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.