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Friday, August 28, 2009

Interpreting the oracle

Second-guessing the RSS has become a favourite media preoccupation. Those who believed that Mohan Bhagwat was going to crack the whip and lay down the line in a press conference were quite clearly barking up the wrong tree. Right or wrong, the RSS works far more discreetly.

Yet, even I must confess to being very surprised when the RSS chief chose to persist with his press meet in Delhi. The programme had been made much earlier, as part of the media interaction scheme planned in some 20 places across India. It had nothing to do with the present internecine conflict in the BJP. At the same time, once the BJP imploded, there was a feeling that it would be prudent to quietly drop the Delhi programme. The RSS chief was advised that the Delhi media is a pack of wolves, that it would make it into a political grilling on the BJP and wait for the smallest indiscretion or loose formulation.

It is to the eternal credit of Mohan that he kept his cool, wasn't forced into a rash statement. Despite constant needling, he stuck to the script that it is up to the BJP to decide its own future. The RSS exists in a purely advisory capacity, and that too when asked.

Mohan Bhagwat gave the media no masala. But he won a lot of admirers for his ability to withstand such intensive grilling. He even managed to explain his version of Hindutva without being rubbished. Full marks to him.

Now to the essence of what he said this afternoon and what he told Times Now earlier.

  • The RSS favours a generational shift in the leadership but it also favours a role for the elders.
  • It shuns attempts to project the RSS as a faction in the BJP--as Arun Shourie rashly demanded. It wants to be seen to be scrupulously neutral.
  • The principle of functional autonomy of parivar organisations was reiterated. This was as much to the outside world as to those in the Sangh who are bent on remote control of the BJP. Equally, it is a signal to politicians to stop second-guessing the RSS and acting in its name.

The relationship between the RSS and BJP is quite complex and dynamic. It is shaped by those who are at the helm in both places. Both Vajpayee and Advani used to be exasperated by K.S. Sudarshan's micro-management. Narendra Modi got involved in a full scale war with RSS pracharaks in Gujarat.

Today, there is considerable disquiet in the BJP over the intrusive style of the RSS functionary responsible for interacting with the BJP. It is suggested by many that the RSS has become a faction in the BJP. The competence of many pracharaks assigned by the RSS to the BJP have also been called into question. The outbreak of factional war is being attributed to the distortions in the BJP-RSS relationship.

Can Mohan Bhagwat redefine the relationship and put it on a mature plane? His utterances give considerable reason for optimism but even the RSS chief functions in a collegiate system. Will his functionaries keep a healthy distance from the BJP's day-to-day affairs?

It is going to be a challenging project to ensure functional autonomy. The spectacular turnout at this afternoon's press conference was a clear pointer that while the RSS is the core, it is the BJP where all the glamour resides.


offstumped said...

Amusing to say the least. Still doesnt alter the reality for the BJP that continues to shy away from facing tough questions.

Indian Nationalist said...

Glamour looks good only till it lasts. The present state of the BJP is because too much Glamour and too little work was the motto for quite some time.

Dont go by what this Congress sold guy says. Just yesterday, a Software Engineer jumped from the 3rd floor of Oracle Company. -(Probably he was told that he is no longer needed).

Only Farmers are not the one committing suicide these days.

india15August said...

In England, the conservative party has organzed a primary to select their candidate for a by-election. In the primary, they allowed all party supporters to come in and vote (not just the members). in India, this practice should be followed by all political parties. Specially, by the BJP which promises to be 'Party with a Difference'.

Have you noticed how elections for the post of office bearers in the party are alway filled by nominations. The purpose of election is the full expression of popular will. If this expression is repressed, we will have conflict and rebellion. As is happening now.

RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat says that the RS will not interfere in the BJP' internal matters. Fair enough. Yet, good advice is always welcome, specially from seniors. Mr Bhagwat says the age of the top leadership should be between 55 and 60 years.

After having spent a lifetime in the selfless service of the party, why did LKA withdraw his proposal to step away from LOP post? This question will become an enigma for BJP supporters, a problem without a solution. Sacrifice is often the best way to galvanise a party. Ask the Congress!

I try to write every day on the BJP. DO visit my blog at :

Arun said...

If Jan Sangh could be disbanded, the BJP can very well be relegated to a mere partner in a wider nationalist coalition. Let there be a new party with age limit of 72 years for getting ticket in Assembly/Lok Sabha elections. The older generation caused most of the ego problems for the party - Kalyan Singh, ML Khurana, BS Shekawat, Jashwant Singh... well, to be fair, there are younger ones too like Arun Jaitley did just before the elections, but then he finds himself indispensible.

bjp_supporter said...

The Hindu reports that Bhagwat "went out of his way to shower praises on Mr. Arun Shourie as a “very respected, intellectual and senior journalist"

Another comment from The Hindu - "On Friday his response to this new level of infighting was: “This is not the kind of behaviour we expect from our swayamsevaks.”

We can keep interpreting this line. BJP is not all swayamsevaks. There are others who were never swayamsevaks. The most vocal critics now are not swayamsevaks (jaswant singh, yashwant sinha, arun shourie).

interesting line, that.

Arun Narendhranath said...

News tip: Ananth Kumar was the only commonality between Rajanth meeting Bhagwatji and Advaniji loyalists (Jaitley, Sushma & Naidu)meeting with the Sarsanghchalak.

Anyway who can read between the lines and confirms the deal will be rewarded. SD can also can part.

Deshabhakta said...

Mohan ji is like a rock!

He is beginning a new era in Sangh life by interacting with the media a lot more than his predecessors did. This gives due importance to the media which has a lot of influence on the society.

Arun Narendhranath said...

One major complaint in the BJP during the 2009 campaign was short of funds.

One good idea would be to do revenue sharing with the electronic media. All these 24*7 channels are surviving these days only with news on BJP.

j k said...

Atleast now, the pack of wolves must have understood what RSS stands for. RSS had been the scapegoat for petty violence this country has faced while tiffs between other religion going unnoticed. Mr. Bhagwat is an able leader to take RSS forward and hope he can prevail over BJP too someday.

Manoj Agarwal said...

When Jaswant Singh was fired from BJP, he initially had my sympathies (ELM might have played its role too). May be due to that sympathy or due to curiosity, I started reading his book also. I'm in middle of it. But whatever I have read so far, based on that, I don't think there was anyway BJP could have kept him. His whole book is completely orthogonal to BJP's position on the issue. Now, when I read his utterances in the media everyday lambasting one BJP leader or other, it clearly exposes his dual personality and lack of principals and commitment. His presence did cause BJP a lot of damage like loss of Rajasathan which halted the winning momentum of BJP which ultimately played an important role in the outcome of Loksabha elections. I think in the end, it's a good riddance....
I also hope the road ahead for BJP be brighter...
BJP needs to do few things though. Advani needs to take a dignified retirement and then a restoration of true inner party democracy. AJ/AS/SS all these questions would be settled automatically..

Rightist Rashtravadi said...

Swapan Ji -

The Media is unnecessarily hyping up the frustrated outbursts of some inconsequential academic-seminar type politicos like Jaswant,AS,Sudeeendra Kulkarni,Brajesh and Yashwant etc, as if BJP-RSS is in danger.Rajnath's conduct and outlook has alwways been under question/ scrutiny by the ordinary BJP syampathiser swayamsevak, but to say that a full-blown crisisw has alerready started only suits the congi-licking media.

Mohan Ji Bhagwat has proved that Wisdom is essential to stay afloat in an uncontroversial manner while what we see from the BJP spokespersons is just oodles of mispaced knowledge, when handling the Maniacal, mindless, unsyampathetic Mediamen.

Best Regards,
Rightist Rashtravadi

Anonymous said...

The RSS-BJP equation is actually another source of ideological confusion (just like 'hindutva" is). BJP is created by RSS. Many BJP members are from RSS. and yet RSS says that they are independent. So what will RSS do if BJP goes completly against RSS? So many questions arise. The RSS/BJP want to be too clever by half. There is no ideological clarity at all.

Sweta said...

Swapan Ji,

What is the point of having reams and reams of blogs and news-items that discuss BJP inner issues threadbare. Or, for that matter discussing Kandhar episode again and again and again ?

Isn't it important to talk about food prices and swiss money, and how Afzal is still alive, and how no one is yet punished for 26/11, and Sharm-ki sharm, and the communications minister fraud, one can go on and on ?

Important things are always simple and the formula for BJP's (and hopefully the Sangh's ) success is simple, only if the higher ups could focus

1. Keep the ideology right-of-center (just short of sounding nutty). UCC, Ram mandir, 360 are still relevant. Add terrorism, modernisation of army and police, minimum government, simple taxation etc. to make middle class happy.

2. This is most important. Have it's own electronic media to take the message to people. A media that will inform people about the real issues, say, "democracy" in congress. Or, how congress has removed poverty after half-century of rule. Or, how congress supports illegal immigration. Or, how congress has done blunder after blunder, starting with Kashmir, then 1962, then Simla , list can go on and on.
You get the picture.

3. Having the leaders who practice what they preach , and the media informing people about the leaders honesty and character, will be an added bonus.

Running a blog discussing internal situation of BJP to death wont help. It will only make bird brained people feel that Sonia and MMS make best leaders ever!

mpanj said...

Like a dependable Captain - MB has come in and calmed things down. His team is facing an innings defeat. Job #1: Instill confidence.

What we are currently witnessing is a trailer. The movie will start in the Dec/Jan timeframe.

The real operation begins once LKA steps down.

mpanj said...


can you confirm if there's any merit to the rumors of Manohar Parrikar from Goa being tipped to take over as the BJP President.

He would be perfect. IITian (first one to occupy a CM's chair), Super Clean, he could easily be another NaMo.

This would also keep all the factions in check and help carry out the clean up operation.

Moreover, with Goa being such a small state, MP would have no illusions of occupying 7 Race Course road.

An absolute masterstroke if it does come about.

mpanj said...

Interesting man - this Parrikar. Might just be the antidote BJP needs.

Anonymous said...

There is no future for BJP. Jaswant was smart, he disowned BJP and promoted his writing career. BJP if dead if it follows Hindutva. No Indian gives a crap about Hindutva. All they need is roti, kapada, makaan and work.

Raghu said...

TOI Main Page Article today - Mohan Bhagawat cracks the whip, sets out succession plan for the BJP


That was precisely the exact opposite of what Mohan Bhagawat did!!!

Clearly the journalists had come brushed up on their idioms like cracking the whip, making people toe the line, issuing diktats and all, and then found the Press Conference to be the exact opposite. They didn't want to waste those nice idioms and so went with the article anyway.

It looks like the TOI wrote the article on Bhagawat's Press Conference even before the Conference was held.

ELM is getting on my nerves...

mpanj said...

Folks, watch this video.

Manohar Parrikar might just be the man. This guy is no light weight.

Samudra said...

Thanks to Bhagwat, there is some hope that things will improve. I hope they make the changes quickly.

Satya said...

mpanj you must be nuts. You are insisting in Swapan's blog that there are more capable leaders in the states than in Delhi. Swapan (on the instructions of his master Arun Jaitley) has all along insisted that there is no talent in the state and only Arun Jaitley is the capable presidential candidate available.

By writing Manohar Parikkar name you will find some news plant against him in the future. It will be difficult for many to accept Swapan has been sold out to Arun Jailey but that is the fact.

Manohar is a good person, why tarnish his image by asking about him to Swapan and news planters.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the you tube video about Manohar Parrikar I have to say one thing superb ! this guy has all the quality to become BJP president however LKA and Jatley gang will soon coome out with a evil stratgey to discredit him

Arun Narendhranath said...

It is unfortunate that few in this forum & in the party are doing Arun Jaitely bashing. Culprits in the party are accusing that he is not a mass based leader.

My answer to them is that Advanji was not a mass based leader before 1987, JP was not based leader before 1974. Events make people mass based leaders. Arun Jaitleyji is a visionary, if given a opportunity he would fashion BJP as a party of Middle-class aspiration. Give him 3 yrs he will be the mass based leader of the middle-classes.

mpanj said...


point taken. However, if insignificant people like me can find out about Parrikar, the Arun Jaitley's have already heard and digested this piece of news.

If Parrikar's name is kept under wraps for too long, it allows Delhi's spin masters to define him before he even hits the limelight.

We must bring his name out in the open and define his credentials as a Mini-Modi without the media-created bogey of Godhra.

Swapanda's silence vis-a-vis 'Parrikar for President' will be deafening.

Finally, if MP takes office and right off the bat states that he has no ambitions to 7 Race Course Road, he would gain instant credibility.

I watched the entire 2 hours of his interview - this guy has what it takes - balls, brains and brawn.

Samudra said...

I agree with Narendranath. Though Jaitley is not a mass leader now, he could become one.

The middle class likes him.

Akshar said...

Manohar Parrikar has the competence to lead. He overall has a Mr. Clean image and except the last few days of his CMship I must say his integrity is good.

It will be great, and real great for BJP to get him on the main stage.

Deshabhakta said...

Swapan ji, the news item at following location on IBNLive mentions you as a 'BJP leader'! When did you join BJP? :)

Anonymous said...

@satya @mpanj

This parikkar guy is awesome. Arun jaitley is cool too and Modi is well Modi, there aint a soul that can come close to Modi.

I dont think Swapanda is sold to anyone. I think it is a win win situation as long as Advaniji/rajnath go.

doubtinggaurav said...

Although expected, the circular firing squad here is still disappointing, and in a way reflects the internecine war in BJP. It may sound unappetizing but malaise that BJP suffers from is much deeper that a Rajnath Singh or Jaswant Singh, and consequently can hardly be cured by change of one or two leaders (Though in my darker mood, I sometimes reflect that "purging" the whole central leadership of BJP and RSS may not be such a bad idea).
The problem with BJP is that it doesn't have a coherent political philosophy and hence no electoral platform to sell itself to voters.
Ultimately for a political party power is the means that voters bequeath it to achieve some goal. For BJP power has become goal. Blinded by thirst for power all its leaders are engaged in internecine war which threaten to unravel BJP much like Yadavs.
Manohar Parikkar or even RSS will not save BJP, ideas will.

Dhananjay said...

Well said Swapan. However, I do not see any glamor in BJP, unless of course you are talking about Hema Malini :-)

My blog post on the same subject:

BJP: How to Distract, Delude and Derail Yourself

Swapan Dasgupta said...

Some of the respondents who imagine they have a great insight into my thinking and preferences have imagined I am hostile to Manohar Parikkar.

Parikkar is exactly the sort of politician the party should be projecting and promoting. He has a modernist vision and is impatient with the archaic, sectarian nationalism that has often burdened the BJP. His elevation to the party president's job would be very welcome.

Most important, Parikkar has an enviable reputation of not suffering fools.

Samudra said...

It seems that AJ, SS, Naidu and Ananth Kumar have complained to Mohan Bhagwat about the functioning of RN Singh.

Everyone can see what RN Singh has accomplished.

It seems he wanted one more term and spoke about this to Mohan Bhagwat. Can't believe this.

The advantage of having someone like Parikkar over AJ is that he has no baggage. While AJ is good, a lot of people will gang up against him and there will be infighting again.

The question is can a guy like Parikkar who has worked in Goa be able to function in cut throat Delhi politics and be able to work with so many high profile leaders.

Puneeth said...

Dear Swapan,
Your Article on TOI "RIGHT AND WRONG" should have come when BJP lost and L K ADVANI was rejected.BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Anonymous said...


From the months preceding the elections and since, Swapan has been active on this blog, openly supporting the BJP. Now to discredit him, to make it seem like he is a partisan hack, the ELM uses marginally impolitical terms 'BJP watcher', or plainly counter-factual terms like 'BJP Leader' to describe him. This makes whatever views he propounds in his columns in papers (not his blog, which is mostly read only by BJP supporters) lose credibility.

The fact is that if Swapan can be called a BJP Leader, by the same token Barkha/Sagarika/Rajdeep/Prannoy etc can be called Congress Leaders - their allegiance to the respective parties is about equal. Its just that Swapan is truthful enough to be public about his political beliefs, the rest choose to do it in an underhand fashion by tinkering with the news items. If you follow the daily updates on the 'Crisis' of the BJP on the NDTV website, you will see what I mean. Every single article there is aimed at discrediting the BJP, the RSS, Advani and Modi. For e.g. the NDTV theory is that Modi banned Jaswant's book in Guj because there are by-elections to 7 seats in Gujarat coming up. Seriously!!! I thought even Modi's worst critics would give him more credence than that. And worse, they pass off that theory as a fact on their website.

That is the problem the BJP faces. In the ELM, there are probably exactly 4 journalists who are sympathetic to the BJP - Arun Shourie, Chandan Mitra, Swapan Dasgupta, Kanchan Gupta. All 4 are vocal about their preferences. But there are hundreds of journalists sympathetic to the Congress, but all of them choose to keep their preferences private, but influence their articles / news stories based on their political preferences. Like Kapil Sibal said once, over 150 news outlets are owned by Congressmen, so there is no problem for the Congress when it comes to a compliant media.

India15August said...

A Famous Victory

Today's Times of India, with a lot of regret I assume, has this headline, buried on its fifth page:

BJP wins 3 seats in MCD bypolls

This is indeed big news for BJP supporters. Out of the five seats up for grabs, the BJP won three, Congress one and an independent, one. The BJP gains from the Congress.

Delhi is the state where the BJP lost all seven parliamentary seats just four months ago. So, what has changed. The answer is: Nothing! In May, the people voted against the idea of making LKA as the PM of the country. Now, they are voting in favor of the BJP workers who happen to represent the masses. If LKA were to offer his candidature again, the same people who voted for the BJP just now, will vote against his group.

The message is clear: Exit with Grace, better late than never.

I blog almost every day on the BJP at:

mpanj said...

Folks – so why Parrikar?

at its very core what plagues BJP is the ambition of its second rung to occupy the PM's chair.

The office of President is seen as a means to this end.

Its a catch 22 situation.

If a person with some gravitas is brought in as president, he engenders suspicions. Even if such a person puts it in writing that he does not have any Prime ministerial ambitions, generation next would never believe him.

What would follow is the same old palace intrigue – with every faction working to undermine him so as to prevent him from emerging as a viable competitor.

But if we bring in a person with no real weight - leaders would refuse to follow and support such a person. RNS was a light weight. Generation next never really embraced him.

This is not to absolve RNS of his crimes - but a Gopinath Munde or Sushil Modi is likely to face a similar dilemma.

Clearly Narendra Modi should be the first choice for President. But even if he declares political sanyas and offers to devote himself to party work alone – who would believe him.

BJP needs a political virgin, with the virtue and courage of a Jhansi-ki-Rani.

This is where Parikkar comes in.

Parrikar’s relative anonymity is a great weapon. Moreover, not being a part of Delhi’s political cabal, he will be seen (and accepted) as a neutral arbiter. Finally, his credentials as an IITian, a successful businessman, a dyed-in-wool swayamsevak, an able (and proven) administrator and image as Mr. Clean afford him the heft necessary to put his recalcitrant colleagues in place.

mpanj said...

Bring Parikkar in – put Mohanji (and the larger Parivar’s) muscle behind him and give him a free hand to rebuild BJP’s shattered institutions.

Some news channels have mentioned Bal Apte and Venkaiah Naidu.

Bal Apte is on the wrong side of 70 – surely less of a threat – but will he be able to enthuse BJP cadre. A safe but uninspiring choice at best.

Naidu being a past president and a LKA camp follower creates its own problems. Minor details that may prevent him from acting against friends and colleagues in a ruthless manner - which is the need of the hour.

Parrikar is a master stroke. Just imagine him on the national stage – I feel better already.

charuvak said...

Other than this blog, I haven't heard of Manohar Parikkar's name doing the rounds. Perhaps participants on this blog are far more insightful than the dumbasses of MSM!

Vineet said...

I saw Parikar's interview & based on some earlier interviews which I have seen, in some cases I find his answers incoherent. BJP needs someone with a clear mind, clear thoughts, clear vision and at present I don't find anyone fitting the shoe.

Anonymous said...

Since Mainstream Media is hostile, how about having alternative communication channels.
BJP was the first party to have website,
alas it has lost its touch.

Indian Well Wisher said...

Read my full post on Deconstructing Swapan's arguements in :

To answer some remarks & give my opinion, I have to necessarily deconstruct some arguments of Swapan..............

.......With Mr Jaitley at the top, there will be a lot of distrust & counter leaks. Arun Jaitley has got a very bad name with BJP circles that he plants stories against rivals, leaks some information etc............

....Swapan who has probably not read even the FMCT, NPT treaties even once, was waxing eloquence in TV studios on why we should pass the nuclear deal.....

... The issue with Jaitley & Swapan is that they play the game as per the agenda set by opposition & media. It is actually an easy way out. But it doesn’t help the greater Hindu/Indic movement or the party in longer term but gives very good lime light to individuals.

But persons like Modi, Arun Shourie, Kanchan Gupta etc don’t play the game as per opposition’s agenda. It is actually a very tough thing to do. Individually you will pay a heavy price, but in the helps the greater Hindu/Indic movement & the party......

...RSS also needs to understand that this “backroom consensus” is not for political party. Backroom consensus is needed in a voluntary organisation like RSS & its various affiliates. As offstumped & others in india-forum say, BJP should adopt elections for deciding posts. Without ballot, Arun Jaitley will be undermined as President even if he is brought with agreement of RSS through this “backroom consensus”.......

...Arun Narendhranath says that given time, Arun Jaitley will become a mass based leader. But will he hold the leadership together given the mistrust? Can Arun Jaitley come clean on these allegations of leaks & planting stories?

rahul roy said...

Swapan is one of the six journalists mentioned by Arun shourie in his interview, Swapan is planting stories against BJP leaders on behalf of Arun Jaitley

Swapan Dasgupta said...

Rahul Roy must be the only person who knows the identity of the so-called "six journalists" mentioned by Shourie. Since Shourie hasn't elaborated, those intent on settling personal scores are having a field day.

Concerned Indian said...

Sangh comes out stronger post Jinnah controversy

doubtinggaurav said...

@Vineet There is one. It is Arun Shourie.
Anyway I hope people will stop making baseless accusation against SwapanDa. Arun Shourie has not named anyone, even if he names SwapanDa, though I will consider that unfortunate considering I was trying to get people to support Arun Shourie For PM that will not be necessarily a indictment of SwapanDa. I do think SwapanDa has flaws (case in point his "NRI shut up" article) but let's not forget his contributions towards cultural nationalism. Also many people are accusing SwapanDa of shilling for Arun Jaitley, but let's not forget it was SwapanDa himself who mentioned his friendship with Arun Jaitley, I think he should be commended for his honesty. And while I am sure Arun Jaitley must share some of the blame (esp his stunt before poll) and I dont find him particularly inspirational choice for leading BJP, most of people baying for his blood are just doing it because they want some villain for the debacle.

Arun Narendhranath said...



Since Mainstream Media is hostile, how about having alternative communication channels.
BJP was the first party to have website,
alas it has lost its touch."

It is a very nice suggestion. As facebook for Social networking, Linkedin for professional networking BJP has come out with a Political networking website "". The first political party in the world to do so.

This website was started with the intention of making it a forum for policy debate, political networking and micro blogging on events surrounding the BJP. and it has been left in doldrums thanks to the intellectual bankruptcy the present BJP president suffers.

We all have to wait till December for BJP re-fashoning. Once the new president (mostly Jaitley or Parrikar ) is through, there must be lot more activity in the net. The IT cell in BJP will be proactive in bringing general middle-class voters close to BJP bypassing the middlemen (electronic media).

PS: The software for political networking was given for free to the BJP by one its well-wisher who is a entrepreneur in the IT industry.

Arun Narendhranath said...

Congress and Secularism

Had any BJP govt. decided to distribute food through temples, would the electronic media kept quiet. Leave alone the above news being headline it is not even in the sidelines.

Shame on Media, every wants to L*** the feet of Manio.

Even an avid follower of events like Shashi (offstumpted) has not reported the same in his blog.

zoomindianmedia said...


kudos to your effort spinning Sanghsarchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat's Times Now Interview. I am un-weaving some the spins for your/readers' benefit!

Most important point Sanghsarchalak made was the non negotiability of "Hindustan being Hindurashtra" and that this is Sangh's core.

This was a slap on the face of those who have been peddling the nonsense out of sync with ground reality that BJP should give up its core commitment to native Indians, and their beliefs.

Sangh is in favor of detente with muslims/xians on Native Indian terms not the spurious anti-Hindu terms peddled by current establishment.

On Arun Shourie too your observation has been a spin, out of sync with what Shourie highlighted. Shourie does not want "RSS Faction" in BJP, as suggested by you. He wanted Sangh to ensure corrupt practices/practitioners are rooted out. Shourie wanted RSS to push for leaders from states to take charge. And Sanghsarchalak referred to Shourie as great intellectual and Shourie's prescription on this is given due weight. (There is reason to believe that Shourie provided cover for Sangh to move in, though not publically, help enforce a BJP shakeout when AJ/LKA/RNS provided just a facade of chintan)

Now I will unweave what you spun on NaMo and Sangh. Just bcoz, NaMo disagreed with sangh pracharaks in Gujarat, cant obfuscate NaMo's sympathies/commitment to the Sangh or his Sangh legacy, which he proudly wears on his sleeves. And Sanghsarchalak has never denied that some of pracharaks deputed to BJP did not measure up.

Few thoughts on Manohar Parikkar, you have thought it fit to comment on him. Manohar Parikkar seems a quintessential Sangh man. Chk out

You will be doing India, native Indians a favor by framing the political paradigm in these lines rather than being defensive and peddling "Ugly Hindu" kind of arrant nonsense.

mpanj said...


Parrikar was mentioned by Arun Shourie in his NDTV interview with Shekhar Gupta. Subsequently several articles have come out mentioning his name as a contender.

Also, he may not be as polished and sauve as an Arun Jaitley, but this guy is a performer.

Come to think of it, this is precisely the type of person BJP needs at the top. Educated, honest, smart, accomplished and rooted in the soil of our country.

The next BJP leader needs to be almost blue collar - with the 3 Bs - Balls, Brain, Brawn.

From the evidence available thus far - MP seems like a person who wont apologize for his Sangh roots - in fact of all BJP leaders NaMo, Parrikar and a few others seem like the only paying more than lip service to Sangh's ideology.

His humble, middle class origins, unimpeachable personal integrity and status as a self-made man provide the perfect contrast to Congress' baba log brigade.

mpanj said...

@Indian Well Wisher,

I agree with Offstumped, you and others that BJP needs internal democracy, not only to negotiate through this current crisis but to prevent such logjams from cropping up in the future.

However there's a problem with the timing.

You cant try to overhaul the plumbing when the house is on fire.

Job # 1: Deal with the fire.

If in the middle of this crisis elections are announced - Jaswant and Shourieji's outbursts will look like a walk in the park. Imagine RNS, AJ, NaMo, SS, etc. putting their hat in the ring and going at each other.

Is the country and the party prepared for such a no-holds-barred process.

Under the current circumstances the best course to follow is what Mohanji has devised.

Bring in a competent, no nonsense, neutral leader and have him first build the organization.

BJP does currently hold elections, but these are rarely contested fights.

For a truly competitive process to emerge, BJP must first have the infrastructure in place.

Membership drives (so as to get a good representation), an external election commission with no ties to any BJP leader to ensure neutrality, electronic monitoring of the process so that there is no attempt to rig elections, etc.

This will take time and a lot of work.

Once again the Parrikar choice seems perfect for this job too. Other than his anonymity, there are few short comings on his resume.

sanjay said...

@ Arun Narendranath,

BJP already has a fixation with television. They even forgot that they rose from 2 seats to single largest party in parliament without winning a single television debate or a website. it may work in US but not in India. A net fixation is the last thing BJP needs. What they need is to connect with the masses on ground, and the masses on ground are not are not influenced by so called msm/elm or internet.

india15august said...

Th BJP and its supporters - that's us, should be open and transparent in its dealings with everyone. The meaning of transparency is not just openness. It encompasses a larger meaning - fairness.
The party must be fair in its views. Party elections and primaries are good. Nominated posts are bad. Human Rights for everyone are good. The deliberate attempt to belittle Hinduism is bad.

Now contrast this with Mr Venkaiah Naidu's pronouncements. He said that all talk of a leadership change is baseless. This is the type of political speak which is NOT transparent. Whome is he trying to fool? And, more important, why? I think it is just habit. Deny the problem and hope it goes away. Far better ws Sushma Swaraj, who kept on saying "No comment". Now, if there is a leadership change, then Mr Naidu will be caught speaking the untruth.

Be open. We are like this with our families and friends. Frank and fair. Why do we change when we are in politics?

I write on the BJP, almost every day in my blog :

M. Patil said...


You line "Manmohan is an honorable man" is getting quite tiresome. His forein policy decisions are disastrous for the nation and this does not even include Sharm-El-Shaikh. Here is an excerpt from an article by Brahma Chellaney

“In fact, in an action that ominously harks back to the 1991-95 period when Manmohan Singh as finance minister starved the nuclear programme of necessary funds for expansion, the government's 2008-2009 budget slashed the Department of Atomic Energy's funding by $529 million. No explanation was offered to the nation.
Under the nuclear deal, the government has agreed to voluntarily shut down by next year one of the country's two bomb-grade plutonium-production reactors, the Cirus, although current international estimates of India's weapons-grade fissile material stockpile put its quantity just marginally higher than Pakistan's.”

Spade a spade said...

A must read blog. I don't know Swapan will approve this or not but still I'am sharing.

Arun said...

Sena vs Sena: Raj holds key to Mumbai, again

The MNS showed its potential in the Lok Sabha elections when it ate into the saffron vote-bank and denied the Sena-BJP even one of Mumbai’s six seats. Both the Congress and the NCP would bank on the MNS to take on the Sena-BJP again.

Anonymous said...

After reading Sandhya Jain's Article, I have lost the hope that BJP will be able to regain the glory.

Once BJP used be a forum for both extremist and moderate Hindus and balance lying in-between.
Now both are trying to gain the complete control of party apparatus, it is not going to work again.

I am going to drink beer and sleep.

rachit said...

Manohar parikar is right man to be party president in present scenario.
With his excellent educational background (IIT -Bombay Alumnus) bjp will again connect to middle class people that this party is certainly party with a difference, which always believes in promoting the educated person like Mr. Parikar.
In the end thanks to Mohan Bhagwat ji for his excellent leadership skills he showed in last few days.

Anonymous said...

>>You line "Manmohan is an honorable man" is getting quite tiresome

I second that, and I don't understand why a supposedly right-of-center columnist should feel compelled to give clean chits to a man who blamed 1984 Sikh killings on the RSS. For analogies, that's like a Chomsky pinning the blame for the Holocaust on the Zionists, except that Chomsky hasn't descended to that level yet. I take it that the Jaitley faction doesn't want to keep the heat on our beloved PM.

Vineet said...

Somewhere I agree with Sanjay that BJP should get over its TV fixation. Media is anti BJP no doubt. Can't BJP tell the scribes running after it to lay off & focus on things concerning the nation? After all what can an opposition party do? Just as you can't argue with LeT terrorists you can't reason out with secular desi snobs in the media.
BJP has to think big by thinking small, to the smallest level. Its MCD councillors do the same horrible job as the Congress ones(mind you in some cases Congis are better), with no sustainable vision, dense carpeting already good roads, shoddy work, no wonder are thrown out in next election. One needs to lay out vision from its Parliamentarians to Councillors to workers.

mpanj said...


one of the key arguments offered by proponents of soft Hindutva against BJP making a pro-right/pro-RSS turn is the alienation of potential allies.

Allies are too concerned with muslim votes and consequently any hard right position will scare them away.

Question: Can BJP fashion a victory in 2014 or 2019 without major alliances across India.

Can it go alone and win?

Events in the not so distant future will conspire to demand a leader with a spine made of steel.

A leader, with the proven ability to deliver on all fronts - economy, security, etc.

NaMo clearly fits the bill.

Can BJP afford the gamble?

Come May 2010 when the ravages of this current drought come to the doorsteps of urban India, only one major drought affected state is likely to be left standing - Gujarat.

NaMo has been building boribunds (makeshift dams) at a rapid pace to collect and store whatever little rain the current monsoon delivers.

Also, Gujarat has the highest penetration of drip irrigation anywhere in the country - again facilitated by the Modi govt.

These two factors are likely to position Gujarat as an oasis of relative prosperity in a parched and helpless India.

Already, a desperate rural population has begun trickling to our cities.

The impending calamity will finally corner Congress and highlight its 60 years of rape and plunder.

Will this trigger a wave of anti-incumbency that demands a strong, uncompromising leader?

BJP cannot 'run with the hares and hunt with the hounds'. If it is wedded to Hindutva, it must formulate an alternate strategy and be prepared to jettison some of its alliance partners.

It cannot scream 'Hindutva' at every electoral turn and then bury it in the name of coalition dharma.

Before formulating a new future, BJP must address this critical question, taking into account a new set of variables introduced by interminable failures of the pseudo-secular establishment.

Arun Narendhranath said...

@ Sanjay,

Appreciate your concerns on the BJP. You have a point when you say BJP has a fixation with television, the reason may be that BJP is run by people who come from journalistic background.

But I hope you would acknowledge that there are going to be more and more people who are going to use TV and internet in India, the number is not going go down. Secondly we cannot adopt the 1990’s model because we don’t want BJP to be a party of the late 90’s but a party of 2020.

Imagine the potential of internet in 2020; probably every middle class house may abandon TV for internet. It is about looking forward and not backward.

All said and done, I acknowledge the fact that BJP should respect its cadres and it should enthuse its cadres to work harder among the general public. Please don’t make technology the causality for BJP’s loss.

PS: Few outside BJP circles know how RNS played dirty games to sideline AJ man SP from taking part in the media campaign. Every dump a** in BJP now acknowledge that Congress ads were much better than that of BJP.

Anonymous said...

dear sd
RSS and their heads are majorly interested in their positions and relatedfacilities,which othervise they cannot enjoy.which is why for biggest issue like swiss money etc.which can make Bharat mata a bpl free,developed nation,sooner,Rss have no guts and no agenda!Any prudent person knows the size and usefulness of swiss etc money.can there be anything more helpful to Bharatmata at this moment?voters and taxpayers are more interested in living urgent changes in their quality of life,hygine and healthetc matching developed nations than in so called longterm visions of netas.
Hon`ble mms is the most corrupted pm india has ever seen considering size of he is not willing to bring back,depriving indian voters,taxpayers,poors only to protect corrupted including ff .he and his ministers are childishly trying to fool india by excuses eventhough having all powers and names of major corrupted .mms openly conspiring,many ipc sections applicable,including betraying nation,is not accountable as pm,thus absolute power corrupts is most funny to say mms is not corrupted as he is not taking money eventhough he is knowingly protecting biggest blackmoney,corrupted politicians etc.having all powers.corruption can never lead to accountability and goverenance and has to spread from top to bottom like a wild fire.

Rahul said...

I am getting increasingly disturbed and angry with the way the media and the Congress are spinning a very tight chakrvyuha around the BJP, and the BJP is doing nothing about it.

Look at the latest on Congress TV, otherwise called IBN.

"Congress demands CBI probe into cash-for-votes scam".

For crying out loud. The BJP demanded the probe when it happened. This is one of the very very few instances I thought the BJP had definitely won over the Congress and their allies in the media, there was no way they could spin this against the BJP. They did try - on the news channels, the media only discussed the morality of bringing crores of rupees into the Lok Sabha, and not the morality of a givt surviving by bribery. But even then, I think the consensus was that the BJP won that round, if you can call that winning.

Now Jaswant is out to ruin the party. From what he said, the Congress has turned the tables and is accusing the BJP of impropreity. Shocking.

Firstly, the BJP should come out and say that they too welcome a CBI enquiry into the matter - though we know the Congress Bureau of Investigation wont come up with anything against the Congress. That will put the Congress on the back foot, and will force them to squirm while coming up for an excuse for the govt to not involve the CBI.

Secondly, the BJP should openly come out and say they are absolutely proud of, and not ashamed of, the role played by the BJP, the 3 whistleblower MPs and Advaniji in the matter, and that they will not shy away from or apologize for their actions.

Still, the way the media can spin its web so easily around the BJP sickens me. Hope to see some action on this soon.

Projectdharma said...

maybe you can tweet a link everytime you have a new article somewhere, swapanda.

Arjun said...

Hilarious stuff...Knowing the BJP this will result in another farcical situation. The BJP's logo should be the Ostrich.

Indian Nationalist said...

only fools watch English news channels or have anything to do with English language.

respect your culture, respect your mother tongue

M. Patil said...

Arun Narendranath said:

"Imagine the potential of internet in 2020; probably every middle class house may abandon TV for internet. It is about looking forward and not backward."

Amen. Internet is making rapid strides into the house holds of middle classes. There is anecdotal evidence of some media barrons noticing it. Imagine Hindu, whose vigilant thought police don't let dissenting voices of columnists or 'letters to the editor' into their news paper are accepting online comments on their new Beta version of their web site.

BJP should position itself to capture this internet wave. It is lot less expensive and it can easily bypass the Dynasty's pets in the electronic media.


Anonymous said...

I believe when a party grows so rapidly as BJP did during eighties and nineties, three different but parallel processes emerge and trouble lies in not distinguishing between them:
1. When you want to win an election you have to reach out to the median voter, either directly as BSP did recently or through allies as BJP did. It is almost a mathematical theorem, with no getting around.
2. As long as you are struggling, you have people who are there for principles and integrity. With power a number of fixers also come out. This however could be prevented, and should be prevented. I believe more than anything, Tehalka was responsible for denting BJP image.
3. When you come to power, imperatives of governance imply that you need to give responsibilities to those having comparative advantage in governance, not in organization building. Lots of discontent, for example that of Govindacharya, could be understood in this way.
There is a lots of confusion about the causal connection here. For example it is common to assume that party was ethically compromised due to ideological deviations, this is nonsense.
Trick lies in understanding these challenges and formulating appropriate strategies. Had corrective steps been taken when indications emerged, for instance when party lost UP, possibly current disaster could have been averted.

India15August said...

A lot of people are worried about the obvious bias of ELM Against the BJP. My suggestion is: just ignore them.
1. Very few people watch ELM. Since most readers are English conversant (that's why they read these blogs), they have the impression that all of India follows ELM. This is not correct. Even, literate professionals who are not comfortable with English, watch Hindi or other local languages TV. That's the way it should be!

2. The media people are not super humans. I have close interaction with some sections of the media, and I am about to reveal a secret - all these people are human beings! There intelligence, common sense, IQ, sense of fairness, desire to move ahead, are just the same as for all of us other Indians.

3. The power of the media is far overestimated. How does the BJP win in 116 seats, or sweeps Karnataka, Chattisgarh .... Clearly, the people vote with their mind. The problems lie with the party high command, not with the media. Once the media senses that the BJP is on the ascend, you can be sure they will desert the other lobby like rats deserting a sinking ship. Now, think. Do we want such people as our friends, anyway. Let ELM do what it wants, I doubt if they can swing even one lakh votes all over India. But, a soddy, inefficient, crass leadership can cause a loss of crores of votes, as we have just seen in 2009.

My suggestion is to focus on the constructive.

I blog almost every day at:

Indian Nationalist said...

Why we cannot study Sanskrit - Most advanced and efficient language in the world. I am studying Sanskrit and my friends are also doing same.

we should ban English in India and implement Sanskrit everywhere.

Only Tamil people will have problems they can keep Tamil.

Lord Macaulay, who implemented ENGLISH and banned Sanskrit and Persian in India.

RSS said...

From RSS sources:

Had anyone wondered why Swapan did tell his opinion on Parikkar on the 30th and not the 29th (even after everyone in the forum accused him of being a Jaitley man and a Parikkar baiter)? Reading between the lines you would understand that on the 29th evening Mohan Bhagwat met Jaitley, Swaraj, Naidu and Ananth Kumar and told them that none of them would be presidents. Now you will understand reason behind Swapan's caution.

It is now confirmed that Rajanth's only demand to mohan Bhagwat was that at any cost Jaitley should not be made the president

With almost everyone now zeroing in on Manohar Parikkar there is another problem that is coming through. RSS sources confirm that both Madan das devi and Suresh Soni are now pushing for the candidature of Muralidhar Rao.

Muralidhar Rao is another useless fellow who has been promoted with no capability. If someone like him becomes the party president, it is the end of an era called BJP.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the plight of a party that can even serious consider Murlidhar Rao for the top job.

As for Parikkar, let's not forget that RSS has tormented him in Goa. They tried to project Sripad Naik as CM candidate in preveious Assembly poll because they thought Parikkar's style was like Modi.

Parikkar is too independent to be puppet. He cannot be remote controlled.

RSS wants president they can control even if the man can't win a municipal election.

Samudra said...

If they get a guy like Muralidhar rao or some obscure RSS guy as party president, then one can forget the BJP.

They have to get a guy who appears modern and nationalistic in approach. Has to be young and should appeal to the middle class.

AJ fits the bill bit the issue is factional politics.

A fresh face from outside Delhi will have a great effect on the cadre.

Arun Narendhranath said...

@RSS, @Anonymous, @Samudra

It is not possible for Muralidhar Rao to become party president. The guy is aiming to become the next general secretary organisation (replacing Ramlal), the only other competitor he has is v Sathish. Muralidhar Rao is seen as a prodigy of Govindacharya and Gurumurthy and is promoted by the RSS.

It is unfortunate that RSS does not realize that Rao is no where close to Govindacharya and it would be a monumental failure to give him such an important role. Either RSS should make Dathaji the general secretary organisation (which means him taking a lower position) or should give it to a non-sanghi. By giving this position (held so far by a Sanghi) to a non-sanghi there will be a new follow of ideas in organisational management.

PS: People who watched Arun Shourie's interview closely would appreciate that Shourie was indicating that BJP is not going through a ideological crisis (as made out by all other journalist) but through a organisational crisis. Hence the new organisational general secretary has a bigger role to play than the new party president.

Anonymous said...

RSS, like any unaccountable organisation, is never comfortable with free minds. Control is most imp to them - hence a Rajnath, Apte, Rao. But, it is not just outsiders like Jaswant. Madhok was a life-long swayamsevak (and a pracharak in J&K) was bumped off unceremoniously. He later wrote scandalous things in his books about RSS-BJS leadership - far more damaging than Jaswant's (eg, accusing leaders of complicity in Deendayal murder). But, strangely, now all is forgiven.

Anonymous said...

@Indian Nationalist - First start with writing your post in Sanskrit.

India15august said...

What does the BJP stand for?

Compassionate Capitalism

I start with a quote from the BBC website:
'Indian entrepreneur Narayan Murthy, founder of global software giant Infosys, says "compassionate capitalism" is the only solution to poverty in the country. '

The Congress has a policy of crony capitalism. The BJP must fight it, and stand with the masses. Unfortunately, the party keeps on giving the impression that it is more capitalist than the Congress!

Please start a discussion on this thread, in Swapan's blog, or in my blog at :

If you have any writings on this subject of What the BJP stands for, pelase tell me and I will link to those pages.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Dasgupta,

I read your opinion piece on NRIs with keen interest. It made for delightful reading. I was particularly impressed with your willingness to take on a scourge that is fast becoming India's bane: the non-resident Indian. As you subtly hinted at in your article, many of the nation's ills can be directly traced to the ugly NRI. I stand in admiration of your courage to take on this undesirable specimen, for I can well imagine the calculated risk you were taking by jeopardizing relationships in your immediate circle. You restored balance in favor of enlightened nationalism by cutting the ultra-nationalist NRI down to size.

It needs to be noted that, unlike your peers, you did not settle for a safe and easy target for this cut-them-down-to-size business. An ordinary observer would have ridiculed, for example, the self-important Indian media person. There are several caricatures there that lend to immediate stereotyping -- the pontificating bimbo born to the right dad and married to the right hubby comes to mind -- but you refused to succumb to the temptation. Targetting the steroetypical talking pundit or high falutin leader-writer would have been nothing short of peddling prejudice against a soft target. You steered clear of it!

In one word: awesome.

Yours truly,
Resident Indian

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Dasgupta,

I read your opinion piece on NRIs with keen interest. It made for delightful reading. I was particularly impressed with your willingness to take on a scourge that is fast becoming India's bane: the non-resident Indian. As you subtly hinted at in your article, many of the nation's ills can be directly traced to the ugly NRI. I stand in admiration of your courage to take on this undesirable specimen, for I can well imagine the calculated risk you were taking by jeopardizing relationships in your immediate circle. You restored balance in favor of enlightened nationalism by cutting the ultra-nationalist NRI down to size.

It needs to be noted that, unlike your peers, you did not settle for a safe and easy target for this cut-them-down-to-size business. An ordinary observer would have ridiculed, for example, the self-important Indian media person. There are several caricatures there that lend to immediate stereotyping -- the pontificating bimbo born to the right dad and married to the right hubby comes to mind -- but you refused to succumb to the temptation. Targetting the steroetypical talking pundit or high falutin leader-writer would have been nothing short of peddling prejudice against a soft target. You steered clear of it!

In one word: awesome.

Yours truly,
Resident Indian

Karna said...

I used to have high regards for Mr Dasgupta and have read all his blog posts. It seems he puts his own spin and bats for AJ, that much is clear. His needless potshots on Arun Shourie has totally put me off. Arun Shourie was blunt but he was speaking the truth.

Couple of points. First, Mr Dasgupta should be independent in his thoughts and not push the agenda of a particular BJP faction. Second, he should educate himself on N-deal, NPT, FMCT before making any ignorant remarks like India should sign the N-deal. I would urge him to read the various columns of Brahma Chellany.

I am not sure if Mr Dasgupta has praised Manmohan Singh, however, if that is true, then it is totally disappointing. MMS has lied to the Parliament on many occasions and publicly blamed RSS for anti-Sikh violence of 1984. What a shame, since he himself is a Sikh. Also, people like MMS has scant regard for public institutions like Parliament, he has lied to Parliament on many occasions.

However, let us not be over critical. Mr Dasgupta is one of the leading journalists on the right side of politics and he has access to mainstream ELM. We need to work with him. Remember, we all are batting for India.

bjp_supporter said...

In Shourie's interview, The way he tore into the 'Hindutva is a way of life' thesis was the best. Sets the tone for the rest that was to follow.

I think if one followed the series of meetings in Delhi with the RSS chief, the faction plays are very evident. RSS chief drove to meet MMJoshi at his residence. That is another notable point too.

So, can we now hope that embracing modern congress variety secularism and loosely talking of 'aspirational politics' and 'bi-polar result' to wish away the rot are not going to work much?

Anonymous said...

We badly need a right wing channel and also magazine and newspaper. The conservatives in UK have the Spectator Magazine, which according to me is pretty well written. Similarly in the Republicans in the US have the National Review and the American Spectator. Right conservatives have to increase their visibility in the media if we have to take on left wing or liberal elements in the Indian media- Varoon

Srinivas said...

BJP should have internal elections for the post of president. Only then will the new president have any real authority. It can also be a good stick to beat the dynastic Congress