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Resurrection of Bhartiya Janata Party…

BJP has been going through rough & tumble of political chaos and churning. This is due to a flawed vision at the levels that matter. All the political parties must look back to see the path traversed, pitfalls faced and to make sure the future is secured. The process BJP is undergoing is no different except that they crossed over the time frame which has little relevance today and tomorrow. The Gen-Next which would decide the future of political parties at the polling booths does not care who Jinnah was and the newfound love of BJP for him. Today it does not matter if he was secular or not. So why so much noise about a non-issue? We have made too much of so called secularism. Congress has arrogated the tag of being the only secular party in the country while openly wooing so called “minority”. The word minority has become insult to a population of about 150 million citizens of the country. Hindus do not have minority status in J&K! If since independence Congress had not been partial to this minority as treasured vote bank, BJP would not have hardened its stand on so called Hindutva. And if a “Bhartiya” political party can not protect the interests of Hindus who would do it. There is nothing wrong, therefore, in having the agenda of Hindutva to emphasize its commitment to preserve religious heritage & philosophy and yet be secular enough to protect minorities. Muslims are very much part of the heritage of the nation and would remain so. That is the bottom line. So can we get on with building the nation through economic development? Whatever be the philosophy and stated intentions of a political party, what matters most is the cruel realty at the ground level created by them for the people to see and believe. So the Sikh riots or Bofors guns are as much to haunt Congress as would Babri Masjid and Godhra to BJP. They are equally secular or non-secular parties. It is time therefore for these parties to realize that the approach of segmentation based on religion or caste will not take them far. Dalit cause of Mayawati would sooner or later end up in political sublimation if there are only statues around and fruits of development are not reaching the dalits. Party with a Difference The BJP has kicked the storm which will take its toll on the leadership. BJP is the only party in the country which has had a good system of internal elections, organizational structure and embedded work philosophy and not a dynastic but evolving as well as revolving leadership. While there have been aberrations creeping into BJP from Congress culture, by & large BJP has been more disciplined due to its soul of RSS. However, in last couple of years BJP has lost its sheen due to internal jockeying for power. In last few weeks the party has reminded us of the situation in Congress party during the regime of Sitaram Kesari. It took congress almost a decade to come out stronger though by default and without its own expectations in 2004 election. Thereafter, the party has built up its fortress and strengthened itself considerably in recent Lok Sabha elections.

Nirnayak Sarkar Ever since Rajnath Singh has taken over the reigns of the party, there have been fissures and pressure groups working against each other. We have seen the results at the peak of election campaign which was marred by open differences with Arun Jaitley. The BJP positioned itself to provide the nation a “Nirnayak Sarkar” or decisive leadership, but failed to achieve the same internally within the party. Decisive does not mean autocratic decision making at the cost of the party. It turned out to be divisive leadership! In public life perceptions of people count more than self assessment. Restructuring the Party If BJP has to stand up and get counted in forthcoming assembly elections in the states, there is no time to be lost. It must come clean and very fast to create impressions in masses of being a “Nirnayak” or decisive party. It is time for Rajnath Singh to quit owning responsibility for the mess and leave it to Advani (and Bhagwat of RSS) to restructure the party. With even former RSS chief Sudarshan having praised Jinnah, the chapter should be treated as closed. The leadership should be seized with getting all the war horses back on the track including Arun Shourie, Jaswant Singh, Vasundhara Raje, Khanduri, & Yashwant Sinha and restructure the organization to put the vigor and confidence that is required to go to polls. One man one post principle of the past can provide the solutions to most tricky problems. Prime Ministerial Candidate for 2014 Time has also come for change of leadership at the top. While L.K.Advani should continue to be leader of the opposition as country needs his experience for that role, there should be unmistakable number two who would be the prime ministerial candidate for 2014. Advani should groom this candidate in next few years. Let the younger generation come to the top which would be the answer to Rahul Gandhi’s ascent to top position in next elections. However, one should not miss out on the experience v/s Rahul Gandhi positioning in 2014. That would put the priorities and responsibilities straight till parliamentary elections. What Jinnah was and what Sardar Patel did or did not do would not be the issue in the elections. What L.K.Advani and Rajnath Singh do or did not do would certainly decide the fate of BJP for next ten years. Economic Development and not Hindutva Let BJP demonstrate to the world that they have enough democracy and tolerance within the party and that there is no dearth of national leadership. The elders like L.K.Advani, Arun Shourie , Jaswant Singh or Mohan Bhagwat should be the guiding force. Let the party reflect the aspirations of younger generation. The older generation has the experience and wisdom which led to BJP’s rise in last twenty years. Let that be used for building and strengthening the party. The nation needs a strong BJP with an agenda

inclusive of all the streams of the society focused on economic development. Let it shun religious segmentation for political gains. BJP lost more than it gained on this count in last 5 years. Let there be economic segmentations based on poverty line. Hindutva is a way of life reflected by thinking, tolerance and morality. That is about the character. That can remain unquestioned. But what about more than 250 million people who are below the poverty line? Only economic development can bring them up. It is time to move to more acceptable and lasting national agenda for strategic repositioning of the party looking to build a prosperous & modern India. “Vikas Ke Jorpar, Garibi Rekha Ke Upar” (not Garibi Hatao) should be the agenda which would include Hindutva and all minorities alike defined by who is below and who is above the poverty line. Let BJP come out stronger out of the mess and position itself as a party with a difference which people would welcome. Rear view mirror should give way to crystal ball view. Are you ready Rajnath Singh? Vijay M. Deshpande Corporate Advisor, Strategic Management Initiative Pune August 28, 2009 Scroll down for my other blogs Or visit www.strami.com