The Opposition, Bhartiya Janata Party is making news for a week now. The “Chintan Baithak” held in Shimla last week gave no solutions to the ailments of the party. Instead it was overshadowed by the expulsion of senior leader Jaswant Singh and the leakage of the election analysis report.
The expulsion of Jaswant Singh over a book is overzealous. And the manner in which he was expelled made matters even worse. There can be no justification to ban his book in Gujarat. What Jaswant Singh has expressed is only his personal view and not of the party’s. The party could always disassociate from his viewpoint, present its own thoughts on the discussion and make its stance clear. If the BJP was so miffed then they should have answered Jaswant’s book by another book on their viewpoint.
The day you start banning a book for political scores, democracy is in danger. A close aide of Atal-Advani, Sudheendra Kulkarni has also resigned from the party. He has resigned citing the “ideological differences” with the party. Arun Shourie has also lambasted the party and its top leadership. The way BJP is tackling the issues, he might be the next to be expelled from the party.
One thing clearly visible is that BJP has lost its vision and is in a leadership crisis. Rajnath Singh must be held responsible for this. A leader is the one who owes responsibility and introspects the causes of failure. But the current leadership is just not doing it. They don’t want to hear some very valid points being raised within the party.
So, the party is ignoring the lack of accountability and factionalism. They are just looking for scape goats. Instead of rebuilding the party, leaders are busy with the media commitments and speaking nonsense on TV channels. If it continues to function this way then these are not a good signals for the party and country as well. It is imperative for the RSS to ensure smooth transition of generation in the party. There is so much infighting among the next generation leaders that it is denting the image of party with each passing day. The party appears to be in complete disarray and disjointed.
BJP is needed for the smooth functioning of our democracy. As Tarun Vijay said, “Suppose if there was no Jan Sangh or the BJP, there would have been no Kashmir movement, no demands to scrap two flags and two constitutional provisions for an Indian state and abolishing two Constitutional heads system for it. Who would have taken up the cause of an invincible Indian security and carried out the Pokaran II nuclear tests while preparing for Pokaran III?”
In a nation where most of the political parties are known by the names of their dynasties turning the political process into a kind of family fiefdom, the existence of a party that still runs on democratic norms and represents a completely different ethos, must be valued. That is the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is useless to indulge in the contemporary dichotomies and scuffles that mar its current framework.
It is important that the party conveys its ideology and packages itself in a way that can impress 21st century India. The party needs to take some tough decisions and devote time in getting a makeover. There is no shame if it represents itself as the party catering to Hindu interests as long as it does not becomes communal.
BJP needs to remember the words and vision of its founder, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. At the first all India session of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, its founder president Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had said, “We must be able to carry all sections of the people with us by creating in their minds a healthy and progressive attitude of co-operation based on true equality of opportunity and mutual tolerance and understanding. Our party’s door remains open to all who believe in our programme and ideology irrespective of considerations of caste and religion. ”
Without mincing any words he declared, “Our party though, ever prepared to extend its hand of equality to all citizens, does not feel ashamed to urge for the consolidation of Hindu society. We are not so mean as to forget that in this gigantic process our country came into contact and conflict with many foreign races and ideologies and our great ancestors had the courage to fashion and refashion the country’s structure in accordance with new ideas and with the changed conditions of our society. If India’s freedom is to be purposeful, a correct appreciation of the fundamental features of Indian culture – the discovery of that unity in diversity, which is the keynote of her civilization — is highly essential.”
BJP is party of nationalists and it needs to remain one. However, it has to rebrand itself and become the saviour of the middle class which it once represented. It is equally important to refrain from any sort of communalism. It is a national alternative to the Congress, more so after this election which has pushed regional parties and their identity politics to the margins. The party needs to ensure that its ideology is in congruence with the current century. The party urgently requires freshness in it’s leadership and vision as well. There are, after all, no full stop in politics.