unlike the foreign funded evangelicals, but I think the scope to increase both the scale & reach remains. India as they as is a rich country with poor people, BJP's traditional supporters i.e. the business class has a lot of money that could be mobilized, also if the right opens school, educational institutions, hospitals in cities / urban areas etc, then the charitable activities could be funded by the profit earned from the paying customers.

For a perspective on how the British, Labour Party rebuilt itself, see this article in the Indian Express http://www.indianexpress.com/news/like-blair-like-bjp/466973/0

For me & from feedback from the hUmDiNgEr, Suren, it is clear how the majority of the people both rural poor (read elitist) & urban India will choose, but obviously we are all Elitist.

Ram

Ps. Special thanks to BJP_Supporter for calling me an elitist, clearly name calling is a wonderful way to win supporters.

pps. Had to split the post as I kept getting a message "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters"

Anonymous said...

I am a BJP suporter, I am in my 20s and most of my friends shy away from overtly supporting the BJP because of the communal tag associated with it. But nevertheless I have never tried to hide the fact that I support the BJP. In discussions with my friends (many of whom support the Congress of Left overtly) I put up a spirited defence for the BJP and I can assure you, I am able to convince them that BJP is still the best alternative. The discussion ends with their silence. There are certain important issues which I always highlight during a discussion on the viability of BJP as an effective alternative. The first is that the BJP is still democratic in its organisation than the Congress where dynastic rule is an intrinsic part of the organisation. Most young MPs who have become ministers in the cabinet are sons or daughters of former or serving politicians. But in the BJP, politicians like Modiji, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Dr Raman Singh do not belong to political dynasties. The other important issue that I vehmently discuss is BJPs commitment to National Security. What ever people may say about the Kandahar Hijacking, the BJP was more serious than the Congress on matters related to National Security. I relentlessly state the fact that it was during the NDA regime that the Integrated Defence Staff HQ was formed, it was during the NDA regime that the Defence Intelligence Agency came into being (today its fighting India's covert war in Afghanistan), it was during NDAs regime and under Advanji as Home Minister that the Multi Agency Center was formed, its rather unfortunate that it fell under disuse during the tenure of Shivraj Patil and now Mr Chidambaram is trying to revive it. A separate department of Border Management was formed in the Home Ministry during the NDA regime. Moreover in the field of social welfare we cannot forget the Mid Day meal and the Sarva Siksha Abhyan programmes launched by the NDA and the Golden Quadrilateral programme launched at the behest of Vajpayeeji and implemented by Maj General Khanduri, I can go on and on, eulogising the achivements made during the NDAs tenure, its shocking when I see that the people of India suffer from selective amnesia when they talk about the NREGA and other achievements of the Congress and totally forget what the BJP did when it was in power. I feel as BJP supporters we literally have to educate the so called "educated" middle class voters about what the BJP can do, how many "educated" middle class voters even know that Modiji has established a Dept of Climate Change in Gujarat to look into the effects of global warming and climate change on the state. We have to drill into the mind of the middle class voter that the BJP is capable of running the country by giving such examples: - Varoon

Anonymous said...

I was speaking to friends from West Bengal, and they have an interesting theory why the communists lost. This has a bearing on BJP's future in WB as well as outside. Apparently, Hindu voters drfted away because they got disgusted with cpim's appeasement policies, but Muslim voters also ditched the communists because the marcist cadre killed mostly muslims in Nandigram. My friends believe that CPIM is dying, and that communists in years to come will migrate to the Congress, and there will be attempts to subvert the Congress from within like the pre-Independence socialist faction tried to. How will BJP preapre for this outcome?

Anonymous said...

There are a great number of people in this country who are basically very decent, with a strong sense of right and wrong; who have not made up their mind to vote in just one way for the rest of their lives.
To them, the conduct of the BJP during the last five years was shameful. They never allowed parliament to function in peace, took opportunist positions on things like the nuclear deal, allowed leaders to use bad language.. Yeshwant Sinha called Manmohan a eunuch..
So when my wife and I went to vote we thought over all these things, and also of the willingness of the BJP to promise telengana, gorkhaland... or any such opportunist demand coming up from any quarter.. even a statement on the tamil question which would have half pleased Vaiko.. and then finally the shrill sound bytes on black money in swiss banks!!
We came to the conclusion that a party which cannot function responsibly cannot be entrusted with the levers of power
Swapan has obliquely commented in his columns in the Pioneer on the BJP's conduct but there is no reference to that in any of the analyses in this blog.

As for revisiting the Hindutva question the torrent of comments to this post goes to show that there is a lunatic fringe, obvioulsy quite well read and capable of articulating intelligently that has been drawn to the BJP and that indeed is its undoing; because no one who is out of his mind can thinkl out of the box. And pray in which country or region of the world is the majority feeling threatened by the minority?

Anonymous said...

This also is from an unfriendly columnist in a hostile paper (Mail Today) but still so true:

"If the BJP indeed wants to transform itself into a credible, moderate political party, then a beginning has to be made by the entire top leadership moving out, subjecting their performance to party scrutiny and making way for a new generation of leaders with a modern outlook. The longer they stay put, the more damage they do to themselves and the party."

I have a question. Many chamchas have said BJP needs LKA to fix / cleanse it (haha) but let us assume that is true. Why does he have to LoP to do that?

socal said...

Media has the habit of piling on the losing side, and lavishing encomiums on the winners. If it were only upto journos--with due respects Swapan!--and their analysis, only Marxists would be ruling the world.

BJP_supporter said...

It is funny to see some elaborate theories about Elitists' discomfiture with BJP. This is as funny as teenagers of every generation pretending they invented sex.

Elitists' discomfiture is not with the BJP, and its genesis is not new. It is with *anything Hindu*, and it has been going on since the days of Vivekanand if not longer. The Elitist will warm upto Gandhi and Vivekanand with Praise, but point out their views on missionaries to him and he will be as embarrassed as if he wet his pants before you.

Swapan had a streak of elitist in him when he suggested BJP has a OBC base now, particularly because he meant caste. I am from a so-called forward 'caste', but I can classify as a OB 'Class' in my upbringing. I studied in vernacular medium in a Government school. I have seen bible being peddled in the Government school. When I read Swamy and Friends, I immediately connected with R.K.Narayan's Swamy - Teacher 'Ebenezer' ripping off Swamy's ears - because Swamy dared to question Ebenezer's bible-pedding and Hinduism-thrashing in class. Ofcourse I had no access to the 'elite' critiques of Narayan - the book itself was a borrowed copy that my chinna-thatha got me from the local rich guy. Lower middle class families were not in the habit of buying books in the glorious days when Gentlemen BureaucRATs like Manmohan Singh were driving policy in a autocratic-socialist regime.

Will it surprise you to find out the Elitists' views on R.K.Narayan? Check out the wikipedia. And ofcourse, no true Elitist worth his imported whiskey will like Wikipedia.

I have a group of this 'OBC' Class people around me now where I work. All of us are put off by the dynastic crap of a party despite the best efforts of the Elitists - because we are all self-made men who saw some dough because we invested our time and energy in pursuing technical merit. And we remember the days when the only way to buy sugar legally was in the PDS, and cement, forget about it. Pardon us if we dont share your enthusiasm for MMS and Pranab-da, and this is a major sin - The Family.

The Elitist, sooner or later,needs to face up to the reality. When he stares into the mirror, the face staring back at him is increasingly the Rev. Valsan Thampu.

Mimi said...

Watch Sagarika fawn pathetically over Rahul Gandhi, and Swapan's cheeky responses in part 5 of this video

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/93640/ministry-in-place-upa-govt-gets-down-to-work.html

Next time they ask you to hold up a placard, just hold up '9' and say ' I wanted to give 6, but since this is CNN IBN I'll give this cabinet a 9 to keep your bosses happy. '

As for this Sagarika's whole theory of R.Gandhi painting a rural hue on the cabinet, it reminds me of Ms. World contestants and their ill informed view of the world.

Rightist Rashtravadi said...

Swapan Ji..I Read your article in Telegraph today.Very Informative and incisive.You are the true discerning and progressive journalist, whose command over the written word (and creation of crisp sentences/statements /ideas) are near perfect.

I like your, Chandan Mitra's ,Kanchan Gupta's,MJ Akbar's writings as I feel you along with some others like (S.Gurumurthy,Shourie,Sudheendra Kulkarni/Tavleen Singh /Tarun Vijay..Truly a great writer,Sandhya Jain etc) are the only meaningful columnists/intelletcuals/media persons left.

Other than this what have is just Calumnists /Un-tellectuals /madmen (pun intended) like Rajdeep,Sagarika,Barkha Dutt,N.Ram,Harish Khare,Vinod Mehta,Vir Sanghvi,Shekhar Gupta etc.

What according to you makes them stay at these commanding heights of the Indian Media World, inspite of having just pedestrian intellect / passive journalistic credentials .

I am myself a keen student of media and political trends who is greatly influenced by people of your calibre (and also the others in the tribe ).

Best Regards,
Rightist Rashtravadi.

Sudhir said...

http://www.rediff.com/news/column/2009/may/29/bjp-lags-behind-but-rajnath-races-ahead.htm


Check this article on rediff.

"BJP chief Rajnath Singh, who hails from UP, managed to win his Ghaziabad seat. Ahead of the poll, he had been bragging and talking tall, but after the results he had no sensible and plausible excuse for his party's dismal performance both in UP and across the country.

He added insult to injury by saying that the results were not as expected.

In fact, there was hardly any systematic or determined campaigning in the state by him. Also, the BJP/Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh/Vishwa Hindu Parishad cadres were ill-organised and suffering from very low morale.

"

Rightist said...

Swapan Ji..I Read your article in Telegraph today.Very Informative and incisive.You are the true discerning and progressive journalist, whose command over the written word (and creation of crisp sentences/statements /ideas) are near perfect.

I like your, Chandan Mitra's ,Kanchan Gupta's,MJ Akbar's writings as I feel you along with some others like (S.Gurumurthy,Shourie,Sudheendra Kulkarni/Tavleen Singh /Tarun Vijay..Truly a great writer,Sandhya Jain etc) are the only meaningful columnists/intelletcuals/media persons left.

Other than this what have is just Calumnists /Un-tellectuals /madmen (pun intended) like Rajdeep,Sagarika,Barkha Dutt,N.Ram,Harish Khare,Vinod Mehta,Vir Sanghvi,Shekhar Gupta etc.

What according to you makes them stay at these commanding heights of the Indian Media World, inspite of having just pedestrian intellect / passive journalistic credentials .

I am myself a keen student of media and political trends who is greatly influenced by people of your calibre (and also the others in the tribe ).

Best Regards,
Rightist Rashtravadi.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

I see some desperation amongst core BJP supporters here. BJP lost all states in Hindi belt in post Babri election. But it bounced back.

We are reading too much into fundoos who don TV channels but have little or no idea on ground situation.

Much is spoken about BJP loosing all seats in Delhi, Mumbai- nobody is talking about the fact that BJP runs both Mumbai (with SS) and Delhi Corporation.

We are being trapped here by media. Selectively Hindu sensitivities are being abused by Congi/CPIM.....TO APPEASE MINORITIES and any reaction coming from RSS/VHP/BJP are being hyped up and a section of people always uner denial are becoming prey.

For example: The onus of Amarnath movement is transferred to BJP/RSS, not on Congi who started it by surrendering land. Omar Abdulla whose speech in Parliament precipated the problem is hailed as a hero.

Worse, Congi is playing double game here- read local newspapers of Jammu and you will find Congi took part whole heartedly in the movement in Jammu. Same is situation on Guj 2002 in Guj, or on Savarkar in Maharashtra....

Does anybody really believe rule of law being followed in case of Afzal Guru? UPA was strong on terror? BJP surrendered to terrorists on Kandahar?....

Little can be done if Mumbai chooses same Congi after it burnt for 70 hours. Or Delhi even after being bloodied so many times.

Ask those 10s of millions of Mumbaikars, Calcuttans who take train daily to go to work- DO YOU FEEL SAFE? Overwhelmingly, they will say- there is no guarantee they will be back home at end of the day.

Jihadis are lurking at our doorsteps and even inside. Congi has to take action- the more delay it does, its going to grow even deadly inside. How long for minority vote, congi will avoid taking action?

Worse is the situation of economy when 10s of millions of jobs lost.

How long this enlightened dynasty (17 ministers at least, could be even more if counted properly) cum votebank cum caste politics of Congi will be tolerated by people?

What is needed for BJP supporters here is not to loose heart and commitment to the ideology (Congi has no ideology) and stand by the party.

Upper Middle class Indians are most opportunistic- and they should be told to choose Congi. In any case, they never vote.

Those who are not committed to ideology of cultural nationalism are free to support congi as well .

Anonymous said...

Swapan, The Congress has given the BJP openings already - Reservations in private unaided schools. I think the BJP can make the case that by announcing reservations for OBCs the congress govt is calling the OBCs dumber than the GC students. If thats the case why not improve their lot by providing better education at lower levels in an inclusive manner rather than killing merit. Surely the OBC have so much power an influence that they can't be called a backward caste. The youth should surely want equal opportunities for all in an inclusive manner. Denying certain sections of the society their chance because they belong to a so called forward caste; isn't that discrimination? Isn't that being divisive?
I hope the BJP comes out of its shell now. Bloddy hell how long do I have to wait for these jokers to take a principled stand, Damn its frustrating.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Few more thoughts:

LKA's campaign did take up lots of economic issues, many innovative plans are being done by many BJP/NDA state govts.

But a constant focus on economic issues + cultural nationalism should be ideal mix.

The day BJP's manifesto was released, it was not given any coverage by media. Ayodhya, UCC were hyped though it appeared at last few lines of the long manifesto.

Swapan'da- being senior journalist, what's your advise on handling this?

For too long, BJP has been at the receiving end. I think, time has come to confront such media by BJP from very senior level.

I found only one article in the Hindustan Times where one commentetor wrote the lack of media coverage on BJP's manifesto and hyping up Ayodhya/UCC as biased.

Anonymous said...

BJP MUST NOT dump Hindutva, it will not win any minority or media votes in doing so, but will lose all present votes.
Most people who vote for BJP are so called Hindutvawadis (believe in Nationalism, Patriotism, equality for all, appeasement for none, good governence or Ram Rajya etc. etc.)
If they cannot identify the BJP with above, then no point voting, let Congress come to power.

The point is to educate the illinformed about the USP of BJP.

Tatha Mukherjee said...

BJP Supporter- your last post on RK Narayan:

I fully agree with your analysis. That's the crux of Nehruvian Secularism- deride, dispossess Hindus to appease minorities. Another strand is talking about Indian history starting from period of Buddha- as if there was no history prior to that. This is to deny the place of Sindhu-Saraswati Civlization, as well as the Vedas and the Vedantas in shaping India. Why? Because, a section of minorities don;t like it. Priyanka Gandhi is now specializing on this Buddhist route- basically another appeasement of minorities.

RK Narayan's own biography has this (below). The event from Swamy and Friend is probably from his own experience as a student in a missionary school.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/12/18/061218crbo_books?currentPage=all

"Ours was a Lutheran Mission School—mostly for boarders who were Christian converts. The teachers were all converts, and, towards the few non-Christian students like me, they displayed a lot of hatred. Most of the Christian students also detested us. The scripture classes were mostly devoted to attacking and lampooning the Hindu gods, and violent abuses were heaped on idol-worshippers as a prelude to glorifying Jesus. Among the non-Christians in our class I was the only Brahmin boy, and received special attention; the whole class would turn in my direction when the teacher said that Brahmins claiming to be vegetarians ate fish and meat in secret, in a sneaky way, and were responsible for the soaring price of those commodities."

How many secular fundoos ready to accept these events?

The experience of RKN was not alone. I was recently reading auto-biography of Lila Majumdar (niece of Satyajit Ray, very popular literary figure in Bengal)- she also wrote about her school days in Shillong (in 1920s) and the way missionaries used to behave. Remember, she comes from a very distinguished family who are still contributing immensely in arts and culture for last 5 generations.

It can very well be said, one of the primary reasons of rise of Indian nationalism in urban centers of India in late 19th century was long abuse of Hindus by missionaries.

Read essays of Bankim Chatterjee to understand how the situation was those days.

Madhu Kishwar put it eloquently how it did great damage to Indian Muslims.

"The preference of large sections of the Muslim leadership and westernised Muslim intelligentsia for a Nehruvian brand of secularism has proved to be very harmful for Muslims in the long run. In the process they have rejected & ridiculed Gandhi's approach to inter-community harmony largely because they are uneasy with his use of certain Hindu symbols. This has strengthened the feeling that the Muslim leadership is innately hostile to the Hindus who are rooted in their own faith and is comfortable only with westernised Hindus like Nehru who are contemptuous of their own culture, religion and people."

I think, Indian Christians are following same path.

BJP_supporter said...

Ram, I had good reason to count you among the elitists. Just your view on Capt.Gopinath would do. He announced his running on NDTV using two points - a) that he had a whiskey in Hand 'like the rest of us' when he watched in 'horror' the pub brawl in Mangalore b) that the Mangalore pub brawl and Mumbai terror attack were 'equal-equal' for him.

If you think such a candidate is a 'good bet' to take on board or pander to, please think about it again.

I can pretend to apologize but that would be phony. In Gopinath's equal-equal way, feel free to call me Hindu-communal-fundamentalist.

There was another comment on 'lunatic fringe, well read, capable of articulating intelligently drawn to the bjp'. Such a pity! Why cant all well-read, intelligent people just be like the rest of us and just vote the family regardless of all those terror attacks!

And the most funny part is the 'shrill sound-bytes on the blackmoney'! Why bother justifying that vote? It gets ridiculously funny.

BJP_supporter said...

I read the anonymous congress voter once again. He has so perfectly imbibed the media load-of-crap to trash the BJP. Telengana and opportunistic! BJP has a stated position on creating smaller states with political consensus for a long time now. Congress aligned with Telengana TRS in 2004 and promised Telengana - only TDP opposed. After 2004, congress dumped Telengana and TDP jumped in. In 2009, congress again started making positive noises about telengana but on the day of first phase of polling in AP, the CM again dumped Telengana with a partisan speech.

But the BJP is the opportunistic group here!

And tamil cause to please Vaiko! You did not see the grand site of that fast on the beach of your congress ally, with two wives in tow? BJP has been working on the tamil issue since the Norway led peace initiative, with a very consistent position.

Your brain is so fully washed. There may not be any more use for any facts. But thanks still, because it so clearly demonstrates BJP's failure in media handling. Wasn't Jaitley the master of that? think again!

msr said...

for me it appears that one of the reasons BJP lost is , BJP didn't able to highlight it's manifesto, it has very good manifesto like raising the income tax level, cheaper home loans , educational aid to girls etc.

the media being so much anti Hindu and anti BJP never gave attention to good points of BJP manifesto but harped on Mandir issue to attack BJP.

so it is the high time that BJP encourages some business people or even BJP leaders some of them very rich should start a news channel and highlight the BJP's successes.

I don't agree with Swapanda's stand that it requires lot of money to start the news channel, yes it requires money but it can be done very easily, if BJP want to survive it needs strong media backing also

Aryan said...

PIL to ban EVMs in future elections admitted in Madras HC


DMDK headquarters secretary P. Parthasarathy has filed a PIL in the High Court of Madras seeking a ban on the use of Electronic Voting Machines in bye-elections and to direct that elections be conducted using ballot papers.

The key points made in the PIL:

1. DMDK contested in all 40 constituencies of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry for the elections to Lok Sabha held on May 13.

2. Electronic Voting Machines were used during the election.

3. Frauds and malpractices occurred in the use of balloting units of EVMs. In Central Chennai constituency in particular, the EVMs were so manipulated that pressing of any button resulted in the vote accruing to the candidate of the ruling party.

4. In Virudhunagar constituency, it is reported that 25,000 additional votes were recorded on the machines than the number of voters.

5. In Dindigul constituency, when button was pressed on DMDK symbol, the light on the Congress symbol was lit up. Many EVMs were so manipulated that, one additional vote was recorded for the ruling party symbol for every 5 votes recorded.

Similar malpractices and frauds involving manipulation of EVMs occurred in many constituencies and booths during the election. When such malpractices and frauds were detected, no attempt was made to replace the EVMs in a wholesale manner. Despite representations and ccomplaints were made to the Election officials, no action was taken by the latter.

Hence, there should be a ban on the use of EVMs in the forthcoming bye-elections. Court was requested to direct the Election Commission to use only ballot paper system.

Vacation Bench judges Hon'ble V. Dhanapalan and MM Sundaresh admitted the PIL. The Solicitor General agreed to file the response of the Union of India.

The next hearing was postponed by three weeks, after issuing notices to the Central Election Commission and State Election Commissioner of Tamil Nadu.

Anonymous said...

UPA was strong on terror? BJP surrendered to terrorists on Kandahar?....

Little can be done if Mumbai chooses same Congi after it burnt for 70 hours. Or Delhi even after being bloodied so many times.
To be blunt, the UPA killed the terrorists who attacked Mumbai, while BJP let the Kandahar ones go scot-free. It is true that neither party was able to prevent the terrorist act in the first place, but the UPA comes out ahead on this count because of the way they handled Mumbai.

Anonymous said...

Tathagata,

BJP shouldn't expect generosity from media, nobody stopped BJP from publishing their manifesto in national and regional newspapers. of course money will have to be spent.

Anonymous said...

Although we do not have any leader to counter Rahul's charm, we should make best use of who we have. Strategy going forward - Sushma should be the prime ministerial candidate. She appeals to urban, educated as well as rural voters and is also a woman. She is a good orator, not very old. Naqvi or Shanawaz should be the president - which should communicate the message that BJP is not against minorities. Arun Jaitley should be the next Chief Ministerial candidadte for Delhi, if we have to win Delhi back. He should focus on Delhi starting today. His stint at national level can come later when he proves his ability as Chief Minister of Delhi. Current BJP Chief ministers should continue their good work at their respective states so that we can win next elections there. Naidu should focus on Andhra to build the party base there. What happenned to Vijayashanti and Krishnam Raju in Andhra who could have made BJP a strong force in those states. Bring them back to the party fold and make them responsible for party's growth. Vijayashanti in Telengana and Krishnam Raju in rest of Andhra. If BJP has to win back Rajasthan, we should stop infighting and fight unitedly under a leader - be it Vasundhara, Jaswant or Shekhavat. Varun should be the chief ministerial candidate in UP. I know many people have blamed Varun for BJP's debcale. It was a conspiracy from media who wanted Rahul to look good. But, Varun is the best bet for BJP in UP and if BJP wins UP back, they have a great chance of capturing power at Centre.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
Ideas too are prone to depreciation. BJP, BSP, CPM are on the same boat in a sence that they expected the same ideas that made them formidable forces in their respective domains to take them to ever increasing heights. “Dalit ki Beti as Ruler” did touched many hearts and minds, but obviousely it too had its shelf life. The only party that has constantly reinvented itself despite all its vices is Congress. Congress managing a coalition government, and an outsider being projected as Congress candidate for PM would have been scoffed at a couple of decades back. It is up to BJP if it wants to remain an “All India Radio” or become “Radio One”.

Anonymous said...

I was watching one of those recorded TV videos posted here and the thought occured to me that: The rot in the media is most vividly exemplified by the spectacle of sycophantic dimwits and blabbering bimbettes making it to important positions on the idiot box only because they happen to be sons or girlfriends or wives of other media personalities. Why is nepotism in the media a taboo subject for media people?

Arvind said...

"We came to the conclusion that a party which cannot function responsibly cannot be entrusted with the levers of power" by anonymous. So you did not find the previous NDA government worked responsibly. You did not find any BJP state governments responsible enough. And you find all Congress governments who are responsible for backwardness of this country more suited to rule us. You deserve everything you suffer in India including potholes, pollution and corruption.

Anonymous said...

Hindutva is not a milstone around the BJPs neck. Hindutva fetched the BJP 118 seats. Dump Hindutva and be reduced to 10-20 seats.

It is true that violence in the name of Hindutva has cost the BJP some seats. The BJP and sister organizations should eschew violence and continue to fight for Hindu causes in a systematic manner, and rebuild the party in UP, and spread to Orissa (where they already have 16% of the vote, up from 7% in 1996), Andra, and Haryana, and try to regain Delhi.

Remove the destroyer Rajnath Singh, and give charge of UP to Adityanath and Varun Gandhi with Modi overseeing them. Then see the result.

Anonymous said...

Tathagata, That was I Hazara but you know what -link to that column has been removed from HT web (I wanted to send this to BJP-baiters in both India and overseas on this subject). If you have the link, pl post it here.
- Gopi

BJP_supporter said...

Anonymous who thinks UPA equal-equal on terror - can we take a count of all terrorist attacks in the 98-2004 BJP regime, and 2004-2009 UPA regime, and then see where the count is? Or would it be too much since we decided its all equal-equal except that the first Family has an eternal right?

You guys amaze me!

Swapan da - what can the BJP do to get this group's vote? Shall we be honest about this and admit that is futile? Rather than beat around the bush and talk about Hindootva?

BJP_supporter said...

This is on Advani.

There was a time in the mid-nineties when The Hindu used to always prefix 'jingoistic', 'bellicose' etc to Advani in its articles. Somewhere around this, N.Ram wrote an opinion piece where he called Advani 'the best political mind in India'.

It is really sad to see that leader now go after meaningless ideas - like if we held elections in Winter then all middle class will queue up to vote and BJP will win. He said this on polling day in Gujarat,and he said this again last week in Gujarat.

Uttarakhand was not particularly hot, and BJP lost all 5 seats.

What matters to the BJP is how effective it is in reaching to the voters. And if it believes that middle class are its supporters, it is upto the BJP to work booth by booth in turning this vote out. The 'middle-class' is not even a well-defined group. Is this based on consumption patterns? But is a OBC middle-class happy about IIT reservations going to vote the same as a non-OBC middle class losing his seat at AIIMS post-grad?

This middle class continues to read times-of-india variety equal-equal, or worse still 'Mangalore-pub-brawl worse than Mumbai terror attacks'. And that is not being countered at all by the BJP. It is curtains.

With age might come decline. It is cruel on BJP's part to not allow this man his retirement.

PS - to the family fans and those who call us 'lunatic fringe drawn to BJP' - I am not sure if your warped minds can spot any difference between us and you. We think on our own, and even criticize a leader we hold dear.

Anonymous said...

The main point is that BJP does not have to give up its ideology of Hindutva. It has to connect with the youth and explain its message. It has to find out ways of doing that. If media is not helpful, it has to reach them through other ways.

It has to explain to them what it really stands for. It might take some time. But that does not mean it has to give up what it believes in.

Anonymous said...

If Rahul Gandhi is the reason the youth has voted for Congress, they will get disillusioned at some point. BJP has to expedite that process.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
Its time to challenge the convention that Muslims can’t and won’t vote for BJP. Myths are meant to be shattered. I want to ask all BJP supporters: If Muslims vote for BJP, will that make it less right of center or less Hindutva/Indian than what it is now or wishes to be? And all those who profess that BJP should not become Cong (Lite) or Cong (B), please don’t compare BJP and Congress to Coke and Pepsi, these are serious matters, if you look at Cong history you will find they have traversed the entire spectrum of ideology – who first carried out shilanyas in Ayodhya?, who conducted the first nuclear explosion?, who were vehemently opposed to Mandal commission?, who now are the biggest proponent of that commission? I propose “Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi” as BJP president.

Siva said...

Swapanda,
Nice to see you take on Sagarika a couple of days back. Every time she tried to pin you down with 'your ideology', you hit right back at her with 'her ideology'. Every time you came up with a policy the govt should follow, she had a loud 'thats a good point'...then and there you should have pointed out that you were more or less giving out the policies a BJP govt is likely to have followed due to its ideological moorings!

What is really needed is a very thorough analysis of why the BJP lost and lost badly this time.Now such an analysis might be painful and a lot of people might get hurt, but it must be done.

BTW, IMHO the main problem with the BJP supporters is best exemplified with the reaction to one sentence in this blog post- "IS HINDUTVA A MILLSTONE AROUND THE BJPS NECK". Just this statement has resulted in over 160 comments, predominantly from the stridently pro-Hindutva crowd deriding you for the wording of this sentence. I for one don't know what your going to write in you blog post and I can't wait to read it, nor do I know your views on Hindutva except that you are broadly in favour of it. But if this one sentence can provoke 160+ comments...if and when you do publish that post, you will probably break the 1000 comment mark!

The biggest problem we face - no one wants to have an open debate. All the stridently pro-Hindutva commenters fear that you will call for an end to Hindutva in the BJP. All I can say is that for better or for worse, you do not run the BJP and so your views can at best be taken as advise from a dedicated & wise party supporter on which way the party should go - they can very well choose to disregard your advice.

I for one believe in Hindutva as a way of life, but I believe that we need to educate the people of the country of the true meaning of Hindutva. For the people who spend their lives listening to Sagarika and Barkha, Hindutva is equivalent to killing all muslims in this country, bringing down mosques and building Ram Temples. (Some half wit reporter even stated that Hindutva equals Ram Temple during an interview with Modi (needless to say, she was shown her place)). You and I know it isn't so, but unfortunately Sagarika and Barkha reach more people that you and I. People like Pravin Togadia and Pramod Muthalik don't make things easier. We need to redefine Hindutva as Cultural Nationalism and talk about what Hindutva truly stands for as much as possible, especially when any of our people go on the talk shows on air.

Can't wait for your blog post on which way the BJP should go when it comes to Hindutva...

Anonymous said...

@ Ram. You're welcome.

@ Rightist Rashtravadi: You might be interested in what Tavleen Singh has to say about Hindutva and LKA in the Indian Express, April 5th

@ Anonymous coward: The essence of what Rajinder Puri says is that the RSS' style of 'working together as a family' makes them deeply suspicious of individuality, initiative and dissent. He concludes that this causes the BJP to have an inflexible management style that cannot adapt to change and different views.

To me, this sounds exactly like a classic Communist Party setup. Maybe they could rename it the CPI (RSS) or RSS (C)! Hardly a recipe for success.

The shrillness and immaturity of your's and others' response to Swapan's call for an honest debate is an example of this. Thanks for providing it.

Now, Swapan, I am sure that you realize that most of your commenters here will vote for the BJP anyway. They don't have a choice, to put it in coldblooded realpolitik. The BJP's challenge is to convince those who voted for the Congress to vote for it next time. The path to that lies towards the centre, not the fringe.


Suren

Anonymous said...

Some people have laughed at this theory but I think economic crisis may have played some role in people's mind too. Congress has 2/3 guys at top who it can showcase as economists. I'm not talking about policies here. What does BJP have? Why can't BJP have some economists in its rank who define its position on various economic issues? There must be some right wing type of economists in the world. After all largely there are only two economic theories. These people should formulate BJP’s therapies on various issues. Now, if something is not working and you have an alternate theory, it's very good. You establish your credibility in some sense. I'm sure with this Congress government; there will be ample chances to push the government on back foot. But for that, you should be ready with your alternate and cohesive policies.
One of the easy places to start with is fixing the leaks in distribution system by proposing (and also demonstrating in your states, as far as possible) how can one create a transparent, accountable system where poor people are indeed benefited. Why don’t you turn this 1 rupee = 10 paisa equation in your states to begin with. Come out from your shell. Time to feel sorry about yourself due to media bias is gone. Show some self-assured attitude. Self-assurance will come only when you yourself truly believe in what you preach. Right now, I only see only one such person, Narendra Modi in BJP. His real belief in what he is doing has made him what he is. Rest all look like posturing..

Anonymous said...

Swapan-ji,

Why is your blog doing multiple (automatic) reloads, every few seconds. Please disable any script that does that.

Thanks

Oldtimer said...

I find it amusing that people like "Arjun" and "Suren" etc are so desperate -- even angry in their desperation -- to convince the rest of the folks here that the future for a rightwing party lies in, you guessed it, moving to the "center". :-) Perhaps unknown to us "Suren" also authored a letter to The Hindu asking it to drop Sainath pronto and hire Rajinder Puri instead. Anything to persuade to people to move to The Center. Here are some original ideas on how political parties that lose elections can bounce back:

1. Republicans urgently need to find an African-American prez candidate for 2012. They should voice their approvals for gay marriages immediately. Naturally, they must adopt gun control as their platform, and needless to add, they should vigrously campaign in favor of pr-life choice. In short, they must move to The Center.

2. The CPIM has its task cut out. The Karat couple are no good. Brinda Karat thinks she need not move to The Center, all she needs is airtime on brother-in-law's NDTV. How ridiculous. And why do the commies still approvingly quote shrill and lunatic voices like that of Arundhati Roy? The way to go is The Center.

3. Mayawati must learn that being dalit itself is not enough. Being on The Center is far more important. She needs to build statues for Mahatma Gandhi asap.

4. And the CPI .... but what is the CPI? I quite forgot. Some kind of political party I think? Whatever it is, it ought to know that future for any kind of political party is in being in The Center.

BJP_supporter said...

Swapan has not defined 'Hindutva'. Quite a few have pointed that out. But his choice of the word 'Millstone' should make it clear.

"Give the doggie a bad name and hang him".

To some here, all Hindutva supporters are those who promote killing of religious minorities and beer guzzling girls. This is by now the popular definition as well.

Now, it is a short step to club Arun Shourie and Pramod Muthalik - because Shourie holds opinions on conversions, fatwa etc that these people do not like.

The honest thing to do is to turn it around - do you accept the present standards and double standards in secularism? If you do not, then you are a Hindutva-vadi.

psenthilraja said...

swapan da,

I have been repeating this elsewhere.. and i am again reproducing in this comment..

"A hindu india has place for every religion. Whereas a christian and Muslim india would be intolerant".

This is the core of our hindutva, and we should not be apologetic about this.

If you say "Is Hindutva, the BJP's Millstone", then it seems, you too are being influenced by those ELM vultures..

If you see the history, the christian power center, had demonised everything related to Hinduism.. Character assasination has been one of the powerful technique they unleash through the majority of the medias they control..

RSS, BJP, VHP, and everything hindu had been tarnished. at the international level, they tarnished IDRF, HSS etc.

And the ideology is also being manipulated and given a wrong meaning..

So the need of the hour is that we should first clarify ourselves, what is meant by Hindutva.. then we should boldly assert this and tell loudly to the whole world and stand by it..

If you say, Hindutva is not needed, then better we can support any other party, and probably even congress.. because without hindutva, the BJP will become a party of scounderels like the congress..

And the most important thing is that RSS itself should change its backward and "Frog in the well" thinking.. They were so incapable, that they dont have any vision or direction or any concrete plan of action, except for their blind shaka..
And the BJP members, many of who hailed from RSS, exhibits the same dumb leadership and ruined the party..

Modi is the only exception in this regard, and probably, he had such a bold vision, that he dared to strip down VHP in his own state..

ITs not that only BJP needs re-thinking.. ITs the entire sangh parivar outfits, which needs to introspect itself..

Anonymous said...

On EVMs - there are repeated comments, mostly from TN, on EVMs. IMO there are two issues here - one technical, another purely political.

The technical stuff first - the obvious thing to get done is publish the complete hardware and software specs of this EVM/controller embedded devices. I do not know if this has been done, I have read in some of these threads that such a request was denied. dont know veracity of those. Some key things to look for from a technical angle are
1. does the evm device have any external intefaces? ideally the only interface should be a low-speed serial type interface to the control unit. Any additional interfaces, those controllers are a potential hack point.
2. what is the software/firmware running on it? ideally it should be a small footprint firmware with no OS, just a running thread to handle vote count. Any thing complex is unwarranted anyways, and in any case this firmware details can be published.
3. what are the software/firmware upgrade mechanisms? ideally there should be none other than at the time of manufacture. if there are any ways to change stuff in the field, need to see if it is possible to change firmware once during polling and change it back again if any one orders a scrutiny.
4. how does the device handle any non-standard key press sequences? ideally the device should raise hell/lock itself up/ let every polling agent know if there were non-standard key presses.

Experts might know more. in any case, having the complete hardware/software details of this devices published will be a right thing. If anyone knows if that is the case, please post a link.

I would like to share my thoughts on the political side of it, in the next comment.

Anonymous said...

The political side to the EVM stories from TN - the losing parties (obviously) are raising this. The DMDK (vijaykanth party) has worked for a DMK win in two elections in a row, by cutting into ADMK vote and with no gain to itself. The DMDK's goal was to pick up enough share to be able to get congress as its ally. That has not happened. This elections have given the DMK family head the perfect way to settle his succession feuds. So it is not likely to happen anytime soon. DMDK cuts enough votes to spoil ADMK, but ADMK is still the principal anti-DMK party.

Which means the only option for DMDK now is to move into the ADMK camp.

Some hurdles there - PMK and DMDK have had problems on the ground. To get closer, they can use one common issue first and use that to explain why they came together 'for a larger cause, forget all the bad things'. I am just saying it is a possibility.

PMK made their own voting machine and showed that it can be tampered. well...

DMDK files a case in court on same subject.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Anon>>To be blunt, the UPA killed the terrorists who attacked Mumbai, while BJP let the Kandahar ones go scot-free

Both 150 passengers and plane were hostage to fanatic, armed jehadis- it stopped at Amritsar for short period of time. And before logistics or decision could be taken they fled- and you call it letting terrorists go scot free? What happened to those who attacked Parliament, temple in Ahmedabad? Mumbai was not a hostage situation like Kandahar, or Amritsar.

BJP does not believe in feeding Biriyani to Jihadis like Congress. Worse, Congi feeds Biriyani to Jihadis as well as put Hindus in shoddy camps. WHY (votebank)? Why no media writes that per capita more is spent by Congi to feed jihadis in Jail in Kashmir than Pandits in camps in Jammu. Can you deny that?

Want to know why BJP grew and grew and grew in Gujarat and many places in north/western India? Then go and find out what Congi did in late 70s, early 80s in (say) handling anti-social elements like Dawood, LAtif etc. Here it is from Harish Khare (NO FRIEND OF BJP, before a Muslim media):

http://www.indianmuslims.info/news/2008/oct/16/media_has_become_accomplice_terrorists_harish_khare.html

"If Hindutva is so acceptable in Gujarat it is the direct outcome of the total mismanagement and completely irresponsible way in which the Congress party acted and in the 1980s.

It was practicing the worst kind of politics, for instance that of vote banks. For the sake of vote banks it patronized the Muslim leadership which unfortunately went in to the hands of goons. These goons said to have controlled the government machinery like police. Latif, the infamous goon of that time used to decide who will be the Police Commissioner, he alleged. He terrorized the general people which made them actually go towards the BJP which offered them a good, efficient, and fearless governance. It also help the BJP portray itself as the protectors of the Hindu interests at that time.

BJP propagated and offered to the Gujarati public its vision of Ram Rajya as opposed to the Congress's Latif Rajya."

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Another Anon>>BJP shouldn't expect generosity from media, nobody stopped BJP from publishing their manifesto in national and regional newspapers

The role of media in democracy include reporting accurately without prejudice, or bias on issues, stands being taken by major political parties.

Jyoti Basu (though a communist) who faced hostile press during large part of his rule in WB used to say one thing to media which makes sense- "write against us (cpim) in your editorial, but don't distort the news".

Media failed to play its role. Period.

--------------------
Anon>>Tathagata, That was I Hazara but you know what -link to that column has been removed from HT web...

Please find it below:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=47ea5246-d700-4422-8d14-59e9a1fe4715MyIndiamyvote2009_Special&Headline=Damned+if+they+don%e2%80%99t...

(being a rare piece that speaks relatively fair and balanced manner, I had it saved in my Favorites!)

Mr. Hazra touched a very important issue- "Inter-Faith Dialogue" as proposed in the BJP manifesto.

Christian groups under influence of radical ones like Thampu/John Dayals are not interestest in dialogue. I see a major flare up in this front in the coming years and decades.

Can anyone imagine that Bishop of Cuttack approached Court with fabicrated data on Kandhamal (see below)? What's the difference between Teesta and Xtian groups now?

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Many-Kandhmal-victims-alive/articleshow/4511671.cms

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who thinks UPA equal-equal on terror - can we take a count of all terrorist attacks in the 98-2004 BJP regime, and 2004-2009 UPA regime, and then see where the count is?I already said neither the INC nor BJP are able to prevent terrorist attacks. What is your point again?

Based on conversations I have had, my point is that it hard to make people believe that the BJP will do a better job on terror due to Kandahar.

Mimi said...

A quiet revolution is brewing in Karnataka, where BS Yediyurappa is beginning to take quiet steps in the Modi direction as far as economic development is concerned. The BJP govt in Karnataka has been completely silent on the usual opportunistic divisive nonsense that other BJP leaders engage in. Also, BSY is using the media effectively through ads, live call in programs on local channels etc to communicate his efforts on the development front.

I think the BJP needs to look closely at BSY from a 2014 perspective. He has a moderate image that the people of Kar seem to trust, going by the fact that they put 19 BJP MPs in the LS (more than Gujarat).

Who is the BJP kidding about w.r.t Hindutva?
--------------------------------------------
I think the new BJP should focus on moderate faces who deliver results, and move away from Hindutva. Everyone knows that Hindutva was an opportunistic horse that LK Advani rode on in the 90s, not out of any love for the culture but simply to polarise voters. Let Hindus decide what their future destiny is going to be, not some opportunistic political party that revels in riots as a form of Hindu assertion.

aw said...

Hi Swapan,

Waiting for you to pen your views on Hindutva.

What matters most for anyone in power is credibility. BJP has lost credibility over many issues. You cannot say things you do not mean or promise without even being seen to be doing something about it.

Ram temple issue: No point in including it in any manifesto. It is like holding a bone to a dog. While they were in power they should have done it or set up a mechanism (outside government if that was better). The claim that we can only do it if we have majority is bogus. They have lost interest in it and it shows. That cost them credibility with many people. I have a cousin who in 2003 said as much - he did not think BJP was interested as now they got power and had no use for it and so he would consider Congress in the future.

Terrorism: You cannot talk tough only. Why did they not initiate police reforms etc. when they were in power. For that matter national ID cards. LKA talked about it but they should have initiated it. Nothing was done. If you know something is right or good JUST DO IT. The ensuing debate will set stake in the ground and everyone will be judged from that.

Judicial reforms: Again zilch. Talked about some commission to modernize Indian constitution and nothing. Arun Jaitley was there. Judicial backlog still as big. Again no new ideas. BJP has to put forward big ideas and then act on them.

Disinvestment: Contrast to Shourie's doggedness. He drove himself and his ministry against all odds (remember BALCO) because he personally believed in less state control and cared about it.

This is why MNS got better of Advani on the weak versus strong debate - he dug in for the nuclear deal. He stood his ground and refused to yield ( another matter he corrupted Parliament in the process). Even though BJP's objections might have been valid it is important to put forth ideas not general claims that we will re-negotiate if we can. Re-negotiate what? Which specific points? This is the reason I have liked Shourie - solid research and talks based on facts and stands his ground. You may not agree with his views but that is the sort of homework BJP needs to do to make its mark again.

Regards

Atul

Anonymous said...

Oldtimer: You mean a pro-civil union African-American candidate like Michael Steele, the first African-American to ever become President of the Republican Party? The Michael Steele who is on record as being a gun-control moderate? The Michael Steele who says that abortion is an "individual choice"? The Michael Steele who calls himself a "moderate Republican"?

Exactly.

As for the communists and Mayawati, they hold no relevance for me. Relax, no anger nor desperation here; I can always go out and vote for the status quo and have a good quality of life. Which I can afford to, unlike the poor Indian villager.

BW

Suren

Anonymous said...

PENELOPEPURE@gmail.com
First make Hinduism fun, a party to be at coz that's how the young voter will gravitate towards you guys.
Get Speech writers to turn the idiom on its head so you sound modern. The CONgress used em.
BUY journos who are vocal
Get your own channel but make sure you get some sassy MOSLEMS on it. Better still see if you can get a loss making channel to be beholden to you in some way
Get your people to MODERNIZE use a youngish lingo, be moderate, medium is not th emessage, you need to temper your content and garnish it with the GUCCIv aspirational lingo
SHOW em dreams like RGandhi did
POSITIVE SPEAK not negative
GET De and Seth type of social networkers to do some marketing for you on the TV
Recruit smooth talkers with a hi style quotient not relics sputtering and juddering and thundering
Get a research team to catch bloopers and present it clinically in front of people even as MODI type work is carried on efficiently
GEt mOSLEMS to endorse you guys as NOT being MOSLEM haters

A huge marketing excercise to depict MODERNIZATION AND MODERATION
Do spiritual softmarketing just as one Mr D Lama has made sure TIb Bud is all over davos and NY and the globe at zero dollar budget
Will as acommunications strategist be glad to help
PENELOPE PURE

Anonymous said...

An open debate is always good. BJP leadership should ask tough questions to itself. Without honest introspection BJP may find itself in the same situation in 2014 also. Some important points which I think should be raised / asked and answered by the party are,
1. Conversion issue: Unless hindus provide an alternate life to the poor and the lower strata of the society people will convert. It is a natural phenomenon. Stop whining on this issue and take action covertly without resorting to violence.
2. Violence - Is this required? Dont resort to violence at any cost. This is the land of Mahatma Gandhi. People in general hate violence.
3. English language media - It is not pro BJP. Need to handle it intelligently. Dont give any chance to the media to blow anything out of proportion.

Nikhil said...

For those interested in my earlier comment on a tacit understanding between the Congress and the SP...the most obvious examples of the SP putting up weak candidates to transfer votes to the Congress are Moradabad (dont tell me the SP can lose the deposit in a Muslim dominated const.), Kushi Nagar, Bareilly, and to an extent in Daurahra and Domariyaganj, all of which went to the Congress. In the first 3 atleast, the Congress squeaked thru thanks to non-division of the Muslim vote. Constituencies where the Congress probably has helped the SP with weak candidates (the Congress vote share is suspiciously low) are Mirzapur, machlishahr, Jalaun, Firozabad, Banda, Ambedkar Nagar.

Lets hope the tactical arrangements dont continue thru to the assembly elections.

BTW, there will almost certainly be a pre-poll alliance between the COngress and the JDS in Karnataka for the 2012 elections. Both know the BJP is rising dangerously. Hope we will be able to fend off that threat.

Satya said...

Mumbai attack happened in India. Kandahar happened in a foriegn country, controlled by terrorists. How are these things the same?

Satya said...

Give more responsibility to Sushma Swaraj, Jaitley, Arun Shourie, Narendra Modi, Nalin Kohli, Shahnawaz and Mukhtar.

They are a combination of people who are 50s (and even 40s), woman, religious minority, intellectual and professionals, who believe in the idea of Indianness.

Offstumped's Shveta Chattra can be a good beginning, here- http://offstumped.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/the-spirit-of-enterprise/

Aryan said...

How to tamper with voting machines!

Chandigarh, March 11
Can electronic voting machines (EVMs) be tampered with?


Capt Amarinder Singh demonstrates how a “fudged electronic voting machine” works. — A Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

“Yes”, says Mr Amarinder Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, supporting his assertion by giving a demonstration of how an EVM with a cleverly programmed chip installed in it can transfer votes polled by one candidate to another leaving no remnants of the original voting pattern.

“Convinced that these EVMs can be manipulated, we are going to make a presentation to the Chief Election Commissioner, Dr Manohar Singh Gill, in New Delhi next week and request him to revert to the original system of voting using ballot papers. If the commission does not listen to us, we will have no choice but to knock at the door of the judiciary to get EVMs out of the elections,” asserts Mr Amarinder Singh.

Mr Amarinder Singh carries a set of EVMs, including the control unit, which during elections remains with the presiding officer of a polling station, and gives a “demonstration of how the programmed chip transfers the votes of one candidate to another”.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20010312/main4.htm

BJP_supporter said...

Oldtimer, that was pretty funny. Yeah, everybody drive in the center. Thats what we do on Indian roads anyways :-)

On the ground, stuff is very very complex. But in the chatter it gets reduced to some mind-numbingly simplistic positions - like Varun bad, Jaitley good, Rajnath bad, Hindutva millstone, Modi-hindutva bad, Modi-development good, all middle-class loves The Family.

I have thought about the situation in TN for a long time now, and I used to travel there a lot some 1-2 years ago.

If you see the leading parties in TN, they do not have any 'minority' leadership at all - not even in the 2nd/3rd rung. Top is all family, and that is all Hindu-OBC (except Jayalalitha, but her party is all Hindu-OBC too). The second and third rungs are also Hindu-OBC and even here it is mostly families. Actually, BJP might have more minority!

When I say OBC, remember that in TN, about 97 % of Hindu castes are classified OBC. we will get there later.

The Dravida groups started with denying Hindu identity, and shared anti-brahminism of Missionaries (though each had a different goal). There was a phase when this denial of Hindu identity was so complete that names were getting 'secularised' - Anbazhagan, Kalai Arasan, Kanimozhi, Malar kodi etc.

But after the Dravida groups got power, this has changed to an astonishing level. You do not find any of those Anbu/Arivu type names. Not even the old style 'Kala/Mala' type names - now even in nooks and corners Hindu-OBCs pick up names from Lalitha Sahasranamam! Properly sanskrit. Clearly, Brahminism is very well back though most brahmins may be out.

You wont find a signboard without a 'Sri' infront. The 'thiru' is only for studios. And if you travel outside of Chennai, you would find most Hindus have a mark on their forehead even in tier-II cities like Erode or Coimbatore. In the secular studios of Delhi, you wont find anyone with Bindi. And the secular studios of Delhi will readily toast to TN as the leading light of secularism.

The present DMK government has started on a 'Kumbabishekam' mission with so much vigour. Every other week there is a mention of a Kumbabishekam in one of the big temples. Ofcourse they wont advertise it or even claim credit for it.

there were reports that when Azhagiri started his TV channel, he held a 'Ganapahty homam'! He is reported to be donating for temples.

When Modi travelled to TN last year (not this elections), he got a lot of coverage in Tamil papers. The delhi /national media covered the protests against his visit by fringe groups, but the tamil papers totally ignored those protests. The extent of coverage was far more than any visiting other-state CM will receive. The coverage was entirely devoid of Modi-villain and opinionated pieces.

What exactly is Modi's appeal in TN? development or Hindutva? Short of a survey, taking either position is stupid. On the ground, it appears that Hindutva is the first draw. It is very unlikely that the common man in TN have any idea of development or lack of it in Gujarat, or even any interest. If they use the national media for reference,they will anyway not hear of development - they will only see Modi villain, killed minorities.

But there is a twist - walk into a room and ask why 97% of TN Hindus should be OBC, and it will be quickly back to the english-media style or Nehruvian secularism - Hindus bad, Brahmins evil, Aryans exploited us 5000 years, destroyed our language, we all backward, go away brahmin. I will continue later.

BJP_supporter said...

continuing on with TN - So the delhi studiowallah may be right when he says Hindoothva has no relevance in TN, but that may be actually because there is enough of Hindutva in TN already!

Travel thru the minority areas of coimbatore and you can see for yourself the difference. If these people have a vote, they are not able to use it to their good. TN still secular in the delhi press though.

Conversions is also a complex stuff in TN. The southern areas of TN had a long history - from british days, the old missionary driven by real zeal bringing education and health. They mostly converted Dalits. But the Dalits did not remain locked in - there was/is a lot of movement back and forth, even within families. In some cases, they worship Jesus and Murugan with the same fervour, one such was a class-mate in college. The lower strata people have local deities that are almost part of their families - they can never give them up for Jesus and Mary.

The village deities traditionally had their own pujaris/priests from these communities - not Brahmin priests. But increasingly from the eighties, the 'village temples' too started looking to Brahmin priests and Sanskrit Archanas. I know that in my village, the patriarch priest of the local Shiva temple was against it,not because he was evil Brahmin but because he believed local deities should just follow their traditional worship. Some included even animal sacrifice. But his grandson went in, started Sahasranama Archanas, Decorations etc and he was a big hit. He would stay away the final day when 'traditional sacrifices' take over. The only traditional festival there in that temple was the summer-time 'Kodai' festival, but this man started Navarathri too. Again, Brahminism very strongly back even beyond what it was before the Dravida rulers came to the scene! But the Dravida rulers were pasting signs promoting Tamil Worship in the Agama (Shiva/Vishnu) temples.

To someone promoting Gopinath for no reason, or regurgitating ToI and even making his own stuff up to say BJP evil, these will be another universe. If you must say 'millstone Hindutva' to get their votes, well...

Conversions later started in the middle classes like Nadars. here the divide became permanent because there were 'other' temporal gains and fight over those. There has been a good amount of violence in some of the diocese elections. So you would find separate matrimonial columns for Hindu and Christian Nadars. Looking at kanyakumari now, it looks like the Hindu Nadar consolidation is well on way.

In the nineties, a fresh wave of 'TV evangelism' hit TN. All private channels filled airtime with paid-for evangelical programmes (vijay TV, Raj TV etc). Now there is a complete turn-around - in Sun, Vijay etc channels there is so much of Hindu Bhakthi programming, on all days. Strangely, the DoorDarshan-Tamil channel runs evangelical programmes. But in a way, if the evangelicals do not have the more popular Sun/Vijay as their vehicles and use DD, may be it is a sign of decline.

Bottomline is, if the official story is that Dravida parties drove away 'Hindutva/Brahminism' from TN, that aint necessarily true.

But there are going to be continuing tensions. Events like Mandaikkadu can not be ruled out. Unless the southern-baptist type fund flow stops due to Recession there, the evangelicals will continue to chip away using all means.

Well, it is complex. And I doubt this blog is going to be able to go any-where beyond the pre-meditated positions. Thanks for the space so far, and I am outta here now. Have fun.

Sundararaman said...

"If you will be prudent, be prudent from the beginning. Fix your object low and creep towards it. But if you fix your object in the skies, it will not do to crawl on the ground and because your eyes are sometimes lifted towards the ideal imagine you are progressing while you murmur to those behind, “Yes, yes, our ideal is in the skies because that is the place for ideals, but we are on the ground and the ground is our proper place of motion. Let us creep, let us creep.” Such inconsistency will only dishearten the nation, unnerve its strength and confuse its intelligence." This is what Aurobindo says. We have to chart accordingly. I have a blog on this http://dharmism.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I do not believe in hate speeches, or dividng the people on the basis of religion. However in the whole more-or-less Hindutva debate I believe that there are a couple of things to be considered.

First, do hate speeches or hard Hindutva bring in votes? In my opinion, undoubtedly. Have a look at Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi's constituency. There was significant anti-incumbency against Maneka Gandhi who has been an MP for 13 years. The Congress candidate was extremely popular, many say he has worked more for the people of Pilibhit that Maneka did as an MP. Add to that the 'pro-Congress' wave in the state. All knowledgeable people were of the opinion that Varun Gandhi didn't stand a chance in Pilibhit.

Look at the results. Varun Gandhi won more than 50% of the vote, defeating the Congress candidate by 2.7 lakh votes - an overwhelming victory.

Did the hate speech help Varun Gandhi, atleast in Pilibhit? Undoubtedly. It also helped Maneka Gandhi win in an unknown constituency for her.

Now did it hurt the BJP overall, both in UP and in the entire country. I am not sure. Indications are that it probably helped in UP atleast.

The point is that hate speeches win votes, Hindutva wins votes. The question is do we really want to win votes this way? Are we better off than the Congress which wins votes by minority appeasement, if we win votes by majority appeasement?

I don't know about the rest of the BJP supporters, but I would rather lose an election than win by hate speeches.

I think Varun for one should concentrate on buulding his credo on the issues facing the country. He should actively take part in debates in Parliament and try to be seen as tackling the issues this country faces.

I am more interested in the UP elections of 2012. I honestly believe the BJP has a very good chance of bouncing back in the state - atleast a better chance than the Congress. For that I think Rajnath Singh and Varun Gandhi have to work to build the party base in the state. I for one would prefer Rajnath Singh as a CM candidate. I dont know of any other senior leaders in the state. I think Rajnath is seen as a clean dedicated guy. And Varun and Yogi Adityanath can be used to build the Hindutva base of the party in the entire state. We will need extensive campainging from Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Shivraj Singh Chauhan in the state, but thats only a couple of months before the elections. Till then Rajnath, Varun and Adityanath should concentrate on building the party in the state.

Tatha Mukherkee said...

Atul>>For that matter national ID cards. LKA talked about it but they should have initiated it. Nothing was done.

------
This is saphed jhut.

Multipurpose Identity card project started when Advani was Home Minister. There was a pilot project in some 10-15 blocks in many states that included Murshidabad district in WB during NDA rule.

You are a victim of yellow journalism of Indian Media who twists and turns news for vested interest.

Border fencing with Bangladesh, upgrade of monitoring facilities got top funding during Advani period. I can distinctly remember, CPIM and Congi did not allow it to complete fully in West Bengal (because of votebank) on many a times on some pretext or other.

Anonymous said...

Swapanda,
Why so long for the much awaited article on Hindutva?

india15august.blogspot.com said...

How about a change of subject?

What can we, supporters of the BJP, do for the party?

Some ideas:
Offer seven days every year of voluntary service to the party.

Develop at least one supporter of the BJP residing in a village or small town.

Write blogs which will eventually become a network of bloggers, ready to work for the BJP on short notice. The blogs will also become depository of new and innovative ideas as well as good news coming from BJP rules states.

Speak out in letter to newspapers, TV channels, magazines on injustices done to any Indian, any where.

blog: www.india15august.blogspot.com

senthil said...

/** I don't know about the rest of the BJP supporters, but I would rather lose an election than win by hate speeches.
**/

I request the particular anonymous person who made this comment, to start a party and lose it without hate speeches..

The hate speech is the myth created by the medias.. and its really sad that many of BJP supporters buy that argument..

The hate speech by Varun Gandhi is nothing when compared to hate news program aired by those ELMs

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
BJP will try equally hard to win in 2014, but whether they will succeed even in 2019 is anybody’s guess, so why split hair over that and waste five years. The loss of 2009 can be a blessing in disguise to carry out badly needed reform in the party, and if that is a negative word, “rejuvenate” the party.
Fundamental questions like Hindutva will take years if not decades for a definitive answer but that is not the point.
BJP needs truly top-of-the-line people in the field of:
• Economy
• Judicial and Constitutional Experts
• Public Relations
• Strategists
• Organisation developers
• Psephologists
• Media experts
• Spin doctors
• Fundraisers
• Fund managers
• Foreign relations
• Defense experts
• Terrorism experts
• Sociologists
• Ideators
• Etc.
Ad-hocism can take them just so far and no further. They will need best-in-class people from the society, Cadre alone cannot provide all these experts. Therefore BJP MUST make itself desirable so that talented people are attracted to it. Such new blood transfusion can really rejuvenate the Party.
It can make itself desirable only by promoting meritocracy, accountability, openness to ideas, and a culture of debate and intellectual rigour.
Long live Movement d’Usual Suspect.

Anonymous said...

@senthil,
I am the anonymous person who wrote the comment stating that I would rather the BJP loose the election than win it by hate speeches.

The point is that the fact is Varun Gandhi did make a speech saying that he will 'show muslims their place', putting it mildly, and fight for the cause of Hindus.

As for Varun Gandhi being better than the hate speeches from the ELM like Sagarika and Barkha - I agree, but don't you think keeping Sagarika&Barkha as the benchmark is stooping rather low? Surely we are all much much better, more inclusive, less hate-spewing, more nationalistic, and actually concerned about the future direction this country should take than those 2! I never said dump Varun Gandhi, infact I wouldn't mind him being projected as a future face of the BJP in UP provided he can prove his credo on actual developmental issues.

The point here is a question of ethics & principles. We are the party with a difference because we have (had, according to Swapan) a significantly higher moral quotient than the Congress and their allies in the media. Making hate speeches certainly is not ethical and moral. So I would rather lose and be true to my ethics and principles, than win by subverting them. Like I said before, if we get votes by enticing Hindus, how exactly are we different from the Congress which gets votes thru minority appeasement? Can we really claim to be the 'party with a difference'?

Spade a spade said...

With friends like you this party doesn't need enemy! You power hungry neo Gorbachev..u know your advice if adopted would ruin the party in one go. If we stop being a Hindutva party I'm sure somebody would make his/her own pro-Hindu party and this will cut our Hindu votes.

If we lose 2014 general election -- though I'm 100 percent sure we will-- even after becoming a "progressive" modern party (as you've mentioned) then you would suggest : BJP should become centrist or left-liberal in order to win 2019 general election! If you are such a good commentator then why did you fail to detect public mood and this big defeat ? I tell you the answer : the reason is you power hungry elitist are out of touch with realities. We lost this election not b'coz of Hindutva but b'coz of various reasons. Prominent reason among them are :

1) Advani was perceive as a flip flopper and disliked by party's core supporter. In short his image was not that good.

2) BJP failed as a LOP utterly. It failed to unmask UPA.

3.) There was undercurrent for MMS( which I predicted before election result).

4.) No presence of strong right-wing was also one reason of this defeat. Politics is 70% abt perception.

3) Your core supporters was feeling cheated. It's a warning bell..this vote bank now thinks that the party has used Hindu sentiments for power only, there is no "real" concern.

4.) Remember Hindutva is more than an ideology it's sort of gravitational force...which gives sense of belonging..it impels BJP voters to come out from their houses..give up their cosy positions and vote for the party. If you leave your ideology for the sake of power you will lose moral standing before your voters.

5.) It's quite amusing that a party of Hindi patti (cow-belt) want to come in power. We got satta in 1998-99 by fluke. I agree Vajpayee's charisma and undercurrent for him also contributed to "NDA" victory but this win was not only b'coz of the Vajpayee factor. I believe that win was the result of coming together of dream situations like : very weak opposition, foreign issue of Sonia, among others. In addition to this BJP's image as a Hindutva party was also fresh among the average Hindu voter. And this is the reason we got most nos of seats from U.P. But these conditions have vanished in 2004 and so do the party in the successive general elections. Why are u so surprise at this defeat ? Just b'coz we fail to win seats in Delhi and some metros ? Defeat of conservative part in metros is not a new trend. This happens with most right-wing parties across the globe. Take for e.g. New York and its surrounding areas which are the bastion of Democrats. It doesn't mean we are loosing middle class votes. Having said that I won't deny the fact that "some section" of middle class has gone away from us. Delhi might be "exception".

Trojan horse Swapan da understand one thing clearly this defeat has nothing do with ideology. You wanna deflect attention from the main reasons of this defeat so that you can save as** of your friends in the BJP ( e.g. Advani and AJ).I will not allow it to happen

In your previous blog you said BJP needs purging. I'd say definitely it needs purging but from people like you. The first step it needs is to kick out people like you from the party. After that we must do an honest introspection. We right-wingers are such morons that after 25 yrs of our existence we now feel the need to expand our party in south India and W.B. We should have done this long time ago.

There are also some other reasons of this defeat but I won't be able to mention them now due to shortage of time but I can say for sure Hindutva is not the reason among them. Will write more later....Be ready to face the music Mr elite!

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Sanjay>>BJP needs truly top-of-the-line people in the field of:
• Economy
• Judicial and Constitutional Experts
• Public Relations..................."

--------------

Correct- much of that already in place and must be expanded with urgency.

But ultimately, it boils down to vote bank politics.

While minorities are being rallied in the name of religion, fringe activities of certain groups are hyped by media to scare them as well as caste politics to divide the hindus.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting article about the plight of Republicans in USA. Change GOP to BJP and Christian Right to Parishad-Dal brigade and the picture is perfect for India. BJP faces same problem as GOP, partly because of damage caused by the acts of so-called Hindutva brigade. And, the write is a pro-GOP columnist, someone liek Mr Dasgupta vis-a-vis BJP / pro-Hindu polity.

Carnival of the Fire-Breathers
http://www.swapan55.com/2009/05/what-wrong-with-debate.html#comments

Anonymous said...

Mr. Swapan DasGupta, Congrajulations, your blog on Hindutva has been published in the TimesofIndia, Outlook and elsewhere.

I am sure the people you are working for will be very happy.

But do not forget that for every Jaichand working against Hinduism, there will be a Shivaji born on Mother India.

Oldtimer said...

Let's look at the CPIM. An extreme leftwing party conisting of creepy old stalinists and Christian/Islamic fundamentalists who find in Marxism a 'secualr' cover for Hindu-baiting. Yet, the CPIM never shied way from showing
its true colors. For living up to its fanatical ideology, the party got a drubbing at the hustings at long last.

Can BJP's defeat be attributed to borrowing some elements of that ideology?

Take for instance the nucelar deal. The BJP's opposition to it was virtually indistinguishable from CPIM's. Note that CPIM separated from the Congress because of the deal, and went on to lose the elections. How can we not assume that the same revulsion shown to the CPIM for opposing the deal (to the extent of attempting to bring the government down) reflected on the BJP as well?

Take the farmer suicide hungama. Using communist newspapers, Sainath and co built up this pernicious propaganda that the economic liberalization of the 90's and globalization of this decade resulted in farmer suicides. BJP took up the same cause, and prattled on and on about farmer suicides. Did it do well at least in places where the suicides are claimed to have happened? No!

So here's the irony. Leftwing nutjobs are accusing the BJP of being an extreme rightwing party. But the BJP campaigned on the same platform as leftwing extremists!!

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