The irrelevance of the BJP…

A brilliant post by Mr Pritish Nandy. Mr Nandy continues to echo the common man’s sentiment and more so that of the present generation’s. We have moved beyond Ayodhya and Mr Nandy has summarized it all wonderfully. Thank you Sir.

I entered Parliament with BJP support. The Sena votes were not enough to see a second candidate through. Satish Pradhan was the official candidate. I came in as the second one, in the hope that the BJP may give me some of their extra votes. Balasaheb made an impassioned plea for me, an outsider to the party. So charismatic was his plea that I not only got the Sena votes but I also got the extra BJP votes. Satish Pradhan limped in last while Ram Pradhan (known as Sonia’s candidate) lost.

Clearly the BJP was behind my victory even though Pramod Mahajan never quite liked me. But he listened to Balasaheb. So I have a soft spot for the BJP even though India looks all set to forget them. My biggest disappointment with the BJP is that despite India voting it into power within a decade and a half of being a tiny two man party in Parliament, it stubbornly refused to meet any expectations. It picked up every cracked cause it found, from joining the rivers of India to building a Sanskrit supercomputer to wanting to replace the national anthem with Vande Mataram, to stitch together a political agenda so weird that even today people sigh with relief when they see the BJP out of power.

 It’s a party where everyone’s so busy putting the other down that no one has time for anything else. I suspect Vajpayee and Advani, the two who built the party from scratch, are as sad to see it go down the drain. But the real tragedy is that the very things the BJP (and India) hated about the Congress flourished most during its own regime: Corruption, ineptitude, nepotism, and nonsense masquerading as ideology. Sitting in the Central Hall of Parliament, I often felt like an idiot. All that I had spent a lifetime fighting was happening there– right before my eyes. No wonder I did not seek re-election. But I still owe the BJP. I owe Mahajan in particular. He was one of the party’s cleverest and most insolent satraps. There was nothing he wouldn’t stoop to but he was smart enough to know that to be in power the BJP had to master the art of sustaining alliances and he did that brilliantly. I suspect even Balasaheb misses him. The BJP certainly does even though no one will admit to it because the BJP loves fighting the enemy within, not the Congress. Every leader in the party hates the other and yet they all sit down together, laugh, joke, drink tea and eat samosas, pretending they are just a whisker away from power. Who know? They probably are. But it’s certainly not on merit. The only support that exists for them comes from people like you and I who want a powerful Opposition around just to keep the Congress in check. But the truth is most people don’t think the BJP have it in them any more. The fact that some still vote for it and alliance partners remain is because there’s no real alternative in sight.

The Congress is clever. They showcase young leaders like Rahul Gandhi so differently that you can hate the Congress and yet vote for Rahul and his candidates. In your mind they are entirely different propositions. The BJP can’t even do that. Barring Narendra Modi, no one in the party can stand apart and claim a personal following. Some crackpots may still buy their poison brew of Hindutva, Hate and Hysteria. But the BJP has nothing else to offer India. Not even an alternative economic roadmap to capture the nation’s imagination, burdened as it with spiralling prices, unrealistic taxes, and a Government constantly in denial of its failures. The Congress may refuse to change. But at least it’s using its new mascot Rahul Gandhi wisely, to cleverly draw in the young and not so young to whom he stands as a sign of possible change. The BJP offers nothing apart from the notion of an alternative. But the face of that alternative can’t be an overweight leader who faints in the Delhi heat or a pack of wolves who tear into one of their own when he writes a book on Jinnah. The BJP obviously doesn’t like intelligent, capable, charismatic leaders. Not enough to give them prominence in the party. It offers no political roadmap, no economic agenda that can make them look like a real alternative. It speaks only through ill fitting dentures on issues India has long forgotten. When 65% voters are under 35 and clamouring for change, the BJP looks like an anachronism. It has clearly lost the plot. What it needs is a fresh young face that can relate to the new generation of Indians and speak for the future. What it can do is challenge the old, tired clichés of the Congress by offering an imaginative new agenda that includes not just politics but smart economics and that dream of change that can inspire young people to take them seriously. To do that, the BJP must look at the future and stop harping on the past. Hate is so passé.

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27 Responses to “The irrelevance of the BJP…”

  1. Piyush Says:

    Either I am not a common man of India OR Mr. Nandy does not reflect the views of all the common man in India as claimed in the article. I have great admiration for Mr. Rahul Gandhi but its unfair to say sad things, without knowing, about Mr. Gadkari.

    • Piyush – Thanks for the comment. Isolating the people who make up the BJP, I tend to agree that their agenda for the country is not clear. I for one did have a lot of hope that they would be a formidable opposition, the fact is that without Atalji and Advaniji at the helm, the party has been thrown in a chaotic state. It most surely needs an infusion of young blood and dynamism. Bar a few stray ‘dynamic” leaders, this party needs to regroup itself before the next general elections.

  2. Reader Says:

    Sharmila,

    Thank you and thanks to Pritish Nandy for raising some pertinent and some moot issues vis-a-vis the relevance of BJP.

    There is a dialogue written by Sahir Ludhianvi in the movie Kabhi Kabhi, which fits in well in this context:

    “Suna hai, bujhi hui aag ko hawa nahin dete… raakh udati hai!”

    If there is one thing that has been carried forward by this brahminical band of brothers from Hindu Mahasabha to Janasangh, Janata Party, BJP and its arms like VHP, PPS and BD, is the stubborn refusal to accept ideological failures.

    I, for one, believe that the coalition brought together by Jayaprakash Narayan was more successful than any non-congress alliance since then. Unfortunately, they lived in denial when Mrs. Gandhi came back with a sweeping majority. The older folks in BJP even today live in the same denial.

    the fact is, the Indian franchise is still at odds with the formation of the union. The Congress seems to understand it better than others. Except for a handful of government employees, very few voters realize the need of a parliament to keep this nation together.

    Since I am one of the beneficiaries of the constitution, I shall not be a hypocritical middleman. And I won’t raise my voice against BJP or the Congress so long as I don’t see the symptoms of la-ruski ‘glasnost’ or a ‘perestroika’.

    In my utopian opinion, the ideal cabinet of top 7 at the center today would be:

    1. Advani (Defense)

    2. Manmohan Singh (Finance)

    3. Narendra Modi (Industry & Commerce)

    4. Sharad Pawar (Home)

    5. Rahul Gandhi (Foreign Affairs)

    6. Laloo Prasad (Agriculture)

    7. Vrinda Karat (Labour)

    However, these names can never come together on a platform and their political investments are not in synch with their abilities.

    In the past few years, Congress has been getting their able members into the cabinet through the window. Even Dr. Manmohan Singh was elected after getting a portfolio!

    The BJP, under Nitin Gadkari seems to be looking up on the policy front. The RSS has recovered some of its credibility in the last two years.

    The politics of secularism is now becoming clear to the masses in a way. Segregating the populace by religion, caste and creed has been flagged as Secularism by the Congress for 6 decades. Both the minorities and majority now see Secularism as a political opportunity. Its not exactly the way one would have liked, it is sinking into the psyche nonetheless.

    My opinion: The congress will not complete this term. The BJP is likely to come back to power by middle of 2012 – BJP’s irrelevance will not matter.

    (Reader’s feedback on e-mail)

  3. Sharmila Says:

    Reader – Please clarify what makes you think that Rahul is good for foreign affairs?

  4. Reader Says:

    Sharmila,

    Rahul has the legacy of four generations of family ties with world leaders. Nehru inherited it from his father and his own correspondence. Mrs. Gandhi was introduced to the world’s whos who by her father. And so on… The Gandhi family is a complete political power on its own.

    The support that a local politician can generate at home, the Gandhi’s can generate several times more overseas.

    I preferred Rahul to Priyanka because I think she is too pragmatic. Foreign affairs requires personal charisma plus an ability to share visionary zeal. Rahul, I feel, fits the bill better than anyone else in todays melee.

    Its a sort of blood-line… and no harm in saying they are good at something, when thay are…

    Rahul is not yet a statesman as one would expect someone holding foreign affairs… but he has the makings of one…

    • Well if this is your analysis it is a pity that Rahul is seldom seen at the helm of anything besides appeasing the populace in UP. Congress push him as the front for politics in UP and he is rarely seen beyond this albeit a few times he is seen dabbing in youth congress. Yes, charisma is important and like his father and the generations behind him, he does have it in him. Somehow I see him as a person who lacks confidence though, I see Varun more of a a firebrand than Rahul. Infact I find even Priyanka having more spunk than Rahul although I think she has been asked to keep to the sidelines.

  5. Reader Says:

    Rahul may be young. But, as they say on the courses, he is a thorough bred. These children fall into a different class and their dreams and visions are drawn on a larger canvas.

    Rahul’s UP experiments, I feel, are an attempt to get back some of the glory that Congress lost after Rajiv Gandhi fell out with V. P Singh.

    But as the cut-motion drama on the finance bill in the parliament has shown, Mayawati holds her ground for the present. The Congress had to tone down the rhetoric, at least for the time being.

    The Delhi-UP belt has always demanded attention from the countries top politicians.

    I think, Rahul doing his internship in UP is a sign of times to come.

  6. Rahul is a thoroughbred who has not exactly got his nose in front and I am sure Sonia must be prodding him on. Internship is a good word, he needs to be more exposed to other things besides UP, but nonetheless a good rugged start. Mayawati is quite rigid. On another note,I think Congress will encounter problems with the DMK support too soon.

    • Reader Says:

      There is a safety valve in South Indian politics at the center. If one party does not support, its opposition does! So, if DMK pulls out of the center, AIADMK will chip in.

      This is in sharp contrast to North Indian version. It is not necessary that state oppositions will support the center. Nitish and Laloo, Mamta and Prakash Karat, The Lal’s of Himachal, the Dal’s of Punjab, Mulayam and Mayawati in UP, Patnaiks and Surens, all oppose the center jointly at times, regardless of conflicts in the state.

      My take is: The Congess is losing its holy-cow image because of the destabilizing news that are thrown up in the media every week since the Taj Hotel terrorist attack… all are fundamental in nature… like Maoism, Land-grab, SEZs, Planning Commission reports, Jharkhand mineral leases, Reddy scam at Bellary (Sonia was elected from Bellary), Oil & Gas exploration and productions concessions granted in Rajasthan, Orissa and Gujarat… so many apart from the effects like price rise, unemployment and re-location of large populations from mineral rich areas to cities like Patna and Ranchi…

      These things will add up pretty fast… Support from small segments may not count for much if the grass roots are unstable in other areas…

      Just my two-bits…

      • Reader – Interesting. Yes, Congress will get AIDMK support and other breakaway factions of the DMK which will happen sooner or later given the tussel between Karunanidhi’s sons Stalin and Alagiri. Will be interesting to watch. Congress is surely facing the heat especially on the uprising of the Maoist attacks in the recent past,price rise etc. The other thing which public are more wary of is their divide and rule policy.

      • Reader Says:

        I think, the division is a given fact, in a country as vast as ours.

        Establishing the rule of law requires the people to recognize the central government as a representative of the nation. I have lived in the villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra and always felt that India as one nation has no relevance to the villagers.

        Even trade between two neighbouring villages is considered ‘cross-border’.

        For hundreds of years these indigents have paid taxes to the emperors in Delhi. Nothing has changed on that count.

        So, the British strategy of ‘Divide and Rule’ has now acquired a new variant. Politicians divide – Beaurocracy writes the rules.

        On a more postive note, let us hope that we may soon hear a voice that will unite and liberate!

        🙂

      • Damn, what is the spelling of bureaucracy? No wonder I did not get through the UPSC exams!

        🙂

      • Reader – Webster may change the spelling for you.:)

  7. S.M.Vyas Says:

    Sharmilaji,

    No party is good or bad.BJP had & will hv its own neg.traits but is Congress exception it ? Take for example Arjun Singh. What he did a HRD minister ?( Other than pleasing so called minority ?)
    Atleast Sh. Kapi Sibal has taken a couple of good decision & hs implimente it.
    Mahajan who has been praised & Advaniji & Bajpayeeji also highlighted – all were active when BJP lost. I am still not able to see the real reason. I donot take the reason always quoted as “failed to take care of Aam Aadami “. Who has in the past ? And now ?

    I still remember how the comparative chart of Petrol price were highlighted by the Congress during the election campaign- the opne when BJP was in power. And now ! Not only Petrol price but even of essential items hv increased many fold – unparralel in the economic history I can remember !

    I am told of somewhat similar situation during Congress regime – particularly about Sugar Price & when Janata Party came into power ,common man had good respite from the inflation.

    And about the “reader’s comments & list of Good (?) Ministers.

    I donot agree with most of the names like Lalu Prasad Yadav- he could do nothing for so many years ! Vranda Karat -no elaboration as may not be able to substantiate what I would like ti write – but definitely BAD selection in my opinion.
    And Sharad Pawar – one cannot hv worst chice than him.No concern for common agriculturist in particular or common man in general.
    And Advaniji – Only talks about being tough – Has succumbed to terrorist pressure in Kandhar Incident.Alas! We donot hv any Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel now.

    Sharmilaji,I donot know much about Mr. Nandi – except that he had been successful journalist & now is more busy in Entertainment Industry.My knowledge may be incomplete but I donot find anything extra ordinary about the article which has been quotes here.

    I am sorry if I hv hurt U or anybody else. But I just felt like expressing myself as the % of disagreement in the thought process hs forced me to express.Some deviation I generally digest!.

    Regards,

    S.M.Vyas

    • Vyasji- Thank you for your comment and glad you have spoken your mind here. I am of the opinion that Congress has messed up the country, we are no longer secure or stable given the attacks from inside ( Maoists ) and outside ( Pak aided terrorists). The price rise is an obvious disaster, the whole point is about not having a formidable opposition to keek the Congess in check. BJP needs to get over Advani and stop letting the ghost of Vajpayee haunt them. Somehow when they tried to instil young blood with Varun Gandhi, it went all wrong, they were probably not clever is using him effectively. I wish there were more Patel’s and Chandrashekar Azads too to bash a few useless netas!

      Re – Nandy, he is someone I most respect. Yes, he produces movies, but his movies are not the regular ones, they are rather different and refreshing. Besides, he still writes and is also a wonderful poet. His new book ” again” is to be released shortly.

      The reason I liked this particular post is because he has hit the nail on the head on the common perception of the BJP, the way it stands today. It is obvious he still has a soft spot for the party and he just wants them to buck up.

  8. Aishwarya Says:

    Hi Sharmila,

    As I have mentioned before, I really have no strong political comments to make.

    Just dropped by to say I am happy for you and your blog to see the spark back!:)

    Love and best wishes,

    Aish.

    • Hi Aish – Long time no hear! Thanks and good to see you here, happy you have dropped by to say hello. Hope you are doing well too?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Yes dear, I’m good. Thank you.
        Wondering if your next post will be on Hartalu Halappa… Our politicians have recently been spicing up news overshadowing even Bollywood gupshup.:)

    • So true Aish, more colorful, more sleazy than the rest of the pack.

  9. Veekay Says:

    Hello Sharmila,

    I’m finally back…I have been hurriedly reading all your recent posts, but could not find enough time to ponder over and give you my comments.

    It is a pity that a good alternative to Congress has gone downhill and I think the main reason is perhaps their lack of vision to invest in the younger generation as their future leaders. I had great hopes in Arun Jaitley as a future BJP PM and I was saddened to note that he did not figure in this post of Pritish Nandy. In fact, no one has even commented to you on Arun Jaitley – is he already forgotten ??

    • Veekay – Good to see you back. yes, good point, I had him at the back of my mind and forgot to bring him up. I too expected / expect a lot from this politician. I think he is not forgotten as yet but he will at the rate BJP is progressing.

  10. MonaLisa Says:

    BJP in center was a total waste. They have proved to be blabbermouth on the whole up till now. Talk Big Does nothing seems their moto. except selling profitable Gov/public sectors to industrialist and help them grow into Giants- making India a Capitalist country. Bajpai and Advani both proved themselves inadequate when time came,when given The Chance to prove themselves. Apart from some regional leaders BJP got nothing remained in it it seems. Its a bad omen for any country where there is no strong opposition party. If not country then common man sure is ‘Doomed’ in that scenario. No wonder ruling party is able to allow such price hike in commodity! “Feel Good watching TV,movie,cricket matches-IPL and die Hungry ” could be new slogan of today or in near future. 🙂

  11. A good one by Mr.Nandy……what I think the problem with our politicians is that they think of there benefit more than that of the people.To achieve this they go corrupt…..I don’t think BJP can do something with leaders like Varun Gandhi who spew vitriol at places…..

  12. Gareeb Aadmi Says:

    Yeah Right..There is not even …I repeat not even one leader in congress party who gives a damn about the citizens of india or…for that matter India.
    This is a clever article which is meant to deviate a common man from the serious shortcomings of Congress Party (pvt) limited.
    There is a quote”Never underestimate the stupidity of common man” and Congress is good in believing that. Not any more…..Gandhi Parivar is nothing for us …as long as it keeps underperforming. Nobody can ever forget that what BJP did in 6 years, Congress will never do in 60.
    This is utter shame that anti-national congress is ruling our nation and we are so blind that we can’t see that. I really urge Priyanka Gandhi to join BJP and undo the misrule of her family on our people.
    BJP gives a free hand on its members to work. We are lucky that such party, which we could only whisper not so long away exists in its Full power today. India cannot be without BJP.

  13. I hope the common man is not this stupid

    Someone should wipe this guy out.

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