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Sunday, March 11, 2012

BJP has failed to mirror society


By Swapan Dasgupta

The results of the five Assembly elections have proved to be a major disappointment to the Congress. Far from bolstering the UPA Government at the Centre, the verdict of the electorate has eroded the already fragile self-confidence of the party, more so since Uttar Pradesh delivered a crushing blow to Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive bid to legitimise his family inheritance.

Yet, the Congress isn’t the only party that should be worried by the message of the electorate. The BJP which had banked on a discernible recovery in Uttar Pradesh has reason to be worried about the possibility of the Assembly results being replicated in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. If a poor Congress performance is coupled by the BJP’s political stagnation, it would put paid to the NDA hopes of staging an unequivocal come back at the Centre.

In a cogent analysis of the UP results, BJP leader Arun Jaitley has suggested that his party lost owing to the perception that it was not in a position to emerge as the principal opponent to Mayawati. The party, he believed, was squeezed into a poor third place owing to a sufficient mass of anti-Mayawati votes gravitating to the Samajwadi Party, the principal opposition to the BSP.

Jaitley has very correctly described the phenomenon whereby the BJP won just 47 seats instead of the 75 or seats the leadership expected. Yet, his analysis doesn’t touch on the more awkward question: why, despite being 10 years in opposition, has the party failed to be perceived as a credible alternative?

This question has to be asked in conjunction with the results of Uttarakhand and Punjab. In Uttarakhand, despite a valiant rearguard battle led by Major-General B.C. Khanduri, the BJP lost a government. And in Punjab, the party’s vote share fell sharply in the urban areas. If the BJP still managed to hold on to a dozen or so seats, it was thanks to Congress rebels and some deft election management. Indeed, apart from Goa where Manohar Parikkar steered the party into its best performance ever, the only reason the BJP has to celebrate is a negative one: that the Congress did worse.

For the BJP, there are certain broad lessons from last week’s results. The first, and most obvious one, is that the party has suffered on account of its indulgence of ministers whose integrity was perceived to be suspect. Uttarakhand is a glaring example of the rot that is allowed to seep into the BJP. In this season of introspection, the party must ask itself why it allowed itself to be bulldozed into removing Khanduri in 2009 and why it did not act earlier against a disreputable administration headed by Ramesh Pokhryal. It is one thing to say that the BJP believes in collective leadership. But if the obstinacy of two or three top leaders contributes to self-destruction, does it not suggest the overall failure of leadership systems?

One of the great tests of the BJP in the coming days will lie in the appointment of its ministers in Punjab and its opposition leaders in Uttarakhand and UP. If the party persists with tired and often discredited faces, it will send out the unmistakable message that it is contemptuous of the electorate’s verdict. As the Goa results demonstrated and as Khanduri’s brave rearguard action suggested, it pays to have a leaders with impeccable records of integrity. The BJP should realise that its voters have more exacting standards for the lotus than it does for the hand.

The second lesson is linked to the shrinking social base of the party. One of the main reasons—apart from the mobilisation around Ayodhya—the BJP was able to make a big headway in the 1990s was its ability to go beyond its traditional upper caste base. In UP, the incremental support from OBCs has been eroding since Kalyan Singh’s departure. Today, the BJP is getting some OBC votes but not in sufficient numbers to complement its urban base. The decision to induct Uma Bharti to try and retrieve lost ground was a step in the right direction. However, her acceptance in the party was so incredibly grudging that her possible impact was minimised. Unless the BJP can consciously get over its savarna bias—as has happened in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat—and present a more equitable face, its stagnation is bound to persist.

Indeed, one of the features of the BJP today is its inability to be a mirror image of society. It is unlikely that the party is going to secure Muslim and Christian voters in a hurry. But it has not taken enough pro-active steps to ensure that the party represents the Hindus in totality. This is both a political and social feeling.

The lack of inclusiveness extends to the insufficient appeal among the young. No one is asking for the BJP to become a babalog party like the Congress. But it needs to discard its fuddy-duddy face and give greater opportunities to those who are yet to touch 50, particularly women who don’t fit the stereotype of the traditional Bharatiya nari. The Congress sends its veterans to the Raj Bhavans. The BJP doesn’t have that luxury. But at the risk of being cruel, it has to find a way to ease tired veterans from its decision-making structures. The party looked young, energetic and bubbling with ideas in the 1990s. It now has a jaded look.


Sunday Pioneer, March 12, 2012 

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

BJP is even getting away from upper cast vote so they should maintain that vote bank as no more election can be fought on basis of mandir.

@k9kamal
htttp://k9kamal.blogspot.com

Apoorv said...

What is interesting is no 1 from there Leadership in UP is willing to take responsibility for the defeat publicly..threin lies the problem..isnt it??

Anonymous said...

The problem is there is a serious question on what BJP stands for or represents today. It has been taking an ambivalent stand on issues and opposing issues which they had once pushed for when they were in power ( FDI in retain/ GST,..). UPA 2 is there because people didn't see an alternative in BJP at the centre. By the same logic dont be surprised if we have UPA3 in 2014.

ashim chanda said...

I totally agree with you, I am willing to join politics, but thinking, how to serve the serve the nation, if a national party like our BJP is having such inner leadership problems, heavily written in various newspapers here in West Bengal.. ashim chanda, Raiganj.

Anonymous said...

excellent Analysis. The question is will the BJP heed to the advice?

Anonymous said...

One thing that took away Hindu votes from BJP was that they looked power hungry whenever they got little Hindu support. Sticking to Right is not a bad thing but then you have to hold on to your promises that you made to people to come to power. I'll go back supporting BJP if I am convinced they are going to build Ram Temple, abolish 370, implement uniform civil code and bring in Jan Lokpal.

A proud Hindu

Arijit Chanda said...

As long BJP retorts that it will build Ram temple if elected; UP voters will keep them out. Also, considering BJP claims that their party is 70% honest doesn't give them much credibility.

vikas said...

eperhaps BJP's failure is this country's failure. It seems like men in BJP are not taking their responsibilities seriously. UP election result cannot be surprising anyway because all the efforts that this party made were more out of frustration than the sense of triumphalism.
rather than coming out with some concrete strategies, they have submitted themselves to the forces of destiny. it has actually failed to change itself with the fast changing times.

vikas said...

eperhaps BJP's failure is this country's failure. It seems like men in BJP are not taking their responsibilities seriously. UP election result cannot be surprising anyway because all the efforts that this party made were more out of frustration than the sense of triumphalism.
rather than coming out with some concrete strategies, they have submitted themselves to the forces of destiny. it has actually failed to change itself with the fast changing times.

Anonymous said...

Kalraj Mishra defeated BJP in UP. Earlier there was a momentum in BJP campaign with Uma Bharti leading from the front. There was a clear leader and Hindus like her. Then there was an interview by him wherein he called Uma an outsider. Horribly he placed himself as candidate for CM, shamelessly forgetting that BJP got 51 seats earlier out of 404. I had that sinking feeling and BJP never recovered after that.

dinipc said...

Gadkari did the right thing by bring in Uma Bharati - the way sloths like Kalraj Mishra and Rajnath Singh squirmed, itself showed it was a good move. Uma Bharati should be asked to harness the Bundelkhand area - that will pit her directly against Rahul Gandhi (since the worthy has been looking to harness Bundelkhand too). Uma will come up triumphs in Bundelkhand with the added bonus of media glare and coverage for taking on Rahul directly. This will give her a larger, national profile than a regional one. Uma Bharati's popularity will also ensure that the Kalraj Mishras and Rajnath Singhs will fall in line, and eventually be dumped into the garbage-bin of the BJP UP state headquarters!

Anonymous said...

Whatever be the alleged shortcomings of BJP , Narendra Modi , Jayalalitha & Mamata Banerjee are any day to be voted to power.

I have long maintained the division of India on linguistic lines should go by appropriate amendments to our Constitution. Along with that goes appeasement & subsidies for both converted christians & converted muslims of India. Same set of rules for ALL as we all know very well there is but one God.No reservations AT ALL anymore for anyone be it education or employment. In one decisive stroke all corrupt power hungry rascals would be disabled for good. No need AT ALL to link rivers , change their course thus disturbing ecology.It is invariably the politicians like Kerala & Karnataka for instance who engineered Mullaiperiyar & Cauvery disputes. Once ownership is given to ALL of US sans the petty crooks called politicians Holy Ganges & rest of all the waterbodies would be taken care of automatically.

Sri. Narendra Modi ALONE had the conviction along with guts to enforce cow slaughter in Gujarat. God willing , if he is empowered what is it that he along with Jayalalitha cannot do for our country.

Those unwilling to abide by rules should be freely allowed to quit India for Vatican , Italy , Somalia , Russia , Iraq , Libya , Saudi Arabia , Nigeria ( excellent Sharia enforcement to impress Shabana Azmis of India)Qatar (painter Hussein opted for Qatar) etc.

Indian media is so fond of vilifying Mamata Banerjee for her anger towards Railway Budget presented. How come the same Indians could not care less about the perjury of Sonia Gandhi with her mendacious claim of support of "thoo seventhy thoo " MPs ? And the Spectrum loot that elicited international gasp & condemnation.

If only she withdraws her support for this arrogant congress party now , it would be a Godsend !!!

Let us not forget the enormous good she did to West Bengal by refusing to meekly follow Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh & sign blindly on dotted lines. She is no thief.

Anonymous said...

Whatever be the alleged shortcomings of BJP , Narendra Modi , Jayalalitha & Mamata Banerjee are any day to be voted to power.

I have long maintained the division of India on linguistic lines should go by appropriate amendments to our Constitution. Along with that goes appeasement & subsidies for both converted christians & converted muslims of India. Same set of rules for ALL as we all know very well there is but one God.No reservations AT ALL anymore for anyone be it education or employment. In one decisive stroke all corrupt power hungry rascals would be disabled for good. No need AT ALL to link rivers , change their course thus disturbing ecology.It is invariably the politicians like Kerala & Karnataka for instance who engineered Mullaiperiyar & Cauvery disputes. Once ownership is given to ALL of US sans the petty crooks called politicians Holy Ganges & rest of all the waterbodies would be taken care of automatically.

Sri. Narendra Modi ALONE had the conviction along with guts to enforce cow slaughter in Gujarat. God willing , if he is empowered what is it that he along with Jayalalitha cannot do for our country.

Those unwilling to abide by rules should be freely allowed to quit India for Vatican , Italy , Somalia , Russia , Iraq , Libya , Saudi Arabia , Nigeria ( excellent Sharia enforcement to impress Shabana Azmis of India)Qatar (painter Hussein opted for Qatar) etc.

Indian media is so fond of vilifying Mamata Banerjee for her anger towards Railway Budget presented. How come the same Indians could not care less about the perjury of Sonia Gandhi with her mendacious claim of support of "thoo seventhy thoo " MPs ? And the Spectrum loot that elicited international gasp & condemnation.

If only she withdraws her support for this arrogant congress party now , it would be a Godsend !!!

Let us not forget the enormous good she did to West Bengal by refusing to meekly follow Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh & sign blindly on dotted lines. She is no thief.

Anonymous said...

Sri.Narendra Modi & Hindus alike should be extremely wary where this presumed support of all Gujaratis alike for Modi is taken for granted.

Even I thought so. Not anymore.

In a by election in Gujarat Congress has won defeating BJP. At once the media is agog with jubilant comments from both converted christians & converted muslims of India. Their seeming endorsememt of Sri.Narendra Modi was exclusively owing to the vibrant economic , employment & infrastructure improvements brought about by him.

They are ever willing to jettison all of it to unleash their atavistic animosities towards Hindus. This very much includes converted Indian christians ALSO.As conversions are banned along with cow slaughter in Gujarat.

Those cheering BJP's defeat in Gujarat are not necessarily only from Gujarat but very much from Tamil Nadu etc etc.

It is extremely vital we Hindus keep it in mind.

Anonymous said...

Sri.Narendra Modi & Hindus alike should be extremely wary where this presumed support of all Gujaratis alike for Modi is taken for granted.

Even I thought so. Not anymore.

In a by election in Gujarat Congress has won defeating BJP. At once the media is agog with jubilant comments from both converted christians & converted muslims of India. Their seeming endorsememt of Sri.Narendra Modi was exclusively owing to the vibrant economic , employment & infrastructure improvements brought about by him.

They are ever willing to jettison all of it to unleash their atavistic animosities towards Hindus. This very much includes converted Indian christians ALSO.As conversions are banned along with cow slaughter in Gujarat.

Those cheering BJP's defeat in Gujarat are not necessarily only from Gujarat but very much from Tamil Nadu etc etc.

It is extremely vital we Hindus keep it in mind.

Anonymous said...

Extremely sorry for my mistake above.

Please disregard it & read as follows:-

Sri. Narendra Modi ALONE had the conviction along with guts to enforce BAN of cow slaughter in Gujarat.

Anonymous said...

I very strongly feel Smt.Mamata Banerjee truly deserves Bharat Rathna. I am serious. She alone managed to get rid of the long entrenched toxic communists from West Bengal.

This is such a remarkable achievement. Veritably the Goliath who vanquished the giant. She had (has) no flamboyance of the alleged comrades with their degrees from foreign universities.No money to bribe & corrupt.

I recall this Harvard returned P.Chidambaram very grandly announced in Tamil Nadu :-

" Had I not joined congress party I would have unhesitatingly joined the Leftists...as I am inherently a communist at heart ...." yadayada.

I repeat Mamata Banerjee ought to be conferred Bharath Rathna.

Anonymous said...

Enormous damage is done to BJP by wearisome verbal bludgeoning by Indian media , BBC ( Bismillah Broadcasting Corporation )"sekoolar indians" worldwide by always prefacing it with :-

" the right wing , Hindutva " yadayada.

Why don't we Hindus issue strong fatwas that this is outrageously false ? And that any mention of congress party that BBC has a fatal attraction for should be prefaced with:-

" the Irani Khan dynasty which wantonly stole Gandhi title as advised by manufactured mahatma MK Gandhi , the patron saint of thieves like Quatrocchi , the Sikhs pogrom perpetrator , uber arrogant EVM manipulators ....."

And all of it is so true ! Indisputable.Just as converted Indian muslims never hesitate to refer to Hindus as idolators , fascists , fanatics we ALSO should return this favour by rattling all facts about them. The Arabs have no idea about the lack of sincere allegiance of these converted ones.

Have no fear AT ALL.We saw how Islamic brotherhood gave them lashes during Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The Elephant that is unaware of its awesome power stupidly dances to the circus owner's whip.

Oh btw , let us grant this tehelka team with omniscience , clairaudience & clairvoyance as many insist " tehelka tapes caught ....". With their powers let them do time travel & videotape Sikhs' pogrom , Aurangazeb , Babar , etc etc including Godhra train arson , the non existent thoo seventhythoo MPs support etc etc& THEN brandish the infamous tehelka tapes of 'Modigate'.

We Hindus are patience personified. We shall wait calmly.

Anonymous said...

Two more very important easy assignments for omniscient mighty tehelka team of sleuths.

That Jagannathan , a fitter in a ship that soon after leaving Indian territorial waters ALLEGEDLY PURPORTEDLY was pounced upon tortured bludgeoned & asphyxiated to death by wounded Indian muslims because of some few lines scribbled by a Dutch journalist cutely called "cartoon riots".

Vajpayee the jalebi glutton was the PM then. Gorged on more jalebis & burped with one eye half closed :-

" Our patience has a limit , don't test it ".

Indian Border Security Personnel who had scalding water poured on them by ohsopoor indigent dispossessed landless amar sonar bangladeshis always glorified by Amartya Sens & bodies tied to bamboo poles like carcasses.

LK Advani the Home Minister then, defended this gruesome murder as "electoral compulsions of Begum Khaleda Zia" in the sacred hallowed Parliament.Which I am sure the "founding fathers of our constitution" also heard.

No wonder we the aam & angoor janatha overwhelmingly support Afzal Guru.

Anonymous said...

Two more very important easy assignments for omniscient mighty tehelka team of sleuths.

That Jagannathan , a fitter in a ship that soon after leaving Indian territorial waters ALLEGEDLY PURPORTEDLY was pounced upon tortured bludgeoned & asphyxiated to death by wounded Indian muslims because of some few lines scribbled by a Dutch journalist cutely called "cartoon riots".

Vajpayee the jalebi glutton was the PM then. Gorged on more jalebis & burped with one eye half closed :-

" Our patience has a limit , don't test it ".

Indian Border Security Personnel who had scalding water poured on them by ohsopoor indigent dispossessed landless amar sonar bangladeshis always glorified by Amartya Sens & bodies tied to bamboo poles like carcasses.

LK Advani the Home Minister then, defended this gruesome murder as "electoral compulsions of Begum Khaleda Zia" in the sacred hallowed Parliament.Which I am sure the "founding fathers of our constitution" also heard.

No wonder we the aam & angoor janatha overwhelmingly support Afzal Guru.

Anonymous said...

Swapan Dasgupta has consistently & rightly been pointing out that Uma Bharti deserves to be treated with respect due to her.I also agree completely.

But Cho Ramaswamy besotted with LK Advani has consistently been supporting decrepit allegedly Bhagavad Geetha browsing Advani's callous spurning of Uma Bharti.

Not to worry. I recall someone made a prediction that 2013 onwards her life would take a turn for better. Not just better but that she would be really happy.

Thank God , Smt.Jayalalitha is perspicacious enough to "give everyman thine ear but reserve your own judgement".

The obese Indian ego alacritously labels it " moody , mercurial , unpredictable " yadayada.

The same Cho Ramaswamy however showered praise on Manirathnam's wife actress Suhasini undeservedly on two occasions I observed.