BJP: An Important Observation

The BJP is decidedly in doldrums these days. In the midst of walk-outs, expulsions and skeletons peeping out of their closet- the party is making glaring mistakes at a time when it is supposed to don the reassuring façade of stability. Post election defeat, there is a lot of pressure on Advani’s boys (oops, ‘old’ men) to buck up and re-strategize. Hence, the Chintan Baithak, during which the party was ironically faced with immense turbulence.

The revelations that the media is tracking is sufficient to mould your opinion. What, though, many gloss over is the very basic ethical thread that the BJP has snapped. Any organization has within the realms of its understood obligations a clause of ‘Acknowledging’ a member/ participant’s efforts- never mind the duration of their partake. You might be an organization’s seemingly ‘insignificant’ contributor, but you are a contributor nonetheless. Jaswant Singh’s association card was snatched from him, on grounds that even the BJP has not divulged. Ideological differences aside, (after all, the party does have a right to preserve its basic groundings, for which we give the men in saffron the benefit of doubt) what has been overlooked is that Singh’s self respect was vehemently thwarted. What the party expresses on his book, his suggestions and his vision is not of importance here. The fact that a man has committed himself to the party’s best interests for over 30 years is enough said about an individual’s right and say in the party’s functioning. Forget media, forget public. A party’s real growth lies in an insider’s critique. That said, not only was the BJP indifferent to his redefinitions, Singh’s expulsion over a phone call basically sums up the party’s ethical setbacks.

Shortly thereafter Sudheendra Kulkarni announced his dissociation with the party. This came as a shocker as he was a key strategist and spokesperson for the BJP for their 2009 manifesto. What irks me is the very fact that no sooner had he made it official, the BJP came out with a statement citing “no major impact” on the party. And how does the party think that would sound? Forget public perception, what about the individual’s contributions that should have been at least graciously acknowledged. After all, Kulkarni did act as a foil to the BJP when Varun Gandhi spelt disaster loud and clear. If there is a Singh, a Kulkarni, a Shourie, a Sinha and a Raje Scindia that exists in the DNA of the BJP, with all of them citing setbacks of the party’s ideology, so to say, as reasons for their becoming outsiders today, surely the BJP cannot deny the “impact” this will play in the becoming of this party.

We haven’t heard much from Advani himself. With the gaping wound that the party is unable to nurse, and which is now being doctored by RSS, the party’s pants have literally been turned inside out. What is the party’s future, what with a faction of its members desiring a long overdue progression in ideologies and the other segment demanding banning books, deeming it to be a sure shot solution in order to curb expression and the freedom of it?

This rubber band effect is surely not in the party’s favor. Just by redefining Hindutva, a party cannot claim to have understood the need of the hour. And by conveniently silencing expression- both verbal and literary- it cannot hope to move forward.

The leaders of the party need to chart out their future roles within the party along with settling the power struggle raging in the party today, lest the leading opposition party loses stature like a house of cards.

Ankita Kanwar

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