Where does BJP stand today?

Ever since the BJP lost two consecutive general elections in the year 2004 and then in 2009, the position of the BJP as a major political party in the Indian political scene has been constantly questioned and debated upon.

BJP is the largest party in opposition at the moment and is a member of the National Democratic Alliance(NDA). Recently however, it has been involved in numerous controversies that have raised doubts over its position in the present day and future political scenario of India.

In order to analyse the party’s situation today, one must trace its past and origins. BJP –  Bharatiya Janata Party, emerged as the current form of erstwhile Bharatiya Janasangha which was founded by Syamaprasad Mookerjee in the year 1951 as a wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. In 1980, under the presidentship of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP was formed. As the BJP grew it emerged as strong critic of the Congress and while it opposed the Sikh militancy, that was rising in the state of Punjab, it also blamed Indira Gandhi for divisive and corrupt politics that had fostered militancy at national expense.

BJP along with its allies became a major political voice of the Ram Janm Bhoomi movement, and played a pivotal role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. While the demolition was followed by the brutalities of riots, and also resulted in the arrest of prominent BJP leaders, it did propel the BJP into a national level political outfit.

By 1996, the rise of BJP was clearly visible and it managed to form a 13-day government under leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Though the government lasted for just 13 days it was clearly a sign of the things to come and in 1999 the BJP-led NDA won with a clear majority with BJP garnering the sweeping out maximum votes. NDA’s term lasted for fiveyears. It moved further with the policies that were initiated by the previous government. It also came up with new policies and schemes aimed at all-round development of the nation such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and several others that were targeted at infrastructure development and were pro-reform in their objectives basic format. However fate did not favour them in 2004 and 2009 elections. Slogans of ‘India Shining’ and promotion of the ‘Hindutva’ ideology failed. To their dismay, Atal Bihari Vajpayee retired from active politics after the 2009 elections and the succeeding leadership was unable to fill his shoes. It also got involved in conflicts over leadership and relations with its allies of within the NDA that further undermined its support. It also lost in few state assembly elections where it had traditionally a firm foundation.

Although BJP stands as the major party in opposition today in the parliament, the party has been facing some serious issues. It has been devoid of a dynamic youth leader, which can be viewed as one of the main drawbacks.

The nation possesses a large youth population with hundreds of issues that need to be addressed which requires a charismatic youth leadership. Moreover, as the country now understands the relevance of being a secular and peaceful nation, it is advisable that no ideology that gives rise to communal hatred among different religious groups is followed.

BJP should also be careful while choosing its allies and confronting with them.  It is very much necessitated that policies and objectives that give maximum heed to the development of the country, in terms of education, infrastructure, health etc., are followed strictly. Equal attention is required to be paid in areas of combating terrorism and naxalism along with in the field of rural upliftment, agriculture, etc. It also needs to be noted that reservation in its one sense inhibits the idea of equality, and this should be better argued by them. It is well desired that the parties should reach out to the masses directly and communicate with them more effectively so as to understand their grievances and ponder over the ways to rectify them. The parties should refrain from getting involved in unnecessary controversies that begets infamous publicity. It should take actions that are justifiable and cater to the problems of the masses.

Today, the picture that’s been portrayed of BJP may appear a bit blurred as far as its future is concerned, but if it tries to work upon its flaws and glaring weaknesses, it would surely present itself as a good alternative to the current government.

Reeti Mahobe