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Friday, September 4, 2009

Autonomy of politics

I am reproducing an article of mine published in The Telegraph (Sept 4, 2009) where some issues arising from the latest developments in the BJP are probed. I would be happy to receive feedback that comments on the song rather the imaginary conspiratorial motives of the singer.

By Swapan Dasgupta

Earlier this week, a BJP-watcher in the media proffered the novel suggestion in a web article that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, Mohan Bhagwat, should hold concurrent charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party. “I would go a step further,” she wrote, “and state that since he is so clearly the Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh of the BJP/RSS he should also take-over the constitutional post of Leader of the Opposition … In fact, Bhagwat should eventually consider being Leader in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha but since that would involve amending the Constitution of India he should first focus on fixing the BJP Constitution to ensure him unlimited power and authority that he seems to enjoy anyway.”

Since irony and sarcasm in the English language tend to go largely undetected, this plea for one-man-all-posts could well be interpreted as a logical extension of Arun Shourie’s theatrical pronouncement that the RSS should “take over” the Bharatiya Janata Party. Conversely, since Bhagwat has affirmed many times over in his media interactions that the RSS is merely a “cultural organization” that doesn’t give gratuitous advice to the BJP, many will view the suggestion as simply insolent.

It is difficult to anticipate how the RSS will react to the suggestion that it shed all pretence and assume a formal political role. It is said that Sardar Vallabbhai Patel once suggested precisely such a course to “Guruji” M.S. Golwalkar, the iconic, second RSS chief. It was rejected because Golwalkar believed that politics is a “cesspool” and jumping into it would contaminate the RSS’ s larger “nation building” project. Since then, keeping an arm’s length from politics has defined RSS orthodoxy. This detachment, however, has never negated the discreet advice of the organization to its swayamsevaks in public life. Occasionally, as happened during the tenure of K.S. Sudarshan, the distinction between advice and instruction was almost obliterated.

Despite Bhagwat’s denial that the RSS was assuming charge of the BJP, there is an impression that last week’s crisis management sessions in Delhi resulted in a coup and the quiet transfer of control of the BJP from the politicians to the RSS. L.K. Advani’s resignation from the post of leader of the Opposition — a post he unwisely held on to after the May 16 defeat — is now a foregone conclusion, as is the non-renewal of Rajnath Singh’s term as party president. More to the point, the RSS appears to have indicated that it has no confidence in the ability of the BJP’s second-rung leadership to steer the party out of its present disarray.

The RSS has mounted a global search for a new face who can undertake the party re-building project. The choice may well be a politician (even one with a mass base), but real decision-making will be vested in the hands of full-time RSS pracharaks on deputation from Nagpur. As things stand, the organization secretaries (deployed at all levels) undertake party responsibilities, but are not subject to the political control of the party. Their appointments and removal are the sole responsibility of the RSS.

It is undeniable that many despondent BJP workers, perhaps a majority of them, have reacted favourably to the RSS chief assuming a pro-active role. The impression that a fractious and ambitious bunch of politicians were incapable of extricating the BJP from the depths to which it has sunk may be over-simplistic, but at the same time it was very real. Since the RSS chief wields both moral and organizational authority within the larger sangh parivar, his no-nonsense intervention has been heartily welcomed, even if it involves replacing dual control with just one power centre.

A comparison of the RSS “takeover” with a military coup ostensibly aimed at saving “the nation” from democratic turbulence is irresistible.

The problem with authoritarian solutions in argumentative societies is that the immediate exhilaration at the restoration of order is invariably replaced by long-term disappointment. Apart from a mismatch between the Sergeant-Major mentality and competitive politics, the honest brokers soon find themselves sucked into the role of participants. The RSS should know the feeling. In 2006, after Advani was removed as party president following his controversial remarks on Jinnah, the RSS sent some 250 pracharaks into the BJP to bolster the organization. They were appointed organizing secretaries at the Central and state levels and the 2008 Uttar Pradesh election was managed almost entirely by pracharaks on special deputation.

The overall experience wasn’t happy. Apart from the uneven quality of personnel deployed, the image of the RSS as a distant moral authority was subsumed by the emergence of the RSS as a faction, often at loggerheads with mass politicians. The factionalism in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan were a consequence of troubles fermented by those who claimed to speak in the name of the sangh. If the process of pracharak implantation is speeded up without a thorough assessment of the past experience, there is a possibility that the BJP could witness even more strife and major desertions. Bhagwat needs to be mindful that greater RSS control of the BJP is a high-risk strategy.

Secondly, an unstated feature of the RSS intervention is the belief in the vanguard role of the RSS and the superior qualities of those who have dedicated themselves full-time to the sangh. Compared to the “lateral entry” politician who is in the BJP because it is the most meaningful non-Congress formation, the swayamsevak is projected as something akin to a chosen people. Apart from the sheer arrogance of a belief that casts all those who didn’t attend shakhas as lesser beings — and this includes every woman — this caste system runs counter to the very purpose of a political party — to win the support of the majority and create a representative leadership profile. The cultivation of enhanced self-worth may be necessary to nurture commitment to a religious order or a brotherhood, but political leadership cannot be settled on the strength of Indic versions of the old school tie and membership of a Masonic Lodge — at least not in a 21st century where hierarchies are constantly being unsettled.

The fundamental question the BJP has to address is: why is it in existence in the first place? If upholding Hindu interests is its main leitmotif, it is not dissimilar to a grander version of the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Musalmeen, which controls the Muslim ghettos of Hyderabad and routinely wins a Lok Sabha seat. The MIM, an offshoot of the original Razakars, resonates with nostalgia for a lost sovereignty and an eroding high culture. It will always be a factor in Muslim politics of the Deccan but a non-starter in all calculations of governance.

If the BJP wishes to be a party aspiring to some 80 Lok Sabha seats, with a presence in the Hindi-speaking states, it can persist with the cohesiveness of the erstwhile Jana Sangh. If its ambitions are greater and it seeks to challenge the Congress’s all-India presence, it has to open its doors wider to diverse currents and interests. The RSS is an important input into the BJP, but it is not the only input. If the BJP wishes to mirror the richness of the nationalist experience, it must become a Kumbh Mela of diverse tendencies. With his stature and goodwill, Bhagwat can play a constructive facilitator of such a process. However, the creation of “structures and procedures” he has repeatedly stressed must be premised on the principles of inclusiveness, accommodation and, above all, competence. A one-size-fits-all approach based on loyalty is too eerily reminiscent of the failed ideologies of the 20th century.

The Telegraph, September 4, 2009



Samudra said...

There are dangers to both the BJP and the RSS from RSS "takeover" of the BJP.

However, the kind of mess BJP was in because of the squabbling, only the RSS could have sorted out. That is what they have done. Your confidence in the BJP sorting out the mess on its own is misplaced because if they had the capability to sort it out they would have done it before the polls.

I cannot fail to notice that some lateral entry politicians who fully enjoyed power when BJP was doing well have indulged in self serving criticism of the BJP especially at a time when it was very damaging to the BJP. It appears that BJP workers share the perception. Working in the corporate world, one faces a similiar situation. Should one promote someone from within the company or bring someone from outside. This is a philosophical debate and at this point for the BJP it appears that some of the lateral entrants have shown themselves to be disloyal.

It remains to be seen how the BJP fares but BJP supporters are thankful to the RSS for restoring some semblance of normalcy at the time of crisis.

The question BJP should ask itself is why they did not have a succession plan in place. If they had one in place, there would have been no need for RSS to intervene.

I am unable to see how the BJP can grow to beyond 80 seats by shrugging off its Hindu identity. You have not provided a single actionable strategy other than asking BJP to not use Hindutva word something they have done in the Chintan Baithak.

Are you suggesting that BJP become another Congress? Why would people vote for BJP if is attempting to be another Congress. People will reject the BJP if it changes colours based on an election defeat. It will have no credibility.

The other point I wanted to make is if a party will change its ideology of 50 years to come to power, what kind of party is it?

Your comparsion of BJP with the Razakar party is totally invalid. How come you realized this after the election defeat. Your writings in the year of 2008 and before the election never mentioned anything about these comaprisons.

You wrote in support of Modi right after the elections and Modi would be considered by some as the most Hindutva oriented leader in the BJP.

So you views do not seem to be consistent and your suggestions are not actionable.

What is actionable is that BJP be less shrill and shun violent Hindutva. Something which the party realizes based on the reports where Varun Gandhi was held partly responsible for defeat.

Samudra said...

I cannot beleive that Swapan Dasgupta is saying that BJP is about Hindi speakings states. What aboput Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa, Assam. In Orissa they held on their 17% vote share.

So as a serious watcher of the BJP, if Swapan Dasgupta is talking like this, something is wrong.

There are no quick fixes to BJP's problems. They certainly cannot fix them by appearing to be "secular".

Siddhu said...

That RSS has assumed such sweeping powers in the affairs of BJP is due to embarassing state of BJP second rung. It is difficult to find people who believe that:
1. Arun Jaitley hasnt use media leaks/off-the-record briefings to further his cause (malign others, project himself - Karnataka win is to his credit, UP loss is someone else's - why do we remember all states which he helped us win, but none where we lost under his management)
2. Rajnath Singh is absolutely incompetent, having lost a mass base in UP, and never having been renowned for intellect or communication. (And for those happy about RSS, please remember that Rajnath Singh had been propped up RSS, in the process diluting Advani's moral authority which always remained unquestioned in the party even during Vajapayee era)
3. Venkaiah Naidu may win a laughter challenge but never an election. Though I am told amongst the second rung, he is one person who has never attempted to malign others and build factions
4. Sushama Swaraj may still win back the popularity she enjoyed 10 years back, but not sure if she has the desire and stamina to hit the road again, moreso with RSS' reluctant acceptance of her position

Those shedding tears about Vasundhara Raje and Khanduri, should remember how these people became Chief Ministers in the first place. Vasundhara was para-dropped from the center, and was not great mass leader before last election campaign (and unlike other BJP CMs had serious corruption charges against her), while Khanduri became CM when overwhelming support among MLAs was with Koshiyari.

So, 'is hamaam mein sab nahin to bhi bahut saare nange hain'!

Anonymous said...

You blame RSSs managment policy for the BJPs defeat in 2008 UP elections however your forget that this is not UK this is India where caste equations rather than isssue and mangement sometimes play crucial roles specially state like Uttar pradesh. In 2008 election BSPs electorial tacties Brahmin Dalit unity gave them 206 seats out of a total 402 in the assembly. BSPs spectualar success was derives from their soicial engineering not from any developmental or inovative governance policy as prescribes by you.

Anonymous said...

“If the BJP wishes to be a party aspiring to some 80 Lok Sabha seats, with a presence in the Hindi-speaking states, it can persist with the cohesiveness of the erstwhile Jana Sangh. If its ambitions are greater and it seeks to challenge the Congress’s all-India presence, it has to open its doors wider to diverse currents and interests”

Dada you mistakingly classified Hindu Nationalism as issue only matters in Hindi heartland on the contray founder of Jan Sangh came from Syama Prasad Mookerjee Bengal, In RSS current Sarsanghchalak Mohan Madhukar Bhagawat came from Chandrapur in Maharashtra, the poupular face of Hindu Nationalism Modi came from Gujrat, if BJP wants to become all india party than it can not undermine hindu nationalsim

india15august said...

Events Create Political Changes

Unknown, innocuous events will often make significant changes to the political landscape of the country.
In 2004, the BJP decided to go in for snap polls because Vajpayee's team was convinced of victory. I read an interview by Late Pramod Mahajan in which he described the meeting - 'We explained that this was a favorable period becase we have just won the 2003 state elections. Atal ji listened to us, then simply said - Chalo. (Go ahead)'. My impresion is that Atalji was not convinced, yet he accepted the advice of his team. What if he had uttered another word - 'Ruko' (Wait). ?
In 2008, Vasundhara Raje did not accept the demands of Kirori lal Meena for a few seats. Consequently, he left the party, and his desertion cost Rajasthan. The setback to momentum may have cost the BJP, the Delhi throne in 2009. What if Raje had said "okay"?

I deeply regret the death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra. He went on to a surprise visit in bad weather. His thoughts were for his people, not for himself. He was a true son of India.

Yet, this event may slowly trigger a series of activities which may affect the UPA govt in Delhi. Will this happen? Of course , no one can be a fortune teller. I just wish to point out that sometimes, small events trigger large actions.

Let us venture into the realms of the absurd.
Finding a weakened Congress, the BJP goes for sensible seat sharing in Haryana, making a rainbow coaltion between itself, Bhajan lal and Chauthala. This causes a surprise defeat for the Congress. In Maharshtra, bickerings between the NCP and Cong, as well as the realization that volting for the MNS helps no one, a surprise vote comes for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Congress men get restless. Meanwhile, the Manmohan Singh govt continues its policies of promoting the super rich in India and accepting all American suggestions. Without strong Andhra support, the family goes along with this economics. Eventually, a major unrest takes place in the country against pro rich policies. The BJP establishment support the MMS govt on its pro rich bias. A part of the Congress breaks away. So does a major part of the BJP which does not approve of the capitalist slant of the leaders. A new govt is formed.

As I said, this is absurd but starnger things have happened.

I blog almost every day on the BJP, at :

offstumped said...

Excellent piece it finally forces the existential debate on RSS. Reproducing my twitter reactions from yesterday.

Swapan Dasguptas pesimmistic take on RSS intervention in BJP affairs given @Swapan55's proximity to BJP this is troublnig

When a Swapan Dasgupta asks of the BJP existential questions drawing paralles to MIM it is a reflection on the nature of Sanghs intervention

Swapan nails it-"RSS is an important input into the BJP, but it is not the only input". goes to basic question of who are BJP's stakeholders

All in all Swapan raises eminently pertinent questions on what BJP wants to be - a glorified Shiv Sena or a national alternative to Congress

These questions will have to be faced & answered in days to come by BJP rather than glossed over under the novelty of a cosmetic makeover

As Offstumped has been saying since May 16th, process by which BJP settles leadership will be a litmus test to kind of party it wants to be

Era of Sangh orchestrated backroom consensus is over, it has no legitimacy unless there is a ballot transparent to non-Sangh stakeholders

One of the most absurd phrases to have germinated since the BJP mess after May 16th is the phrase "lateral entrants" to the party

"Lateral entrants" in is absurd on 2 counts - first is the implication that there is such a thing as default career progression in politics

Second reason why "Lateral entrants" is absurd - it insinuates neo-converts as being illegitimate leaders despite electoral mandates if any

To have a process which is transparent to all stakeholders is a pre-requisite for BJP to be percieved as a Big Tent as opposed to a fully owned subsidiary of RSS with a limited appeal

There is a big difference between RSS being moral compass to BJP as a movement as opposed to treating it as fully owned subsidiary

Nobody is disputing RSS claim to being primary stakeholder in BJP's interests but that stake needs to be transparent to others

If the BJP does not have an identity beyond RSS then what is the need for two different organisations ?

RSS can play its role as a moral compass to BJP by spelling the agenda it wants the BJP to take up publicly in a transparent manner

The BJP can be fair to its largest stakeholder and other non-Sangh stakeholders by putting that agenda and others to an open ballot test

By operating as a mere front organisation of RSS, BJP loses its ability to be a big tent to break into WB, AP, TN

If the BJP has no identity beyond RSS then it shud be folded up, let it fight elections on RSS name and symbol ?

Those who want non-Sangh types to leave the party must note - That is an option but for that to happen BJP must be transparent and honest that it has a limited mandate of advancing a RSS only agenda

Net net Swapan da raises fundamental existential questions which must be answered.

Srikumar said...

• This situation would have never happened had the senior old age leaders (who should have retired way back) not thrown paper weights at each other. Or had the second rung leadership thought in terms governance, issues and ideology instead of scheming against each other. [[The most credible second generation leader (that’s what we believed at least till May) has been busy using his close relationship with the media to implant stories against his own party men(thanks to Arun Shourie) instead of coming up with aggressive ideas to negate the influence of a biased media]]. Now there is no other way except to give complete authority to the Sarsanghchalak.

Srikumar said...

• Yes, RSS should act as an outside moral compass instead of a faction I hope Mohanji understands it. The new party president should be a master of the party and should enjoy complete power as Sonia Gandhi does, this should be facilitated by the Sarsanghchalak. Others should treat the president as the supreme power unlike what happened in the case of Rajnath Singh, if the media darling of the party (who I sincerely hope is not made the president) is unhappy obeying him let him leave the party and join the media itself. Let the president decide ( with consultation only from the Sarsanghchalak and not others in the sangh) whether he wants pracharaks or ‘lateral entries’ to manage affairs.
• I would disagree with you regarding the lateral entry thing: I wouldn’t divide it as RSS & non-RSS, it should be between ideologically driven and others (Shourie is not a shakha guy but ideologically driven). People who don’t show ideological rigor should not be given high positions (look at what happened with Jaswant and Yashwant they enjoyed all positions due to the movement but at the end they threw mud on the sangh and movement associated with it. Enough of inclusiveness; give imp to ideology, competency will automatically follow.
Note: An ideologically driven MM Joshi has not thrown mud (at least till now) on LK Advani in spite of great rivalry and everybody firing because he doesn’t want to hurt the image of the movement he represents (at least that’s what I believe).

Anonymous said...

Ur writing is very complex. Why don't u write in lucid manner like left-liberal traitor Vir Sanghvi does. Sometimes we have to read sentence twice, thrice even more to understand its substance.

On the issue of RSS and its role I agree with u.

Arun Narendhranath said...

Why blame the RSS alone, let BJP leaders also take a share of the blame for the RSS intervention. Was it not heart-breaking to see a learned lawyer like Jaitleyji coming out in support of Jaswant's expulsion based on a book. It is well known that Jaitleyji had no problems with the book but with the author. If a leader like Jaitleyji appears opportunistic on the (Jaswant issue) whom to turn up to in the second rung in the event of a crisis. Advaniji even after so much is not using his stature to control the party and hence without choice Mohanji had to step in.

Secondly we fail to realize that the sangh is trying to undo its mistakes of 2006. Hence came the statement of K. Sudharshan on Jinnah and his meeting with Advaniji where he apologized for the 2006 event. If the Sangh had long term plans of having its control on the BJP it would have asked for Rajnath to stay on or it would have made MM Joshi the next party president.(Infact there are report that the sangh has advised Mr. joshi to stop his media frenzy and retire along with Advaniji).

The reason sangh is looking at Nitin Gadkari and Manohar Parikkar is that it wants more capable leaders at the top so that BJP becomes independent of the Sangh. Though these two leaders come from RSS background they embrace modernity. we should look at the appointment of organisational secretaries as temporary manpower. It is now for the BJP to show character and come out of the crisis.

Bottomline: The sangh is undoing its 2006 intervention mistake by a 2009 intervention.

j k said...

Not only the party president, BJP should also evaluate the contribution of state president's to the poll debacle, BJP should also look at the incompetence of tamilnadu, andhra and kerala state leadership during their re jigging process.

sanjay said...

I can't agree more. If BJP today is almost a pan India party, it's because of it's identity as a "political party" of substance. They only need to bring in meritocracy, performers should be rewarded and consistent non-performers should be shown their place. Within 4 months of electoral defeat BJP has taken quite some steps in the right direction, there are talks of re-invention and generational change, we can even thank the media for accelerating this change by their relentless bashing, but to think that RSS is the panacea for BJP would be wrong. Golwalkar's time tested wisdom should not get lost.

Gurtu said...

Hey Buddy ,

just passd by. thought you needed succour .
postcount for you ++


Kenny Chauhan said...

Dear Swapan,

I was looking forward to your next post. I was happy today to see this post.

I don't know why, but I seem to agree with you almost all the time. That's perhaps because I see and hear what I have inside me and what I would like my party to be.

I do not know where BJP is headed in future, but things have been very bad of late. This state of affairs is not because we lost 2009, but because the leadership has been found wanting and has not been upto the mark. It is not an issue of ideology or laterals, but the issue is lack of leadership. Instead of addressing problems and encouraging debate within the party forums, the leadership has been dictatorial, just clung to their posts and procastinated. The sober and saner elements, with a country-wide image and acceptance are being called traitors and being expelled on non-issues. The people calling the shots are those who should have resigned and owned moral responsibility for the 2009 fiasco. How can they ask for resignations in the states, holding the state leadership responsible for defeat, when they are not owning up responsibilty at the national level. Does our national leadership believe that we lost because all the state units are responsible?

There is only one reason we lost. Our image. The people of India expect something different from the BJP. Why do 'ideology oriented' members of our party think of a changed BJP as a B team of congress? Are they so afraid of congress? Do they hate congress? I think, we are a democratic country, with all its diversities (even political diversities), and the BJP support base will only increase when people supporting different parties start supporting the BJP! And there is something called anti-incumbency, but it will only work for us if our party presents itself as a deserving alternative! And being orthodox and Hindu-centric and 'Sankuchit' won't help.

In a nutshell, the BJP is behaving like communists. The communists in India will never understand and accept what modern day India is all about and what Indians want. They want India and Indians to accept what they profess! Will India ever oblige? Anybody's guess!

This is where we, in BJP, are going wrong.
We want the country to accept what 'we believe'. And what we believe is not what we actually believe, rather we believe what the RSS makes us believe. Do you think India will ever oblige? But if 'we accept' what the country and Indians believe, we will be accepted and be an alternative to the congress. Anyday and everywhere.

Arun said...

If the BJP wishes to be a party aspiring to some 80 Lok Sabha seats, with a presence in the Hindi-speaking states, it can persist with the cohesiveness of the erstwhile Jana Sangh. If its ambitions are greater...

It need not be 'Either-Or' situation, I feel. BJP can remain in its present form and in its current territories. All we need is a new party to take the message to a wider audience. This has the added advantage of being more robust and less susceptible to internal troubles and political blunders by the leaders of the lone Hindu nationalist party. Just like the robustness of INTERNET!

Anonymous said...

I had a great respect for Mr. Swapan Dasgupta. But not any more. It seems to me that he is more of a spokes person for Arun Jaitley. Based on Mr. Dasgupta’s writing, it is clear that RSS has showed Arun Jaitley his rightful place in the party. I will not be surprised if Arun Jaitley leaves the party tomorrow.

Majority of BJP worker are happy about RSS intervention. It was the shameful behaviour of BJP leaders forced this action. RSS is that backbone of BJP, and to say RSS to hands-off from BJP affires is ridiculous. RSS supports BJP not for people like Arun Jaitley to achieve their selfish goals. I never saw Jaitley talking about Integral Humanism or uttering word “Hindu" in TV. Making Jaitley a party leader will be a disastrous. He will sell the party to his secular media friends to achieve his ambition.

india15august said...

Let a thousand flowers bloom

Swapan's thought provoking article may suffer from a fatal flaw - the either / or presentation.
Either have the RSS and be restricted to 80 seats,
OR, become an umbrella and look for an all India presence.

Let us say the BJP takes in plan B, and becomes an umbrella.
The more sensible questions are:
1. Will the 'leadership' allow free and fair elections to all party and legislative posts?
2. Will they continue with the nomination culture?
3. Will the BJP prevent RSS sympathisers from becoming members of the party?

In fact, the only way to prevent the RSS philosophy from influencing the BJP is to continue business as usual - Continue to have self seeking party leaders.

Now, if the party becomes democratic - all of the points raised by Swapan are redundant. Elected leaders are responsible to their electorate - the members. Elections also ensure a larger participation for a number of people - a thousand flowers will bloom.

The RSS is influencing the BJP only because the BJP central leadership has proved to be inept and completely selfish.

I will give an example. BJP heavyweights are President of two cricket committees - Delhi and Himachal. Now, why should a political person be a chairman of a sports body? What about the one man one post doctrine? What about the arms length doctrine? India is a populous country so what is the need for one person to occupy more than one post? This is the Indian culture, I know, but then the BJP could have been different ! Did the RSS force these gentlemen to become Presidents of the sports associations?

Just change the functioning of the party to a democratic environment and see the spring come in.

I blog almost every day on the BJP at

Vineet said...

Swapan you have lost your mojo. Your USP was crystal clarity in short & the above article is neither short nor clear.
The day BJP takes out the poison of caste within itself which it itself hates, that day would be a plus for BJP. Sadly I have seen this poison is there in BJP & unless it takes it out it will be a faction ridden party.
BJP giving a calrion call to its members to leave the party if they think in caste terms, to leave the party if are in the party for power, to make money, that will help somewhat in purging the party. A purge is long overdue.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, Sept 5, 7.20 am.

It may interest Anonymous to know that Jaitley has been involved with the JS/BJP since 1972. He was one of the few people arrested on the day Emergency was declared and held in jail for 18 months. Unlike some BJP/RSS leaders, he did not apologise and sign the 20 point programme.

Satya said...

SD writes about AJ & his chamchas winning the 2007 Gujarat elections and the RSS loosing the 2007 UP elections. He has been using the same example for about 2 years now.

He tends to forget that AJ & his chamchas conducted the Rajasthan campaign in 2008 while the RSS conducted the campaign for MP elections. The results are well known.

It was not RSS but AJ & his chamchas who conducted the 2009 election campaign and the results are there for everyone to see. Another success in AJ cap has been the results of the 2008 Delhi elections.

It is well known that AJ has the habit of planting news against his colleagues, now he has extended the same act to the RSS.

Quoting from SD's article - Yesterday no more

" The BJP’s present incoherence is a consequence of two factors. First, the party was in a state of disorientation between Advani’s post-Pakistan downfall and his formal rehabilitation in December 2007. No worthwhile debates and policy initiatives were undertaken in this period, not least because those at the helm were unequal to the task. Second, the period also witnessed the intrusive over-involvement of the RSS in the BJP. The “micro-management” coincided with the RSS’s own loss of direction and its inability to cope with the challenges of an assertive, globalised India. In a macabre display of what old-style communists used to decry as “voluntarism”, the RSS tried to equate the certitudes of its full-timers with the mood in the outside world. In Uttar Pradesh, where the pracharaks conducted the 2007 campaign, the BJP was decimated; in Gujarat, where Modi chose to ignore them, it won a famous victory. In Madhya Pradesh the RSS runs the government; in Rajasthan it is at odds with the chief minister."

It is the old wine in new bottle. The only difference is that AJ & Chamchas have lost Rajasthan, Delhi & general elections between the time the 2 articles have been written.

india15august said...

I am in agreement with Arun Narendhranath who seems to undestand the problems in the BJP. It is the leaders who have failed.

I would like to do something concrete for the party and its well wishers. Arun, since you did not post your email, perhaps you could visit my blog at and leave a comment on how to contact you.

sanjay said...

"Senior BJP leader LK Advani is set to start another nationwide yatra to boost the morale of members and search for talent in a bid to rejuvenate the party."

- Pioneer.

This was much needed.

zoomindianmedia said...


Good piece!

Some errors:

(a) One egregious error in your message is the allusion that BJP is Hindi speaking state party. This as we know is pure nonsense.
(b) The term "lateral entrants" you have used is meaningless unless it is qualified to refer to rootless wonders that took more from the party while contributing nothing. (There have been men with influence that joined BJP from outside and got hardly anything in return!)
(c) Another serious error: Your mixing up BJP's commitment for native Indians with MIM's commitment for hyderabad muslims is silly. Hinduism and islam are wholly different beliefs.

Sarsanghchalak asserted what is non negotiable is the fact that Hindustan is Hindu Rashtra. If anyone does not like that they can take a chillu bar paani.. As BJP supporters, this is the language we like to hear, not the mishmash on Hindutva peddled by you, others.

Now let us look at some brass stacks.

Consider these pieces:
1. AJ/RNS/LKA combo lost the Lok Sabha 2009.
2. RSS pracharaks failed BJP in UP elections 2007

1. is an evident fact.
2. was not just an RSS failure. RNS failed too. It can be granted that RNS too was probably a Sangh nominee (Sudarshan not Mohan Bhagwat)

RSS/BJP will have to confront the following realities:

1. That they have limited expertise. That they woefully failed to leverage potential that was available in the larger Hindu society.

2. Integrity, commitment are hygiene factors. These alone wont suffice. Competence, experience, performance results are important considerations that cant be missed.

3. When someone from RSS is deputed to BJP, during his stay in BJP, he should be answerable to BJP organisation and not RSS. Matrix structure in a political organisation is dangerous. RSS men before being deputed to BJP should be validated for their potential to effectively collaborate with non sangh men/women.

Sarsanghchalak seems smart enough to understand that there are those with commitment to Hindu civilisation outside Parivar and it needs to collaborate with such groups. He is also smart enough to understand that commitment to the Hindu cause (which can be on BJP's explicit political agenda) is different from commitment to groups. Group interests will be present and will need to be balanced. Sarsanghchalak also seems to understand that RSS background being solely responsible for growth in party is not true. RSS members like LKA/ABV rode as much on Hindu consciousness awakening Ram Rath, as much did other non RSS members.

Some of your concerns, mandated by the belief that non Sangh members will be consciously undermined seem valid. RSS should do well to heed them.

Some of your other concerns (saint stephenian high cunning? (A) allusion that commitment to followers of native Indian beliefs will be electorally unrewarding, (B) pointing selectively at RSS's errors while obfuscating/avoiding highlighting failures of non RSS members (some your friends!)) deserve to be ignored with the contempt they deserve.

KR said...

The RSS should use the BJP and any other party that is willing to work with it as a vehicle for furthering it's work as a social and cultural organisation, and not be overtly involved in politics. This way the RSS can focus on it's nation building work in creating the colleges, hospitals and other institutions that shape the nation. This is exactly the way the Christian missionaries have operated, and you can see the results as Congress slowly morphed into a Christian party without naive observers even realising as much.

The difference is that the Christian institutions have a huge lead over the RSS seeing how they started much earlier, and the RSS has a lot of catching up to do.

charuvak said...


It is not that BJP did not have wiggle room or a lengthy rope to accommodate diverse opinion. It is that under the guise of democratization it has come to demonize itself and RSS in return.

When BJP opened its doors, it generously allowed non RSS folks into the party and offered them perks which no other party would have. In return what did the party get ? Disloyalty. Having an opinion is one thing but to insult those who built the party brick by brick without seeking favors for themselves, is simply unacceptable.

Agreed, BJP must adapt to times. RSS is completely ok with it. Mohan Bhagwatji has himself welcomed it.

What are the changes proposed ? The same old whining old timers in a new bottle. Please spare us the bull.

I for one very strongly believe that those who are new entrants to BJP must undergo serious understanding of RSS and BJP thinking.

We can't have free wheeling nut job of a Varun Gandhi nor can we accept extremism of Sudheendra Kulkarni.

The BJP thinking must surely lie in the center of it all.

You want the Sangh to help you, without whose help BJP is half empty, then surely accomadating without compromising its ideals can't be that hard.

india15august said...

Swapan Dasgupta is some kind of mentor to all BJP supporters who traverse the internet. His blog ( attracts many readers, applause and criticism.

I am pleased to note that Swapan reads the comments carefully, and appears to actually accept ideas that emerge from the comments section. His article in the TOI lamenting why LKA continued as LOP may have been influenced by the comments on his blog. His opinion piece in The Pioneer, today (Sunday, Sept 6) contains thoughts which may have been influenced again by the readers. I take the print edition of the newspaper but I did find the article also on the Pioneer web site at :
Swapan's article title is: "Let legislatures elect thier leaders." Exactly!

The ability to listen to others is a sign of greatness. Atal Behari Vajpayee had this knack. Now, Swapan seems to have the same ability. Well, well, well.

I blog almost daily at : I have added an About Me section in the blog.

Cheers for Swapan.

india15august said...

Bumbling, inept: yes, but not the Klu Klux Klan

Jaswant Singh did great disservice to himself when he suddenly compared his former party to the Klu Klux Klan. By saying a blatant untruth he removed the martyr's halo which hung over his head and turned himself into just one more typical, selfish, avenging politician. Sad.

His former party, the BJP can be accused of many things, bumbling and inept come quickly to the mind. After all, since we write on the net, we have to be polite. Arun Shourie, with far better command over the Queen's language, described the BJP leaders like 'Alice in Blunderland' and 'Humpty Dumpty'.

I recently read an analysis of the 2009 elections in a blog (I regret, I did not keep the links) which described how Mr Advani went on saying that voters should not vote for the third front. They should stick to the Cong or the BJP. Well, voters took his advice in West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. And Mr Advani's repeated stress on 'Good Governance'. Surely, this is not a political philosophy by any stretch of imagination. Then, contrast the congress action in refusing a ticket to Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler because of a Journalist's shoe, and, BJP's repeated insistence that Varun Gandhi will contest come what may.

But the Klu Klux Klan? That is absurd. The KKK, says the wikipedia, has an avowed purpose to protect the rights of and further the interests of white Americans by violence and intimidation. Whome has the BJP intimidated, ever? When the Bangladesh Rifles sent the bodies of 20 BSF personnel, hanging by sticks, what did the Iron man of India, LK Avani who was then home minister, Do? Nothing.

In 1996, a head on crash between two aircraft flying over Haryana (Saudi airlines and Kazakhstan airlines) saw bodies strewn all over the crash site. The RSS came in to volunteer, removed the bodies, This is what the headlines said: (
Muslims salute the RSS
In a signed editorial in his weekly, Jadeed Markaz, published simultaneously in Urdu and Devnagri, its editor and owner Hisam Siddiqui pays handsome tribute to the RSS, the only organisation whose volunteers worked day and night to help the overwhelming Muslim relatives of those who died in the mid-air colision between the Saudi and Kazakh aircrafts in November.

Summary: Jaswant Singh, enamoured of his command over history and the English language unfairly accussed the BJP/RSS of being like the KKK. He knows this is not so. Let him be a man, apologize for this statement.
The BJP, very unfairly expelled Mr Singh. Once Jaswant apologizes, let the BJP rescind his expulsion.

I lob almost daily at: . I also have a section, 'About Me', on the blog.

india15august said...

Swapan gets it right

Swapan Dasgupta is some kind of mentor to all BJP supporters who traverse the internet. His blog ( attracts many readers, applause and criticism.

I am pleased to note that Swapan reads the comments carefully, and appears to actually accept ideas that emerge from the comments section. His article in the TOI lamenting why LKA continued as LOP may have been influenced by the comments on his blog. His opinion piece in The Pioneer, today (Sunday, Sept 6) contains thoughts which may have been influenced again by the readers. I take the print edition of the newspaper but I did find the article also on the Pioneer web site at :
Swapan's article title is: "Let legislatures elect their leaders." Exactly!

The ability to listen to others is a sign of greatness. Atal Behari Vajpayee had this knack. Now, Swapan seems to have the same ability. Well, well, well.

I blog almost daily at : I have added an About Me section in the blog.

Cheers for Swapan.

Ankur Kakkar said...


We have launched an online endeavour to discuss current affairs and share knowledge..
we would be grateful if you could visit us at :-

thanking you in anticipation.

Samudra said...

I read in Deccan Herald that RSS leaders took RN Singh to task because of the leaks of Yashwant and Shourie letters and his handling of Raje and Jaswant episode.

They also asked him to keep quiet about party affairs.

So, we can all agree that RSS has at least one good thing on putting RN Singh in his place.

Anonymous said...

It was nice to know that Sangh has invited you to the Mumbai meeting and that you are going to attend it. So, it is not as closed as the usual suspects often accuse it to be. We hope and pray something real and concrete comes out of this meeting, not a Shimla type (A)Chintan Baithak! God bless.

bjp_supporter said...

Zoom alone has caught the naughty hyphenating of BJP with MIM. It caught my attention right the first time I read it though I am slow to comment.

The sentence says "If BJP speaks of upholding Hindu interests it is not dissimilar to MIM". This is the kind of speak we have become used to in secular media. This asks you to get used to the idea that MIM does nothing more than upholding 'Muslim' interests, even if such 'interests' are upheld by its parliamentarian attacking people on the road with rods on live TV. And this also plants the assertion that even if the BJP does/speaks of a hundred other things, including impeccable records of governance and commitment to true secularism, it will still be equal-equal to MIM if it includes Hindu interests as one among these hundred things.

Swapan, do you still wonder why people both criticize some of your comments *and* question your motives?

Anonymous said...

When political power seemed possible only with coalitions, the BJP tried to give out a pretence of shedding hateful/violent communal ideology. Now the party cadre are confused about what the party actually believes in. A very simple question for RSS/VHP/Bajrangdal is this: if a murderous hindu mob attacks an innocent muslim family in a communal riot, whose side they will take? The answer is obvious, because they themselves are part of the hindu mob in question. The RSS/BJP should become a party that protects and fight for justice all innocents regardless of religious labels. Only then it will have any moral feet to stand on. Whether a murderous hindu mob attacks an innocent muslim family or whether a murderous muslim mob attacks an innocent hindu family, one should fight for the rights/justice/well-being of the side that is innocent (the muslim and hindu familes respectively in the above example). That is basic raj dharma and basic human value.

india15august said...


I am not in the group of people who go against the BJP philosophy (whatever that is). As you will now note, I do not talk about hannij. None of my post have discussed him.

There is a land called the United States of America, with a President named Barrack Obama. He is bent on providing health care to all Americans, irrespective of caste, creed, color and religion. Their entire country is now involved in discussing the merits and demerits of his health care proposals.

In India, we do not care about such silly things as health care for everyone. Since all politicians can get VIP health treatment free of cost, this is a non-issue here. We care for our prestige. Therefore, in full majesty of our respective posts, we pass diktats that show how powerful we are. If anyone talks about hannij. off with his head. Obsessed, really.

Here is a Zen story for you to think about:
Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed. As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!" "Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."

I blog almost every day on the BJP at

Samudra said...

Are the riots in Maharashtra a way of making the 2009 elections, a communal vs secular issue instead of a bijli sadak pani issue.

Congress stands to benefit in making it a secular vs communal issue like they benfited in the LS elections.

BJP should keep the focus on bijli sadak pani issues in the elections.

Anonymous said...

If BJP tries to emulate Congress, it will face a total annihilation. Congress is the number one practising communal outfit having successfully created the Muslim and Christian vote banks and directly promoting discriminations based on religion. Instead of exposing the danger of vicious Congressi communalism, the BJP got busy with infighting. There is no way BJP can compete with Congress as far as communalism is concerend. Remember, India's days as a nation are numbered. It will be the next Iraq or Ygoslavia.

charuvak said...

This is completely off topic. Swapanda, in a recent article (too lazy to search ) you mentioned that the West was itching to get out of Afghanistan and how it is going to be like back to '80's with a strong Taliban with arms generously supplied by Pakis...etc.

Here is the first piece of evidence. George Will, the conservative commentator, echoing what you already predicted !

This has become a hot topic on weekend news talk shows and going into the autumn season, this is going to be playing out very seriously with the budgeting for Afghanistan coming up in US Congress.

Here is the link:

mpanj said...


This tirade against the Sangh while not entirely unfair may be missing the point.

The recent demise of YSR and the hysteria that followed gives us a glimpse into the minds of India’s voting public.

On the other hand the ‘people like us’ brigade rarely votes and these are the worthies that harbour tremendous ill will toward the Sangh.

A centrist party is fine, a broad-based appeal is also fine, but if a state like AP deifies a corrupt and hand-out-happy politician like YSR, how does it matter if the BJP is controlled by the Sangh or by ‘lateral entrants’.

Are we missing the bus completely. To put it in marketing terms – has BJP and its supporters misread their market and its consumers.

Does the electorate even know (much less care) about the left, the right, the up, down or sideways?

Is there, a critical mass of voters (customers) ready to buy into the right-of-center ideology – empowerment, fiscal discipline, cultural nationalism, etc.

Remember both Raman Singh and Shivraj Chauhan won (atleast partly) due to their quasi-socialist policies of free rice and welfare schemes.

Should the BJP step away from industrialization/infrastructure building and focus instead on more efficient delivery of hand-outs that successive pseudosecular govts have promised but seldom delivered i.e. Handouts sans corruption. A more efficient mai-baap if you will.

Is that the proven way to win at the hustings?

By falling into the trap of "Varun Gandhi lost us the elections" or "LKA was too old" - are we completely off the mark.

Does the electorate even care about its Hinduness?

In other words are we putting the cart before the horse?

Are we barking up the wrong tree?

Anonymous said...

I think mpanj has hit the nail right on the head. Handing out money was how Congress won the election. Money was paid sometimes directly to the voters and sometimes (more effective) to the vote splitters like Chiranjivi, Raj Thakeray. But that was huge chunk of money that came from the huge loot stashed away in the Swiss bank. And, BJP does not have that kind of money. There is no hope for this banana republic, it desrves breaking down into 40 pieces.

Venkatesh said...


In your eagerness to criticize the BJP I think it was grossly unfair to equate the BJP to the MIM. You almost sound like shekar Gupta!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Gujarat govt may file appeal against HC order in book ban case"

You are a friend of Mr Modi. Please advise him to drop this idea (ban was wrong in first place). HC has given a nice way - we respect court decision -to get out of this no-win situation. Accepting a mistake is sign of strength, not weakness. If Govt of Gujarat goes ahead with a new ban order, SC is sertain to strike it down and more eggs on BJP's face! Have these people lost their marbles?

india15august said...

In swapan's blog ( , the comments section is a powerhouse of thought. If the BJP leaders read it every day, then we can start the celebrations of a 2014 victory.

mpanj makes a point that is THE POINT.


Remember both Raman Singh and Shivraj Chauhan won (atleast partly) due to their quasi-socialist policies of free rice and welfare schemes.

Should the BJP step away from industrialization/infrastructure building and focus instead on more efficient delivery of hand-outs that successive pseudosecular govts have promised but seldom delivered i.e. Handouts sans corruption. A more efficient mai-baap if you will.


My Notes: Do not think of any activity in terms of winning the elections. Think as a human being: what is it that I should do as a leader to bring smiles on the faces of 115 crore people ?

In India, the answer will be:

Free / Subsidised food for anyone who needs it
Free education for the have-nots
Free medical care for All
Subsidised housing for ALL

This is what the BJP stands for. Infrastrucuture, WTO, income tax etc... etc... are all the methods to achieve these objectives.

Why is the BJP a party with a difference?
Because the BJP will deliver what it says without corruption, with integrity and without any display of absurd wealth of the leaders.

Hindutva is a way of life, NOT a political philosophy. It is living your life with honor and dignity and trying to ensure that everyone around you can also do the same.

A fully democratic party with a clear vision (as above) will make the BJP the natural party of the people for a many years.

I blog almost every day at

Arun Narendhranath said...

BJP future lies in politics of the left and policies of the right.

Anonymous said...

dear sd
why bjp?yes voters are less interested in bjp as it is no better than cong.,in current shape.bjp is there as few corrupted at top want to exploit it`s brandname for power and money, which voters know.atal sanctioned corruption in bjp,protected cong., from bofors,making bjp almost issueless.lka,aj know all these,fooled people and lost their credibility.
any party which can focus on corruption will win the race.rss is given undue importance.

KR said...

Should the BJP step away from industrialization/infrastructure building and focus instead on more efficient delivery of hand-outs that successive pseudosecular govts have promised but seldom delivered i.e. Handouts sans corruption. A more efficient mai-baap if you will.

It is not an either/or choice. Both have to be done at the same time i.e. Industrialise and build infrastructure, but don't forget the welfare policies that take care of the poor.

zoomindianmedia said...


Ideology coherence while necessary alone will not lift BJP out of its current morass. While we cant run away from welfare schemes, segmenting the electorate, right micro-messaging would need to be worked out. Idea that big govt. is a problem will have resonance among significant sections.

Following triads in conjunction will be essential to revive BJP.

a. Coherent definition of Ideology elements such as Hindutva, Big Ideas that will have resonance in minds of voters.
b. Social Engineering to expand its voter base on economic and social criteria.
c. Inspiring leadership of a proven performer like Modi who can bring in the incremental votes (something that Advani 2009 could not achieve)

Above three conditions in conjunction are necessary.

Anonymous said...

If NDA had also focused on hand-outs only, there would not have been any 9% GDP growth, record tax collections and no money for NREGA. Our cowardly anti-BJP media does not highlight this fact but any economic analyst (Bibek Debroy has written this so many times) will tell you that. PC left a banrupt treasury and so will MMS / Mukherjee. Money does not grow on trees or drop off from skies. That is the difference between BJP and Congress.

Samudra said...

According to the Rediff article, Jaswant Singh is close friends with Nusli Wadia and that could have influenced his thinking on Jinnah.

Andersen said, "My guess is that Jaswant's long and close friendship (with Wadia) influenced his thinking about what Jinnah was trying to achieve."

This Jinnah rehabilitation project might have to do with Nusli Wadia trying to gain control of Jinnah house in Mumbai.

So much for the great intellectual Jaswant Singh.
This guy had to be shown the door. I am glad he was thrown out the way he was. Because after the ouster he has shown that he deserved it completely.

india15august said...

Arun Narendhranath said:
"BJP future lies in politics of the left and policies of the right."

Sounds good.

I think I am understanding the theme, but if Arun / Swapan could explain and differentiate between politics and policies, we will all benefit.


mpanj said...


BJP’s post-2004 strategy is akin to Ratan Tata selling Nano in the luxury market.

There are simply no buyers for it. The message and its audience are completely mismatched.

BJP has maneuvered itself into a strategic misalignment vis-a-vis the ground realities of India’s political market place.

Indian electoral landscape, broadly segmented, looks something like this:

A) 10% middle and upper middle class – thinks (or aspires to think) in English.
B) 20% minorities
C) 70% subdivided into regional, class and caste identities

Group A seldom votes, wearing its ‘disdain for politics’ as a badge of honor (Ex: 43% voting in Mumbai post-26/11)
The battle over secularism is of interest to groups A and B.

Group B will never vote for BJP – unless BJP gets self-neutered and gives up on issues dear to its ideological core.

As things stand – BJP’s message and the means used to deliver it (Blogs, websites, etc.) are targeted principally at group A. And therein lies the problem – Selling Nano to Anil Ambani.

Bottom line: Win Group C – rule India.

Group C is too involved with its survival to be concerned with the rising threat from monotheistic religious doctrines.

Moreover, riots, bandhs and yatras tend to have a direct impact on Group C’s livelihood.

BJP’s altered strategy should focus exclusively on Group C. BJP needs to position itself as a more efficient, more efficacious mai-baap.

Go a step further. Involve the Sangh in distribution of this largesse in BJP ruled states and use it as a recruiting tool, much as Missionaries and Madarasas use their financial clout to harvest souls.

Grow Sangh’s membership by using the state as a sponsor. Create within each state a voting block that represents 25-30% of the electorate.

Then go into battle.

As things stand today – all this talk about centrist party, soft Hindutva is going nowhere. It sounds great in TV studios, but as evidenced (repeatedly) by outcomes of various electoral contests, what matters most, is addressing basic issues of sustenance.

The battle for India will be fought in the heart of Bharat. Shed the scalpel grab a machete.

rone said...

I think after elections every body writes like BJP has been completely washed out or it is is going to doom.I disagree.
Unlike congress, which is a top to bottom party(if there is no Gandhi family member at the helm it wilts)BJP has a huge segment of committed followers, irrespective of who the leader is.
Of course right leaders bring additional gravitas.

Reading too much in to "RSS involvemnet in BJP" is unnecessary.We should give BJP time to settle the issues.
In between please focus your attention to UPA Sarkar.Hundred days over. time to take off the gloves.

Anonymous said...

dear sd
for bjp with all his limitations,namo is still the best bet who can inspire workers,voters but greedy bjp toppers may not allow this giving funny reasons,but can see bjp decomposing.Namo,relatively comfortable in gujarat also may not be keen to go to delhi and oblige party inviting more unwanted struggle for him.namo is not sure whether like gujaratis,others will understand/appriciate his personality and work.namo should reread constitution ,other related ACTS to avoid contraversies.namo by talking relative corruption is damaging his own base in gujarat.for adressing any meeting he should use a written chit of designed agenda.he should be matured enough to realise that nobody is criminal from birth,but politicians ,burocrates,society is solely responsible,which even judges know
. people know they have one life to live.they want value for their money.they want facilities like in developed nations.taxpayers know that they are deprived of these facilities only because major of their money allowed to be drained to swiss etc banks,and now mms having all powers ,is fooling taxpayers and not bringing them back!other countries know this,then how they can respect mms &ff keeping india a country of slumdogs?Rahul knowing that with allcorrupted ministers,cms ,leaders,institutions,press around,he can hardly make any difference,hence keeping a safe distance,choosing a limited participation. and mms is available to safeguard ff even at the cost of nation!
checking corruption can definately make available huge capital(which othervise not available )which can be used for infrastructure/productive purpose,food&house security,health/hygine,education,job creations,like in developed nations,sooner in one life.taxpayers deserve this hence they hate corruption which deprive them value of their money.making corruption/relative corruption,a non issue,guarantee atax payer that he should not expect value for his hard earned money paid.

KR said...

You have written a bit about how state leaders should be allowed to choose whoever they want as the chief minister. The danger of allowing that is illustrated by the article above about how YSR has set up a feudal system in AP. This type of setup is not only dangerous to national integration, but is also a subversion of all our efforts to modernise Indian society.

So how do we know that the situation in Rajasthan with Raje is not similar to this one?

Samudra said...

Swapanda, Please write something about the RSS conclave.

It must have been reassuring to see Suresh Soni and Madan Das Devi not invited to the meet.

Let us know if you feel BJP is moving in the right direction.

KR said...

Idea that big govt. is a problem will have resonance among significant sections.

I feel India is not ready for this because jobs are in short supply and the government is looked upon as a reliable employer.

If NDA had also focused on hand-outs only, there would not have been any 9% GDP growth, record tax collections and no money for NREGA.

But you have to win elections too, and neglecting welfare schemes militates against that. A sole focus on economic growth is possible only in countries like China where the government does not face elections. Perhaps the NDA can add an item to the manifesto saying that it will suspend Lok Sabha elections for 20 years to focus on economic growth if elected to power, then go focus on growth if it is voted to power after that.

mpanj said...

Anonymous said...
"If NDA had also focused on hand-outs only, there would not have been any 9% GDP growth, record tax collections and no money for NREGA. Our cowardly anti-BJP media does not highlight this fact but any economic analyst (Bibek Debroy has ......"

Agree completely.

But in a country where literacy = signing your name, how do you explain fiscal responsibility to the voting population.

The 10% that dont vote, do understand fiscal responsibility - very clearly.

But the (non-minority) 70% - they took 'India Shining' as a slap on their faces.

Lets look at another example. NASA's research showing a drastic depletion in Nothern India's water table.

Farmer after farmer (even in places like Punjab) is installing more powerful water pumps so as to extract water from an ever depleting (ground) water resource.

The pumps are driven by free (or almost free) power - a gift from pseudosecular govts. of every hue.

If something is not done to stop this - large parts of North India will suffer massive famine and recurring drought within the next decade.

But a farmer who is focussed on feeding his child responds far better (politically) to a loan waiver.

Infrastructure takes time. When the choice is between voting for a govt. promising loan waivers and ingesting pesticide - there's not much of a choice.

The only state that has raised the water table - is Gujarat - thanks only to NaMo.

Even there NaMo has had to fight his allies (and his voters) to eliminate power subsidies.

A key election issue back in 2007 was the cases his govt. had filed against farmers - over non-payment of dues and power theft.

NaMo backed this political courage with rapid implementation of a power infrastructure across Gujarat.

NaMo is a game changer.

Till we can have him at the center (and this may take a few years) we have to play by existing rules.

A vision based on ground realities will go a lot further (politically) than the Muthalik-Purohit rhetoric, which only perpetuates a stereotype and allows Sonia and her brood to get away with murder.

bjp_supporter said...

You said on NDTV that BJP has 'excellent politicians, Sushma, Jaitley, state leaders, Raje, Narendrabhai *if*...'.

there are different types of politicians in India.

- The lone rangers. Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Mamata. They are politicians without a political party structure. They deliberately do not want a structure. They are the party.

- The family patrons. They run a party as a family enterprise. Karunanidhi, Deve Gowda, Mulayam, Laloo.

- The party politicians who build a image for themselves within the party structure. These are the closest to what you could call 'politicians' in a generic sense.

There are not too many of these in India. In the congress it is not a good idea to be seen building a image for themselves. Look at Siddaramaiah before and after joining congress to get an example.

So if you say politicians in India, you got to mean BJP or CPM.

Anonymous said...

Dada, pls, pls tell us what happened in the RSS conclave in which u, Chandan, Kanchan, Tarun, Shourie etc were invited. We r dying to hear something abt it. Hope u will not disappoint ur fans.

india15august said...

Slience is not always golden

Politicans are expected to lead by their views. This was very true of the BJP. Atal Behari Vajpayee, L K Advani, expounded the views of the party on all appropriate occassions. Then, the second generation leaders came in speaking for the party, fairly clearly. A discordant note started after the BJP came in power, with ministers / party officials suddenly developing airs. In 2004, during the election campaign, Mr Venkaiah Naidu was the party president. His favorite theme was 280 and 360. He said, I have set a target of 280 seats for the BJP and two thirds majority for the NDA. Who was he to set targets? It is for the people to decide. Sonia Gandhi carried a much humbler campaign, and, won.

The period 2004-2009 went away with the leadership in a daze. They abandoned their supporters while josting for supremacy inside the party.

Now, the chance has come for the BJP to connect with its supporters. Unfortunately, after weeks of sordid drama, the leadership has suddenly decided that silence is the best way to lead. When the entire party apparatus suddenly shuts up, it is another way of abandoning your supporters.

So, speak out. Talk about the issues facing the country, talk about the issues facing the party, comfort your supporters, lead the country

I blog almost daily at

Anonymous said...

This Govt esp Sonai-Fake Singh are certainly upto something about Kashmir and Paksitan. And BJP being busy with a harakiri project, they think they can slip this thru in same way they did with nuke deal.

sanjay said...

Media seems to be hell bent on proving that the terrorists released in Kandahar by the BJP govt are responsible for all terror strikes in India. I wonder if they have not read the book titled “Bear Trap” written by an ex ISI chief in which he writes about guerilla warfare carried by Mujahiddins with active support of ISI to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan, what is famously known as “death by thousand cuts”. Our journalists should inculcate a habit of reading and in fact this book should be part of the syllabus of Journalism.

Having tasted success with the Russians the next logical step was to use this strategy against India. The perpetratos of terrorism in India – be it in Kashmir, North East, Punjab, providing support to Naxals, SIMI, carrying out blasts all over India etc are the Pakistani state actors, Army in general, ISI in particular. Terrorist organizations like LET, JEM etc are mere pawns in this great game being played. So by blaming BJP for all terror strikes in India, media is knowingly or unknowingly barking up the wrong tree and doing a great service to the Pakistani state actors involved in their ghastly design. Media never questions the release of terrorists to secure the release of then home minister’s daughter, obviousely due to secularism.

With friends like these who need enemies?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Dasgupta,

Regarding your column today in The Pioneer on Tharoor's -- and the government's -- spendthriftiness on matters of official accommodation..

It reminds me of the time when Indian Express screamed its lungs off about Rajiv Pratap Rudy's Rs 2 lakh hotel bill. The newspaper sure seemed to have risked its neck in a courageous fight against corruption in high places. Its encore vis-a-vis the Tharoor hotel bill is equally impressive. The Padma Bhushan is sure not being wasted.

However, I happen to think that media focus on hotel bills is rather silly, when everybody and grandmother knows that there IS corruption in high places involving exchange of hundreds and thousands of crores of rupees. The Rudys and the Tharoors are harmless targets. I almost suspect a conspiracy: make noise about inconsequential hotel bills so as to convince the citizen that a watchful media is taking care of official corruption. The real looters will thus escape scrutiny, with connivance from the media.

This country hasn't seen a true media investigation into public corruption since the times of Bofors. And even that investigation, of course, was carried out by just two newspapers, while the rest of the Congress media tried its best to sabotage it. There is far less space in the media today for any reportage that really upsets the government's applecart. Who's going to bell the cat then? Why are newspapers like The Pioneer so completely ineffective?

Resident Indian

Anonymous said...


When the confidence on the leadership is eroded, is it wise for the leaders to hang on to their position? Why are we waiting for the term of RNS to end. Is it a govt job?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

They think something in-between may happen to help them get an extn - hope is indeed eternal for BJP leaders. And, to hell with the party. There is not one leader in BJP presently who gives priority to needs of party over self - not one leader. They are all for themselves!

CA.Siddharth Ranjan said...

a wonderful piece of political analysis.
BJP is doomed if they bargain their independence for regimentation. RSS is doomed, any way, for they have dived into the cesspool of politics!

Anonymous said...

hahaha :) "I would be happy to receive feedback that comments on the song rather the imaginary conspiratorial motives of the singer" Mr Dasgupta, I like this. It seems you pissed off after umpteen comments on "Singer". I understand your feeling particularly when the article content is well researched with lot of efforts.

PS: Sorry for commenting on "Singer" not on "Song" :)

ViCky said...

I agree with your anology with MiM (eventhough its a little harsh). The biggest problem with BJP is that, it's not standing up against the extreme fringe. Orissa is a case-in-point for how BJP and RSS, let the extremeist hijack the agenda and they paid the price for it.

Nobody in this day and age, wants to see bloodshed and violence against any community. BJP tries to appear moderate during normal times, but whenever a litmus test comes, they fail, BJP's reaction to Malegoan investigation is a good example.

I hope people like you (insider or outsider) can help bring the party to some form of centre-right position, from where they can think about growing in the N number of states, where BJP has no presence what-so-ever.

Anonymous said...

I think BJP should have come into existence on purely an anti-Congress platform and concentrated on its major weaknesses like monopolising institutions,appeasing minorities resulting in poor handling of issues related to terror.Also there has to be a strong leader who is able to draw new and young faces into the party fold.A strong leader would definitely not look to RSS for every decision taken.To begin with they have to be practical and talk in commmon man's Hindi rather than chaste Sansritised Hinidi, even English in the south.