Election 2009 Analysis

It is quite clear BJP  lost the plot and therefore the elections. BJP’s naive presumption that anti-incumbency will deliver the elections on a platter, without serious efforts on ground, stands brutally exposed.

Posteriori analyis should not beg the question on BJP loss. It is a serious defeat and should be treated as such.

In an expanding voter market, BJP voter strength has not grown both in quantitative and percentage terms. Congress I (islamiisai) has 50% lead on votes and 70%  leads on seats.

Despite its control of Madhya Bharat, BJP runs a risk of being consigned to the periphery of Indian politics.  Rot is deeper than what most people even insightful ones perceive. The challenge though is not unsurmountable.

UP elections 2007, Rajasthan/Delhi elections 2008 were major inflection points and the BJP did not learn the right lessons. Nationalism while a powerful instinct alone is insufficient to nullify enemy’s massive goebellsian propoganda machinary, caste identity divide/rule strategems, massive financial strength thanks to generations of stolen loot slashed across the world, dole/handout politics of Congress I (isaiislami) especially in states outside BJP control.

It must be noted that Congress I (islamiisai) has won despite massive corruption carried out by UPA government, bribing members of parliament, undermining of national institutions – President’s Office, CBI, Election Commission et. al. Manmohan Singh’s corruption free image does not fit facts.  It is a deceptive perception. We know the dirty role of corrupt media in camouflaging congress I’s omissions/commissions.

The fact remains that major chunk of congress i votes, is made up of people who barter their votes for between 100-1000 Rs and a packet of liquor. As long as significant chunks of Indian people value 500 rupee note, more than who is ruling them, democracy in India will remain skewed. BJP needs to play the game under these serious constraints.

Manmohan’s Government was the most pathetic in India’s history. While Shivraj Patil’s name in itself symbolises incompetence, one can pile on the mal-performers in cabinet. Particularly noteworthy was TR Balu who derailed BJP government’s Infrastructure initiative and whose single point focus was to break Rama Setu and make money in the process. Meira Kumar, Oscar Fernandes, Arjun Singh, list of mal-performers was long indeed. Winning elections hardly has any correlation to real performance. Perception though is important where Congress I thru its control of corrupt media has enormous lead. As a rule of thumb Totalitarians are better in propoganda and deceit as they are not constrained by Dharma (universal moral compass); and since nehru times, concerted efforts have been on to undermine Dharma in the minds of natives. All this while the xn fascists and islamists polarize and mobilize their flock.

Congress I (islamiisai) has foisted an ugly perversion of secularism on native Indians. Secularism in the West was conceived to keep in check totalitarian dogmatic church, a known institution of deceit. Since Islam too is dogmatic and totalitarian, Secularism in India would have made sense to keep these beliefs under check. On account of perversion by Congress I (islamiisai) and communists, secularism was used to undermine native Hinduism, a decentralised faith, a faith where experience is central, skepticism is integral, belief voluntary and text subservient. Articles 26 to 30 have been used to empower totalitarian xianity/islam. In India, we have a situation wherein all the rights, privileges and prerogatives belong to the minorities and the natives are left holding the duties, responsibilities and obligations. Natives as we know in India cant set up education institutions to propagate their values/heritage. And native places of worship alone get regulated by the hostile government, their resources abused. This while followers of totalitarian dogmas propogate their hateful beliefs unrestrained and actively  supported by government. In India’s perverse environment native icons/beliefs can be abused without any costs while eulogy on totalitarian beliefs get encouraged.

While Pappu Raul Vinci is a low IQ man, one of the smart things he does is surround himself with smarter men like Jayaram Ramesh, Jyothiraditya, Sachin Pilot others.  And it will be dangerous to underestimate the capabilities of the babu log. It will also be an error to assume that some of these dont have the earthiness to connect to Indian people. While their empathy quotient indeed is low, they have the mass communication tools to project connectivity even when earthiness is lacking in them or is sub optimal.

Congress has a history of divisive politics that would make English appear Saints. Congress I (islamiisai), it is quite clear, benefitted by fanning divisive caste hate (Gujjar-Meena) politics in Rajasthan routing BJP, language hate politics in Mumbai, Maharashtra using its lackey MNS Raj Thakeray. In congress ruled Maharashtra, North Indians were beaten up. Media never ever put congress on the dock. Worse, India’s corrupt media winked at these divisive hate politics. BJP probably erred in not taking these head on, firing on all cylinders. Once parliament was bribed, streets should have been hit. Mass resignation of BJP MPs contemplated. Advani, BJP 2009 did not have the energy of Advani, BJP 1989. Time does take its toll and reflects the rot that has set in BJP. The idiot (Sudheendra Kulkarni?) who decided to execute an expose on MP bribing through Congressi IBN (Lies) Live Editor, Hajdeep Slurdesai, has neither intellectual depth nor emotional connectivity to ground realities. Strength gets respected in politics. Not the conceited Kulkarnian begging to the media. No wonder BJP was kicked. Wimps get beaten up. Even worse, in the absence of effective media organization, certain elements were polishing their images to the detriment of party. Anyone with an iota of intelligence would know that rogues like Hajdeep Slurdesai with established anti-Hindu credentials would flatter to deceive. In terms of intellectual depth, media strategising, Congress’s Jayaram Ramesh et al. were superior compared to neandrals like Sudheendra Kulkarni.

We also do not know who advised Advani to receive life time award from communist NDTV, a channel with links to islamists, run by a xian, known for undermining BJP and Hindu organising at every stage. As leader of a national party running 10 states, team BJP had no business acting wimp.

Arun Jaitley/Rajnath Singh’s/Sangh’s lack of effectiveness in boosting BJP vote share in UP deserve scrutiny.

As in every election, both national mood and state factors decided the outcome. BJP won every urban seat in Bangalore. In Karnataka, BJP increased its seat share by one, remarkable considering its already high base.

Dont be fooled by simplistic congress I assertions of good governance as reason for its superior performance. While it is not axiomatic, Good governance need not deliver victory. If good governance ensured victory, we would not be seeing the sorry spectacle of corrupt Congress I (islamiisai) still ruling India; a party that has kept generations of Indians wallowed in poverty, malnourished,  illiterate and looted much more than what British did. (Trillion+ USD).

Likewise NREGA’s impact is overestimated. It is not difficult to take on congress propganda and communicate in BJP states that central funds are people’s funds and congis are not doing anybody a favor thru the scheme and that congress has taken lot of Indian money out of India thru corruption. Obituary on congressi legacy of corruption should not be written. . Far more significant perhaps was enhancement in commodity support prices, Loan Waivers. Impact of MaiBaap Patronage economics in terms of electoral dividends deserve a serious study by BJP/RSS/Friends.

An attempt has been made here to analyse the fundamental reasons of the current status. Let us explore where all BJP went wrong and then explore way to go forward.


While the reality is that significant sections of BJP cares for well being native Indians and their cultural values,  it has been depicted as a totalitarian organisation by mass media forces inimical to India and its native people.

Reality is Congress I (islami-isai)’s legacy of  ommissions and commissions – undermining of institutions, imposing dictatorship on India,  massacre of innocent Sikhs, more recently riots in Mumbai against North Indians, orchestrating Gujjar-Meena violence etc. and which exceed by far,  BJP’s faults.

It is just that corrupt Indian media, inimical to Indian national interests manifests double standards and fails to put congress I in the dock. (Look here for an example of how Congress I’s criminal legacy is camouflaged by pliant media).

While congress’s omissions are omitted, media doctored facts and repeated them a million times (on Rama Sene, on Varun) positioning BJP as rogue party and congress as the natural party of governance. A Mass Communication PhD student should do a thesis on this and hand the report over to BJP’s media cell, dynosaur Sudheendra Kulkarni and as a tail piece ask him to permanently get out of media strategising and return to his native village and at least there try and do some useful work. Advani indeed was far too tolerant and indulgent retaining such mediocrities in his team. His PM ambitions blinded him.

BJP probabaly overestimated the sagacity of an average Indian and believed most would be able to see through congressi media deception. That would have happened if BJP had bothered to set up its own mass media delivery system (Indian variant of Fox TV. I am using the word variant because most knowledgeable people believe Robert Murdoch is seriously suspect on ethics).  Following examples are illlustrative.

Islamofascists in Congress I (islamiisai) ruled Mumbai  beat up a pakistani girl for sporting a tatoo. Corrupt Indian Media censored the news. Imagine a channel speaking up for native values showcases this story, interviews the victim, and one mullah and then with a finality comments, “These sort of things are going on for a long time. Let us bring the Uniform Civil Code; Muslims have to be brought in to modernity”. Such messages need not win for BJP muslim votes. But moderate Hindu certainly would be more tuned for the BJP.

Similarly Pedophile Catholic Priest from Missionaries of Charity, Brother Alan was running amok in Orissa, AP amputating limbs and raping children. Corrupt anti Hindu Indian media as usual censored this important piece of news. Imagine the impact if a nationalist media says, Foreign Catholic Missionary in Orissa is a serial pedophile. Or a channel speaking up for native values showcases this story, interviews the victim, a pastor and then with a finality comments, “These abominable activities are going on in Xian organisations for a long time; Xian NGOs need to be banned”. Again such a situation would ensure BJP’s message is more receptive to the voter. BJP did nothing to set up a mass media network sympathetic to it.

Thanks to the totalitarian nature of islam and christianity, BJP in effect operates in an environ where 30% of Indian voters Xians and Muslims would never vote for them.  As we will see, this in itself is not a weakness if you are capable of mobilising significant sections of native Indians to the polling booth as was managed in places like Mangalore.

While official percentage of muslims is 13.4%, xians is 2.5%, the real figure from electoral perspective of muslims is 18-20% range, xians 7.5-10%thanks to the presence of crypto xians and their enhanced presence in the polling booth. Crypto xians are those who take advantage of reservation that state provides for native Indian believers by putting up a Hindu facade while taking up to following jesus, a deceit encouraged by church. And once a person converts to xianity s/he is unlikely to vote BJP. Remember that No Muslim or No christian is ever going to vote for BJP despite the innate Hindu tolerance of BJP and even if the BJP candidate is Mahatma Gandhi and even if Mohummad canvasses among muslims and Jesus among Xians for the BJP candidate. Xian, Islamic ideologies are too fanatical and totalitarian.

Congress I, will use now every dirty trick in the trade to try and breach Karnataka. It will go for the kill. BJP government in Cosmopolitan Karnataka is an eyesore for enemies of native Indians. Riots, abuses, scam allegations, caste wars, riots et. al. BJP government in MP too will be targetted. Yeddi, Shivraj need to prepared for all the scenarios. A house divided can not stand. In Rajasthan, BJP’s inability to execute and project unity was a factor in BJP’s defeat. Once selected Electorally well performing chief ministers/shadow chief ministers should not be undermined through internal sabotage. Jaswant Singh/Bairon Singh did undermine BJP’s Unity of Command in Rajasthan by their ambition/personal interests, something especially despicable considering Jaswant’s Military background. A damage done takes long time to fix.


BJP’s Command, Control, Communication Information Systems(C3I) remain primitive at best.

Totalitarian entities like the congress have natural advantage here. Family’s word is Gospel and noone dare undermine the center of authority. One reason congress/other parties better BJP on many occasions is on account of their organising superior strategising staff.

BJP though in this regard faces foot in the mouth syndrome. There is no rebust process to vet the message and you have the sorry spectacle of many ill equipped dinasaurs grappling with defending BJP’s position.  Prakash Javdekar just does not have it in him to face the English media.  A Hindu girl recruited from debating soceity of LSR will do a far better job. And another incompetent dinosaur with medieval marxist background Sudheendra Kulkarni coordinated BJP’s media strategy. No wonder BJP campaign was a disaster.

This when BJP, friends of BJP have enough remarkable men and women that can articulate and strategise far far better than the worthies named above. Experience or years of life in politics/party/rss is no subsitute for lack of domain expertise. Skills of BJP’s well wishers should be optimally leveraged. This is especially important since Sangh Parivar is weak in so many critical skills, less than wholesome global exposure, effective leverage of funds, modern tools et al.

BJP has to formulate and roleout within next 18 months a comprehensive communications gameplan. It must do an updated  SWOT particularly take stock of its weaknesses, implement a comprehensive reengineering solution. Top Minds in BJP need to work with an organisation like Mckinsey in rolling this out. There are enough people that will be happy to do his bit for India.

Communication Issues that need to be addressed are

  1. Who will talk to which medium
  2. How to manage the consistency of message
  3. Operationalise professional media house with committed sympathies to pro BJP position in English, Regional Languages. (India’s answer to Fox?). It is remarkable that when J Jayalalithaa has a dedicated channel (Jaya TV), HD Kumaraswamy has dedicated channel (Kasthuri), Muthuvelu karunanithi has two dedicated channels (KTV, Sun TV), BJP has at best a pathetic Organiser, Panchajanya mouthing its position.
  4. Collaborate with media houses that may harbor sympathies to pro nationalist position. ETV(?). BJP leaders would do well to woo propreitors (not editors) of local media on a nationalist platform.
  5. Media men should be used to project party.  It is dangerous to allow journalists to set the agenda- especially formulate strategy/agenda. Getting domain experts (such as strategy consultants or motivation experts to brainstorm and then make decisions) is far better than engaging journos for these activities. Journos have to be used, at best listened to. Many if not most of journos are to put it mildly mediocre and egotist. Further, Dont allow anyone to push suggestions on the strength of articulation. Facts,  ground realities should drive strategies/tactics.
  6. Leveraging FM talk show to undermine MSM (corrupt Main Stream Media). Why not generate Indian versions of Mike Savage, Rush Limbaugh. And create a Professional Media Watch Section that exposes and propogates, double standards, lies and deceit that is churned out day in and day out by corrupt media – communist channels like NDTV (Deceit) 24/7, CNN IBN (Lies) Live, both in English, regional languages. In India, barriers to attacking native Indians and their beliefs is low. Rightist response facing upto rogue media has been wimpish. Neandral Sudheendra Kulkarni preferred to write his third rate columns in IE, sucking upto this outlet, rather than doing work on the ground taking the rogue media head on. Serious organized efforts to influence sponsors to stop financing rogue media by citing serious stories like this where native Indians are insulted should be initiated in right ernest.
  7. There should be a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document for media management. Members who defend BJP position in the media should be articulate, presentable, and should help consistency of message by following the FAQ. On Specific subjects, ensure that BJP representative is a presentable domain expert who is capable of holding ground. There is no short cut to setting up institutional mechanisms to handle media hostility.
  8. How to segment target audience demographics and which message will appeal to who.
  9. It must be forcefully and repeatedly over a period of time get communicated through performance that BJP/Hindutva stand for harmony, development progress. (as we know congress I (islamiisai) since 1947 have sought to paint native Indian beliefs as backward and poverty oriented. As we have seen in Hindu Gujarat, Hindutva economics create progress and development. Communist/xian/islamic economics cause poverty, illiteracy, totalitarianism. Over a period of time, this will bring in dividend for the BJP.
  10. There have to be efforts in accurately positioning congress I (islami-isai), communists and their hostility towards native beliefs. This is articulated in subsections of Key Issues Point 18 below.


  1. BJP also needs to formulate a 3 year, 5 year, 10 year, 20 year plans. Key issues that need to be addressed include:
  2. Which state BJP will fight with ally, Which state BJP will fight alone. This is most important strategic decision point. BJP has been screwed by BSP in UP, BJD in Orissa. A considered decision should be taken w.r.t Bihar, TN, AP. (In the Head to Head fights with Congi, BJP has not been bested yet though in the over all strategic sense BJP has lost and has failed in the key state of UP). Misplaced coalition dharma and short cuts to power has resulted in BJP committing harakiri and its allies building strength at BJP cost. Alliance should be based on shared interests/objectives and allies should know the costs of separation and pain. And this talk is not possible unless BJP is strong.  JD(U)’s talk of enforcing Sachar Committee communal budget recommendations or Shiv Sena’s undermining larger Hindu cause impact BJP’s perception and these should be questioned and not be accepted as fait accompli by the alliance partner.
  3. BJP has not defined Hindutva in a big tent way; this despite Supreme Court’s judgement mainstreaming Hindutva as native way of life. One tack for BJP could be to define Hindutva as “Defending the interests of native Indians – their material, cultural, intellectual, physical well being in consonance with Dharma“.
  4. Muslims/xians, in the minimum, must be asked to refurbish/give up sections of their dogma, hostile to natives, and for their own good. In stead of being on placatory mode, communicating the reality that islam/xianity are manifestations of dark ages,  with the potential to take its adherents towards medieval barbarianism must be directly communicated.  It is important that xians/muslims must be addressed on native terms. Progressive sections of xians/muslims willing to openly give up their hateful totalitarian dogma can be considered for co-option.
  5. RSS should not intervene in day-to-day operating of BJP. If RSS lends resources to BJP, it should be a full time deployment and a defacto transfer for at least 10 years. Unity of command should not be compromised. A situation where an RSS Secy lended to BJP, reporting to its leader, and has a hot line to Bhagwat, is simply untenable and undermines BJP Leader on operational issues.
  6. While its national commitment is beyond reproach, RSS should realise clearly that all the wisdom in the world is not concentrated in the Sangh Parivar.  In fact in many areas its skillsets are rather poor. It has to do a skillset gap analysis and bridge those gaps.  When a more competent non RSS  person is available, RSS person should not selected for the identified roles. Influences from abroad, as long as they dont undermine native Indian culture (respect for truth, bias for non violence, liberal pursuit of happiness) should not be stopped.
  7. Moral Policing is an islamiisai, congressi game. It is not a natural Hindu position. Women’s empowerment is a natural Hindu position. It is only in Hinduism you have the Shakthi concept. A girl in body hugging attire, making a fashion statement is in some ways asserting the tradition of Kujraho and Kamasutra. Purdah  is not a native Indian attire. While political organisation of Hindus is essential, islamisation/churchistation of Hindu culture should neither be desired nor attempted. If any loonies do moral policing, RSS/VHP should immeditely strongly  take a position against that groups and expose them as congressi (MNS), islami(attacks on Taslima) or isai (banning da vinci code) games. Again Liberty position is the natural Hindu position. Congress I in its motives to undermine native Hindus, with the help of corrupt media will pay and encourage moral policing lunatic groups and project these as Hindu behavior. Such groups should be seen as an enemy of Hindus and treated as such.  Aided by corrupt media, Congress has a history of using loonies and groups like MNS to undermine the natioanalist/Hindu cause. BJP will be best served by exposing these jokers. An example of the congress looney who surfaced during the elections can be seen here.
  8. The real cultural fight is against totalitarian systems of islam/church.  Here the fight is more ideological. Sangh Parivar should effectively collaborate with non Sangh organisations who are doing yeomen service. The fight against church is essentially an intellectual exercise in the social domain. In stead of resorting to violence at crude evangelisation (abuse of native beliefs), Rightist forces will be better off by effectively propogating the contrast between liberal, skeptical, inclusive, truth centric native Indian beliefs with the totalitarian, dogmatic, imperial, medieval, exclusivist positions of church/mosque. Options such as making widely available excerpts of Jesme’s “Amen-Autobiography of Nun” in native languages in areas of evangelisation activities, is better than violence. If Krishn is abused for promiscuity, point out jesus’s parentage. If Hindu caste system critiqued, point out the racial hatred, genocide in Americas carried out by the church, islam’s open sanctioning of slavery. Educate that caste system was created to avoid authoritarian behavior and deals with separation of powers in society (power from land/specialised skills – shudras, power of business – vaisyas, administration – kshatriyas, policy making – brahmins). Concentrating all power in a a single group it was felt would create totalitarianism, something Hindu paradigm does not accept.
  9. Personalities are needed to articulate the view points. While commitment to ideology is important, public pulling down of personalities because they acquire strengths/success need to be eschewed.  BJP should identify and deploy men with requisite skills to handle jobs in hand. Chandan Mitra was a poor choice for engaging with Navin Patnaik. Right selections are important for leadership position in UP (inspiring charismatic young leader that can take out raul vinci). Right people to regularly engage on door to door campaign, right people to do public speaking etl. al.  As an example Navjyot Sidhu taking on Congress I (islami-isai)’s Abhishek Singhvi will be far more effective than say Prakash Javdekar or Chandan Mitra taking on him. No other party has a talent like Sidhu and that was wasted (If Badals had anything to do with Sidhu’s underdeployment that is poor politics as one is pulling down one’s own optimal performance). Even in a hostile media environment, Sidhu can take on and make a mincemeat of Congressi pappu crowd.
  10. In UP, States where BJP is weak, identify opinion makers and take them on a tour to Gujarat and show how BJP”s Hindu governmence is superior and leads to development. Make BJP both aspirational and provide a growth path for workers, which is result/performance oriented. Levers of Responsibility/Power especially in the top should not be given to those who dont have a track record of significant successes and never because of cronyism.  For the Key Battle grond state of UP, it is essential to have an inspirational and charismatic leader who can unite, energise and mobilise BJP’s core voter base – intermediate castes and so called forward castes. SOMEONE ACCEPTABLE TO ISLAMISTS WILL NOT DELIVER. BJP’s  muslim support base as now was negligible when Kalyan ruled the state as the top gun.
  11. Deploying right people on right jobs is important. While Sushma Swaraj is an effective speaker, her impact as Information & Broadcasting Minister is suspect. The window 1998-2004 when the  cable media took off,  she did nothing to set up a right wing media outlet and looked other way when forces inimical to native Indians set shop. BJP should ensure that indiscipline has serious costs.
  12. Canard wil be spread by the corrupt media that Modiji was the cause of failure. The fact is Modi addressed ~ 300 meetings. Even if we assume 5,000 participation per meeting and a multiplier factor of 4, the coverage would be 6 million less than 1%  in the 600 million electorate. Media penetration that created Congress Hawa is far far more (90%). If BJP had managed effective strategies to  counter corrupt MSM (main stream media) during the last 5 years, Modi’s meetings would have been tremendous force multiplier. (MSM of course spun out Modi interviews to remind people only of Godhra violence).  While NaMo would not like to hear this, to face congress I’s divisive politics, it should be explored if NaMo/Shivraj Chauhan should leverage their OBC status.
  13. Congress I (Islami-Isai) after perpetrating divisive politics, poverty for 60+ years, will use new faced and peddle the Goebellsian lie that it is pro poor, pro development, pro harmony. This is the fourth generation of nehru/gandhis who are thus fooling us. Nehru’s socialist lies, Indira Gandh’s garibi Hataao, Rajiv Gandhi’s Dalaal Hataao is being followed by Raul Vinci’s,  Mera Haath Gareeb Ke Saath lie, and I bring the change India needs, deceit. A facade of havan, taking tea in a poor person’s home is what it takes to fool native Indians. Compromised Corrupt Indian media will aid in propogation of these lies and deceit. These lies and Congress Deceit should not be allowed to go uncontested. Modi’s message on congress’s development legacy, votebank politics was spot on. The trouble was it was too little too late. Pervasive and continuous communication by BJP cadre on these issues is a must. At some point it will start generating favorable results for BJP. Modiji is among the few who can match congress I’s killer instinct, an aspect on which BJP has been weak. Modiji is one who can put Congress I (islamiisai) on backfoot and has a track record of consistently defeating congress I.
  14. Among the politically conscious classes in the internet, BJP would wallow congress I (islami-isai) by a factor of 10.  But the internet penetration in India (0.1%?) is nothing compared to the reach of media. (Congress has a vested interest in keeping native Indians poor and uneducated so that they are converted to to the totalitarian ideology of church and then become committed to congress votebank). Energies generated out of lkadvani.in website volunteer initiative should not be put on cold storage. You got to start leveraging volunteer contribution now. We are in this for the long haul. Map the volunteer data to a central database. Our strength in internet should not bias our perception on ground. While leveraging the volunteer strength, it must be noted that many of the volunteers in the net would not have exposure to the hinterland ground reality. Internet will acquire more importance as its penetration increases. It is the great threat to totalitarians and they will make efforts to stmy it. Our objective  is to build up strong positions on all channels ot the voter and his mind.
  15. BJP should collaborate silently with institutions who in a nonviolent way take on  Church’s evangelisation and carry out reconversions. BJP should work with organisations to initiate efforts in this direction just as congress I is openly working with evangelist organisations (In AP YSR’s son-in-law himself is an evangelist). As indicated earlier, Congress I (islamiisai) through perverted conception of secularism has undermined native beliefs. An environment where church/mosque/bible/quran/mohummad/jesus/xianmuslim rituals, dogmas and history are openly examined critiqued is what will create for BJP a level playing field. Efforts such as Arun Shourie’s, Sita Ram Goel’s SL Byrappa’s deserve widest dissemination/reach, much more than the reach of communist/xian mouthpieces like NDTV.  Institutionalised means to counter xian/muslim penchant for violence, threats for violence must be set up/executed. Importance of Mainstreaming open, exhaustive and public critiques on islam/xianity/communism cant be understated.
  16. Govindacharya Style Social Engineering efforts to break new ground on the basis of social and economic criteria. Commitment to defend its core base is an issue on which BJP has been found wanting. Chasing mirages has not helped anyone. (Congress I (islamiisai) has been far superior in defending its vote bank. Despite all the ruckus post 26/11, Congress has refused to revoke POTA abrogation. Lessons for BJP here). Shaping the environment is a task that cant be avoided.
  17. As indicated earlier, I repeat despite seeming redundancy, Intellectual efforts to take on islam and christianity which in effect are totalitarian, predatory, imperial, foreign organisations must be backed. In BJP ruled states xian control of healthcare, education must be regulated in the interests of society (majority Hindu) and since soceital trust placed on church is being abused in many places. (You can not deal totalitarian evil with kids gloves). And the head-in-sand ostritches which believe church/mosque have nothing to do BJP defeat are part responsible for causing confusion and lack of clarity. Entire ecosystem needs to be understood and addressed. When Congress I, openly collaborates with islamic/xian organisations and pretends as if it is a hands off relationship, BJP need not feel defensive mobilsing people on the Hindu platform.
  18. Since politics is war with other means and deal with power, following pragmatic options need to be evaluated/exercised  Win instinct and commitment to win are important ingredients.  BJP operates in congress nurtured corrupt environ. Kautilyan realpolitik is what will contribute to victory. The thinking that deploying “good and innocent” sanghis will deliver wins on a platter is a naïve hope. In substantial cases “good” fellows are “good for nothing” fellows with core competence in toadying. Engagement with corrupt charlatans should be done on practical considerations without compromising the core – attainment of power, native Indian interests. Pragmatic behavior coupled with commitment to well being of native Indians (their intellectual, cultural, economic wellbeing) is one ray of hope to resuscticate BJP, native Indian well being. Tactics similar to what is captured below has already been practiced by sections hostile to native Indians such as congress I (islami-isai), DMK, CPI (M) et al.
    1. Position Congress I as islamiisai party or any other position that BJP consciously decides. Never allow raul vinci, others to gain an enigmatic position. If one removes the fog that rogue media has deliberately nurtured and built around raul vinci, one will notice a dumb low IQ hindi fail rogue, dumber than rajiv khan Gandhi, who massacred 5000 sikhs in cold blood in a single day in 1984. Internet can aid the process in defogging. But internet alone wont suffice in undressing nehrugandhi deceit.
    2. Congress I’s positioning as islamiisai party can be aided by questioning locus standi of Antonia Maino to participate in Ram Lila function, visit to Hindu festival, conducting Havan et al.
    3. Using media tools in its command Congi has positioned BJP as communal. Counter this by collaborating with likeminded parties on the issue by highlighting Congress’s real islami-isai colors. Congress should be positioned as corrupt, islami-isai (Pakistani/ Bangladeshi/ phirangon ki party). Messaging through allied social organizations the truth that jesus/mohummad are foreign barbarians that initialed dogmatic hate, totalitarian lies and devastated native cultures worldwide wont harm BJP. In any case, Congress should not be allowed uncontested to position itself as pro-poor/pro-young. (If BJP/Sangh initiate this strategy, as a response Congress will try to camouflage its true islami-isai identity, position itself as a party of all things to all people (an open lie). Congress will fall, if BJP effectively implements the strategy.
    4. Plant reliable and committed people inside congenitally hostile parties like Congress I (islami-isai), CPI(M), hostile media. If necessary recruit talented merceneries by compensating for their contribution.
    5. Fan discontent in Congressi vote banks. (reverse of what congress carried out in Mumbai thru MNS). Enfranchise bjp’s votebank. Collaborate with state ECs, Government Officers who also usually double as polling officers. (Find means to disenfranchise (Pakistani/Bangladeshi/phirangi elements), those that wont vote BJP (Reverse of what congress I (islamiisai), CPI(M) has done in places like Assam. Influencing polling agents of enemy parties should be an option on table. (As an aside contrast ABV/LKA’s following rule book to anoint Gopalswamy as CEC,  Congi backing of patisan rogue Navin Chawla)
    6. We know that muslims/xians leverage their so called places of prayer for political mobilisation. BJP should try and leverage native festivals/functions to mobilize: Mobilizing Yadavs when they assemble in Mathura for Janmashtami. Leverage other native functions for projecting BJP’s commitment to native interests. Freeing Krishna Janmabhoomi  as a movement will enthuse native Indian Yadavs and should be considered.
    7. Hostility between intermediate castes and forward castes is a myth propagated by enemies of natives. Intermediate and so called forward castes are less likely than others to fall for politics of divisiveness propagated by islami-isai forces. BJP is essentially a party standing for the interests of these native sections. Solid consolidation of these sections should be a political imperative. It is tough to believe that men like Siddharamaiah, Beni Prasad Verma, Akhilesh Yadav are intrinsically hostile when fundamental challenges facing natives is clearly articulated to them. Dalits should be educated and persuaded to join the natives with the passage of time.
    8. It is violence and threats of violence that underwrite muslim and Christian demands, mobilization, undermining of natives. As natives consolidate, it is a given that xians/muslim organizations would deploy violence and those who represent them like congress I (islami-isai) and communists would blame native Indians, BJP/RSS for violence.
    9. Onus on violence should be rested with muslims/xians and no justification or rationalization of violence should be accepted. Collaboration with Indian xians/muslims should be on native terms.
    10. Churchist control of education institutions is a constraint. Church/corrupt media work together to undermine nationalism. BJP should find ways to address it. (In BJP ruled states – make singing of National Song Vande Matharam compulsory, publicizing lives of national heros – Gobind Singh, Shivaji et. al. (detoxing history books, detoxifying church/communist inspired institution of race hatred against native communities like Jats, Rajputs, Sikhs, Brahmins must be part of agenda for consideration)
    11. Create a structure (high command creation cant be escaped), inculcate a culture of discipline, make the leader surround by those who speak the truth – not flatterers, yesmen. There will be those who will not like disciplining. Speak softly when such people do indiscretions. If repeated, use the stick. Authority, responsibility, results go together. If someone does not perform electorally over a period of time, move him/her.
    12. Packaging content is important. For example Advani for pm rollout should have started early. User friendly pocket book outlining advani’s legacy, his vision should hv been circulated rather than rolling out bulky ‘Me, My Life’1000 page tomes.
    13. Think long term. It is important to be the alpha party (dominant party in the alliance defending one’s voting sections). Try and ensure Nitish/JDS does not do a Biju Janata Dal. Politics is a powergame. One cant survive on goodwill alone. Target inorganic growth by integrating parties with synergistic agenda.
    14. More Lessons from Orissa seem to be the following:  Whether BJP likes it or not, it seems aspirationally significantly chunks of Indian people seem to prefer being like the babulog (Men like Naveen Patnaik; should we call them snake oil salesmen?) and tend to trust them despite their legacy of failed delivery. This perhaps is on account of faulty aspirational set ups(?) foisted on native Indians. Many probably do not even want to be reminded about their miserable state of affairs. (The hypothesis on aspirational aspect of Babulog needs to be validated by the BJP/RSS through an effective social research study). It is interesting that Raul Vinci, Congressi babulog efforts did not make any impact in Orissa.
    15. For motivating party cadres, use top of the line skills. Leverage Retired Armed Forces Personnel, who care to help.
    16. Monodimenstional commerical considerations can skew effective decisionmaking. Money acculation as well as its deployment must be based on realistic considerations with the welfare of native Indians in mind. Ensure that native interests are not short sold on commercial considerations.
    17. Make BJP membership aspirational. Influence commitment to the native Indian cause and BJP during membership drives. This can be done by requesting members to contribute through both material and physical efforts.
    18. In the short term, if it is validated that patronage mai baap economics work among key sections, leverage Sangh parivar organisations to ensure superior delivery.
    19. Cutting down dead wood is important. It is a necessary action that should be done without allowing sentiments to warp decision-making. Similarly it should be ensured that party credibility remains bigger than individual image. Actions that clearly undermine party perception, coherence should be discouraged.
    20. Following facts suggest it may be easy to fool uneducated poorer sections of Hindu Indians by playing the  perception game: (a)  Navin Patnaik’s chain smoking is camouflaged (b) M Karunanidhi has the gall to go for a hunger strike between breakfast and lunch in an AC environment (c) Raul Vinci fools around with the Kalavatis et al. of the world.

The above 18 points and 20 sub points capture the issues that BJP needs to grapple with. Each of these require serious brainstorming, analysis and conclusion. In the Head-Head clash with Congress I, BJP still has not done all that bad (While it got whacked in Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttharakhand, it still performed better in MP, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand). Congress I(islamiisai) will now go for BJP jugular thru its divisive hate politics in BJP ruled states.

ONE COMMENT ON TN/AP and Congi Performance there. It has been asserted that DMDK, PRP took away votes from ADMK, TDP as a reason for congress victory. Congress I, collaborated with DMDK to cut down anti incumbency votes. It was known for a long time that DMDK woud play spoilsport; ADMK and J Jayalalithaa should have effectively planned for this and communicated that vote to DMDK is a vote down the drain and for Congi/DMK.

UP ANALYSIS:  UP is the most important electoral state in India. The raul vinci/manmohan magic in UP is a lie. This has been amply clarified by Diggy Raja himself among insightful observers.

Details on congi surge in UP follow:

  • Roping in Panna Lal Puniya. Panna Lal Puniya is an important name in UP politics. He proved that the dalit votebank is not monolythic. Ex Principal Secretary of Mayawati, an old associate of Kanshi Ram crushed BSP in Barabanki, its stronghold. He recently renamed himself as Panna Lal Chamar to swing Chamar votes. He was a indeed a good pick for Congress.
  • Incremental movement of Kurmi/Keori votes to Congress I (islami-isai) on account of Beni Prasad Verma who transitioned from Mulayam to Congress in East UP.
  • Muslim vote: There was a very important meeting before the elections. Maulana Mohummad Tauqeer Raza Khan, All India Ittehad Millat Council, inked a deal with Congress. Maulana Tauqeer is great grandson of Maulana Ali Shah Mufti who founded influential Barelvi sect. Barelvi votes did move to Congress. While Barelvis wear the moderate mask they have a legacy of fanaticism similar to Deobandis. These are among the most regressive elements in the world, not just India.
  • The above factors explain why Congress I (islami-isai) gained ~6% votes.
  • When all this subterranean activities were going on, Mulayam decided on Intermediate caste consolidation and was confident he will get incremental Rajput, Muslim votes.
  • Those who argue Varun cost BJP the elections dont know the difference between their arms and feet. This fiction is nurtured on account of two motives: (a) MSM’s necessity to position him as a bad boy visavis raul vinci, whose personality, character does not provide them confidence. (b) BJP’s factionalism.  The contrarian view that Varun energised BJP cadre in UP is closer to the truth. It is no coincidence that in most native Indian languaged word for muslim is an expletive. No wonder Varun won big. Also but for Modi’s campaigns things could have been worse for the BJP there. (Note: Much more stringent comments from a much more senior politician Benazir Bhutto on Jag Mohan and Hindus, facilitating murders and ethnic cleansing of Hindus there did not invite censures by Indian MSM who sucked upto her)
  • Since 1999 BJP has been losing its lead in UP on account of poor leadership (vajpayee, advani, rajnath, kalyan singh, kalraj Mishra) all need to take the blame; for undoing the remarkable social engineering coalition that the likes of Govindacharya, Kalyan Singh et. al. had conceived, built brick by brick on the back of Ram Movement.

COMMENT ON COMMUNISTS: Communists were destined to lose – their long lies on secularism doing little for muslims while sleeping with most rabid fundamentalists and their false claims on speaking up for poor while brinda karat wears designer sarees and the karats go vacationing to Europe with prannoyjames’/radhika roy was bound to invite rebuke. Communists would have still got away but for the strategic mistake that its senescesent leaders Harkishen Surjit and Jyothi Basu did compounded by mediocre leadership of Karats and Yechury. Surjit forgot that you cant have the cake and eat it too. Surjit forgot, communist real enemies were Trinamul Congress in Bengal and Congress I (islamiisai) in Kerala and foolishly targeted the BJP. Communist assets NDTV (Deceit 24/7), Newspaper “The Hindu (Lies Daily)” compounded the mistake. (Folks: Communists not just have Ganashakthi, People’s Democracy as their mouthpieces). But for BJP taking away some of the opposition votes in West Bengal, Communist rout would have been even worse.

Lot of effort is required to tame the evil fasciosi congress I (islami-isai) organisation. Evil forces will not keep quiet opening up breakthrough opportunities for BJP. Congress I (islamiisai)’s links with evangelists/jehadis will have its costs on India. Economic loot that will now continue from India too would generate powerful opportunities to take the battle on congress I on the streets (remember JP’s legacy).

People are barking at the wrong tree by focusing on Hindutva. While a few who peddle this are well meaning and mention this out of ignorance and short sightedness, some on account of BJP factional reasons, some to camouflage their mal performance by raising heat on an issue destined to cause ruckus, overwhelming numbers of those who provide this unsolicited advice on giving up BJP’s Hindu roots are pseudo progressives masquerading as BJP’s well-wishers.  It will be a travesty of truth to argue that BJP carried out a Hindutva campaign. As we noted, issues behind BJP loss are far more structural. The other group that is focussing on Hindutva are the ones in BJP, like neandral Sudheendra Kulkarni, who should not have been there in the first place. In fact the concern is that this unwarranted focus on Hindutva will help those that want to obfuscate the real reasons and hide the individuals responsible for BJP’s failure. BJP/Jana Sangh/Sangh Parivar’s DNA is rooted in Hindu DNA and efforts to tinker with this will result in disaster. Any efforts by vested interests and well sounding idiots to peddle anti Hindutva nonsense should be cut there and then.

Next Steps: Summarizing, BJP if it has to get out of its morass of the past decade, will need following:

  1. Coherent definition of Ideology elements such as Hindutva, Big Ideas that will have resonance in minds of voters. Clarity on the narrative and the discourse.
  2. Social Engineering to expand its voter base on social and economic criteria. Execution done by enabling the Organization machinary, effectively synergising with like minded organization/groups/opinion makers. Plan and execute how well it can hand-over tangible benefits to its prospective voter base.
  3. Inspiring and credible leadership of a proven performer like Modi who can bring in the incremental votes (something that Advani 2009 could not achieve). Credibility of leadership is important. Image should match reality. (Sickular muck throwing if effectively countered on ground will help shape ecosystem, aid BJP credibility, help potential BJP voter mobilisation)

Above three conditions in conjunction are necessary. A two legged or a one legged seat is never stable.

A committed dharmic battle fought in the mindspace, resolutely over a period of time is the way to go. There should be a will to win backed by killer instinct – commitment to win (Krishna Neethi). Perseverence will be the key. While the election campaign is culmination of the fight, the war to root out totalitarian dynastic evil congress I (islami-isai) is continuous and it should continue with full vigor.

While the british left in 1947, resulting in physical freedom, significant sections of native Indian mind still remain enslaved. Using a variety of sophisticated propoganda tools, deceit, lies, forces of totalitarianism, inimical to native Indian civilisation like Congress I (islami-isai) et. al. have kept significent sections of Indian mind caged. True Independence will happen only when the Indian mind is freed.

Challenge today for India is far tougher than what our heros Harihara Raya, Chatrapathi Shivaji and Guru Gobind faced.

No time should be lost. The fight should be fought with the verve of new Independence movement. The war to permanently bury evil congress i (islami-isai) starts…NOW.

God Bless India.


ZoomIndianMedia notes with gratification the remarkable victory of Navjyot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar Sahib and the victory of Nalin Kumar Kateel from South Canara. In South Canara, Congress I (Islami-Isai), church, mosque tried their communal hate politics. Storyline is this: Church initiated deceitbased conversions of native Indians by abusing native Indian traditions, icons. Locals got angry and attacked the church. Corrupt MSM pounced on Hindu organisations and called native Indians of Mangalore communal. Massive propoganda was perpetrated. Church illegally closed schools it operates. Church asked all of its adherents to vote Congress I, Mosque asked all its adherents to vote BJP out. Congress I (islamiisai), sure of xian and muslim votes nominated Janardhan Poojary, a Billava, community who make the largest number in South Canara. BJP nominated a Sangh worker Nalin Kateel. Politically conscious Hindus of South Canara were angry at the vote bank politics of congress I (islami-isai), Church, Mosque, rose above caste cleavages and handed Kateel a famous victory. As a double whammy loud mouth, Renuka Choudhary is one of the few Congress MPs that lost. Basing Renuka’s Mangalore statements, her rival projected Renuka as a drunkard! Another important piece that MSM suppressed was BJP’s Pratap Sonawane trounced Congressman Amarishbhai Patel in Malegaon. Raigarh Electorate trounced A R Antulay. Anant Geete of Shiv Sena routed A R Antulay. Antulay and MSM had used Malegaon blasts to negatively paint Hinduism.


  • Jo Jeetha, Wo Sikandar, Jo Haaraa Wo Bandar
  • Winner takes All
  • Nice Guys finish last
  • Know your customer (Voter)
  • Speak Soft, Carry a big stick

(I have posted as comments number of viewpoints. While many are shallow there are some insightful ones such as Veteran Journalist Kamath’s)

Update November 26, 2009: BJP top leadership continued its bluster as if nothing has changed. Continuing Shenanigans prompted following posts on (1) Leadership change (2) Kamaraj type plan


64 Responses to Election 2009 Analysis

  1. Bharitya says:

    Dear Shrimati/Shriman:

    I liked the suggestions to improvve the situation, and would like to give some suggestions:

    1) Create a policy of running regional radio and tv channels which will act offensively, and be a medium of BJPs propaganda.

    2) Make a policy in sangh parivar not to dilute the concept of never commiting even a smallest weak decision like

    a) Recognizing Tibet as part of China
    b) Not attacking Congress party in Bofors case while in powse
    c) Awarding fallen Indians like A R Rahman and Danny Boyle, who make India a laughing lot in the world by creating dirty movies like Slumdog Millionaire
    d) Creating RSS schools in EVERY VILLAGE OF INDIA by 2015.






    Jai Hind

    • zoomindianmedia says:


      I agree with many of your suggestions, I wish to elaborate on certain issues:

      While we need to have an intellectual discourse that takes on and defeats church/mosque backed totalitarian perspectives, assert the superiority of native beliefs, and enhance the numbers on our side, I am not sure if we need a theocratic state.

      Religion and Politics are both better off when both are kept separate. And violence of course does not go well with both religion/politics.

      RSS should not intervene in day-to-day operating of BJP. If RSS lends people to RSS, it should be a full time deployment and a defacto transfer. Unity of command should not be compromised. A situation where an RSS secy reporting to Advani should not have the leverage of a hot line of Bhagwat and through that the undermining of BJP Leader on operational issues.

  2. zoomindianmedia says:

    Bal Thakeray did something he should done an year ago. Formally disowning Raj Thakeray, a collaborator of congress I (islami-isai) in splitting Marathi votes and directly contributing to the victory of congress I (islami-isai) in 6 seats. Thakeray should have also blasted MNS for the violence perpetrated on non-marathis.

  3. zoomindianmedia says:

    Interesting Perspective from Sishir Gupta

    It was the enemy within that routed the BJP in LS 2009.

    New Delhi:

    Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi deservedly get all the credit for soundly defeating the BJP and the umbrella NDA in LS 2009. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani’s ambitions all fell flat as the Congress made huge dents into the BJP territory while turning out exceptional electoral performance in its core states of Andhra, Delhi and Haryana. A close look at the election results show that many within the BJP and particularly the Sangh Parivar also deserve kudos for letting the party down by promoting infighting, factionalism or simply refusing to take action against errant leaders.

    However, the biggest pumpkin is reserved for the Sangh Parivar which did its best to undermine L.K. Advani by giving a long rope to the mischievous activities of party president Rajnath Singh. Not only the RSS took its sweet time in agreeing to Advani’s candidature as Prime Minister for LS 2009, its joint general secretary Suresh Soni virtually ran and is still running the party through his protégé Rajnath Singh. Of course, Advani is equally to be blamed for the debacle as the man refused to exercise his influence and stature in controlling the infighting within.

    Even at the peak of Rajnath versus Arun Jaitely covert war over Sudhanshu Mittal at the height of election campaign, Advani just did not take charge of the party and stem the rot. Knowing perfectly well that Advani was not the same leader in the post-Jinnah remark phase, the RSS through Rajnath Singh and his political advisor cum astrologer Sudhanshu Trivedi played havoc with the party. Otherwise, how can one explain SMSs send to all media reporters about the theft of large sum of party money from the party headquarters at Ashoka Road by one of the key aides of the party president on December 30, 2008. Or how RSS man in BJP Ram Lal overruled attempts by BJP leaders to muzzle Varun Gandhi after his hate speech and not use him in other parts of UP.

    A detailed analysis of the election results show that BJP lost in only those states that were hit by infighting with no one to take control of the party discipline. Consider this:

    • BJP received a drubbing in Rajasthan as State president O.P. Mathur continued to cross swords with Vasudhara Raje Scindia despite losing the Assembly elections. To add to this, old warhorses Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Jaswant Singh took their grievance against Vasu to ridiculous levels. So Vasu hardly campaigned for BJP during LS 2009 and the entire party was split into three factions.

    • The situation was slightly better in Madhya Pradesh but one of Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s own ministers was actively campaigning against the party in Indore and Mahakaushal area. The result for the BJP would have been far worse had it not been for good governance on part of Chouhan but the Congress still tripled its seats from 2004.

    • The BJP knew that UP was the key to its electoral performance in LS 2009. But the fact is that two of its most prominent leaders drove a faustian bargain with BSP and SP to get elected in eastern and western UP. Not only did Rajnath checkmate state in-charge Arun Jaitely during ticket distribution, he used his clout to ensure that some of the party supporters remained aloof during the entire campaign.

    • The BJP lost Uttarakhand state due to Chief Minister B.C.Khanduri inability to stand up to RSS, which made demands through the party prabhari, and leaving state governance in the hands of select few bureaucrats. And to top its all, Khanduri’s running feud with RSS backed B.S. Koshiyari. The fact is that VHP leader Ashok Singhal gave an earful in chaste Hindi to Advani and Rajnath and ensured that the Haridwar seat was not given to popular local MLA Madan Kaushik. The result was a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Congress.

    • Delhi was a lost due to poor party vision or the inability of the party leadership to forcibly give VRS to its outdated leaders like Vijay Kumar Malhotra and O.P. Kohli. Rather than promote a young face in the Capital, Advani stood by Vijay Kumar Malhotra and his 1967 brand of politics in the Delhi Assembly elections. Even after the defeat at the hands of Sheila Dixit, the party still stuck to its past in LS 2009. A self important and Rajnath backed Vijay Goel was allowed to change seats from Chandini Chowk to New Delhi as a result Aarti Mehra was left in the lurch. Shatrughan Sinha and Kiriti Azad chose safe seats in Bihar and stood up against party wishes that they contest from East Delhi. The result was that the electoral defeat margins were much more than the 1984 drubbing.

    • Haryana was a lost case from the beginning as BJP chose INLD as its ally rather than build upon a non-Jat platform by tying with Bhajan Lal. Even though Sushma Swaraj was rushed to Haryana to salvage the party before the fourth phase, the damage had already been done.

    So has the BJP learnt a lesson after the 2009 defeat. The answer is no and the most recent example is Advani re-election as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) even the face of adverse public sentiment for the veteran leader. The fact is that the party had no options but to continue with Advani as both Rajnath and Murli Manohar Joshi were gunning for the job. In fact, before it all settled in favour of Advani, the Suresh Soni backed plan was to appoint Rajnath as LoP and Sushma Swaraj as the party president. It is another matter that Rajnath Singh would have a tough time countering die-hard Parliamentarian like Pranab Mukherjee in matters of economy or foreign policy in Lok Sabha.

    While the BJP gears for the next round of Assembly elections in Maharashtra later this year, there should be a clear chain of command in the party leadership with no cross-currents all over. The last thing that Advani does before he hangs up his boots is to ensure a smooth succession in the party with all the leaders answerable to the next president and not Nagpur. The BJP has no other options.

  4. zoomindianmedia says:

    “Congress I (islami-isai) friends celebrate win”

    Brazen Terror attack in Hyderabad

    Home guard shot dead; constable’s condition critical

    HYDERABAD: Unidentified gunmen fired shots at a police picket in old city killing a home guard and critically injuring another constable in Falaknuma, barely 200 yards from the police station, on the second anniversary of the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid, on Monday.

    The injured constable, Rajendra Prasad, is being treated at Care Hospital in Banjara Hills, while the home guard Balaswamy (24) was declared dead on arrival at the Osmania General Hospital. The unarmed policemen were on a picket duty on the Falaknuma main road on account of the second anniversary of the Masjid blast which left nine dead and another five dead in the subsequent police firing to quell violent mobs.

    Police said a pamphlet found on the spot believed to have been left by the assailants claimed that the attack was in retaliation to the death of five persons in police firing on the day of Mecca Masjid blast. The pamphlet also mentioned that more such attacks would be carried out.

    Zonal DCP Atul Singh said two youngsters, both carrying short firearms, walked up to the policemen and opened fire from a close range, around 4 p.m. While constable Rajendra Prasad collapsed, Balaswamy ran to the nearby telephone booth apparently to call his higher-ups. But the assailants fired several shots at him and walked away quietly, even as passersby watched in horror.

    Yadamma, who runs a roadside hotel near the spot, recalled that one of the attackers wore a mask while the other wore a helmet.

    Other eye witnesses recalled that the assailants came on a Bajaj Chetak scooter and parked it a few metres away about 30 minutes before attacking the police picket. They were believed to have escaped on the scooter, as people scampered to safety.

    Six bullet shells and two live rounds, all of 7.65 mm calibre, were found on the spot indicating the use of pistol. The clues team and the ballistics experts were called in to ascertain if all the bullets were fired from two weapons.

    City police Commissioner B. Prasada Rao, who rushed to the spot, was confident that the attackers would be caught very soon.

    General alert
    Following the attack on police, a state of high alert was declared and police were checking vehicles and frisking operations were in full swing all over the State capital.

    Sources said a general alert was sounded three days ago about a possible terror attack on Monday, but an attack on police was not suspected.

    Officials suspect that LET activist Vikaruddin and his associates, who had earlier opened fire on counter intelligence team a few months ago at Santoshnagar, could be behind the latest attack.

    TAIL PIECE: India opted for congress I (islami-isai). It had two choices.

    -Vote BJP 2009 if u care for India and its native traditions, if you want progress, prosperity, happiness and security.
    -Vote Congress I (islami-isai) and allies if you are an enemy of India. If you want islamic terror, christian evangelism, maoist terror, these are your guys

    Many by taking 1000 Rs, a bottle of beer from congress party, voted for them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dear ZoomIndianMedia, what is your opinion on working from grass root level ? Why can’t RSS coutner these missionary schools who seem to have acquired huge real estate in India at very cheap rates. They are in every nook and corner of the city and using it as a platform for theor subtle operations that help Congress-I.

    How it sucks when a converted christian says that all indians grow up in missionary school. As a matter of fact, Indians do not have any choice. If you look around, there are no other schools. And you have to choose the school which nearest to your dwelling place.

    • zoomindianmedia says:

      In Karnataka congis/church was screwed them despite their obnoxious influence. We still need to ensure that there is an institutionalized elimination of the resident evil across the country.

      I did refer to this in my blog, point 14. Church’s control of healthcare is another evil that has to be tackled.

      church is the largest real estate owner in India. They have to be intellectually fought. Awareness among Hindus on truth about church, its lies, its deceit, needs to be encouraged.

      RSS does not have the kind of money that church has. Church organisations also get money from the government.

      BJP and the Indian right has its work cut out. Will they bite it?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can education reforms and helath reforms fix this problem ? Can private school and hospitals challenge the existence of missionery schools and hospitals ?

    BJP task is indeed hard and mportantly they do not have any time. I am afraid any sincere and peaceful effort to educate our people will be termed as communal.

    • zoomindianmedia says:

      It can be done. Church is an out and out evil institution. Effective BJP leadership will be key.

  7. zoomindianmedia says:

    Arun Jaitley’s Analysis

  8. zoomindianmedia says:

    Arun Jaitley’s Analysis

    The BJP’s tally in the Lok Sabha elections is below expectations. We had entered the 14th Lok Sabha with 138 MPs and we hoped to win 160 seats this time — an increase of 22 seats. Ironically, our tally was exactly 22 down to 116 seats. A thorough analysis of the 2009 verdict will take time but some messages the electorate wanted to deliver are absolutely clear.

    The BJP contested the elections on predominantly three themes: the inability of the UPA government to take concrete and decisive steps in the management of the economy; the need to strengthen national security; and the importance of a strong and decisive leadership. All the three themes were directly linked to governance.

    The results have demonstrated that there was a surge in favour of the Congress across the country. Even Congress supporters would have conceded that its past five years were wasted in indecision. The government didn’t live up to popular expectation in announcing decisive measures to fight the economic slowdown nor did it adopt measures to strengthen India’s security. Despite these glaring failures the Congress secured more votes and seats.

    There was a larger central issue in the elections. Not only did we in the BJP fail to read it, even the Congress did not foresee it. This was the desire of the Indian voter to ensure politically stable government free from obstructions and roadblocks. The experience of the past five years had strengthened the resolve of the Indian voter to elect a government which is more decisive and is not prevented from acting merely because supporting allies are a hurdle in the decision-making process.

    In the past five years, the Left obstructed economic decision-making. The leaders of the government not only appeased the Left but were paralysed into inaction. After withdrawing its support from the UPA, the Left was replaced by the Samajwadi Party. The Samajwadi Party’s agenda was more than merely political. Its quid pro quo for support involved the receipt of generosity from the CBI for the party’s leader.

    The Left now attempted a new experiment. It led a combination of parties ranging from the BSP, TDP and AIADMK whose aim was to win over 100 seats and on that basis pressure the Congress into supporting a Third Front from within or outside. With the country being pushed into this nightmare, the UPA and the NDA attempted to increase their seats. But the voter wanted to favour one side decisively to ward off the Third Front threat.

    The architects of obstruction were badly punished and routed. The BSP got less than half the seats it expected. The Left was routed in the states of West Bengal and Kerala to its lowest tally in recent memory. The TDP and AIADMK were expected to fare much better but got only a small fraction of what they expected. The major gains of the UPA came from the states where the Third Front was hoping to do well. But the ripples of the anti-Third Front mood were also felt in the NDA-dominated states. We lost some seats in a number of states. The first message of the electorate was thus clear: they wanted a stable government free from any form of political obstruction.

    Which were the states where the non-Congress parties were able to resist this surge of the Congress? These were essentially those states where the governance record of the non-Congress parties had been good. The non-Congress parties won an overwhelming majority of seats in Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. In the face of this Congress surge, they still managed to win a majority of the seats in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The second message of the electorate was thus equally clear: it wanted good governance. Even in the face of the Congress surge, it spared the opposition in states in which the chief ministers had governed well.

    Additionally, there are a large number of regional/ local factors which may have influenced the electorate in several states. The in-fighting within the Left in Kerala, the sympathy for the Sri Lanka Tamil cause in Tamil Nadu, the division of non-Congress votes in Andhra Pradesh, the MNS effect which helped the Congress in Maharashtra and the inability of the BJP to field more young candidates could be several other factors.

    Why did the benefits of political stability accrue to the Congress and not the BJP? A possible reasoning could be that the Congress had a larger pan-India presence. The Congress was a victim of obstructions caused by the Left, the Samajwadi Party. The prime minister’s own image created a sense of sympathy, that a man who wanted to deliver was being obstructed from proceeding further.

    But there are other important lessons the political class can gleam from the results. Sober governance helps, shrillness does not. Moderation and understatement are virtues.

    India is changing, the profile of the Indian voter is changing. Both the Indian politician and the political parties must also change. The fact that most criminal candidates lost is itself an indication that the electorate is looking for cleaner politicians. Politics directs the life of a nation. It influences decision-making. The individuals who man it must have a tall and mature stature. The ethical criterion cannot be disregarded any more. While aligning with any coalition, political parties will have to watch that the baggage of the

    alliance partners does not get transferred to them. I am sure the TDP and AIADMK would introspect whether being a part of an over-ambitious but a disruptionist alliance cost them seats in Parliament.

    I also have a few other preliminary thoughts. Are we moving towards a greater bipolar politics? The Third and the Fourth Fronts have temporarily evaporated after May 16. Secondly, the opposition space belongs predominantly to the BJP/ NDA.

    India is passing through a serious crisis; the economic concern is one of them. There is no improvement in the internal security scenario. There is trouble ensuing in several of our neighbouring countries which concerns us. The emergence of the Taliban in Pakistan is an area of concern. Our primary objective as a responsible nationalist party is to strengthen India. We will support the government where national interests are at stake. We in the BJP will oppose the government when we find it wanting. We have also seen the emergence of political arrogance in the party in power. The manner in which the allies have been snubbed is not merely a reaction to the erstwhile allies who irritated the government; even friendly allies are being cut to size. Arrogance in politics is always the first but a sure indicator of a future decline.

    Finally, many feel that Verdict 2009 gives legitimacy to India as a dynastic democracy. A cursory look at a cross-section of our young MPs suggests that most of them are inheritors of a legacy, and not those whose merit has impressed the voters. The real strength of Indian democracy will only be realised when merit prevails over family names. India must grow as a democracy and not as a state with feudal moorings.

    The writer is a BJP MP and general secretary

    • zoomindianmedia says:

      Jaitley has provided his take on elections:

      His Key Points:

      “The results have demonstrated that there was a surge in favour of the Congress across the country”

      “Even in the face of the Congress surge, it spared the opposition in states in which the chief ministers had governed well”

      “The ethical criterion cannot be disregarded any more.”

      His conclusion “Sober governance helps, shrillness does not. Moderation and understatement are virtues”.

      He also wanted regional parties to rethink association with communists.

      Some Comments:

      1. Congress I (islami-isai) is very low on ethics. still it won.
      2. Why was there a surge for congress if there was one. And equally why was there not one for BJP. What actions of congress are responsible for surge.
      3. Why did the surge not touch karnataka/orissa.
      4. Orissa is no-one’s example of good governance. And Uttarakhand is one’s example of good governance. Why despite suppering with 3rd front Navin Patnaik triumphed and why khanduri could not win a single seat?
      5. Why no analysis about UP.
      6. There is gratuitous advice to the regional players to move away from commies. Probable reason TDP and ADMK did not ally with NDA was bcoz of the fear of losing minority votes.
      What is going to be BJP strategy to grow from here. Is BJP going to try any out of box initiatives in key states?

      After Last elections too Jaitley wrote a similar piece. Next time, we would want Jaitley to do an analysis on why we won.

  9. zoomindianmedia says:

    By N Vittal (Former CVC)
    Posted On Monday, May 25, 2009 at 02:26:34 AM

    The recent general elections in the country provide yet another opportunity to understand the dynamics of democracy. If elections are the heartbeat of democracy, understanding its dynamics provides insights into what makes them tick. With the amount of images and information available through the electronic and print media, everyone can have his/her take on the situation. Here is mine.

    There are four aspects of the election dynamics this year.

    The first is the basic reality behind the results. It is true that many observers and psephologists had projected that UPA would be ahead of the NDA. The growing clout of regional parties and the ambitious regional chieftains of the Third Front created an impression that they would have a decisive role in the Lok Sabha.

    The results that have given a free hand to the Congress and the UPA and a drubbing for the Third Front and some self-proclaimed aspirants for the PM’s post, raise a basic question. After all the hoopla and analysis, strategic planning and campaign, when it comes to pressing the button on the EVM, how does the voter decide?

    With 70 crore-plus voters, perhaps there are as many reasons which prove decisive. In this context, the laws of physics provide a useful insight.

    As anyone familiar with modern physics knows, the world as we see it is totally different from the world of atoms. Quantum mechanics operates at a level where common sense does not appear to be helpful. The only sure thing is uncertainty, immortalised in the Eisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

    Applying this understanding of physics to our elections we can say that each voter is like an electron. You can never be certain of its speed and position. Nevertheless, at a larger scale of the visible world, all physical objects behave according to the well-known laws of nature.

    With this background, three factors seem to have played a decisive role in the recent elections.

    The first is the enormous role and clout of money power. The fact that many candidates claimed to be crorepatis was just the beginning. It reflected the reality that democracy in our country, which has perhaps the largest population of the poor, has become an exclusive game in which only the rich with tonnes of money can participate. Especially in the two critical states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, there were a lot of allegations about the flaunting of money power to bribe voters and entice those in the opposite camp.

    The second factor is the role of the family. We are different from the West. Our family values and attachments are strong. Every major party has its dominant family. Naturally, the only party which claims to be a family – in an ideological sense (the Sangh Parivar) – seems to have a problem in ensuring the smooth transfer of power and leadership to the next generation. As a feudal society with a claim to modernity, we Indians are very comfortable with dynasties and families.

    The third factor is about a new reality of Indian politics. In the past, when the ruling parties were defeated, the main reason was voter discontent. This got crystallised into an element of modern conventional wisdom of Indian politics – the anti-incumbency factor. Given the stunning success of the UPA, has the anti-incumbency factor become history or is it far from it?

    In the three key states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, there were ‘spoiler’ parties which took away a chunk of the anti-incumbency vote that should have gone to the established opposition and helped the ruling parties. The Praja Rajyam Party in Andhra Pradesh hurt the Telugu Desam Party. Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu hit Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in Maharashtra did a similar job on the Shiv Sena-BJP combine. In Uttar Pradesh, it was anti-incumbency that helped revival of the Congress and the BJP.

    There is, however, a reassuring message – the ruling parties in Bihar and Orissa overcame the anti-incumbency factor by providing good governance. That is good news for the country. If only the ruling parties read the right signals.

  10. zoomindianmedia says:

    EDITS | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Email | Print |

    BJP failed to connect

    Sandhya Jain

    When Mr SM Krishna lost the Karnataka elections in 2004, the media naturally asked him what factors he held responsible for Congress’s defeat. He raised his right hand to stop speculation and said as leader he took full responsibility; there was no need for scapegoats.

    In 2009, Mr LK Advani was nowhere to be seen when it became clear the people had rejected his quest to be Prime Minister. Aides told the media he was quitting as Leader of the Opposition; squabbling for the post began. Mr Rajnath Singh, party president, was left to face the public alone, without a coherent line being evolved collectively. The RSS top brass had to step in to ensure Mr Advani continued till a replacement was found.

    The danger now is that, as in 2004, the BJP power elite may dodge honest introspection over the successive debacles and cling to the commanding heights. Key campaign strategist Arun Jaitley refused to look inwards, blamed the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’, and announced the need for the BJP to function as a “responsible Opposition”. Certainly, but under whose leadership? The sooner this is decided the better.

    A thorough introspection is imperative, with all senior and important Sangh Parivar leaders present, so that non-entities do not kill the debate. So-called candid admissions in the media cannot substitute for inner-party deliberations. It is surprising Mr Jaitley should have said that terrorism, economic meltdown and price rise did not impress voters who opted for “political stability”; these issues are critical components of political stability!

    The BJP was expecting to float into South Block on the basis of anti-incumbency, and did not raise any issue seriously before the electorate. Hence, to claim that an issue failed is the worst kind of intellectual chicanery. Had the BJP discussed terrorism and national security seriously, offering concrete steps to protect the nation, voters desiring political stability would have turned to it.

    Voters booted out parties wanting to carve out fiefdoms to blackmail the next administration, but this explains the fall of the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’ only. Still, their rout is truly impressive. The Indian voter, supposedly illiterate and ignorant, always grasps the substantive issues involved in an election. Psephologists and analysts are wise after the event; the voter displays wisdom at the ballot box.

    It will be wrong if the BJP, as Mr Jaitley suggests, banks upon the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’ to gang up and take ‘revenge’ on the Congress for its legitimate hard bargaining over portfolios with Mr Farooq Abdullah and Mr M Karunanidhi. One sincerely hopes the BJP is not banking upon astrologers predicting an early fall of the Government; this false hope averted honest introspection in 2004 and prevented the much-needed exit of those who led the party to doom in 2009 as well.

    Actually, Mr Manmohan Singh was not perceived as a strong man by the electorate, but he was seen as decent and clean, not given to back-stabbing or undermining colleagues or political foes. Mr Advani’s attack on him was seen as ‘cheap’ and ‘desperate’, and earned him public odium.

    Hindus rejected the BJP in 2004 for renouncing the Hindu basis of Indian nationalism. But having learnt nothing and forgotten nothing, the BJP persisted with the renunciation of Hindu identity and relied upon some gibberish about good governance and development to sweep it to power. If governance is devoid of ideology, the country only needs a municipal commissioner!

    The BJP approached the election without addressing any concern of the Indian voter. It also failed to keep track of the tactics and dynamics of rivals; hence a Naveen Patnaik-style ‘deal’ awaits it in Bihar if it does not quickly replace Mr Sushil Modi with a strong leader.

    In Orissa, the Biju Janata Dal did so well because the Congress did not put up a serious challenge so that the BJP could be routed and Naveen Patnaik wooed in case the Congress needed a good chunk of MPs at the Centre. The Congress will wait till the next election and then give the BJD a run for its money. The good vibes sent to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were part of similar calculations for post-election block votes. The BJP is rapidly declining in Bihar because of a legacy of poor leaders and a State unit chief who subordinates the party to the whims of the Chief Minister.

    The BJP leadership is intellectually lethargic. The middle class and the poor, both equally affected by price rise and unemployment, did not find the party addressing their concerns. The party manifesto promised to raise income tax exemption to an attractive Rs 3 lakh per annum, but never took the promise to the millions who would benefit from this move. It spoke of farmers’ suicides, and promised cheap loans and other benefits, but did not speak against the foreign multinationals ruining farmers with ugly monopoly practices.

    The BJP failed to win over Muslims despite giving them costly sops like enhanced Haj subsidy and increased salaries for imams; Haj terminals in major cities; non-action against Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators; refusal to treat persecuted Bangladeshi Hindus as refugees; refusal to speak up for Kashmiri Pandits evicted from home and hearth; refusal to integrate Jammu & Kashmir fully with India; and failure to adopt a uniform civil code.

    Still, this election promised to be different because Muslim leaders seemed to have decided not to be blindly anti-BJP. Then, always on the lookout for a quick-fix, the BJP decided to field the controversial Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit after initially distancing itself from his unspeakable remarks. This polarised Muslims nation-wide against the BJP, and arrested its expected revival in Uttar Pradesh.

    There was no reciprocal Hindu vote-bank to offset this as the BJP had systematically alienated Hindus over five years in office and another five in Opposition. And despite an overall negative campaign, the BJP did not even think of promising not to implement the Sachar Committee’s recommendations of reservation for Muslims — now a real threat to the nation.

  11. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP lags behind, but Rajnath races ahead

    The Bharatiya Janata Party has been given a severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha election. The party was gasping for breath while trying to retain a paltry 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh — pathetic performance, to say the least, for a national party that had set out to stake prime ministerial claims.
    This was only to be expected. I had forewarned the BJP in a column titled UP could well be the BJP’s Waterloo as early as January 9, 2009.

    BJP chief Rajnath Singh, who hails from UP, managed to win his Ghaziabad seat. Ahead of the poll, he had been bragging and talking tall, but after the results he had no sensible and plausible excuse for his party’s dismal performance both in UP and across the country.

    He added insult to injury by saying that the results were not as expected.

    In fact, there was hardly any systematic or determined campaigning in the state by him. Also, the BJP/Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh/Vishwa Hindu Parishad cadres were ill-organised and suffering from very low morale.

    Contrast this with P L Punia of the Congress. Punia visited almost each village in his sprawling constituency of Barabanki and slogged it out relentlessly to eventually register a thumping victory margin of 170,000 votes.

    That was the fighting spirit, which was sadly missing in the BJP candidates/cadres. This was visible to everyone in UP, except perhaps to the BJP ostriches.

    Banking on Gorakhpur MP Mahant Adityanath’s vote-catching capacity was okay. But his unpredictability, impulsive outbursts and gimmicks could not be seriously expected to pull the BJP out of the UP mess and morass.

    The ongoing tiff between BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley [Images] and Rajnath Singh did little to unite the cadres to fight strongly. The Sudhanshu Mittal snub (Mittal’s appointment as sah-prabhari for the northeast had caused a major row between Rajnath and Jaitley) to rival Jaitley was given by Rajnath who defiantly added Rajasthan to Mittal’s portfolio.

    The cadres were confused and bewildered, and found absurd excuses to stay indoors in the scorching summer heat.

    The Varun Gandhi [Images] effect was stunningly electrifying. Youthful Varun had a point of view. He articulated what many Hindus felt — nothing wrong in that.

    The opportunistic RSS/BJP bosses were in two minds. Mark their initial reactions and the subsequent ones. They wanted to reap positive benefits flowing from his statements and, yet, they were neither honest nor supportive for Varun when he faced criticism.

    The unpalatable truth is that the Varun effect went a very long way in boosting the sagging BJP morale in UP. But for him, the BJP would have got fewer seats than the 10 they eventually got.

    Their ambivalence was unbecoming of a national party. And now making a scapegoat out of poor Varun by the party-men is still worse. It does not redound to the character and maturity of the seniors in the BJP. It smacks of dishonesty, unfairness, and short-sightedness.

    Several meetings are being held these days to trace the causes of the BJP’s defeat in UP. As usual, these are mere sops for public consumption. Membership drives and other hackneyed tricks like atma-chintan (introspection) will not work. The outcome will be a big zero.

    The man solely responsible for the BJP’s humiliating defeat is Rajnath Singh. He was the party president with unfettered powers. And, he has very badly let down the BJP. Lame excuses can no longer fool anyone.

    The field marshall leading his forces has to be given full credit for victory in war. Similarly, discredit for defeat has also to be fixed squarely on that field marshall.

    Shifting the responsibility for the BJP’s all-India failure on Narendra Modi [Images] and cunningly escaping accountability by the national president is a move in that direction.

    Rajnath is a highly ambitious and ruthless leader in a hurry. A pensive L K Advani [Images] owned up moral responsibility and refused to act as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. Rajnath was thrilled. He thought the decks had been cleared for him to take on that important role.

    Unfortunately for the ambitious Rajnath, in comes his senior Murli Manohar Joshi. Rajnath’s dreams got crumpled for the time being. Hastily, he rushed to Advani and manipulated things to keep Joshi out. A shattered 82-year-old Advani was a safer bet than Joshi.

    Had Advani become prime minister, the wait would have to be for five long years. Now, with Advani eclipsed, Rajnath is eyeing for, and inching towards, the top slot. With Atal Bihari Vajpayee [Images] and Advani out of the reckoning, there is room at the top in the BJP.

    Of course, at the moment the BJP is nowhere near grabbing power. Revival and re-emergence are an uphill task. It may take years. But the show must go on. Vajpayee and Advani’s slots will have to be filled up, sooner than later.

    And Rajnath will not be found lagging behind. Even though his party fared so badly, the wily Thakur is cunningly racing ahead. He wants to be head and shoulders above his possible rivals/competitors like Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, and Joshi.

    Rajnath Singh’s salvos against Narendra Modi and others have been subtly fired. Will the wise men in Nagpur see Rajnath through? Or will they see through his ambitious game-plan? Will they hold him squarely responsible for the BJP’s debacle? And cut him down to size?

  12. zoomindianmedia says:

    Like Blair, like BJP?
    Dhiraj Naayyar

    The BJP may not see too many silver linings in its electoral defeat, but it may like to note that it still has marginally more MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha (116) than the Congress had in the 13th (114). And just as critics then wrote off the Congress as a political force for the near future, critics will now write off the BJP. It took the Congress only five years from that lowest point to recapture power at the Centre and an additional five to cross the 200 mark on its own. Yet, the work for the beleaguered BJP on its comeback trail may be harder than it was for the Congress. For one, by the time the next general election comes along, the BJP will have been out of power for 10 long years, a period long enough to drain

    a party of its most important resources — money and people.

    Also, for the BJP, the defeat in 2009 will be harder to digest and rationalise than the defeat in 2004 — the easy explanation then was anti-incumbency (NDA had won two general elections and spent six years in power). And the party ended up only seven seats behind the Congress, hardly an emphatic loss. This time round, the party has ended up 90 seats short of the Congress, a devastating result against an incumbent government it viewed as weak and incompetent. Clearly then, the party has at some point lost the pulse of the electorate. However, the BJP’s internal interpretation of how the party must respond is likely to be quite different from the liberal intelligentsia’s view which necessitates the conversion of the BJP into a moderate (Hindutva abandoned) party of the centre-right. Influential parts of the BJP and RSS may argue that being the liberal B-team of the Congress isn’t going to win the party support from either its core base or independent voters.

    If the BJP does indeed choose to lurch towards its Hindu core rather than against it, its response will not be dissimilar to the response of parties elsewhere in the world who suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of power, and more importantly the wrong side of majority public opinion, for a lengthy period of time.

    Consider the examples of Britain’s two major parties to understand the BJP’s predicament. The liberal view of the BJP’s reinvention argues that the party should do something similar to what Tony Blair did to Labour — jettison its most abhorrent and unpopular agenda completely. Blair, in 1995, forced the Labour Party to abandon the notorious Clause IV in its constitution, which promised “common ownership” of means of production. That signalled an important break from Labour’s unpopular socialist past and made the party genuinely electable.

    However, that moment was 16 long years in the making. Labour had been in opposition since it lost the 1979 general election to Margaret Thatcher. It was obvious to all (except the party itself) that Labour’s brand of politics and governance had lost all legitimacy amidst the economic stagnation (and the display of party-backed trade union power) in the ‘70s and the Conservatives had caught the pulse of the people with a promise to free the economy from state control and bust the unions. Instead of rethinking its ideology, Labour’s initial response in opposition was to lurch further to the left, most notably under the ineffectual leadership of Michael Foot in the ‘80s. That met with more electoral humiliation in the two general elections that followed. Then came the somewhat modernising Neil Kinnock, but despite bringing the party closer to the centre, he lost the 1992 general election to John Major’s fairly incompetent Conservative Party. People were still uncertain about Labour’s socialist agenda — and only the final repeal of Clause IV changed that perception for good. But it took time.

    The Conservatives in the UK had a similar experience after they lost power to Labour in 1997. At some point, during their 18 years in power, they lost touch with the fact that people had tired of rightwing Thatcherism and wanted something different. The removal of Thatcher as PM in 1991 was just tokenism in the name of change as the party had clearly not modified its ideology. The Tories were, not surprisingly, humiliated in 1997. In response, they lurched further to the right in their initial years in opposition. That made the Tories more unelectable and they were handed successive defeats in 2001 and 2005 by Blair, riding over his own unpopularity after the Iraq debacle.

    It has taken more than a decade for the emergence of the more moderate and youthful David Cameron to make the Conservative Party fit for a possible election win in 2010 — but in order to gain credibility with the voters, the Conservatives have dropped their hardline rightwing agenda (which lost its relevance in the early ‘90s) and now sound

    almost to the left of Labour.

    In the US, John McCain, despite being fully aware of the unpopularity of the Bush-era Republican Party’s rightwing agenda, made the fatal error of lurching to the right (his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was the final straw) when the people of the US were looking for a change in the opposite direction. McCain was never a hardliner, but his example shows that when parties become unpopular, their initial reaction is to seek refuge in their core constituencies — it’s just that core constituencies rarely elect parties to majorities.

    So, experience from elsewhere suggests that it may take more than a while for the BJP to actually move convincingly to the centre-right, from their inherently rightwing agenda. And experience from elsewhere also suggests that to actually convince people about its changed agenda, the BJP will need to, at some point, have a dramatic Blair-Clause IV type of moment. This will require a clear change in its manifesto, goals and relationship with the RSS, not just rhetorical liberal references from one or two leaders. Perhaps the most difficult of all will be to severe the umbilical cord with the RSS; that is akin to asking the Congress to drop the Nehru-Gandhi family, and will not happen any time soon, if ever. However, it is in the interest of competitive democracy that the BJP form a credible alternative to the Congress in 2014, whatever the actual outcome.


  13. zoomindianmedia says:

    Why BJP Is Failing
    After the BJP lost the general election in 2004 this first person account of interaction with the BJP was published in a magazine now defunct to explain why the BJP lost. It predicted that in its present shape the BJP will never return to power. The article is reproduced without any change.



    After six years in office the BJP launched the costliest election campaign in India ’s history and was badly trounced. The Congress, which itself had dwindled into irrelevance, succeeded in becoming the single largest party. The fractured election result did not signify a revival of the Congress. It signified the irrelevance of all existing parties.

    The BJP itself lacks ideology, procedure and principle. It has an attitude. It is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian. These prejudices are its driving force. My views are derived from personal interaction with the BJP and its erstwhile avatar, the Jan Sangh. I present, by your leave, a first person account of that interaction, for whatever it is worth.

    I was working, in 1970, for The Statesman, and was among the country’s best-paid journalists. My cartoons had been very critical of the Congress and of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In those days of one-party rule all opposition parties stood up for me. Indeed, during those days when Indira was splitting the Congress, opposition party leaders from all the leading parties held a function in Vithalbhai Patel House to air support for me. On behalf of all the leaders present, Atal Behari Vajpayee even garlanded me!

    The Jan Sangh (the BJP of those days) decided to start a daily newspaper, Motherland. I was invited to be the editor. Having my own ideas of how to run a newspaper, and believing that in a city largely sympathetic to the Jan Sangh I could effectively challenge Delhi ’s premier newspaper, the Hindustan Times, I accepted the offer. I more than halved my own salary and set the same salary ceiling for the top five members of the editorial team. I created a salary structure in which junior staff would have salaries equivalent to the highest paying competitors, the Times of India and The Statesman. The Sangh leaders watched me uneasily but said nothing.

    The resident editor of the Indian Express, DR Mankekar, had just retired. I approached him to become Editor of News. Mankekar was very much my senior in years. He appeared to respond favourably. On this matter I consulted KR Malkani, editor of the Jan Sangh’s journal, Organiser. The next thing I knew, I was told by Madhav Rao Mule, number two in the RSS that Mankekar would be the managing editor. I was told that Hansraj Gupta had a hand in this decision.
    Mule, Malkani and I held a meeting to discuss the issue. The only known managing editor till then had been Devdas Gandhi in HT. Devdas was the boss of the show. So I asked Mule, “What does a managing editor do?”

    Mule looked uncomfortable. Malkani replied, “Rajinderji, here we function like a family, we work together.”

    I bluntly told him: “I don’t think we can function like a family. If we want to become number one in the city we must function like an army. We must have a chain of command. If there is a difference of opinion, who prevails, Mankekar or I?”

    Malkani mumbled, “Mankekar.”

    “Have you discussed salary with him? How much will you pay him?”

    “The same that he gets.” That was around Rs 3,500 per month. I had sacrificed a Rs 4,000 plus salary to voluntarily set for myself a salary of Rs 2,000 per month!

    I bid Motherland goodbye. I had a letter of appointment from the Motherland Board unambiguously appointing me as number one. “Don’t worry,” I told Malkani. “I won’t sue you for breach of trust.”

    Later, Advani and Kedarnath Sahni approached me together and requested me to return. “I thought I was entering a mandir (temple),” I told them wryly. “But I found myself in a mandi (marketplace)!”

    Sahni looked at me mournfully.

  14. S says:

    What most people of India (including myself) were not aware of, and are not still aware of – is that most of the Indian media is controlled by either Catholic or Baptist churches. NDTV is run by Prannoy James Roy, a crypto-christian, and CNN-IBN by yet another. Now the media control of the Church has extended to the Hindi dailies, Dainik Bhaskar being the latest one to fall. In most of the newspapers, there are columns written by Rajdeep Sardesai, Yogendra Yadav, or some other anti-Hindu writer still writing about Sati practice (never mind that it was the result of islamic invasions, and last reported case was decades ago) or the caste system (when was the last time you Hindus walked into a restaurant and demanded to know the caste of the cook ?) Media propaganda was the sole reason the BJP lost, and these guys had better get their act together. Indians would be better off if they boycotted these channels altogether, since all their programs have a subtle anti-Hindu bias, on channels like NDTV colors.

    If anyone thinks that Christianity is a noble religion, please go through the bloody history of the cult of Christ, and the genocides committed in Europe, North America, South America, China, Japan, India and the Pacifics in the name of Jesus.


  15. zoomindianmedia says:

    Hindutva, Hindustan
    1 Comments | Post Comment Larger | Smaller
    Aijaz Ilmi
    (Self Serving Muslim Lout Wrongly Analyses with many mistakes)

    After the recent mauling in the 2009 general elections, the BJP-led NDA must read Napoleon Hill’s famous quotation: “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat.” A clean break from aggressive Hindutva would be a welcome point for the party to find ways of addressing the whole of India.

    Adding Narendra Modi and Varun Gandhi into their leadership debate confused the campaign. Harping on the black money issue was never going to be a priority with the majority of the country’s poor, seeking immediate succour from their daily drudgery. A clamour to hang Afzal Guru immediately caused revulsion amongst most Indians: the Supreme Court’s verdict will be implemented sooner or later. With 30 million cases in backlog in the courts, legal reforms, hate crimes, the riot control act were issues confronting every citizen. If I may say so, the majority of Hindus have strong objections to such a blood-letting, divisive agenda.

    In a country as diverse, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural as ours, the unique Indian identity will always prevail over a pan-Hindu matrix. Where every sixth Indian is a minority, leaving out the Muslim and not addressing his concerns will always confront the BJP in future elections. Inter-woven, intertwined with real India, the minority is inalienable just as Kashmir is inalienable.

    The Vanniyars and Thevars in Tamil Nadu have more affinity with their Muslim neighbour in Arakkonam than with the Yadav farmer of Etah. The Nair graduate in Thrissur has had Christian and Muslim classmates from kindergarten. The Muslims of Bellary have lived cheek by jowl with the RSS-trained Yediyurappa family for generations and voted for his son in large numbers. Neither religion nor colour can separate the teeming millions who sweat and sow together in fields all over India.

    The NDA was successful as a coalition experiment under the benign leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee because 23 regional allies sustained on anti-Congressism were the bonding glue. Naveen Patnaik was the last nail holding this entity together. By dumping the BJP prior to elections he ensured that his party was seen as inclusive and representative of all Oriyas. The fact that Ashok Sahu of the BJP came third in Kandhamal showed that the Hindu majority rejected the rhetoric of hate. As the Congress is increasingly seen as the poors’ preferred party, the BJP must reinvent itself and emerge as responsible, representing pan-Indian aspirations. Without the minorities it is in danger of shrinking further. Voter preference for Rahul Gandhi’s modernistic vision for the youth stands out against the “uncouth” behaviour of practitioners of strident Hindutva.

    The success of Nitish Kumar and Yediyurappa to some extent should be seen as signal of an inclusive pro-poor agenda. The change in the BJP slogan from “appeasement for none” to “discrimination against none” is a reluctant acknowledgement of the status of India’s largest minority. Instead of berating the Sachar report, a detailed reading would enable the BJP to relate to the level of destitution of Indian Muslims. They need education and employment and opposing the report’s findings is an exercise in self-denial.

    The nine state governments of the BJP and its allies can achieve a lot of goodwill by taking a cue from Nitish Kumar. Setting up state-level schools in minority concentration areas, establishing credit facilities for artisans, situating vocational training centres near madrasas, and promoting computer training centres would be the right thing to do. A revamp of corrupt wakf boards, scholarships to the poor and maintenance of burial sites (as done in Bihar and Karnataka) have paid political dividends. Constructive opposition aimed at uplifting the status of the minorities will also signal a desire for a broad-based pan-Indian vision.

    Lastly the courts will continue to ensnare the perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat riots. But in public life perceptions of connivance are as important as the judicial verdict. The BJP at some stage will have to show remorse for the loss of numerous innocent lives both at Godhra and in the post-Godhra riots on Modi’s watch. The larger canvas of fast-paced development will always show large stains as a reminder. Grudging Kalawati’s neighbour Salma a chance to live with dignity would be a travesty.

    The writer is chairman of the editorial board at the Kanpur-based Urdu newspaper ‘Daily Siyasat Jadid’


  16. zoomindianmedia says:


    Indeed, the muslim of arakkonam wil have more affinity with the muslim of palestine or for that matter pakistan.


    Yediyurappa Junior, contested in Shimoga, not bellary. Muslims hardly voted for BJP. In fact Muslims of karnataka issued a fatwa ensuring that no muslim voted BJP.

  17. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP at crossroads
    Coomi Kapoor
    Posted: Tuesday , May 19, 2009 at 1247 hrs IST
    New Delhi: Indian politicians do not generally believe in stocktaking and holding themselves accountable. They prefer to brazen it out. Neither Jayalalithaa nor Mayawati, for instance, is willing to introspect over poll reversals, preferring to blame other factors.

    LK Advani, however, displayed rare grace and dignity in defeat. He behaved in the finest democratic tradition by announcing his decision to step down as Leader of the Opposition and own moral responsibility for the BJP’s electoral setback. Advani knows that he has come to the end of his long political career of over half a century. As one of the slogans in this campaign proclaimed, “Abhi nahi, to kabhi nahi (If not now, never.).

    Advani’s journey in politics began in the 1950s when, as a promising pracharak, he was assigned by the RSS to the newly-formed Jana Sangh party, which came into being as a response to the trauma of partition. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had joined the infant party slightly ahead of him. Vajpayee was the orator and the public face. Advani was more the backroom boy and invaluable organiser and assistant. But as the party grew in strength, Advani emerged from Vajpayee’s shadow to occupy a prominent position in his own right.

    Advani really came into his own after he espoused the cause of building a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya in the late eighties. His Rath Yatra campaign succeeded in galvanising support for the BJP. The Ram Mandir movement boosted the strength of the BJP from two MPs in 1984 to 88 MPs in 1989. It also reinforced Advani’s own image as a Hindutva hardliner.

    It was perhaps in an attempt to change this image that four years back on a visit to Pakistan, Advani praised the founder of Pakistan’s original secular spirit, and called for a re-look at Jinnah’s role in history. In the bargain, he ended up alienating the RSS. After the Jinnah fracas, Advani went for a while into semi-retirement, but was later rehabilitated.

    It was but human for a man who had devoted his life to building up the party from scratch, not once but twice, (first the Jana Sangh and then the BJP) to expect that he should be given at least one shot at the prime minister’s post. Advani refused to see that at 81, he did not present the picture of a dynamic and modern candidate. But contrary to expectations, Advani ran a vigorous campaign which had the Congress running scared, after complacently assuming at the start that this election would be a walkover.

    A seasoned campaigner like Advani, however, stumbled badly in hitting out personally at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, calling him “weak” and “nikamma”. He also miscalculated by not sticking his neck out to take a moral position on Varun Gandhi’s hate speeches.

    Earlier, he had refused to condemn outright the hooliganism and violence of Sangh-related outfits in Mangalore and Kandhamal. Many of the hoodlums who have entered Sangh-inspired fringe organisations took the Hindutva agenda to mean minority-bashing and moral policing. Advani preferred to look the other way and failed to take a tough line against such unacceptable behaviour. And this certainly did not convey the image of the Iron Man that he wanted to project.

    With Advani having indicated his desire to opt out of active politics, the BJP is at a crossroads – the fact that Advani has subsequently allowed himself to be persuaded to stay on for the time being notwithstanding. When the inevitable happens, the BJP will find itself without either of the two stalwarts who led the party from its inception, and remained its guiding lights for half a century. What direction the BJP takes post this electoral setback could well depend on who becomes Advani’s eventual successor.

    Will the successor acquiesce to the RSS diktat which means promoting an agenda which is not just divisive and outdated, but increasingly unrewarding in electoral terms? Or will he have the courage to carve out a new path which projects the BJP as a responsible national party, which is an acceptable electoral ally to most other political parties?

    When the BJP introspects on its defeat, some factors should be a source of concern. The party has lost in most big cities, and is no longer the first choice of the middle class and the youth. These were once the BJP’s core strengths.

    Today, many die hard older BJP voters confess that their children do not seem inclined to vote for the party. There is also the very real problem of the minorities’ distrust of the party, which makes the BJP a pariah with other parties keen to harness the large Muslim vote share. Unless the BJP attempts to project itself as an inclusive outfit with forward-thinking policies, it could regress further into an insular, narrow-minded party increasingly out of sync with the electorate of the twenty-first century.

  18. zoomindianmedia says:

    These days every riffraff thinks he has words of wisdom for the BJP. Here we go with what Jaithirth Rao (who likes to call himself Jerry Rao) says.

    Can the BJP change?

    Dear Shri Advaniji: You have been graceful and gracious in defeat setting the stage for increased civility in our political discourse. You are planning to represent a patriotic and constructive opposition — a prerequisite for a healthy democracy. You and your colleagues are also grappling with the “electability” problem of the BJP. Is your party condemned to “almost win” but keep falling short of actually winning? In this context, here are some ideas from someone who may be more of a genuine well-wisher than the hysterical fanatics who claim to be so.

    First, please keep the faith with the word “constructive”. Do not use any reason to try and vote out the present government. Vote against them only when you disagree on matters of principle. Your party’s opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal treaty was cynical, misplaced and, to many

    observers, a tad unpatriotic. Everyone understood the blind opposition of the Left parties to improved Indo-US relations. Even your strongest supporters had to concede in private that your party’s position was nothing but petty politics with very dubious short-term gains in mind. Putting at risk a treaty which future American presidents and legislatures may not have approved, your party’s brinkmanship could have resulted in a unique opportunity being missed by our country. Similarly, on economic issues like VAT reform, it was unfortunate that in opposition your party took positions at variance with the position you folks held while in government.

    On terrorism and security, I believe that you would have won the hearts of the electorate if, instead of criticising the government of the day, you had boldly announced solidarity and support for them. “We are in this together and if the enemies of our nation think that they can divide us, they are mistaken” would have been a brilliant position to take. It would not only have been constructive but would in all probability have increased your party’s popularity and electoral chances.

    Second, I believe your party members have not understood the impact of televised parliamentary proceedings. Endless disruption and shouting do not give the impression of sobriety and maturity that I am sure you would like to project. Your personal gravitas gets seriously eroded when your colleagues behave in a chaotic style. It would have been so much more sensible and also politically advantageous if your party members had demonstrated a measure of calm deliberation and allowed the Left and the Third Front elements in Parliament to behave in an anarchic manner which is their hallmark anyway.

    As far as addressing the issue of future electability is concerned, it might be worth considering abandoning the expression “Hindutva” altogether. Your colleagues may argue endlessly that it represents nothing but cultural nationalism. The fact of the matter is that there are not many buyers for this line of thinking. Tony Blair was able to make his Labour party electable only after he explicitly and loudly abandoned phraseology which had a hoary 70-year usage in his party’s history. You can and should make an emphatic statement that you have given up Hindutva with all its connotations and are instead rooting for Bharat and all citizens of Bharat. In academic circles, the currently fashionable word to describe our civilisation is “Indic”. I would commend this word to you. In the ’50s, the Jan Sangh talked about Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan. If you had not quietly given up linguistic fanaticism for Hindi, your party would not have had the breakthrough it has had in Karnataka. In a similar manner, walking away from Hindutva can help expand your base.

    In four states, you have virtually no presence and for that matter no allies to speak of. Your former ally, the TDP, has openly confirmed that they are not willing to risk losing the Muslim vote because of association with you. The position of the Trinamool is similar. The only way you can address this is to induct many more senior Muslim leaders into your party and to communicate on a regular basis that in fact in the BJP-ruled states your party is ensuring a steady improvement for Muslims both economically (income, jobs, etc) and socially (education, health indicators, etc). The Sachar Committee report helped the Congress immensely in West Bengal even if this was just an inadvertent result. The Muslims of West Bengal realised that after three decades of blindly supporting the Left Front, they had not gained much and in fact had fallen behind Muslims in other states. This hurt the credibility of the Left parties with the Muslim voter. Your colleague Narendra Modi should for instance hold six-monthly meetings with Muslim intellectuals, businesspersons and civic representatives and present a report card of how Muslims are progressing and getting ahead in his state. He should contrast his government’s performance with that of other states where Muslims get lip sympathy, not real attention. Such an effort along with dropping the Hindutva plank will in a three to five year period improve your party’s prospects immensely and make you attractive to allies old and new.

    Your party’s good performance in Karnataka should not lead you to believe that the anti-modern plank of units like the Rama Sene is a vote-winner. Like Hindutva, this too will become an albatross over time. While you have dissociated the BJP from the Rama Sene, it needs to be more emphatic. Many of your colleagues may justify the Rama Sene’s stances and others may argue that they are politically smart; the fact of the matter is that they scare away allies, deny you presence in several large states and dent the BJP’s electability.

    Sober, constructive opposition in Parliament, imitating Tony Blair and dropping Hindutva, hard facts that demonstrate that BJP governments actually help Muslims in economic and social progress, getting away from direct or indirect associations that put off allies and reduce your political space — one hopes you will consider all of these in pursuit of long-term electability even though many in your party may

    argue that returning to a hard line is the best course.

    The writer divides his time between Mumbai, Lonavla and Bangalore jerry.rao@expressindia.com

  19. zoomindianmedia says:

    Coomi writes more

    Coomi Kapoor
    Posted: Sunday , May 24, 2009 at 0204 hrs IST

    Doon School will have a larger representation in the 15th Lok Sabha than ever before. There are at least eight alumni of the exclusive public school which calls itself the Eton of India. The winners include Kalikesh Singh Deo (BJD) from Orissa, RPN Singh (Cong) from UP, Rahul Gandhi (Cong) from UP, Kamal Nath (Cong) from Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong) from MP, Jitin Prasada (Cong) from UP, Udayan Raje Bhosale (NCP)from Maharashtra and Dushyant Singh (BJP) from Rajasthan. The clout of the school is even more impressive when you consider that a number of the winners are bound to be made ministers. The Doon losers are: Akbar Ahmed, Mani Shankar Aiyer and Raninder Singh. The unusual number of parliamentarians who hail from just one school was first noticed back in the Eighties. School chums of Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi, like Kamal Nath, Arun Singh and Akbar Ahmed were encouraged to enter politics along with the Gandhis. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi and Udayan Raje Bhosale attended Doon at some point, but did not graduate from the school.

    Bloomer of blooms

    RLD President Ajit Singh’s house has been inundated with flowers after the Lok Sabha elections. A scribe noticed Rahul Gandhi’s name on one bouquet and assumed that the Amethi victor had also sent Ajit greetings because he wanted his party to join the UPA. Another journalist put him wise, pointing out that Gandhi’s address—12 Tughlaq Lane— and Ajit’s address—12 Tughlaq Road—are remarkably similar.

    Influential candidate

    At their Thiruvanthapuram election rallies, the Communists used to joke that the ‘outsider’ Shashi Tharoor certainly had some mysterious and powerful backer. After all, neither the local unit nor the state Congress committee was consulted on his nomination. Tharoor was selected even though he had lampooned the Congress and the Gandhis in one of his books. Now a furious CPI, which lost what they assumed was a sure shot seat by some 100,000 votes, alleges that CPI (M) cadres did not work for their candidate, P Ramachandran Nair. CPI cadres say that Tharoor has influence not only in the Congress but also in the CPI(M). He is, after all, a friend of both Prakash and Brinda Karat.

    Old neighbours patch up

    Is a long-standing feud between two of the country’s most powerful families finally ending? Priyanka Gandhi first extended the olive branch by explaining in an interview that she owed her excellent command of the Hindi language to Amitabh’s mother Teji Bachchan, who taught her to read poetry and Prem Chand’s Godan. Big B responded with equal warmth. He acknowledged that the Bachchans and the Gandhis were once neighbours and Priyanka spent a lot of time with his mother and Teji left a deep impression on her. The thaw in relationship is despite the coolness between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, which has not been asked to join the government.

    Stars and swipes

    Though she is not exactly a major box office draw, actress Mahima Chaudhary, who offered her services to the Congress for the campaign, was much in demand. Mahima is a Jat and was a hit among voters from her own community in UP, Rajasthan and Haryana. Similarly, Zeenat Aman was popular in Muslim pockets. Cutting cross party lines, Salman Khan campaigned for seven candidates including, Milind Deora, Praful Patel, Vinod Khanna and Kamal Nath. Five of the candidates won. All Bollywood actors scrupulously kept away from Patna, where two of their fraternity, Shatrughan Sinha and Shekhar Suman, were slugging it out. Only Hema Malini, a veteran BJP campaigner, broke the unofficial cordon and campaigned for her former co-star Sinha. Reports suggest that some of the smaller stars performed for money and not for any love for a political cause.

    Ram Ram

    N Ram, editor of The Hindu, who is close to the CPI(M) and Prakash Karat, stuck his neck out on his prediction for Tamil Nadu.

    On a television talk show, he insisted that the AIADMK alliance, which included the Left, would win at least 39 of the 40 seats in the state. That made Dayanidhi Maran, Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s nephew, see red and there was a public scrap of these two leading lights from Chennai. Interestingly, on the day of the results, the newspaper buried the news of the DMK victory on one of its inside pages.

  20. zoomindianmedia says:

    One of the tumorous growths on BJP pontificates nonsense:

    (I have never figured out how/why BJP got hold of this chirkut)

    Why stability won over change

    Sudheendra Kulkarni
    Posted: Sunday , May 24, 2009 at 0043 hrs IST
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    May 16 has reinforced my two inter-related beliefs about the behaviour of the Indian voter. First, there is nothing fortuitous about the outcome of an election in a democracy where elections are held in a free and fair manner. And Indian democracy, with all its obvious drawbacks, has a proud tradition of conducting elections in a largely free and fair manner. In other words, no party or alliance has ever won by a stroke of luck. There has always been a compelling inner logic to its victory, and this is also true about the Congress party’s victory in the polls to the 15th Lok Sabha.

    My second belief is that there is something, which can most appropriately be called the ‘National Mind’, at work through which the nationally unifying logic operates. The concept of a group mind or a collective mind is one of the most complex subjects of study in mass psychology and organisational behaviour. Nation being a natural organising framework of human collectivities, the more so in a continuously living civilisational entity like India, this living being has a mind of its own which knows what is good for it under a given circumstance. It surveys the internal political situation, assesses the external scenario, weighs different considerations and arrives at a sound and rational judgment. Thus, transcending all the caste, communal and regional considerations that were being discussed threadbare in the run-up to the elections, the National Mind summoned a unifying rationale and made it assert itself in the final verdict of the electorate.

    According to me, the National Mind was weighing between two options in the just-concluded elections: change and stability. Change was the need of the hour since there was nothing exceptional about the performance of the Congress-led UPA government between 2004 and 2009. Barring a few welcome initiatives like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the UPA government’s track record was average on some counts and dismal on most others. Judged solely on the basis of its performance, the government deserved to go. However, the voters rarely oust a government on the criterion of performance alone. They also look for a viable and stable alternative.

    In some of the campaign-time television debates that I participated in, I had said that more than political parties and commentators, it is the people of India who have the highest stake in political stability at the Centre. They know instinctively, guided by historical memory, that political instability in New Delhi is hurtful to the nation and to themselves in their daily lives. In their eyes, the need for a stable government had become greater on account of the economic crisis, created partly by external factors, and the turmoil in India’s neighbourhood, especially in Pakistan. An unstable coalition government, whose attention would get diverted to managing its own internal squabbles and whose energies would be wasted in ensuring its own survival, would not, in the estimation of the electorate, meet the challenges before the nation.

    The National Mind would have been the happiest if there was a strong possibility for a positive change with reliable stability. This is where the BJP and the alliance it led failed to meet the people’s expectations. In four big states—Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal, which together account for 143 Lok Sabha seats-the BJP’s own strength was near-zero. Moreover, it had no allies in these states in 2009, and such allies as it had in the six-year NDA rule (1998-2004) had deserted it for fear of losing Muslim votes. It did nothing in the past five years to allay this fear. Furthermore, when the Biju Janata Dal parted ways with the BJP in March this year, the latter’s ability to lead a stable coalition at the Centre got seriously dented. It thus became obvious to the people that any future BJP-led coalition in New Delhi would be a hotchpotch arrangement, critically dependent for its survival on undependable non-Congress non-Left parties.

    The BJP could have still performed much better on its own and won enough seats to reflect the people’s desire for change of government. But the internal fissures in this once disciplined and united party were so glaring, both at the central and state levels, that far from attracting new supporters, it disillusioned a significant section of its own committed voters. In contrast, even those who abhor the dynastic rule and the culture of sycophancy in the Congress could see that the party scored over the BJP in terms of unity of command. With the media highlighting the lack of cohesion within the BJP, the many positive aspects of its governance and development agenda took the backseat. Hence, the BJP failed to capture the imagination of the people either as an agent of change or as a guarantor of stability. The BJP’s failure was the Congress’s gain. Since the desired change seemed impossible, the National Mind rooted for stability. It chose the Congress as a default option, giving it enough parliamentary strength to ensure a stable government.

    Difficult days are ahead for the BJP. It faces problems that are multi-dimensional. Its second consecutive defeat in parliamentary elections calls for honest and mercilessly self-critical introspection on issues relating to ideology, organisational health of the party, leadership at various levels, management of alliances, and much more. It must seek a fresh endorsement from the National Mind, which is possible if the BJP, instead of trying to take short-cuts to revival, reforms itself thoroughly as a party with an inspiring and inclusive transformational agenda. The BJP has come out successfully from many an agni-pareeksha in the past. It will certainly do so again.


  21. zoomindianmedia says:

    L K Advani: History to Oblivion
    Sandhya Jain
    18 May 2009
    It took just 46 days for my warning to the BJP leadership to undertake an urgent course correction or face electoral rout to come true:

    “Something is gravely amiss in the BJP. It has lost its character and sense of direction. Unless the party quickly takes the right turn, Mr. Advani could find himself walking out of the gates of History, and into Oblivion”
    [See Varun Gandhi: Albatross round BJP neck, 30 March 2009,

    16 May 2009 was a sad denouement for the BJP and its leader, Lal Kishan Advani, who metamorphosed from a possible prime minister to a person who could not bear to remain one moment in the glare of public discomfort. He departed in a grand sulk, refusing to face the party and the electorate of the nation he had hoped to lead till a few hours ago, owning no responsibility for the vacuous electoral strategy he crafted, which resulted in this finalé.

    Mr. Advani’s grief is understandable, but how could discerning Hindus vote for BJP given its utter disinterest in the Hindu people? Is Advani even concerned that Hindus will now face the depredations of a minority-pandering Sonia Gandhi? His instant flight from the public arena is symptomatic of a larger failing. That it has grown unchecked suggests grave and hitherto unstated shortcomings in the larger Sangh Parivar.

    As BJP draws much of its public legitimacy and political muscle from the RSS ideology of Hindu nationalism, and the selfless service of RSS cadres, it may be pertinent to see where the interface between the parent organisation and its political offspring failed to yield fruits for the Hindu Rashtra both were supposed to serve. As both draw strength and status from Hindu society, some measure of accountability is necessary regarding this electoral debacle at such a critical time in the nation’s history.

    This article seeks to throw light on some aspects of the Advani leadership that no one was willing to recognise through his long stewardship of the party, with results that are there for all to see. It is an attempt to detect what went wrong with Hindu society’s most powerful upsurge – the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement – since the Cow Protection Movement in the late nineteenth century.

    Dr. K.B. Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925 to promote Hindu Rashtra (Hindu-centric nation), inspired by V.D. Savarkar and Aurobindo. Simple chronology suggests that the immediate provocation was Mohandas Gandhi’s linking the struggle for political freedom with the Muslim community’s atrocious desire to restore the Ottoman Caliphate [Khilafat movement, 1919-1924].

    Dr. Hedgewar was astute enough to realise that by establishing communal parity between the native Hindu community and Muslims unreconciled to loss of political dominion in India, and supplicating both before the Raj (Khilafat was discussed at the London Conference, 1920), Congress would subvert the cause of the Hindu nation. His links with Bengal’s Anushilan Samiti and Jugantar (he was imprisoned for sedition in 1921) led to an assessment that nation-wide armed insurrection may not bring results as quickly as desired because of the fragmented nature of the then polity; he conceived the RSS to unite Hindus nationally on the basis of common culture (hence the term, cultural nationalism).

    But the goal was Hindu Rashtra – a Hindu-dominant polity nestled in the geographical boundaries of the now-elusive Akhand Bharat. That powerful geo-strategic-political factors have inhibited realisation of Akhand Bharat is one thing; that somewhere along the way BJP ceased to believe in and DESIRE it is an issue that bears scrutiny.

    Babri bloomer

    I met then chief minister Kalyan Singh in Lucknow on 5 December 1992, and returned to Delhi sure nothing unusual was likely on 6 December, notwithstanding media hype. This was also the conclusion of then Central Minister and BJP-baiter Arjun Singh.

    But the unexpected did happen on 6 December 1992. Then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao had mysterious ‘black out’ spells which lasted till about 5 p.m., after which alone the Union Cabinet could meet and dismiss the BJP governments in four states. The canny Kalyan Singh, seeing the writing on the wall, sent his resignation to the President half an hour before his sack orders came!

    But the most inexplicable behaviour was that of Mr. Advani! Like Mahatma Gandhi after the solitary violence against a few policemen at Chauri Chaura, Mr. Advani took the demolition of the contentious structure as a personal slight (he had promised the Supreme Court nothing would happen), and without any discussion with senior party colleagues present there, especially then party president Murli Manohar Joshi, resigned his post as Leader of the Opposition by faxing his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker and releasing the information to the press. The party was faced with an uncomfortable fait accompli.

    It beat me then, and it beats me now – what was there to be upset about? If the removal of the usurper-structure – either in a planned way or inadvertently through mob surge – was not the goal of the Ayodhya movement, what was it all about?

    More startling was the realisation that the entire top RSS leadership did not view Advani’s unilateralism as something that damaged the BJP and the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The then RSS chief, Balasaheb Deoras, sought information about the statement made by Advani after the masjid fell, and fashioned his own public response accordingly!

    Dr. Joshi was isolated in his view that the resignation had ruined everything. He told party leaders present that if Mr. Narasimha Rao decided to let them come to Parliament and explain themselves, the party was finished; only arrest could save them. Mercifully, Mr. Rao was forced to order the arrest of the top BJP brass, and huge public response to the ‘heroes-in-spite-of-themselves’ saved the day.

    A few years ago, a man reputed as an RSS ideologue (whatever that means), smugly told some Hindu intellectuals that the Ayodhya movement was conceived to mobilize Hindu society. The goal was never to build the Ram Temple; he was aggrieved that Vishwa Hindu Parishad president Ashok Singhal took the issue so literally!

    I was speechless then; I am speechless now.

    I would only add that on 6 December 1992, I was possibly the only Hindu journalist who saw Mr. Advani’s resignation not as moral high ground, but as plain and simple betrayal of the Hindu community, a running away from the heat of battle. My immediate reaction then was that nothing big could ever again be expected of Mr. Advani, because he could only worry about salvaging his version of his personal prestige in any critical situation.

    No one agreed with me then. But now, as Mr. Advani literally runs out of the public arena, RSS as an institution will have to take a call on what the proper response to the Babri demolition should have been for the proponents of Hindu Rashtra.

    Mandal and Ayodhya

    In fairness, one must also insist that the BJP’s espousal of the Ayodhya movement gave a timely respite to Hindu society when it was being ruptured by the vicious implementation of the Mandal Commission Report by then Prime Minister V.P. Singh.

    Caste (gana, jati), it bears emphasising, is a venerable institution of Hindu society; its system of uniting people and maintaining harmonious social conduct, so that minimal government is necessary at grassroots level. Sadly, for reasons we need not go into here, first the colonial state tried to fragment society on caste lines, and the modern state under Jawaharlal Nehru perpetuated that legacy for electoral survival. But since everyone played the caste game to some extent, and electoral victory necessarily involved caste alliances, things remained manageable.

    Mandal injected a new poison into the polity by the sheer quantum of instant reservations granted to a section of society hitherto undistinguished from other groups; threatened the future prospects of large sections of the youth, and set passions ablaze. In this scenario, Mr. Advani’s Somnath-to-Ayodhya yatra was truly historic – it not only drew attention away from Mandal, but provided a soothing balm to inflamed Hindu society and sought to unite the Hindu people on the basis of adherence to a common civilisational foundation.

    Ayodhya paved the way for the fall of the V.P. Singh government, and social fissures healed over time. It was Advani’s cogent articulation of Hindu sentiments in this period that gave him a formidable reputation as a Hindu thinker and leader, and covered up many sins of omission and commission.

    Sadly, Mr. Advani has come a long way from the man who in 1989 seized the nation’s imagination with his warning that secularism had degenerated into putting a premium on minorityism, creating a minority complex in the minorities, and not serving either the national interest or the interest of minorities. Lambasting such pseudo-secularism, he argued for Hindutva or cultural nationalism, and invited Muslims to share common pride in India’s ancient civilisational ethos. More pertinently, he asserted that India had to somewhere be co-terminus with Hindu dharma because we are a very ancient people, not born or created in 1947, but going back millennia.

    How could Advani throw away all this?

    More pertinently, why did he allow ‘minority’ to become co-terminus with Muslims, when the real threat to Hindu society today is from Christian evangelicals running riot under the patronage of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and the West, particularly the United States of which he is so enamoured?

    What explanation does BJP have – and it must give one – for total silence on the UPA decision in the midst of elections, to allow the American governmental body USCIRF to come to India to survey religious freedom in Gujarat and Orissa? This is tantamount to forcing both states to allow missionary depredations on poor folk; yet the party of Hindu nationalism remained silent even though one state is ruled by it and the other was in coalition just weeks ago!

    The BJP – and even the RSS – need to remember that Dr. Hedgewar set up the RSS to oppose the British Raj as external enemy and Moplah-style assaults by local Muslims. Hindu society knows how to face jihad, but the challenge of Western colonialism has intensified today; Hindu India must understand that embracing the West is fraught with danger.

    The Iron Man

    The Sangh under Prof. Rajinder Singh was wholly enamoured of Mr. Advani; he easily quashed the feeble assertion of Dr. Joshi who despite undoubted erudition has an inability to nurture relationships. Shri K.S. Sudarshan tried to assert control over the party, but once Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister, he did not want his government compromised at any cost.

    In fairness again, the entire section of the BJP that managed to get into government was determined to stay in office. So Mr. Vajpayee began concessions like retreating from Article 370, Ram Mandir, uniform civil code…

    But whereas Mr. Vajpayee had the personal grace never to speak in language that caused offence (a rare feat), Mr. Advani caused tremendous heartburn by berating a VHP delegation, “tum kab tak Ram Mandir ko ghaseette rahoge” (how long will you drag the Ram Mandir episode?), as did Ms. Sushma Swaraj with her infamous remark that the Ram Temple was an cashed cheque and “you cannot encash the same cheque twice.”

    As her name is now being bandied as possible successor to Mr. Advani, it may be relevant to say that Sushma and all notables of the Advani Coterie are totally unacceptable to Hindu society – Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitly, Arun Shourie, Jaswant Singh (mercifully we will now see the exit of the courtiers like Kulkarni). The party now needs a face untainted by past associations.

    Anyway, the BJP’s metamorphosis under power had to be seen to be believed, and in particular and ‘bends’ made by its Iron Man.

    # To everyone’s astonishment, instead of taking concrete steps against illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Mr. Advani actually mooted giving work permits to the unwanted aliens! That the proposal never took off is another matter; but after that all talk of arresting Bangladeshi Muslim influx into India became hot air, and the most serious channel of jihadi infiltration into India remained wide open.

    # A few points may be made:-
    – Jihadi incidents have gone up in direct proportion to infiltration from Bangladesh and Nepal, both mentored by Pakistan’s ISI. Mr. Advani will have to take some responsibility for this.
    – Jihadi incidents have gone up in direct proportion to India’s embrace of the United States, first under the NDA and now under the UPA (Mumbai 2008 being only a pointer of things to come).
    – Anyone who doubts this assessment can show me the statistics.
    – The point being made is that the West led by Britain and now America needed bases in our region to contain Russia – hence the creation of Pakistan.
    – The Kashmir issue was created by Mountbatten to grab Tibet and keep China in check.
    – Mr. Obama can be expected to try to take a portion of Kashmir to get ‘closer’ to China. I cannot understand the Indian establishment’s reluctance to engage China and Russia seriously on the issue of Western intrusions in our space.
    – BJP’s foolish flirtation with Mr. Bill Clinton made Kashmir an international issue from a bilateral one.

    # Mr. Advani and his coterie – inspired by plants from once-Indians in America and to a lesser extent in Britain, and a domestic coterie that can be collectively designated as the ‘Vaman Avtars’ (being dwarfs in every sense of the term), seriously compromised with national sovereignty by compromising on the issue of Ms. Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin. As Home Minister, he is personally responsible for some mysterious fiddling with the law on this count, and the consequences will be with us for a long time to come.

    # As Home Minister, Mr. Advani faced increasing depredations by the defiant SIMI, and on one occasion, two intelligence officers were recognised and beaten badly when working in the Jamia area. He did nothing. More recently, his party tried to make some noise over the Batla House encounter controversy to score points against the ruling UPA, but so non-serious was their effort that none of these issues figured cogently in the election campaign.

    # Amongst such daily disappointments – not meeting victims of Chhittisinghpora in a Delhi hospital; doing nothing for the families of policemen who died in the attack on Parliament House – what stands out most was a sudden uncontrollable itch to be Prime Minister. While rumours to this effect circulated throughout the NDA regime, deniability was lost with Mr. Advani’s autobiography – which reveals shoddy intrigues against his own boss, Atal ji.

    The book claims RSS wanted Mr. Vajpayee to move into Rashtrapati Bhavan and pave the way for someone else, presumably Advani. But the catch is that the RSS turned out to mean Rajju Bhaiya, who had by then handed the post of Sarsanghachalak to Sudarshan ji – which means Advani had so factionalised a large part of the RSS that a former Sarsanghachalak could actually accompany him to the PM’s house and ask him to step down!

    What an admission! Obviously Advani did not write the book – or read it either.

    More recently, a below the belt attack was made on the ailing Vajpayee. Party president Rajnath Singh was reluctant to announce Atal ji’s retirement from active politics last year, but the old warhorse was too ill for public appearances and even had to be hospitalized. His family, protective of his dignity, kept the details of his ailment secret. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited his predecessor in hospital and ensured nothing leaked out. It took a known Advani-friendly journalist to inform us that Atal ji has a brain tumour and is unlikely to recover; his official retirement came soon after!

    This singular ability to utilise the media to undermine friendly or unfriendly rivals alike has been the hallmark of Mr. Advani’s style of functioning throughout his political life. That and his weakness for courtiers and flattery would have isolated him from the party, the parivar, the people, with results that are there for him to contemplate in the winter of his life.

    2004 and after

    Advani’s inexplicable hurry to be PM forced the BJP to go in for early elections in May 2004; the rest is history.

    But he remained unable to learn any lessons, and hastily used the inertia of a shocked party to further consolidate his hold over the party and its instruments of patronage. In other words, Mr. Advani factionalised and coterized the party beyond belief. To mention just some salient points:

    – He used his position as party leader to fill vacancies to the Rajya Sabha with unbelievable personalities like Najma Heptullah and Lalit Suri!
    – Far from stepping down and paving the way for a younger leadership after a public statement by Sudarshan ji – he used his stifling control over all internal levers of power to browbeat the Sarsanghachalak to retreat.
    – He was extremely cussed about the Jinnah controversy and far from resigning with grace, again utilised his internal control over all levers of power to reinstate himself.
    – He attacked RSS control over the BJP and made himself Prime Ministerial candidate in the wake of the sharp rise of Mr. Narendra Modi.
    – He neglected Hindu issues like Kandhamal.
    – He made only perfunctory noises about Sadhvi Pragya’s continuing incarceration, whereas a vigorous espousal could have yielded a different result. If Samajwadi Party could make convict Sanjay Dutt star campaigner, could not Advani have visited Sadhvi Pragya when she was shifted to hospital?
    – What most deserves RSS attention is the manner in which the BJP national executive has been transformed from the stalwarts who passed the Palampur Resolution of 1989 to a pack of non-entities such as Smriti Irani and Varun Gandhi. If this is the BJP version of Youth Transition, the party is destined for the precipice.

    On the nuclear deal, Mr. Advani engaged in classic doublespeak:-
    – He opposed the deal (or so he said)
    – Then he covertly agreed to it and his points man Arun Shourie wrote an article saying India could change its own laws unilaterally to get over the ill effects of Article 123 (which everyone knew was rubbish)
    – He met Senator Libermann and told his friendly Left journalists that he would support the deal with minor changes!
    – Did he ever discuss anything with the party – beyond the coterie, that is?
    – Worst, in the vote for money scam on the nuclear issue – Mr. Advani shunned all party pleading to postpone the vote pending investigation and allowed the government to have a walkover. I am too old to believe in mistakes – things happen with intent.
    – Why did he fail to manage floor coordination with the Left when all his favourite journalists are known Leftists, some even card-bearing members of the CPM?
    – Finally, as the elections drew to a close, anticipating a banquet dinner at the White House, he again made polite noises about accepting (sic) the nuclear deal. How is BJP now going to oppose this slave treaty? Shame.

    Peter Burleigh

    This article has already exceeded the intended limit. So I will conclude with one observation:

    Whom did Advani consult (only Venkaiah Naidu?) and why did he meet American diplomat Peter Burleigh on the last day of polling (13 May)? What was Venkaiah’s previous conversation/deal with Burleigh which paved the way for the meeting with Advani?

    An answer cannot be avoided amidst rumours that the gentleman, posted in India previously when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, was asked to leave the country for activities inconsistent with his diplomatic status. Hint – his profile shows he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (1989-1991).

    As the Advani era comes to an end, BJP will have to ensure that this kind of politics of unilateralism and coterie-baazi also ends, so that such grave embarrassments are avoided in future.
    The author is Editor, http://www.vijayvaani.com

  22. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP failed to connect

    Sandhya Jain

    When Mr SM Krishna lost the Karnataka elections in 2004, the media naturally asked him what factors he held responsible for Congress’s defeat. He raised his right hand to stop speculation and said as leader he took full responsibility; there was no need for scapegoats.

    In 2009, Mr LK Advani was nowhere to be seen when it became clear the people had rejected his quest to be Prime Minister. Aides told the media he was quitting as Leader of the Opposition; squabbling for the post began. Mr Rajnath Singh, party president, was left to face the public alone, without a coherent line being evolved collectively. The RSS top brass had to step in to ensure Mr Advani continued till a replacement was found.

    The danger now is that, as in 2004, the BJP power elite may dodge honest introspection over the successive debacles and cling to the commanding heights. Key campaign strategist Arun Jaitley refused to look inwards, blamed the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’, and announced the need for the BJP to function as a “responsible Opposition”. Certainly, but under whose leadership? The sooner this is decided the better.

    A thorough introspection is imperative, with all senior and important Sangh Parivar leaders present, so that non-entities do not kill the debate. So-called candid admissions in the media cannot substitute for inner-party deliberations. It is surprising Mr Jaitley should have said that terrorism, economic meltdown and price rise did not impress voters who opted for “political stability”; these issues are critical components of political stability!

    The BJP was expecting to float into South Block on the basis of anti-incumbency, and did not raise any issue seriously before the electorate. Hence, to claim that an issue failed is the worst kind of intellectual chicanery. Had the BJP discussed terrorism and national security seriously, offering concrete steps to protect the nation, voters desiring political stability would have turned to it.

    Voters booted out parties wanting to carve out fiefdoms to blackmail the next administration, but this explains the fall of the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’ only. Still, their rout is truly impressive. The Indian voter, supposedly illiterate and ignorant, always grasps the substantive issues involved in an election. Psephologists and analysts are wise after the event; the voter displays wisdom at the ballot box.

    It will be wrong if the BJP, as Mr Jaitley suggests, banks upon the ‘Third Front’ and the ‘Fourth Front’ to gang up and take ‘revenge’ on the Congress for its legitimate hard bargaining over portfolios with Mr Farooq Abdullah and Mr M Karunanidhi. One sincerely hopes the BJP is not banking upon astrologers predicting an early fall of the Government; this false hope averted honest introspection in 2004 and prevented the much-needed exit of those who led the party to doom in 2009 as well.

    Actually, Mr Manmohan Singh was not perceived as a strong man by the electorate, but he was seen as decent and clean, not given to back-stabbing or undermining colleagues or political foes. Mr Advani’s attack on him was seen as ‘cheap’ and ‘desperate’, and earned him public odium.

    Hindus rejected the BJP in 2004 for renouncing the Hindu basis of Indian nationalism. But having learnt nothing and forgotten nothing, the BJP persisted with the renunciation of Hindu identity and relied upon some gibberish about good governance and development to sweep it to power. If governance is devoid of ideology, the country only needs a municipal commissioner!

    The BJP approached the election without addressing any concern of the Indian voter. It also failed to keep track of the tactics and dynamics of rivals; hence a Naveen Patnaik-style ‘deal’ awaits it in Bihar if it does not quickly replace Mr Sushil Modi with a strong leader.

    In Orissa, the Biju Janata Dal did so well because the Congress did not put up a serious challenge so that the BJP could be routed and Naveen Patnaik wooed in case the Congress needed a good chunk of MPs at the Centre. The Congress will wait till the next election and then give the BJD a run for its money. The good vibes sent to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were part of similar calculations for post-election block votes. The BJP is rapidly declining in Bihar because of a legacy of poor leaders and a State unit chief who subordinates the party to the whims of the Chief Minister.

    The BJP leadership is intellectually lethargic. The middle class and the poor, both equally affected by price rise and unemployment, did not find the party addressing their concerns. The party manifesto promised to raise income tax exemption to an attractive Rs 3 lakh per annum, but never took the promise to the millions who would benefit from this move. It spoke of farmers’ suicides, and promised cheap loans and other benefits, but did not speak against the foreign multinationals ruining farmers with ugly monopoly practices.

    The BJP failed to win over Muslims despite giving them costly sops like enhanced Haj subsidy and increased salaries for imams; Haj terminals in major cities; non-action against Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators; refusal to treat persecuted Bangladeshi Hindus as refugees; refusal to speak up for Kashmiri Pandits evicted from home and hearth; refusal to integrate Jammu & Kashmir fully with India; and failure to adopt a uniform civil code.

    Still, this election promised to be different because Muslim leaders seemed to have decided not to be blindly anti-BJP. Then, always on the lookout for a quick-fix, the BJP decided to field the controversial Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit after initially distancing itself from his unspeakable remarks. This polarised Muslims nation-wide against the BJP, and arrested its expected revival in Uttar Pradesh.

    There was no reciprocal Hindu vote-bank to offset this as the BJP had systematically alienated Hindus over five years in office and another five in Opposition. And despite an overall negative campaign, the BJP did not even think of promising not to implement the Sachar Committee’s recommendations of reservation for Muslims — now a real threat to the nation.

  23. zoomindianmedia says:

    Did Advani approve of Sachar Committee?
    Sandhya Jain
    02 Jun 2009
    Far from examining the causes of its second electoral debacle at the national level, the BJP seems determined to go the Congress way, further consolidating power in the hands of the one man who led it to ignominy and opprobrium. Little wonder that L.K. Advani advised the faithful not to ‘exaggerate’ the scale of the defeat (doubtless because 116 seats are miles ahead of the 2 seat wonder of 1984!).

    And studiously refusing to turn the spotlight on the utter failure of his own leadership, the self-styled Iron Man called for scrutiny of below par performances in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In other words, the man who owes his Gandhinagar victory to the efforts of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is going to downsize the leader who, despite certain shortcomings, still stands tallest in the Hindu imagination.

    Given the firmness with which acolyte Venkaiah Naidu rebuffed fixing responsibility for the rout to maintain the supremacy of ensconced non-entities, Mr. Advani will have to personally answer if he conveyed overt or covert approval of the Sachar Committee Report to Bihar ally, Janata Dal – United.

    Specifically, Mr. Advani must explain why the BJP, at both national and state level, maintained studious silence when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar issued an election manifesto which specifically promised that:

    1] Bihar will implement the Sachar Committee recommendations for Muslims and

    2] Support reservations to Dalit Christians (when Christians don’t have caste at all).

    In the last decade, the BJP has viciously attacked all believing Hindus who asked why it compromised on core Hindutva issues (rebuilding the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya; abrogating Article 370; and implementing a Uniform Civil Code – something now sought by Muslim intellectuals like M.J. Akbar, who have disguised it as a request for a Muslim Code Bill that could liberate the community from the shackles of obscurantist religious and secular leaders). BJP stoically refused to even utter the word ‘Hindu,’ shunned all Hindu concerns, and all persons who lacked the agility to ‘move on’ from Hindutva.

    The excuse was – compulsions of coalition government. The reason was – desire for the loaves and fishes of office.

    The explanation that must now be forthcoming is – was the compulsion only one-way? Did the allies not equally desire power and the trappings of office, and were they not required to pay any price for piggy-backing to office with a larger partner? And did the BJP central and state leadership not realize or care that the Janata Dal – United was quietly and shrewdly expanding its social base at the cost of the BJP?

    Did Advani give Nitish OK on Sachar Committee?

    How could the BJP – which protested against the divisive agenda of the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA, as exemplified by the setting up of the Sachar Committee and its recommendations – not condemn and distance itself from allies who adopted the Sachar Committee? Was making L.K. Advani prime minister the ONLY agenda of the party in 2009?

    This writer has previously spoken about the need for the party to urgently replace the non-performing state unit chief, Sushil Modi, a second-generation migrant from Rajasthan with no local roots or sensitivities, who totally subordinated the party to the dominant power, first represented by Lalu Yadav, and currently Nitish Kumar. I am therefore not surprised to know that Sushil Modi went along with the chief minister, as he will do anything to maintain his personal comfort levels.

    But given the seriousness of the issue, some questions cannot be avoided:
    1] What were BJP leaders from the state like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajiv Pratap Rudy (both party spokespersons in New Delhi) doing when Nitish Kumar campaigned on this promise?
    2] What were Bihar RSS and VHP leaders doing when the manifesto was released and local newspapers reported the promise to implement Sachar Committee?
    3] Why was this news kept so secret that the rest of us are learning of it only now that Nitish Kumar is actually planning to go ahead and implement this promise?
    4] Is it possible that not one Bihar BJP leader read the JD (U) manifesto when it was released?

    The last question is not polemical at all. Years ago, this writer personally asked Advani why the BJP manifesto included a promise to implement the Mandal Commission recommendations when the party protested the sudden decision of Prime Minister V.P. Singh. His reply was as stunning as it was illuminating – he said no one had studied the Mandal Commission Report properly!

    Yes. They stuck it into the manifesto because they thought it was a winning issue, unaware of its poisonous potential. This is the same mindset that made them adopt Varun Gandhi after the Chief Election Commissioner advised them to drop him for his abominable speech – they thought he was a ticket to ride.

    So, after the 31 May 2009 JD (U) national executive meeting (a regional outfit with national pretensions!), general secretary Shivanand Tewari insolently announced that the Nitish Kumar regime would not be shackled by the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. To rub it in, he added that the JD (U) has zero-tolerance for communalism, will not break-up with BJP right now (read Congress cannot make up the numbers in Patna), but will keep the window for change open (read will dump BJP and go for early elections if it thinks it can swing it in the Naveen Patnaik manner).

    Dump Nitish fast
    There is only one way out of this extreme disrespect:

    1] BJP must immediately DUMP Nitish Kumar and bring down the Bihar government

    2] BJP must immediately dump Sushil Modi and appoint a native Bihari as state unit chief

    3] BJP will aggressively raise the banner of revolt against the Sachar Committee and its poisonous impact on Hindu – Indian society

    4] Bihar must be made the karmabhumi, the new Kurukshetra for raising and revalidating issues of concern to Hindu society. As the native place Sita ji, goddess of the earth and wife of Sri Rama, Bihar is the most appropriate place for BJP to begin atoning for its sins of omission and commission, and preparing for the return journey to Ayodhya.

    Jayalalithaa’s minorityism

    The Advani clique will also have to explain its obsession with wooing and accommodating AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa at any cost.

    For reasons best known to itself, a section of the party decided to woo Ms. Jayalalithaa despite her previous behaviour, and Ravi Shankar Prasad was deputed to take Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to her Chennai residence for lunch. The much-hyped January 2008 Pongal lunch, arranged by an arrogant strategist, enraged bhaktas of the Kanchi Matham, who felt that the leader closest to the Hindu heart should not be seen in her company. But they were ignored; and Narendra Modi was not allowed to visit the Kanchi Matham in that trip.

    To his credit, he saw merit in the Hindu angst and invited the Kanchi Shankaracharya to his state, where he was received with due honour.

    These public relations exercises with Jayalalithaa proved futile as she refused to enter a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. Yet power brokers in Chennai kept talking about a deal with Jayalalithaa and kept promising they could bring her to the table post-2009 elections, even when it was known that some of them were refused entry across her threshold!

    Mr. Advani will have to explain this keenness for Jayalalithaa even after suspicions arose that she may have converted to Christianity secretly, and that is why a Bishop performed service at her residence on Christmas last December.

    Regardless of her personal religious affiliation, Advani must explain why BJP jettisoned Hindutva in its election campaign yet allowed allies to court religious minorities in an overtly communal fashion. The 2009 AIADMK Manifesto had a section devoted to minorities which stated that:

    India’s uniqueness in the world polity is its secular fabric that has withstood the ravages of time. Today, several forces are working overtime to tear that fabric asunder and lower India’s image in the eyes of the world. To prevent such a situation, the AIADMK proposes the following:
    – Top priority for addressing some of the long-standing problems of Dalit Christians for reservation
    – Subsidy for Christians undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem
    – All Souls’ Day to be made a Restricted Holiday
    – Hostels with all facilities at nominal charges at towns of religious significance to Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities in order to attract pilgrims from India and abroad
    – All genuine security concerns of the minorities to be addressed and resolve to knit a homogenous, tension-free, truly secular social fabric.

    This reads like a diatribe against the Hindu community, a kind of hate speech commonly associated with missionaries and news converts. It is for the AIADMK cadres to decide if, like the Tamils of Sri Lanka, they are willing to be ruled by leaders of a different religious affiliation, or if they will search for a Hindu Indian Tamil leadership when they find that the leaders are beginning to espouse a different political agenda. All that is in the future.

    For now, BJP and L.K. Advani must apologise to India’s Hindus for brazenly cohabiting with Hindu-baiters in the name of political compulsions, and abandoning the Hindu cause on the battlefield of moha, lobha, ahankaar (illusion, greed, pride).

    Advani must go

    As Mr. Advani has refused to even formally accept responsibility for defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, where the party projected no issue before the electorate except his desire to be prime minister, BJP must quickly discard him and move on.

    Unless BJP is actually functioning as a ‘Shadow Congress,’ there is no need to be guided by Congress precedent in the 1999 elections, as Venkaiah Naidu is doing when he says that Sonia Gandhi never stepped down then. The fact is that Congress did not change its leader because it is centered round a dynasty; BJP is supposed to be an ideological party.
    Sadly, it has degenerated most disgracefully into a Cult of L.K. Advani. That Cult has failed to become the Religion of India – it must be allowed to wither away.

  24. zoomindianmedia says:

    Election 2009: Is mandate against Hindutva?
    Amitabh Tripathi
    31 May 2009
    Since the results of the 15th Lok Sabha elections were declared, a heated postmortem is on. The people’s verdict has been deciphered in various ways. Some analysts have concluded the era of smaller parties is over, yet the smaller parties garnered 220 parliamentary seats more than the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

    Another conclusion is that people have punished smaller parties which boasted of having the key to government-formation in their hands. This has ignited a debate on the inclusive nature of the mandate, with faith on development. The people’s verdict has various dimensions; one bottom-line is the mandate for stable government. But this verdict has also been described as no to Hindutva, but before jumping to any conclusion we may analyze the mandate in context of secularism and Hindutva.

    Secularism in the Indian context has been defined as the blatant appeasement of minorities and Hindu-bashing; but election results don’t substantiate this. The election results contain some unique phenomena, brushed under the carpet and overshadowed by the highly charged debate on development.

    These elections defeated the stalwarts of secularism. Lalu Prasad Yadav, a mascot of secularism for two decades, with vocabulary filled with phrases derogatory to Hindutva leaders and Hindutva itself, has been thrown into the dustbin. Lalu Prasad Yadav is the same person who cashed on his image among the Muslim community because as chief minister he did not allow Lal Krishna Advani to proceed in Bihar with his Rath Yatra in 1989. Before polling in this election, this so-called messiah of Muslims stunned everyone by delivering a speech against the controversial Varun Gandhi.

    Lalu and the other messiah of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, built a Fourth Front to root out communal forces. These two Yadav leaders were accompanied by Ram Vilas Paswan who has openly demanded citizenship for Bangladeshi infiltrators.

    The politics of secularism for these leaders was based on the arithmetic of moderate Hindus in the name of secularism, along with Muslims; but the arithmetic did not succeed this time and they were rejected like flotsam. Their rejection is pregnant with a hidden message that rhetoric alone will not appease Muslims and moderate Hindus will not tolerate blatant minority appeasement.

    In Bihar, the defeat of the wife of Md. Shahabuddin, known underworld don, has been described as a defeat of the politics of criminalization; but the constituency of Siwan tells another story. The followers of Md. Shahabuddin raised the slogan “Hina nahi to jina nahi” (If there will be no Hina – wife of Shahabuddin – it will be difficult to live). This boomeranged on Hina; Hindus polarized against her, and in the absence of any candidates from a national party, they voted for an Independent. People from Bihar told me this is the first time when elections in Siwan have been polarized; earlier Hindus also supported Shahabuddin.

    This is not the case only with this troika of secularism; another face of secularism was defeated in Maharashtra. After the terrorist attack in Mumbai, the then union cabinet minister A.R. Antulay, shamelessly and openly talked the language of Pakistan and raised questions regarding the very nature of the attack and ignited the conspiracy theory floated by Islamists world over – that this attack was an inside job by India. Antulay got a stunning defeat, but no one in the media talked about this development.

    In Kerala, the Left parties gambled to take Abdul Naseer Madani along with them, and this strategy backfired as the traditional Hindu voters of this godless party left it on account of apprehension over the growing clout of Islamic fundamentalism in this highly volatile southern state.

    If we see election 2009 as a rejection of Hindutva politics, we have few instances to corroborate this conclusion. It is argued that BJP was unable to polarize votes and people voted for the performance of governments. By this logic, this was a pan-national phenomenon and people everywhere discounted identity politics. If it was indeed the case and people voted against BJP for its anti-minority rhetoric and raising the issue of Afzal Guru, then BJP should also have been punished in Malegaon, Pilibhit, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh. Actually, BJP won all these constituencies where election issue was based on Hindutva and Jihad.

    If the pan-India appeal for development and rejection for Hindutva was truly the essence of this election, then BJP should have lost in Karnataka where Masjids and Churches issued a fatwa against the ruling party. Before the elections, the Ram Sene was a darling issue for the Media in the state for several months, and secularists were hoping to bring moderate Hindus to their side with this campaign; results showed the opposite happened.

    Election results indicate a new trend that Hindus could not be taken for granted on secularism with blatant Hindu-bashing. Gujarat was the first state to break the jinx of secularism, synonymous with Hindu-bashing, and Congress with its allies paid heavily for the vilification of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in every election in the state. This was clearly evident in this election when Congress preferred to keep mum on the direction of Supreme Court to investigate the role of Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots which followed the Godhra incident in 2002.

    This new phenomenon in Indian politics needs to be analyzed carefully. In the last two decades, the Hindutva movement has played a role of deterrence of Islamic fundamentalism and Evangelical fundamentalism. People have punished BJP for not taking these issues as election issues, but have not defeated Hindutva. BJP lives in utter dilemma and confusion and in this hour of crisis, people need clarity of thought, and they have to decide between Congress and pseudo-Congress, and finally their verdict went in favour of the real Congress.

    Congress needs to understand this inherent message of the mandate and not side with Islamic fundamentalism and evangelical fundamentalism as people are mature and not going to tolerate minority communalism in the name of secularism. BJP needs to come out of its dilemma and confusion and make its position clear on Hindutva.

    The author is a professional translator and political commentator

  25. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP’S FAILURE: An Unbiased Observation
    Dr Radhasyam Brahmachari

    While BJP was in Power:

    Before analyzing the defeat of BJP in the present Lok Sabha election, it is necessary to have a look how the Party came to power in 1999 with 192 MPs. One may recall that in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1998 the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) obtained a simple majority. This time, the BJP had allied with the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal besides its existing allies, the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. Outside support was provided by the Telugu Desam Party. The NDA had a slim majority, and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister. But the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the leader of AIADMK, Jayalalitha, withdrew her support, and fresh elections were again called in October, 1999. Within this brief period, BJP did two remarkable jobs that made it popular across the country. Firstly, it conducted the testing of the nuclear device at Pokhran and secondly, it fought the Kargil war with Pakistan in May-July, 1999.

    These two achievements were hailed by the entire population who discovered a courageous fighter in BJP, capable of protecting the sovereignty and freedom of the nation and thrashing the rogue enemy state Pakistan . The people of this country gave BJP a hero’s welcome and, as a consequence, in the Lok Sabha election held on October 13, 1999, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats. The BJP won an all-time high of 183 seats. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time in his life, and Advani became the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.

    But the said image of BJP was considerably shattered when the NDA government shamefully submitted to the unjust demands of the Pakistani terrorists after the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane, Flight no. 814 on December 24, 1999, and released three dreaded terrorists, most undemocratic way, from the Kashmir jail and one cabinet minister went to Kandahar, by a special plane, with those three terrorists and rupees 900 crores and a planeload of high explosive (to be used against India),.as ransom But after the hijacking drama, it would have been proper for the NDA government to order our army to cross the border of Afghanistan and our air force to bomb Kabul and Kandahar. And thus force the terrorists to release 174 passangers and 15 crew members of the hijacked plane. In this context, one may recall how the Russian government dealt with the Chechen terrorists who seized a school in Beslan in 2004.

    On December 13, 2001, five terrorists attacked the Parliament House (Sansad Bhawan) in Delhi . It was due to the prompt and brave action of our security forces, six of whom sacrificed their lives, the lives of a few hundred of our MPs were saved. After this incident many of our commentators described it as a rape of our Parliament, or rather a rape of our democracy. Our military top brass advised the government to take immediate military action against Pakistan and hence to teach a good lesson to that rogue state. Some of our top army personnel commented that we had enough of talks, and time had arrived to act. So an army mobilization was ordered and our troops, with their modern sophisticated weapons were dispatched to the Indo-Pak border and were waiting for final signal from our leaders to cross the border. Our troops were waiting for months after months, but the NDA government failed to gather sufficient courage to give that final signal. Ultimately troops were withdrawn wasting nearly three thousand crores of rupees, as the cost of mobilization and wear and tear of the sophisticated weapons. It is important to note that, had the NDA government conducted the military operation against Pakistan and taught that rogue state a good lesson, the people of this country would have given a hero’s welcome to BJP for the second time and they would have voted BJP to victory in the 2004 Lok Sabha election.

    On April 21, 2001, Bangladesh Rifles abducted 15 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel into Bangladesh . They subsequently butchered all the 15 BSF men and carried their mutilated bodies like carcass of animals to return the dead bodies in an extremely humiliating manner. As a cover up of that criminal act by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the government of Bangladesh said that our BSF men illegally crossed the Bangladeshi border and hence BDR captured and killed them. It is to be noted here that, even if it is admitted that the BSF men had entered Bangladesh illegally, it was proper for BDR arrest them and produce them in the court of law. In any case, they could not have killed them.

    The most justified reply of the NDA government to this heinous crime was to give order to our army to cross the border of Bangladesh and march towards Dhaka . But our leaders, for the lack sufficient courage or for the sake of its newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, failed to take military action against even a small and weak nation like Bangladesh . On the contrary, they supported the claim of the government of Bangladesh that our forces had done a wrong and by entering Bangladesh without any provocation. Our PM sent his personal secretary Brojesh Misra to Dhaka to beg pardon on behalf of the Indian Government for the so called offence committed by our BSF personnel.

    It is needless to say that all the above mentioned cowardice acts have completely shattered the image BJP had built up by fighting the Kargil War and testing nuclear device at Pokhran. And there is no doubt that this loss of image had played a major role in its defeat in 2004 Lok Sabha election.

    The Hindu Nationalist Party Turned Secular:

    We should now have a look on the other activities of the NDA government during its tenure that lasted for 6 years. As a matter of fact, the BJP is a direct successor of The Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee and it was considered the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). After the murder of Dr Mookherjee in custody in 1953, the BJS lasted for 24 more years, but never seriously challenged the power of Indian National Congress It is well known that in 1977, a group of top leaders of BJS, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, formed the new party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS duly recognized this new party as its political organ. So, it is not difficult to understand that “Hindutva” was the fundamental basis of BJP and its ultimate goal was to make India a “Hindu Rastra”.

    So, before the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999, the BJP declared the followings as its professed goals. :

    No special treatment for any religious group or BJP would never resort to appease the Muslims for securing their votes.
    The Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which prevents non-Kashmiris, including Hindus who have fled the area due to increasing terrorism, from owning property in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
    The Promulgation of a Uniform Common Civil Code, which create only one personal and civil law code for Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
    A Ban on Cow Slaughter, to honor the Hindu tradition of not consuming the flesh of cow, and prohibiting the consumption of beef.
    A Complete Ban on Religious Conversions
    The Construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya,.
    To achieve the full territorial and political integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. Presently over 40% of the territory is under the control of Pakistan and China.
    Identification of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators and send them back to Bangladesh and at the same time taking proper steps to stop infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims to West Bengal..
    Rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pundits, who have been evicted from their home land Kashmir and living as refugees in the refugee camps in Delhi .

    But after assuming power, the NDA government did not take any initiative to implement any of the above promises. On the contrary, during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir , the Prime Minister Sri Vajpayee assured the Kashmiri Muslims that, so long he is the Prime Minister, the Article 370 would continue. During election campaign BJP promised that it would never indulge in appeasement of the Muslims. But after assuming power, NDA government increased Hajj subsidy for the Muslims and hiked the salary of the imams. Previously the Muslims pilgrims intending to go to Mecca to perform Hajj, had to travel to Mumbai and from Mumbai they used to fly to Jeddah at subsidized rate. But the NDA government arranged flights from all the major cities of India to Mecca and built rest houses, specially for the Hajj pilgrims, in all the major cities of the country.

    While it was expected that the NDA government, after assuming power, would strive hard to implement the above mentioned national agenda and hence to consolidate Hindu votes, but on the contrary, it displayed a strong inclination to acquire Muslim votes by appeasement of the Muslims. They floated the idea that all Muslims are not anti-nationals and there also exists a large group of good as well as nationalist Muslims, who are to be brought under the banner of BJP. Which was as ridiculous and bogus as saying, “All cobras are not bad and there are good cobras as well.” On the basis of this newly invented ridiculous, baseless and bogus ideology, they started to appease the Muslims in a big way, especially in 2000-2001, when Bangaru Laxman became the president of the Party. It is needless to say that from this time onwards, the Hindus started not only to reject, but to hate BJP and its leaders.

    As mentioned above, prior to the 1999 election, BJP promised to identify every Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrator and send them back to Bangladesh . But after assuming power, the NDA government, according to their newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, took no step in this direction. On the contrary, it adopted a serious anti Hindu step in this context. Previously, the Hindus who, being persecuted by the Muslims, were coming to India from Bangladesh were treated as refugees. But NDA government deprived the Hindus from this facility (which is the standing policy of the UN) and started to treat the Hindus as infiltrators, like the Muslims. In one incident, a Hindu housewife, to save her life from the Muslim goons of Bangladesh , was crossing the border by swimming a canal and the Indian security forces gunned her down. Due to this step-motherly attitude of the NDA government towards the Bangladeshi Hindus, lakhs of Bangladeshi Hindus are still not getting refugee status and hence any assistance from either the state or the Central government.

    Another important promise made by BJP was implementation of the uniform civil code for all the citizens on India , irrespective of religion or other differences. In this context, it is important to note that, a verdict of the Supreme Court in mid-2003 upheld the necessity of enforcing ‘common civil code’ in India , which could liberate India ‘s Muslim women from the shameful gender discrimination like polygamy and oral divorce. But the NDA government, in tune with its new policy of Muslim appeasement, did not take any initiative in this direction, because such a step would have displeased the orthodox Muslim clerics.

    Most importantly, the NDA government remained not only silent regarding the construction of temple at Ayodhya, but opposed any attempt or any movement for temple construction. During its tenure Vishwa Hindu Parishad gave a call for a demonstration of the activists at Ayodhya. But to frustrate the effort, NDA government promulgated an ordinance so that police can arrest anyone found to purchase a railway ticket for Ayodhya anywhere in the country. In Kolkata, many VHP workers were arrested and put into police custody, while they were found to purchase railway ticket for Ayodhya at Howrah and Sealdah railway stations. It is really surprising that the NDA government took such step against the people who voted it to power.

    When the author of this article asked a BJP leader about this affair, he said that most of the allies of the NDA are secular minded and hence if the government wanted to move forward any issue concerning the Hindus, they would withdraw their support leading to a fall of the NDA government. The question naturally arises – Did the Hindus voted BJP to rule for a full term at the sacrifice of the Hindutva issues? The leaders of BJP failed to understand that, had the government fallen due to an initiative of the BJP to fulfill its pre-election promises, the Hindus would have voted BJP again, perhaps more profusely, and help form the government. But our leaders preferred to remain in power at the sacrifice of its pre-poll promises and thus earned distrust of the Hindus. Many Hindus began to call BJP as “Biswasghatak Janata Party”.

    Thus, without caring for the sentiment of the electorate, who voted it to power, BJP or the NDA government dumped all its nationalist agenda into the cold storage and at the fag end of its tenure started to build roads, as if the voters had voted it to power for making roads. Prime Minister Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was, perhaps, confident that the said road building and the economic reforms he had undertaken, would return him to power again. But the poll results 2004 election reflected that he was wrong. He learned the bitter lesson that the Hindu voters did not make him the Prime Minister of India for making roads and bring economic reforms.

    During the 5 year period from 2004 to 2009, BJP has left no stone unturned to expose itself a truly secular party through complete renunciation of its Hindu identity. Its leaders failed to grasp that it drew strength and status from Hindu society alone and it was the Hindus who voted it to power. They failed to learn a lesson from the debacle of 2004 election. So, in stead of Hindutva agenda, they depended on good governance and development to win the 2009 election and kept silence about the most cherished Hindu issues like temple building in Ayodhya, scrapping of Article 370, enforcement of common civil code and so on.

    Projecting L K Advani as the Prime Ministerial Candidate:

    In this election, the leaders of BJP, without giving much thought, projected elderly Sri L K Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate, whom a section of the Hindus have identified as a traitor quite a long ago. Sri Advani is the man who, after the demolition of the old temple at Ayodhya on 6th December, 1992, said that it was the most tragic day in his life. Not only that, “Mr. Advani took the demolition of the contentious structure as a personal slight (he had promised the Supreme Court nothing would happen), and without any discussion with senior party colleagues present there, especially then party president Murli Manohar Joshi, resigned his post as Leader of the Opposition by faxing his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker and releasing the information to the press. The party was faced with an uncomfortable fait accompli”, writes Mrs Sandhya Jain in her recent article L K Advani: From History to Oblivion.

    On 4th June, 2007, when Advani was visiting the mausoleum of M A Jinnah in Karachi , Pakistan , said that Jinnah was a great man and he was secular leader. When I asked a BJP leader of West Bengal , about that contentious comment of Advani, to my utmost astonishment, he supported Advani and said, “Advaniji was right. In fact, Jinnah was a staunch secular leader at the beginning of his political career.. But later on Gandhi and Nehru spoiled him.” If this was the BJP-way of looking at things, who would rescue it from its imminent downfall?

    Nearly 7-8 years ago, when NDA was in power, Advani said that the day of idealism is over, now the day is of new ideas. Or indirectly, he made it clear that BJP would no longer follow the Hindutva ideology as propagated by its parent organization RSS. Or the ideology which had been identified by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurovindo, Dr Hedgewar and Guruji Gowalkar as the sole path for the revival of this Hindu nation. All such utterances of Advani makes one to convince that Sri Advani and his coterie have dragged BJP, originally a political party of distinction with the aim for achieving a noble and lofty goal, down to an ordinary political party of petty and conspiratorial politics.

    As a result, Hindus lost faith in BJP and its staunch supporters, on their poll-day, remained indoor and enjoyed a holiday. Only 25 per cent of the Hindu electorates turned up at the polling booths to exercise their democratic right and BJP suffered the obvious setback. Only God knows how many years it will take to recover this setback and get back the confidence of the Hindus again.

  26. zoomindianmedia says:


    BJP apes Congress, fails

    Koenraad Elst

    Right-wing parties all over the world have a common trait: Once in or near power, they betray their own support base. The BJP is no different. It is needlessly described as a ‘Hindu chauvinist’ party which it is not. To prove its ‘secular’ credentials, the BJP chose to become the ‘B’ team of the Congress. And was rejected by the voters

    With great satisfaction, the world has taken note of the defeat of the Hindu nationalists: “The Indian voter has rejected Hindu chauvinism.” Subtleties such as the likelihood that the BJP has been abandoned by many of its supporters for not being Hindu chauvinist enough, don’t come into the picture. The typically Indian failures of the BJP that explain its defeat, I now leave to Indian authors to discuss. What has caught my attention is a trait the BJP shares with Right-wing parties all over the world.

    The label ‘Rightist’ is open to various definitions, the themes with which Rightist parties attract voters are different from country to country, and even on a single theme, their positions may differ between countries. But they have one behavioural trait in common: Once in or near power, they betray their own support base.

    In France, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy came to power on a distinctly Rightist platform, which he largely disowned once installed as President. Thus, he had promised to oppose the entry of Turkey into the EU, but the first thing he did was to nominate as his Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner of the opposition Socialist Party, a declared supporter of Turkey’s entry.

    In Britain, the Conservative Party is a copy of New Labour on all issues of consequence. People who favour its traditional positions now turn to the UK Independence Party or even the proletarian British National Party. Those who insist on loyalty to the old party-line, even top-ranking veteran Norman Tebbitt, are threatened with expulsion.

    In the US, the real (so-called paleo-) conservatives have been frozen out of the Republican Party and are being starved by institutional boycotts. The party shuns matters of principle and limits its supposed conservatism to mindless flag-waving. While the party base favours Christian politics, the part elite downplays ideology and promoted as presidential candidate the faux war martyr John McCain, a liberal in the Culture War. Like other plutocrats eager to suppress labour wages by exploiting illegals, he laughed at the party activists’ demands for curbs on immigration. Consequently, conservative mobilisation for the party during the elections was lacklustre and defeat inevitable.

    Doesn’t all this remind you of the BJP? The party favours mindless flag-waving over ideology and takes its constituents for granted. It assumes that they have nowhere else to turn and will follow the party in all its erratic policy shifts. Well, not really erratic, there is a transparent logic in the party’s betraying its core party-line: It dreams of enjoying the warmth of approval from its enemies, who happen to dominate the cultural and media sectors. It tells its voters: Since you are lambasted as reactionary communalists, we don’t want to be on your side. But no matter what non-Hindutva postures it adopts, the hoped-for approval from the secularists remains elusive.

    In 1991 already, right after the election victory that made the BJP the leading Opposition party, it discreetly disowned the Ayodhya movement that had earned it this breakthrough. The media scapegoated Mr LK Advani for the subsequent Babri Masjid demolition, though everybody knew that it had taken place in spite of him. He had gone there to demonstrate to the secularists that he was the one man who could control Hindu anger and prevent it from demolishing this symbol of secularism. When the crowd bypassed him, he broke down in tears, and ever since, he has been deploring the event as the ‘blackest day’ of his life. Disowning his role of flag-bearer of Hindutva, he should have bowed out gracefully. Instead, his clinging on to the leadership reminds us of Mr Jean-Marie Le Pen, the aged French Rightist leader who has sacrificed his party to his own pitiable ambitions.

    While Ayodhya was ‘merely’ a symbolic issue, the more political demands were likewise cast aside. When in power, the BJP didn’t make the slightest move towards a Common Civil Code, abolition of Jammu & Kashmir’s separate status or Governmental non-interference in Hindu schools and places of worship. The single attempt at doing anything pro-Hindu — Mr Murli Manohar Joshi’s exercise in rewriting the Marxist-distorted textbooks — turned into a horror show of incompetence.

    During the latest campaign, the BJP downplayed ideology (except erratically in the Varun Gandhi incident) and betted all on ‘good governance’. Some BJP State Governments have provided that, to be sure, and in these States the BJP has been rewarded. But it could never be a decisive election-winner because Congress hasn’t done too bad in that regard either. Ever since Mr Manmohan Singh read out the 1992 Budget, the world sees his signature written all over India’s economic success. Even BJP contributors to that success, like erstwhile Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie, won’t deny him that honour.

    In these circumstances, only a clear ideological profile, mature but distinct, could have won the election for the BJP. If it didn’t want that ideological distinctness and was content to remain the Congress’s B-team, the party could have learned from Mr Sarkozy to show this only after the election. Before, it should at least have kept up the pretence of being a party with a difference.

    — The author is an Indologist based in Brussels.

  27. zoomindianmedia says:

    Sanjeev Nayyar

    Why the BJP lost Elections-2009
    Most media pundits and Bharatiya Janata Party supporters were surprised with the party’s performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. It was always in doubt whether the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance would reach the magical figure of 272, but optimists believed that post-electoral alliances could help.

    After the death of Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi took total charge of the Congress. Somewhere along the way, he felt that representing Hindus alone would not enable him to be India’s foremost leader, so he sought support of the Muslim community by supporting the Khilafat Movement in 1919 (protests by Indian Muslims against the abolishing of the Caliphate in Turkey) and Hindu Muslim unity.

    L K Advani was respected by most Hindus. He too felt that the dream of becoming prime minister could be realised only when he became acceptable to the Muslims and allies who had Muslim support. The visible point of his transformation from a Hindutva warrior to a secular person was his visit to the Jinnah mausoleum in Pakistan and his controversial remarks during a visit to Karachi in June 2005. Advani, thus sought to become secular, as the Congress leaders have been, for over 75 years. This required him to ignore Hindu concerns and pain, overlook Islamic terrorism and Christian evangelism.

    Ironically the man who coined the term ‘pseudo-secularism’ for the Congress, became one himself.

    The joy in the Advani camp was premature
    As the foremost critic of secularism as practiced in India, Advani believed that the word ‘secular’ is not defined in the Indian Constitution, and is a concept borrowed from Europe where being secular meant separation of church from state; yet his ambitions forced an image change.
    It was hoped that the makeover would inspire Muslims to vote for an Advani-led NDA. That did not happen. When a politician, actually any human being, has for over 60 years stood for certain values and does an about-turn in the winter of his life, people question the credibility of such a leader.

    The joy in the Advani camp on his being nominated as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate was misplaced, premature as if he had already become the PM. By virtue of being declared PM in waiting, his opponents had months to design a strategy to counter him, because BJP prepared no satellite-booster to launch him to the winning post! Certainly by virtue of being the tallest leader in the BJP, had the NDA won, Advani would surely have become PM. BJP laid excessive emphasis upon his pre-eminence, while the Congress used the campaign period to cleverly cover up the deficiencies of its five-year rule.

    Was Advani truly tough?
    Then there was the election campaign. A US Presidential type campaign was begun, portraying Advani as a tough no-nonsense man. He called Manmohan Singh the weakest PM ever. Most posters showed Advani only. A new website and blog were designed to connect with the youth. The usual noises of making a Ram Temple, abolishing Article 370 were made. An innovative Information Technology policy was presented.

    What went wrong? Was Advani truly tough? When party general secretary Arun Jaitley openly heckled party president Rajnath Singh, causing embarrassment during the heat of battle, the PM in waiting remained mute but appeared to side with his own lackey (Jaitley). When the BJP’s Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi was arrested for making inflammatory speeches, the party seemed to favour politely dropping him (it told the Election Commission that he was not yet the official candidate.) Then, under the illusion that Varun’s outburst would lead to consolidation of Hindu votes, it went ahead with his candidature.

    BJP failed to bring forth UPA-rule’s shortcomings
    Advani took personal digs at Dr Manmohan Singh. But when Singh hit back and questioned Advani’s tough attitude citing attacks on India’s Parliament, Akshardham etc, Advani went quiet.
    Instead, Advani could have said those events happened during NDA rule but the frequency of terrorist attacks was higher under the UPA. Five years of UPA rule saw bomb blasts in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Gauhati, Varanasi and so on. More importantly the state governments of BJP-ruled Gujarat and Karnataka arrested those behind blasts unlike the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in Maharashtra where the trial for July 2006 train blasts is proceeding at a snail’s pace. The BJP could have pointed out that 16 years later, those involved in the 1993 Mumbai blasts are still not convicted. The UPA government has not pursued the case in the Supreme Court with the same vigour, as say, those relating to the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.

    Advani could have compared the NDA’s response to Pakistan post the attack on Parliament in 2001 vs. the Mumbai attack in 2008. The NDA launched Operation Parakram, the largest mobilisation of the armed forces since the 1971 war. Three strike corps were deployed along the border with Pakistan; waiting for orders to go across. Both fleets of the Indian Navy were combined and deployed off the coast of Pakistan; Pakistan’s airlines were denied the right to fly over Indian airspace. These were tough measures.

    Conversely, except making a noise and seeking the United States’ support, the UPA did not take any concrete measures against Pakistan. The result of their approach is reflected in recent events — when India expressed displeasure on June 2, after 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed was freed from house arrest by the Lahore High Court, the Pakistan Prime Minister responded, ‘Solve Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN (United Nations) resolutions.’ The same old story again.

    Advani and Vajpayee’s approach differed
    Ditto for Kandhar. Both Singh and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi questioned Advani and the NDA on why they exchanged hostages for criminals. Advani is yet to come clean. Media reports indicate that Advani did not agree with the exchange; it was then foreign minister Jaswant Singh who maintained that exchanging criminals for hostages was the best possible option.
    Advani could have cited Home Minister P Chidambaram’s recent statement that he too would have released hostages, if faced with a similar situation. Or, like Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said in an interview to Headlines Today, he could have pointed out that an all-party meeting discussed the issue and agreed to exchange hostages for criminals. As the Congress leaders were present at the meeting, it should not now distance itself from a national accord.

    Having said that, it must be remembered that the NDA government was headed by Vajpayee, and not Advani. Their approach to various issues differed.

    By projecting himself as tough, Advani opened the gates for criticism. He should instead have used past examples to prove the NDA approach and let the public decide who is a weakling?

    People dislike doublespeak and want their leaders to come out clearly, accept mistakes, not beat around the bush. Rahul Gandhi admitted errors but praised BJP for the highway development program.

    About 15 percent of the Indian electorate is in the age group between 18 to 30. The BJP campaign centered exclusively around an 81-year-old PM in waiting. Notwithstanding a blog, website and a facebook campaign, can a 24 year old to relate to Advani.

    Instead, the BJP should have shown Advani with numerous leaders from different age groups, atleast some in the 30’s, men and women. It should have trained these young leaders in the nuances of media communication well in advance and given them sufficient media exposure. This would have helped the BJP connect with various age groups, present the right combination of age and experience.

    BJP became ‘secular’ like the Congress of 1990’s
    By paying lip-service to building a temple at Ayodhya, inspite of being aware that the courts, Muslims and allies would not allow it, BJP once again tried to fool the Hindu voter. A temple already exists period. Lack of credible actions made the voters lose faith in the BJP. Most Hindus do not know the implications of Article 370. Both these issues are steeped in politics of the 1990’s.
    In an attempt to gain wider acceptance, the BJP became secular like the Congress of the 1990’s, meaning it wanted the Hindu vote by default and the Muslim vote by virtue of having now become secular. This alienated its core Hindu constituency and did not bring in the Muslim votes either. The BJP’s dilemma is akin to the Congress’s in the 1990’s – Rajiv Gandhi wanted to keep both the Hindus and Muslims happy. We know what happened!

    During its five year tenure, I do not recall any significant action taken by the BJP to create a level playing field for Hindus or assuage Hindu feelings. Why must only Hindu temples be under the control of state governments? In states like Karnataka temple collections become part of the state treasury. Why cannot Hindus, like Muslims and Christians, manage their places of worship? BJP forever referred to the plight of Kashmiri Hindus but did nothing to improve their condition.

    The NDA undertook no action to strengthen the provisions of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act that controls the flow of foreign money into Indian Non Government Organisations. How many people know that between 1993-94 and 2006-07, Rs 64,670 crore was the sum of foreign contributions (external link) received into India NGO’s (mostly Christian organisations) and these contributions increased by over 100 percent since the UPA came to power.

    Unlike the BJP, the Congress is very clear that the minorities and the Dalits are its principal vote banks and goes out of its way to woo them.

    The Hindutva tango
    One reasons for BJP’s ascent was its exposure of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Congress. Let us take some examples. Every time the BJP raised any issues concerning Hindus, the Congress claimed it was pursuing the policy of Hindutva to get votes. Has any BJP leader asked the Congress or the media to define Hindutva? Did the BJP say, ‘Why does speaking for Hindu rights upset you? Do only minorities have the right to protest?’ After all, the Congress openly espoused the minority cause for decades! Secondly all UPA leaders said their aim was to keep the communal forces (BJP) out of power. Did any BJP leader stand up and ask the UPA to define secularism?
    Now take the Pakistan PM’s recent statement on resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions. The world knows that the UN resolutions require Pakistan to vacate Pakistan Occupied Kashmir first before any talk of implementing the resolution. I do not recall any Congress leader telling the Pakistani government this!

    Management of the BJP allies has left a lot to be desired. Wherever the BJP has a regional ally, the ally has invariably weakened the BJP. It had pockets of support in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The tie-up with the Trinamool Congress and the Telugu Desam Party in 2004 decimated the BJP. Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik used the BJP to get into power, consolidate his position and left BJP in the lurch. Janata Dal-United chief Nitish Kumar in Bihar may go the Patnaik way.

    On the other hand Rahul Gandhi showed the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Janata Dal their place by making the Congress fight the UP, Bihar elections on its own steam. The results say it all.

    Why on earth did Jaswant Singh fight the election from Darjeeling and support Gorkhaland? The clamour for this new state has created enough problems since the 1990’s; no Bengali can support Gorkhaland. This one seat alienated Bengalis in the entire state.

    BJP did not attack Congress
    The BJP did not attack the Congress’s poor record of governance. Inspite of ruling India for most of independent India’s sixty years, over 20 percent of her population continue to live below the poverty line. Thirty seven years ago Indira Gandhi’s slogan was ‘Garibi Hatao.’ Sonia Gandhi said pretty much the same thing in 2004 and 2009, the slogan being ‘Aam Aadmi’. Advani could have accused the Congress of having a vested interest in keeping India poor, backward just the way Lalu Prasad did in Bihar for three terms.
    Deep down, Advani knew that this was the last fight of his life, a fight to make his dream come true. Spiritually speaking, when a person gets too attached to the fruits of his action, the object of desire becomes more and more difficult to achieve (ma phalesu kadachana).

    The BJP-led NDA government did some excellent work but leaders did not talk about it:

    The 1998 nuclear tests marked a turning point in India’s post independence history and compelled the world to look at her differently.

    Yashwant Sinha inherited a difficult fiscal situation after Chidambaram’s dream budget of 1997 but left the government of India finances in a very healthy situation in 2004. The fiscal deficit for March 2009 could be as high as 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. As Foreign Minister Sinha urged Indian industrialists to acquire foreign companies abroad, rather than focus on the domestic market only.

    The NDA government conceived the project to convert and strengthen existing national highways to four-laned ones and followed it up with quick progress on National Highway Development Program. Their contribution is widely acknowledged across the political spectrum. The UPA record on NHDP was dismal; the BJP-Shiv Sena government conceived and implemented India’s first expressway from Mumbai to Pune.

    After Sukh Ram’s disastrous stint in the telecom ministry, Arun Shourie oversaw the creation of a regulatory framework for telecom companies.

    The BJP could have used its past performance and medium term vision to communicate a clear message to the voting public. It did not use plain statistics to criticise the Congress.

    It could have promised Hindus a level playing field in all areas that do not concern Muslims or Christians, thereby avoiding conflict.

    Somehow one got the feeling that the BJP had not kept a detailed record of the UPA regime’s misdeeds. Collection, analysis and dissemination of the UPA government’s performance should start now and be regularly done for the next five years.

    The BJP has to decide what it stands for and then live with it through thick and thin. It cannot keep oscillating like a pendulum. All along it opposed the nuclear deal with the US, then suddenly during the elections it changed tack and said it would not renegotiate the deal if voted to power. Where was the need for this statement considering that the nuclear deal was a non issue?

    The BJP must realise who its principal opponents are. One is the media and two the Congress. A short to long term strategic plan needs to be designed accordingly. Execution is the key.

  28. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP at crossroads: Back to basics or irrelevance?
    Virendra Parekh
    25 May 2009
    “Many of us, utterly overcome by Tamas, the dark and heavy demon of inertia, are saying nowadays that it is impossible, that India is decayed, bloodless and lifeless, too weak ever to recover; that our race is doomed to extinction. It is a foolish and idle saying. No man or nation need be weak unless he so chooses, no man or nation need perish unless he deliberately chooses extinction” – Aurobindo, “Bhawani Mandir”
    “One who may die but will not perish has life everlasting” – Lao Tse

    Following the stunning defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the secularist commentariat lost no time in advising the BJP to eradicate once and for all the remaining traces of Hindutva from its thinking and programmes and move to a centrist position.

    The carrot is: this will enable the party to win more allies and overcome the limitations of its vote base. The stick: the alternative is to play to its core support base by emphasising the party’s point of difference with the Congress and others on the secularism issue and indeed to seek polarisation on this count. The latter course might enthuse party cadres but will stunt BJP’s growth and confine its seat share in Parliament to double digits.

    The advice is not new. It resurfaces every time BJP suffers electoral reverses. It is renewed now that the BJP’s strength in the Lok Sabha has declined by about 15 percent to just 116 seats (its lowest tally in two decades) and its vote share dropped to barely 18 percent, a good 10 percentage points short of the Congress score. These results are conveniently interpreted as “defeat of Hindu chauvinism,” “rejection of communal agenda” and so on. The situation is described as an “existential dilemma” which can be resolved only by a determined divorce from Hindutva.

    The alternative explanation – that BJP might have been rejected by the people for not being “chauvinist” or “communal” enough – never occurs to those offering this unsolicited advice. “Mr. (Varun) Gandhi has swept a polarised Pilibhit, but the party has done poorly in Uttar Pradesh. Indeed, even in Mr. (Narendra) Modi’s Gujarat, the difference between the BJP vote and the Congress vote is barely 3 percentage points,” points out an edit writer gleefully. What if the whole of Uttar Pradesh had seen polarization? How many more seats could BJP have won in UP without Varun Gandhi? What if Mr. Modi could polarize Gujarati votes as he has done in the past?

    BJP will be courting certain death if it were to heed the secularists’ advice. For the advice is not objective and well-meaning but interested and partisan, motivated by a burning desire for total disarmament of Hindu society ideologically, morally and politically.

    Yet the critics have a point: BJP cannot avoid taking a hard look at itself without risking total irrelevance and terminal decline. Its ‘success’ in persuading Mr. L.K. Advani to continue as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha for a while has only exposed its weakness. It has postponed the day of reckoning to prevent exposure of the faultlines in its central leadership. But sooner rather than later, it has to come to terms with the reality that the Vajpayee-Advani era is truly over.

    The real challenge before the BJP, however, is not to find a successor to Mr. Advani but to rediscover its own original self, to compare what it aspired to be in its original incarnation with what it has made of itself through decades, and chart out a course of self-renewal which would restore its credibility and relevance.

    Ever since it tasted power in Delhi, BJP has been consistently diluting its commitment to Hindutva to broaden its political base, to win and retain allies and to win acceptability and respectability in secularist circles. Commentators on this website (Sandhya Jain, Radha Rajan, B.R. Haran) have described in graphic detail BJP’s degeneration into a Congress B-team in its futile chase of a secular label.

    It is amazing that BJP has been fighting a life and death battle as per rules framed by its inveterate enemies. Instead of challenging the values fashioned by the anti-Hindu secularist elite, BJP has been bending backwards to conform to them. The enemies say “secularism is good.” BJP says “We are secular, you are pseudo-secular.” Murli Manohar Joshi says BJP lost because it did not field significant numbers of Muslim candidates. Arun Jaitley boasts of Muslims being drawn towards BJP. Is this what BJP was set up to achieve?

    The enemies say “caste-based reservations are good.” BJP says “we are all for it.” The enemies say “women’s reservations are good.” BJP says “We support it.” The enemies say “middle class is sold on the nuclear deal.” BJP says “We will accept it with a few minor changes.” At no point does it turn around and say “your values are perverse. Your programmes are worthless. We do not want any of them. We will chart our own course.”

    The strategy was flawed from the beginning, both at the political and ideological level. Whatever assurances BJP may hold out to Muslims and other minorities, it can never compete with the likes of Mulayam Singh (whose biggest achievement is showering bullets on kar sevaks in Ayodhya), Manmohan Singh (‘Muslims have first claim on national resources’) and Sonia Gandhi (about whom nothing need be said). More importantly, Muslims would get the message that it pays to be cross with BJP (Bigad ke rahane se jyada milta hai).

    This is a battle BJP can never win. The secularists in media and politics have fashioned an identity for BJP which they want it to acquire, but which they will never concede to it. The more the BJP bends, the more will it be asked to bend. Secularists are like spoilt rich brats. The sight of beggars craving for crumbs makes them laugh. Even if BJP were to formally renounce all traces of Hindutva and disown every one of its nationalist planks, it will still be accused of being communal simply because that is the surest way to put it on the defensive.

    There is a historical parallel between the plight of BJP now and Congress in the pre-independence era. Everything that Congress is saying now about BJP is what Jinnah used to say about Congress in the 1940s (party of Hindu baniyas, Muslims can never get justice from it…) Under Gandhi, Congress embarked on a path of winning over the hearts and minds of Muslims over the heads of Muslim League and Jinnah (a brave and noble endeavour no doubt, but foolhardy) and ended up conceding Pakistan. BJP under Vajpayee embarked on a similar mission vis-à-vis Muslims, secularist parties and media. It has no Pakistan to concede, but it can end up compromising Hindu interests beyond repair.

    The first thing for BJP to do, therefore, is to resolve its ‘existential dilemma’ in favour of returning to its roots. It must develop the courage and vision to think and act like a party centred on Hindu India. If parties speaking for Dalits, Muslims, Yadavs and other small groups claim legitimacy, a party whose vision encompasses 82 percent of the population cannot be denied it. Secondly, a Hindu-centric party or polity need not be anti-Muslim in intent or action. Only it will not run after votes of Muslims as Muslims.

    The key requirement in making the right choice is courage. As Radha Rajan put it so aptly, as long as BJP keeps looking only at the trees of parliamentary seats currently held by its allies and adversaries, it will not see the wood of Hindu sentiments and aspirations which will give it the seats required to stand alone. To do that, BJP must first have the vision and the courage to stand alone even in its weakened state. The legs will find their strength in movement, not in paralysis.

    On the face of it, this may look like a losing proposition. For too long, BJP has been dominated by the mindset of a calculative Vaishya. But politics is a business of Kshatriya.

    The second essential requirement is vision. Being rooted in the native soil is necessary but not sufficient. If BJP is serious about emerging as a party capable of governing a billion-strong country in the 21st century with a fast-globalising economy, it must evolve an economic programme simultaneously growth-oriented and inclusive. Such a programme will shun the old and the new orthodoxy in economic thinking. It will judge policies, events and trends by their impact on different sections of the population and the economy as a whole, rather than their conformity with notions and theories currently in fashion. It will push for social reforms centering on ending caste inequities and promoting gender justice. It will conjure up a vision of India where sky is the limit for youth with drive and ambition.

    Earlier, BJP relied exclusively on ideology. Of late, it is relying exclusively on development. Naturally, it faltered. At a time when the community felt besieged nation-wide by jihad and Christian evangelism, BJP disappointed its supporters by consciously avoiding these issues. BJP lost because Hindus who gathered to hear Narendra Modi did not get to hear what their hearts wanted to hear.

    Third, BJP must have a 24×7 TV channel of its own. It must also have a chain of newspapers both in English and in regional languages, which would have excellent secular content (be it economy, society or sports) but whose editorial policy would be driven by a nationalist vision.

    Finally, BJP must prepare for a long haul and develop the strength to sustain the effort. As Sri Aurobindo put it, “in India the breath moves slowly, the afflatus is long in coming. India, the ancient Mother, is indeed striving to be reborn, striving with agony and tears, but she strives in vain. What ails her, she who is after all so vast and might be so strong? There is surely some enormous defect, something vital is wanting in us, nor is it difficult to lay our finger on the spot. We have all things else, but we are empty of strength, void of energy. We have abandoned Shakti and are therefore abandoned by Shakti.”

    In strengthening the motherland, BJP will strengthen itself. In reclaiming its glory, it will glorify itself.

    The author is Executive Editor, Corporate India, and lives in Mumbai

  29. zoomindianmedia says:


    Why BJP is Failing
    by Rajinder Puri (Full article)

    After the BJP lost the general election in 2004 this first person account of interaction with the BJP was published in a magazine now defunct to explain why the BJP lost. It predicted that in its present shape the BJP will never return to power. The article is reproduced without any change.

    After six years in office the BJP launched the costliest election campaign in India ’s history and was badly trounced. The Congress, which itself had dwindled into irrelevance, succeeded in becoming the single largest party. The fractured election result did not signify a revival of the Congress. It signified the irrelevance of all existing parties.

    The BJP itself lacks ideology, procedure and principle. It has an attitude. It is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian. These prejudices are its driving force. My views are derived from personal interaction with the BJP and its erstwhile avatar, the Jan Sangh. I present, by your leave, a first person account of that interaction, for whatever it is worth.

    I was working, in 1970, for The Statesman, and was among the country’s best-paid journalists. My cartoons had been very critical of the Congress and of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In those days of one-party rule all opposition parties stood up for me. Indeed, during those days when Indira was splitting the Congress, opposition party leaders from all the leading parties held a function in Vithalbhai Patel House to air support for me. On behalf of all the leaders present, Atal Behari Vajpayee even garlanded me!

    The Jan Sangh (the BJP of those days) decided to start a daily newspaper, Motherland. I was invited to be the editor. Having my own ideas of how to run a newspaper, and believing that in a city largely sympathetic to the Jan Sangh I could effectively challenge Delhi ’s premier newspaper, the Hindustan Times, I accepted the offer. I mire than halved my own salary and set the same salary ceiling for the top five members of the editorial team. I created a salary structure in which junior staff would have salaries equivalent to the highest paying competitors, the Times of India and The Statesman. The Sangh leaders watched me uneasily but said nothing.

    The resident editor of the Indian Express, DR Mankekar, had just retired. I approached him to become Editor of News. Mankekar was very much my senior in years. He appeared to respond favorably. On this matter I consulted KR Malkani, editor of the Jan Sangh’s journal, Organiser. The next thing I knew, I was told by Madhav Rao Mule, number two in the RSS that Mankekar would be the managing editor. I was told that Hansraj Gupta had a hand in this decision.

    Mule, Malkani and I held a meeting to discuss the issue. The only known managing editor till then had been Devdas Gandhi in HT. Devdas was the boss of the show. So I asked Mule, “What does a managing editor do?”

    Mule looked uncomfortable. Malkani replied, “Rajinderji, here we function like a family, we work together.”

    I bluntly told him: “I don’t think we can function like a family. If we want to become number one in the city we must function like an army. We must have a chain of command. If there is a difference of opinion, who prevails, Mankekar or I?”

    Malkani mumbled, “Mankekar.”

    “Have you discussed salary with him? How much will you pay him?”

    “The same that he gets.” That was around Rs 3,500 per month. I had sacrificed a Rs 4,000 plus salary to voluntarily set for myself a salary of Rs 2,000 per month! I bid Motherland goodbye. I had a letter of appointment from the Motherland Board unambiguously appointing me as number one. “Don’t worry,” I told Malkani. “I won’t sue you for breach of trust.”

    Later, Advani and Kedarnath Sahni approached me together and requested me to return. “I thought I was entering a mandir (temple),” I told them wryly. “But I found myself in a mandi (marketplace)!”

    Sahni looked at me mournfully. “Puriji,” he said earnestly. “Believe me, we are not a marketplace!” That was the end of the Motherland chapter. The paper never took off. It was closed during the Emergency. After Emergency was lifted it did not revive. I think the Sangh leaders had learnt the hard way that they were out of their depth when it came to daily journalism.

    After my brush with Motherland I had returned to The Statesman. Just before Emergency was imposed, I had stopped drawing cartoons for it because its editor, NJ Nanporia, didn’t publish my cartoons critical of Indira. Those days CR Irani had little say in editorial matters. Nevertheless, after Emergency was imposed, a warrant for my arrest was issued. I went underground. When arrest warrants against all journalists were withdrawn upon the advice of Chalapathi Rau, I surfaced to resume my unemployed existence.

    After Emergency was lifted, having had close relations with all anti-Indira forces, I found myself in the Janata Party. I was the only non-party general secretary of the party. My appointment had to be approved by all the constituents of the original Janata Party, which did not include Jagjivan Ram at that stage. I was entrusted with looking after the campaign publicity.

    After the Janata Party won the election despite initial private pessimism among most of its leaders, especially George Fernandes, aspirants from all factions got together and conspired to throw me out from my post. Explaining to reporters my removal from the post, Advani and Surendra Mohan, who, along with me, were original general secretaries, said that my appointment had been “temporary”. That was not true. The conspiracy had been so complete that I learnt of my removal only from the newspapers the next day! But that is another story.

    I grew closer to Charan Singh and Raj Narain because of my previous personal rapport with Ram Manohar Lohia. I wrote columns for Blitz Weekly and the Illustrated Weekly of India. In Blitz I broke the story of the RSS having given a sworn affidavit to the authorities stating it was a political organization in order to evade a tax of Rs 1 crore. That laid the foundation of the dual membership controversy that provided the excuse for the party to split. Eventually, Raj Narain was unconstitutionally expelled from the national executive for what he allegedly said about Morarji Desai in Shimla. Years later, Shanta Kumar of Himachal Pradesh admitted in a book he wrote that he had falsely implicated Raj Narain at the behest of Nanaji Deshmukh. Anyway, Raj Narain and I formulated the strategy to topple the Desai government, which I had concluded was incorrigible. A fortnight before the Janata government fell, I wrote in my Blitz column precisely how and when it would fall.

    In the 1979-80 election I contested against Vajpayee and CM Stephen from the New Delhi constituency. I was then, along with Madhu Limaye and Narendra Singh, general secretary of the Lok Dal. It was a foolhardy enterprise. Charan Singh had announced his intention to apply the Mandal formula in government service. All the central secretariat employees who were voters in my constituency were at my throat. Delhi ’s urban voters passionately hated the Chaudhry. Being general secretary of the party and residing in New Delhi, I thought it a matter of honor that I contest from my own turf instead of contesting from Meerut where, with the Chaudhry’s blessings, I might have easily won. Raj Narain allowed me to keep for use in my own election the Rs 50,000 that I had collected for the party. I didn’t receive a single extra rupee from the party. During most of the campaign I had to seek small donations from friends.

    I won few votes but they were crucial. In the extremely close contest my votes cut into the Congress tally to allow a victory for Vajpayee. After its defeat, the Janata Party split again into Janata Party and Bharatiya Janata Party. Meanwhile, because Charan Singh and Raj Narain also parted company, I quit the Lok Dal, not joining any faction. It was then that Vajpayee and Advani personally approached me to join the BJP. Advani said: “Let us forget the past. Let there be no reservations on either side.” Okay, I said, and joined the BJP. I asked for no post or status but joined as an ordinary member. It was a foolish decision. As John F Kennedy once said: “If someone deceives you once, it is his fault. If he deceives you twice, it is your fault.” The BJP leaders had already deceived me twice.

    In the BJP I quickly became Vajpayee’s presidential speechwriter and unofficial think-tank. At the same time I got together likeminded Delhi leaders, Arif Baig, Mewa Ram Arya and others, to start the Jan Ekta Manch to work among jhuggi settlements where the BJP was particularly weak. We made quick progress. By that time Indira had launched the bank loans scheme for the poor. The party decided to stop the scheme’s misuse in enabling only Congress sympathizers to get bank loans. The Jan Ekta Manch had become strong enough to overshadow the party in organizing demonstrations and getting hundreds, sometimes thousands, to court arrest. Vajpayee was delighted. The Delhi leaders were uneasy although the Jan Ekta Manch was located in the premises of the party office and no non-BJP member was made an office-bearer of the Manch.

    While Delhi leaders became uneasy at one level, the national leaders became uneasy at another. To give substance to the BJP’s empty slogan of ushering in Gandhian Socialism, I tried giving it content by creating the Workers’ Sector concept. Inspired by Gandhi’s concept of trusteeship I prepared an approach paper outlining the Workers’ Sector concept in which workers would become owners, share in the profits and participate in the management of those companies where public financial institutions held a majority share. The body to propagate this concept was named Ekatrit Kamgar Tabdili Andolan, Ekta. I lobbied hard and created the Ekta committee with Vajpayee, Chandra Shekhar, George Fernandes, Karpoori Thakur, Madhu Dandavate, Devraj Urs, Advani and Bhai Mahavir as members while I was convener. For the formal approval of the approach paper and its release to the Press, I got all the leaders to Vajpayee’s house. The next day the Indian Express carried a banner headline with a photograph of all the leaders flanking Vajpayee. This created shock waves among the BJP leaders, minus Vajpayee.

    It seemed that opposition unity was being recreated in a new guise. Advani quickly swung into action and derailed the specific significance of the move by summoning the same leaders for routine consideration of electoral reforms and other humdrum subjects. The Workers’ Sector concept died a quiet death.

    After Indira’s assassination, when the nation stood on the threshold of a general election, I had realized that I didn’t fit in with the BJP. I told Vajpayee he was losing his own election because the RSS was backing Scindia in Gwalior and the Congress in the rest of the country. I wrote my resignation letter and requested him to release it only after the poll. Vajpayee read the letter and threw it aside. He said emotionally, “Rajinderji, if we quit we’ll quit together! Just wait till after the poll. Things will change!” He stuck out his hand for me to shake. We shook hands and my resignation was spiked. This is the unedited text of the letter I had written then:

    December 10, 1984
    Dear Atal Ji,

    After our meeting last evening I have had an opportunity to reflect on my position and role in the party. I realize how busy you must be at this time while electioneering is in full swing. Therefore I shall start with the operative part of the letter which you may read now, followed by an explanation which you may read at leisure.

    I hereby resign from the National Executive, the Delhi Pradesh Executive, and the primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party effective from today. However, I would not like my resignation to be made public till the election is over on December 27th, and shall be grateful if the party does likewise, in order that nothing is said or done which may aid the Congress (I) in the poll.

    There are several reasons which had led me to resign. First, I disagree with the strategy of the party. Secondly, I deplore the party’s style of functioning. Thirdly, I question the basic integrity of some leaders of the party who put personal advantage above the party’s interest, and have come to acquire collectively the character and outlook of a caucus. And lastly, there is the personal factor which emerged in our conversation yesterday.

    First, the strategy. For more than two years the debate has continued whether the party should go it alone, merge with other parties to create a national alternative, or seek cooperation through seat adjustments with other parties. My own views on this fundamental question have been clear and consistent throughout this period, and were expressed vigorously and repeatedly during discussions in the National Executive. I had always maintained that seat adjustments for any ambitious and growing party could never be made into a declared policy unless the party intended to merge with its partners ultimately. Therefore, as far as I was concerned, the third option never existed, and if persisted with, was sure to cause confusion and demoralization with the party ranks and stunt its organizational growth. The continued effort for seat adjustments was a pathetic half-measure which betrayed the party’s lack of confidence and commitment.

    The final straw fell in the most recent meeting of the National Executive on November 14th, after Mrs. Gandhi’s death, and after the elections had been announced. You may recall that I again argued strongly that the death of Mrs. Gandhi had brought about a fundamental change in the situation, which made the earlier resolution in favor of seat adjustments outlined in the Pune session irrelevant. I advocated that after the party’s frustrating experience during the past two years, it was time now for the party to go it alone. I urged that the party should put up 400 candidates, come to terms with Telugu Desam and DMK, and boldly put forward its claim of being able to form the next government. To achieve this, I advocated a crash effort of roping in strong independents and assimilating entire groups where feasible. My rationale was simple. During Mrs. Gandhi’s time the party’s requirement was mainly to consolidate a negative Congress (I) vote through seat adjustments with other parties. But after Mrs. Gandhi’s death the overwhelming feeling in the country was one of vacuum with no credible Congress (I) leader at the helm. I pointed out that above all the people sought a credible Prime Minister, and every single opinion poll in the country during the past year had put your name as a desired Prime Minister second only to Mrs. Gandhi’s, much above every other name, including that of Rajiv Gandhi. That was our main asset.

    The other asset was that the BJP enjoyed the reputation of a disciplined party unlikely to break up after the poll. Therefore we required at least 400 candidates to be able to put up the claim with some conviction that we would be in a position to make you Prime Minister. The voters are going to vote for a prospective government, not for pious platitudes, which are all that a party putting up 225 candidates can offer. Our chance lay in creating a wave, and we failed to seize a historic opportunity due to the total lack of confidence in the leadership, I ended my remarks in the National Executive with the words: “If we persist with the futile bid for seat adjustments even at this hour, we will invite political suicide.”

    A vast majority of those who spoke in the National Executive agreed with my views. Despite that the contrary policy was adopted because it seemed that those who mattered had already made up their minds. What happens now in the elections is irrelevant. The entire atmosphere in the crucial fortnight preceding the nominations was muddied by the arid attempt for seat adjustments, which totally blurred the BJP’s identity and the image of its leader. Ultimately, we are contesting 225 seats, more than 30 short of a simple majority, still confused in most constituencies about whether we have adjusted with other parties or not. With what conviction can we ask the voter to vote out the government when we cannot even provide him with an alternative government? We will not be in a position to do that because in the last analysis we were neither large-hearted enough to assimilate other parties, nor bold-hearted enough to go it alone. Victims of half-measures and confusion, we fell between two stools. Which brings me to our style of functioning.

    The party’s style of functioning suggests a caucus, not a collective democratic leadership. The two fundamental principles of a healthy organization are lacking: we neither believe in clear demarcation of responsibility, nor in accountability of performance. As a result, there is no meritocracy prevalent in the party, sapping initiative among the workers. I had repeatedly demanded in the meetings of then National Executive in Jaipur, Patna and elsewhere that we must have clear demarcation of responsibility among the office-bearers, as well as accountability, instead of behaving like a joint family in which some are favored regardless of performance and others are treated like poor relatives. We have fifteen office-bearers of the party’s central secretariat. it is a mystery what each of them is supposed to look after. One office-bearer alone was supposed to look after Punjab, Himachal, Jammu, and Delhi, collect funds for the party, as well as look after the secretariat of the National Democratic Alliance while it lasted. How could one person discharge all these duties effectively? How often could this office-bearer visit the areas under his care during the past one year? I prepared a note suggesting how the central secretariat could be streamlines to function effectively. I put the note up twice, to you and the General Secretary of the party, Mr. LK Advani, for circulation among members of the National Executive. It was never circulated. It seemed that the National Executive was a mere showpiece, with little relevance to real policy-making, which was decided elsewhere. Let me further illustrate this point.

    In the Bhubaneswar session of the National Executive it was resolved that the party would favor a Workers’ Sector of industry in which workers would obtain participation in ownership, profits and management of industry. This became a resolution of the party. It was also resolved that the party would set up an Ekta Labor Cell which would cater to the needs of the weaker sections and unorganized labor on behalf of the party. You thought it fit to appoint me all-India convener of the Ekta Labor Cell.

    However, in practice both resolutions were ignored. After the Bombay Textile workers’ strike when the Government took over certain sick mills, we did not press for handing over the mills to the control of the workers themselves in light of the party’s declared policy resolution. Instead we supported the Government’s decision to hand over the mills to the public sector Textile Corporation of India that was already mismanaging a hundred textile mills running at a loss. The Ekta Labor Cell was also not allowed to operate because the Delhi Pradesh leadership sabotaged the plan and the central leadership acquiesced. Of what value, then, are decisions taken by the National Executive of the party?

    Which brings me to the third point. This regards the lack of integrity of the BJP leadership. When individuals are appointed to an office they are expected to discharge their duties for the benefit of the entire organization, not concern themselves with personal advantage alone. But in the BJP it so happens that the organization continues to suffer while individual office bearers responsible for poor performance continue to thrive. For instance, the very individuals who sabotaged the Ekta Labor Cell were the ones who did not hesitate to seek the help of the Jan Ekta Manch, a similar organization privately set up by me and like minded colleagues of the BJP with our own resources, for work in their own individual constituencies. If such an organization could do useful work in one constituency, why could it not do useful work everywhere in the country for the whole party?

    Most surprisingly, those leaders who took a hard line against seat adjustments in the Delhi Metropolitan poll, promptly somersaulted and sacrificed two parliamentary seats in Delhi in order to better their own chances in the parliamentary seats they were contesting. Now the East Delhi District workers of the party are in a quandary, thoroughly demoralized. If the leaders of the party betray such a selfish attitude, how can workers have any morale? Is this the kind of leadership which can hope to create a national alternative that will usher in a new society in India/ Our assertions ring hollow when matched against our actions.

    Finally, there is the personal factor which emerged during our conversation yesterday. You will now deny, I trust, that I never shirked any responsibility given to me during the past four years when I worked for the party. I never approached you for any office. I never approached you for a parliamentary ticket. You broached the subject of a parliamentary ticket with me yourself. I indicated the possible choices. Eventually you could not give me a ticket. I neither complained, nor referred to the subject with anyone in the party. You yourself obviously felt embarrassed yesterday during the meeting which you had sought, and urged me to work harder during the campaign. I do not know how you got the impression that I was not doing what I was asked to do to the best of my ability. When the subject of ticket distribution arose, I did remark that surrendering two seats in Delhi appeared irrational and against the party interest. It was at this stage that you remarked, as you had earlier done in different contexts, that some people in the party had “reservations” about me and therefore I could not be given a ticket. How could those reservations be dispelled, I asked. You advised that time alone could improve matters.

    I regret to say that I find this position unacceptable. Honestly, I do not mind not being given a ticket, which I never asked for in the first place. But I cannot countenance being refused a ticket for the reasons that you stated, particularly since you did not seem to question that my merit as a candidate in certain constituencies was not in doubt. I have committed no indiscipline in the party, and helped the party in every way to the best of my ability. I cannot help it if certain people have “reservations” about me and you are compelled to act by their advice. When you, and other senior colleagues in the party ask me to help in party work, which is not infrequent you will admit, are you not then inhibited by “reservations”?

    When I was invited to join the party by Mr. LK Advani four years ago, he expressed the hope that there would be no reservations on either side. Let him reflect on my performance during the past four years and judge whether there were any reservations on my side. Let him also indicate whether I ever set any preconditions for joining the party or working for it, or whether I made a single personal demand for office or position in the party. I did advocate the creation of a labor cell in the party catering to unorganized labor, but I never sought to be its convener. That decision was yours. Despite this I continue to hear from time to time that certain people have “reservations” about me. This is a matter about which I can do nothing. It is obvious that a section of the party (which has never been named till now, and which has obviously no connections with the RSS lest there be any misunderstanding, because I have never had problems with either RSS or BMS, rather cooperation and encouragement) finds itself incompatible with me.

    Personally I have no rancor against any individual in the party and hope to continue enjoying the best of relations with all members of the party. However, you will appreciate that I am left with no choice but to resign from the party, in the light of growing dissatisfaction with the party’s functioning, as well as of the “reservations’ about me that are entertained by unnamed colleagues in the party.

    With best wishes,
    Yours sincerely
    Rajinder Puri

    The election results were as bad as they could be. True, the vote percentage declined by just about 2.5 per cent, but the BJP won only two Lok Sabha seats. As I had warned Vajpayee, Scindia, with solid RSS support, defeated him. Despite the crushing defeat, nothing changed in the party’s functioning.

    Advani had described the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of the Akalis as a “charter of national disintegration”. Despite that, Rajiv Gandhi described the BJP as an “anti-national party” because it had not distanced itself sufficiently from Prakash Singh Badal. The national executive of the party resolved to have no talks on Punjab with the PM unless he apologized for that remark. A few days after the resolution, Rajiv invited Advani, then secretary-general of the party, for a discussion on Punjab and Advani met him.

    I issued a press statement criticizing Advani for breaking party discipline by ignoring the national executive resolution. Vajpayee wrote to me saying I should not have gone to the press. I said I would not do that as long as Advani did not flout national executive resolutions.

    A short while later Advani flouted another national executive resolution. Ram Jethmalani had argued all day persuading the party to have no truck with the Shiv Sena in Mumbai. But almost immediately after that the Mumbai unit of the BJP, blessed by Advani, teamed up with the Shiv Sena to contest the Mayor’s election.

    I again went to the press and criticized the party for flouting discipline. Thereupon, Vajpayee wrote a letter asking me to resign from the national executive for breaching discipline. I replied by resigning from the primary membership of the party. Ironically, later Jethmalani had no compunction in seeking Shiv Sena support for becoming an MP! Vajpayee’s letter and my reply are reproduced without editing. The correspondence is self-explanatory:

    Atal Behari Vajpayee
    Bharatiya Janata Party
    May 12, 1985

    Dear Shri Puri Ji,

    I am sorry to see in this morning’s Statesman a statement of yours criticizing the Bombay BJP.

    During the last two months this is the third time you have chosen the forum of the press to voice criticism of the party. On March 31, you wrote to me a letter taking exception to the meeting on Punjab, which I, along with Advani Ji, had with the Prime Minister. You certainly had a right to hold that opinion, but as I pointed out to you immediately thereafter, it was improper on part of a member of the National Executive to release such a letter to the press. You had assured me in your letter dated April 2 that you will in the future “take extra care’ about your utterances.

    I am sorry to note that you have failed to act up to your utterances. Two days back you have publicly criticized Shri Advani for his meeting with the Prime Minister, And today there is this statement accusing the Bombay BJP of indiscipline.

    Obviously, you are unable to abide by the discipline imposed by membership of the National Executive. I feel constrained, therefore, to ask you to resign from the Executive.
    With kind regards,

    Yours sincerely,
    Atal Behari Vajpayee

    I sent my reply to Vajpayee the next day:

    May 13, 1995

    Dear Shri Vajpayee Ji,

    Thank you for your letter of May 12th.

    I must say that I was surprised by your request that I resign from the National Executive for my “inability to abide by the discipline imposed by its membership”. You deem me undisciplined for informing the press that the General Secretary of the party, Shri Lal Krishna Advani, and the Bombay unit of the party, were undisciplined for brazenly violating the resolutions of the National Executive. You consider me undisciplined for exposing the indiscipline of others, but have no word of reprimand for those who oppose your own formal policy statements as well as resolutions of the National Executive. Discipline, let me remind you, enjoins a code of conduct on all members of the party, including its President and General Secretary.

    If I was impelled to take matters to the press it was due to my repeated failure in obtaining redressal for the acts of indiscipline by the General Secretary pointed out by me to you privately. After my letter of April 2nd, you conceded that the General Secretary was wrong in not briefing the press after his meeting with the Prime Minister in order to allay misunderstanding about the party’s attitude on the Punjab issue. In my letter of April 2nd I had urged you to ensure that the party secretariat does not bungle in future and thereby project a false and distorted image of the party’s stand to the public. Orally, you had assured me that such a mistake would not be repeated. Subsequently, you made a formal policy statement in your own name declaring that the BJP would not participate in parleys with either the Government or the Akalis for achieving a solution in Punjab. Yet, twice after that, Shri Advani, in contemptuous disregard of your statement, conferred with the Prime Minister along with other opposition leaders in defiance of your declared policy.

    Later, the Bombay unit of the party supported the Shiv Sena candidate for Mayor in total defiance of the central party. Privately you may deplore this fact, but what good is private anguish? The party’s image and credibility are totally tarnished by the wide divergence between its precept and practice, and by your pathetic inability to impose your will.

    Upon receiving your letter my instinct was to refuse to resign and demand a full discussion on the matter in the National Executive. But on reflection I have decided otherwise. As per the party constitution all the members of the National Executive are nominated by you. You alone, as President, are elected by the National Council. The National Executive therefore is the reflection of the President’s will. As you know, we do not vote in the National Executive. We decide by consensus. But when even resolutions arrived at after consensus are violated and ignored at will by a handful of senior members of the party, it is clear that it is not even consensus which rules the party. The party is being ruled by a caucus, and you have become its creature. This is not a new development. May I remind you that I had resigned on December 10th 1984, when you had advised me that I was not trusted by the section of the party to which I refer as the caucus? I had of course decided not to make public the resignation in order not to embarrass the party during elections, even though the election results were a foregone conclusion to me. I withdrew the resignation upon receiving your solemn assurance that after the elections the party’s style of functioning would change.

    Five months have passed since then, and nothing of the sort has happened. Instead, matters have become worse, with members of the caucus brazenly flouting policy resolutions of the party while you remain a helpless spectator. I can understand a stray violation, but not the kind of arbitrary conduct, involving no accountability, which has become the party’s style of functioning. I enclose my letter of December 10th to refresh your memory. For reasons contained in that letter, and for the added reasons of policy mentioned above, I am left with no choice but to resign from the primary membership of the party.

    I resign with regret, and in spite of the warm personal relationship I have with you, Shri Advani, and others in the party. However political association should not be based only on personal relationship but also on fundamental factors like policy and style of functioning. It is my humble submission that you should adopt a similar approach while charting the BJP’s future. Given the political instincts of your most influential colleagues in the party, would it not be better for the BJP to dissolve its identity and merge with the Congress(I)? It would clear much confusion in the country. This is, of course, just a suggestion for your serious consideration.
    With kind regards,

    Yours sincerely,
    Rajinder Puri

    Enclosure: Letter of December 10th

    It may be seen from the correspondence that the BJP is neither democratic nor disciplined. It seeks blind obedience in the name of discipline. Upon reflection, I am inclined to think the BJP leaders were never really against the goals I had set for the party to achieve. They were deeply disturbed only because I did not, at each step, take permission from some appropriate leader. With their RSS culture, BJP leaders are unused to individual initiative. Individual initiative frightens them. Inevitably, in these circumstances, the question arises: Does the party have a future? I don’t think so ~ unless it changes miraculously. If I am wrong and the party in its present shape and form does have a future, I would then be forced to conclude that India doesn’t.

    I sent the correspondence I have reproduced to all members of the national executive. After my resignation party functionaries approached me to rejoin the party. “We will welcome you back with honor,” one of them said. I declined. I continue to have good personal relations with all of them. They are in most cases nice people. It is just that they belong to a different planet.

    May 28, 2009

  30. zoomindianmedia says:

    BJP must go back to its roots
    Prabhu Chawla
    Delhi, June 8, 2009
    (Should be taken with a pinch of salt as India Today Group has been as anti Hindu as others for a while now)

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    You can tell a lot about the state of an organisation by just looking at its headquarters.

    At 11 Ashoka Road, the BJP’s Central Office, the neon lights that shone on giant cutouts of the party’s top leaders don’t even come on anymore. It could be a case of a simple short circuit which the electricians there haven’t been able to detect. Quite like the disconnect between the party and the majority of Indians, which its leadership failed to detect, bringing the party to this pass.

    And now, nearly a month after the results came out, they are still unable to decipher what went wrong. Far from taking collective responsibility for their shared failure, they even persuaded the lone man who owned up and offered to quit to stay on, so that they themselves continue to enjoy the perks of power without the burden of responsibility.

    There are turning points in the history of political parties, when the future is made or lost. For the BJP, one such moment was in 1987 when it adopted the Ram Mandir as its mascot and a symbol of cultural nationalism. It reaped huge benefits. In the space of just 11 years, the BJP which had just two members in the 9th Lok Sabha went from strength to strength until it became the largest single party in Parliament in 1999. Sadly for the party, from then on, it’s been a downhill slide.

    Party leaders hoped E-2009 would reverse the trend. But if the defeat in 2004 was a tidal wave that left its leaders shell-shocked, last month’s humiliation was a tsunami that killed their spirits.

    They are still trying to figure out what went wrong. But if history is anything to go by, they don’t have to look far, just within. After the 2004 debacle, a committee headed by Ananth Kumar was set up to look into the matter. My good friend Ananth never made his report public because like everyone else, he knew the truth would be embarrassing for his own peer group.

    Sometime in the near future, they will have a Chintan Baithak where, my instincts tell me, there will be a clamour to push the truth under the carpet. Instead of accepting responsibility and taking corrective measures, the leadership has gone into a shell, leaving it to some self appointed apologists to offer explanations for its defeat in all kinds of fora, except the party where one ceased to exist long ago.

    So what really went wrong? Was it the mid term projection of Narendra Modi as its prime minister-in-waiting in 2014? Was it the failure of the leadership to zero in on the right candidates and convey the right message? The apologists, who never understood the party’s culture and yet dominated its leadership’s mind space, have it that the party lost because it was seen as a Hindutva outfit that was out of step with a vibrant and modern India. They argued it was time the party abandoned its original platform and transformed itself into an inclusive outfit, much like the Congress. That they have the leadership’s eyes and ears has in turn sparked off a conflict between these “friends” of the BJP and the party’s original ideological stakeholders who gave their blood and sweat to build the BJP. Thus the same people who sang Advani’s praise for seizing the moment in 1987 now hold him responsible for the irreparable harm. They point to his 2005 visit to Pakistan and the secular certificate he gave to the Qaid-e-Azam. It may have won him admirers in the country of his birth but it alienated his party.

    Many see that as the beginning of the downturn, as he could neither sell his ideology to the cadres nor enthuse them. To be fair, Advani did not pursue the ideological shift, but neither did he attempt to extricate himself from the vice-like grip that the BJP’s new found friends had on him. This in turn led to demoralisation and waning enthusiasm among the party hardcore who were the dipped-in-saffron types.

    So should the party change just to give a comfort zone for a few? Or should it go back to its original roots that saw the BJP clocking the fastest growth rate that any political party in India has ever had? No is the opinion of the paratroopers and self appointed ideologues. But the long-term faithful, not to speak of the parent organisation, the RSS, feel the BJP has no option but to adopt its original and distinct identity if it is to remain a potent political force. Such dilemmas have of course never been a bother for the party’s famed Gen-Next who will soon engage each other in a war of succession to determine who will lead the party five years hence. As things stand now, whoever is unfortunate enough to get the top job can only lead the party further down the road to oblivion.

    The ambitious men and women at 11 Ashoka Road should perhaps draw some lessons from Rahul Gandhi. The mandate for the Congress had less to do with its performance record and more with young Rahul’s bold decision to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. One master stroke and some untiring work and the Congress won back the support of a large section of Dalits, Muslims and pandits, its core constituency that once seemed lost forever. The BJP should also try going back to its roots. And also ponder why its leaders are now reluctant to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai while the Congress Jai Ho chorus wafts all across the country.

  31. zoomindianmedia says:

    Coomi Kapoor is frankly wrong here – both in terms of her analysis (how congress bribed deobandi/barelvi organisations to mobilise their votes has been missed) but also the fact of reality of fragmentation. It must be noted that in UP Bihar, despite all this propoganda of remarkable performance by raul vinci congress won just 23 seats.

    The age of inclusiveness
    Post Comment Larger | Smaller
    Coomi Kapoor
    Posted: Tuesday , Jun 09, 2009 at 0511 hrs IST

    The very effective theme of the Congress in this parliamentary campaign was inclusiveness. The catchphrase was reiterated in President Pratibha Patil’s inaugural address to the new Lok Sabha last week. Inclusiveness has been the defining characteristic of the 113-year-old party. It symbolises different things to different people, accommodates varied ideologies and different strata of society under one roof. The Congress has a pan-India image, and an appeal cutting across caste, religion and income levels. In the first 25 years after independence, like the all-encompassing banyan tree, the Congress did not let any other political party grow under its branches.

    It was in the wake of the Mandal agitation that the inclusiveness which the Congress boasted of as its core strength turned into its Achilles Heel. The party’s message was too broad-based and diffuse to appeal to all sections at the same time. In contrast, other political parties were targeting specific sections of the electorate on the basis of caste, regionalism and religion. These smaller political parties began expanding at the expense of the Congress. The Congress, by continuously maintaining a balancing act, lost out on major issues — whether it was Mandal, the Ayodhya mosque or regional aspirations.

    The grand old party was no longer unassailable. The first body blow was in 1977, a referendum on Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule, which saw the Congress tally fall to 154 seats. But it was after the Mandal reservations for OBCs gained momentum that the rot really set in. The nadir came in 1999 when the Congress tally was a dismal 114. Pundits claimed that the Congress was a dinosaur, out of place in the era of coalition politics. Finally, the Congress scrapped the Pachmarhi resolution of 1998 that had committed itself to going it alone and shunning alliance politics. When the Congress formed the government in 2004, its own tally was a modest 145 and it was dependent on fractious allies and outside support from the Left which handicapped the UPA government and constrained the fulfilment of its agenda.

    Before the 2009 elections the Congress had a difficult choice to make. Should it strive for a repeat of the 2004 experiment, even though the UPA allies, taking advantage of the Congress’s vulnerability, were increasingly demanding? Or should it go alone? The decision was crucial in the states of UP and Bihar which together account for nearly a quarter of Parliament’s total strength. Congress leaders, fearful of power slipping out of their grasp, almost universally wanted the soft option, of accepting the crumbs offered by the RJD and SP. It was better to be a minor player than split the anti-NDA vote by fighting independently of the RJD and SP, they argued. While the seasoned politicians in the party were prepared to eat humble pie to retain power, the novice Rahul Gandhi understood that if the Congress bowed out of these two states, in the long run the party would eventually lose its pre-eminent position as an all-India party. BJP strategists were thrilled by what they considered Rahul Gandhi’s strategic blunder.

    But it was Gandhi who had the last laugh. This election saw many of the Congress’s traditional supporters returning to the fold. The results indicate the electorate was unhappy with regional parties, motivated by narrow, selfish considerations. It wanted a national party which could provide a strong government and an inclusive agenda. There is a lesson in this for all other political parties. Of course, it would be naive to assume that the electorate is no longer swayed by caste, regionalism or religion. These traits are so well entrenched in the system that they cannot be weeded out easily, but hopefully a small beginning has been made. In UP, the BSP and BJP carefully crafted their selection of candidates on the basis of caste, but the Congress, whose selection of candidate was far more random and last-minute, did better than both. Significantly, not a single Muslim candidate fielded by the SP won in UP.

    The main opposition party, the BJP, should in particular pay attention to the lessons of 2009. Sudheendra Kulkarni, L.K. Advani’s aide, has, in a soul-searching piece, pointed out that the acceptability of the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is limited even within Hindu communities. Their philosophy, which is stuck in a time warp, is such that a large section of Indian society automatically gets excluded. The BJP, by reflecting this sort of thinking, has not been able to overcome the handicap of a limited social base. Its growth gets stymied beyond a point. Even at its peak in 1998 and 1999 when it was led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee — a leader with an inclusive image — it plateaued; in both years it got 182 seats. If it fails to read the warning signs, the BJP could end up as a dinosaur in the era of inclusiveness.


  32. zoomindianmedia says:

    Rogue Sudheendra Kulkarni writes why BJP lost. These are the kind of rogues who confused BJP’s perspective and undermined it in so many ways. Kulkarni should have been sent home long time back for his mediocre thinking and skills. Advani indeed was too indulgent of such mediocrities. Advani like most Hindus seems to have a weakness for flattery which this courtier has taken advantage of. His only skill toadying to Advani is only source of influence inside BJP, not a single meaningful contribution. Probably kulkarni knows he will be kicked out. He also wants to undermine Hindutva’s role and refers to Vajpayee legacy. It must be noted that Vajpayee legacy of Gandhian socialism had resulted in 2 seats in 1984 elections and it is only strong Hindutva position rooted thru Ram Janmabhoomi movement that boosted the BJP.

    The medium (tehelka) itself is a give away on this man’s malevalent role for the BJP. BJP would do well to kick him out double quick.

    If you read below you will realise this rogue is so cunning, he says, I too made mistakes, but he has not bothered to name them while not hesitating to abuse Varun, Modi, RSS for what he says are their short comings. Some integrity this rogue has.

    In UP he says, BJP pushed muslims to congress arms. He does not realise that unlike BJP undermined by rogues like him, congress has gone that extra yard for its muslim vote bank. Despite its steep cost to the nation, Congress refused to revoke POTA withdrawal and collaborated with rank communalists like the Barelvi cabal.

    BJP has to be careful even more by his nonsense of sole opposition positioning. This will have meaning only if BJP remains powerful on ground and maintains its electoral strength.

    Hindu Divided Family

    In a deeply introspective essay, LK Advani’s key aide says that if the BJP wants to win, it needs to rethink its approach to Muslims, Hindutva, the poor, the RSS, and itself

    Political advisor, BJP

    Lone Charioteer Advani came to the correct conclusions post-2004, but failed to implement them
    FIRST THINGS first. Before I reflect on why the Bharatiya Janata Party lost the Lok Sabha elections and how it can revive itself, it must be said that the outcome of the polls is a resounding victory for India’s democracy. True, there are many glaring deficiencies in our democracy. But the people of India have shown once again to the world that it is they who decide the fate of governments, parties and leaders in this country, and also that their verdict is accepted by one and all in the polity. India is not like China, where its communist rulers fear that free elections with multiple choices before the people would destabilise their nation. Nor are we like Thailand, where warring parties recently laid siege to the airport and parliament building. We are not like many other countries in Asia and the world where the sanctity of elections is contested, where leaders are jailed or banished, and where the military replaces the independent judiciary and the election commission. Undoubtedly, the renewed recognition that India, inspite of its bewildering diversities and problems, is unshakable in its commitment to democracy has raised its prestige globally. Even as a person belonging to the defeated party, I feel proud of this triumph of India’s democracy.

    Next. Congratulations to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi and their party. They outsmarted the BJP in the electoral battle, which I believed along with many others outside my party, was ours to lose. The BJP snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. The Congress did the opposite.

    A third prefatory point. In commenting on the causes that led to the BJP’s defeat, I cannot but say upfront that I too carry my share of responsibility. As one who was closely associated with the party’s election campaign, specifically the campaign of LK Advani, our prime ministerial candidate, I too committed mistakes. To be meaningful, productive and curative, collective introspection in the party must begin with each one individually. Collective responsibility is a laudable principle, but it can often become a mask for persons in key positions at the central and state levels to evade their individual responsibility. This has often happened in the BJP. The party must, therefore, conduct a rigorous and objective analysis of all the factors that led to its defeat, and this should be done with the participation of the largest possible number of party workers and supporters at various levels.

    Beneath the pervasive disappointment, the mood in the party is indeed introspective. After all, this is the second consecutive defeat for the BJP in its bid for power at the Centre. In 2004, it had lost after heading the government of the National Democratic Alliance for six years. The verdict of the people, hence, clearly meant that they wanted change. In 2009, after five years of largely dismal performance by the government of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, the BJP could not convince the voters that they should vote in favour of change. Rather, the truth is that the people wanted change but were not convinced that the BJP or the BJP-led NDA assured the kind of change they wanted.


    The BJP’s failure to convince the people on this score is rooted in a combination of structural, political, ideological, organizational and campaign-related reasons. The party’s longstanding structural weakness is that although it has succeeded in bi-polarising India’s politics at the Centre, its geographical presence in the country is much narrower than that of the Congress. It won only one seat in four big states that together account for 143 out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha — West Bengal (42), Andhra Pradesh (42), Tamil Nadu (39) and Kerala (20). The Congress’ tally: 60 seats. Unless the BJP overcomes this structural weakness by increasing its own political and electoral strength in these big states, it can never emerge as an equal and durable alternative to the Congress nationally.

    The BJP’s allies left the NDA because they felt the Gujarat riots would cost them Muslim votes
    The second reason was the failure of the BJP’s political strategy — in particular, its alliance strategy. A principal reason for the party’s success in forming the government, under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, in 1998 and 1999 was its ability to forge alliances, especially in three of the four afore-mentioned big states (Trinamool Congress in West Bengal; Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh; and first AIADMK and later DMK in Tamil Nadu). Its alliance with the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa (21 Lok Sabha seats) also proved to be extremely useful. In the aftermath of the 2004 defeat, many of our allies left the NDA. The main reason for their leaving was not that the NDA had been defeated, but their perception that the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002 was an important cause of the defeat and, hence, their conclusion that continuation of the alliance with the BJP would cost them Muslim votes. Between 2004 and 2009, the BJP did nothing to address this factor. As a result, it failed to win back a single ally in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, or win a single ally in Kerala. Moreover, almost on the eve of the 2009 elections, the BJP actually lost an important ally in Orissa due to inept alliance management.

    It is true that, in the early months of 2009, the BJP forged three new alliances — with Asom Gana Parishad in Assam, Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal in UP, and Omprakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal in Haryana. But these could not make up for the damage caused by the loss of our earlier alliances. In the absence of a cohesive and numerically strong alliance, the BJP could not assure the voters that it was in a position to form a stable government at the Centre. Hence, by default, the voters not only chose the Congress over the BJP but also gave it increased parliamentary strength to quench their own thirst for stability.


    Why did the BJP invite this weakness upon itself? The reason has to do with the widespread ideological confusion within the party over what the BJP’s advocacy of Hindutva actually means. The confusion has persisted for a long time, but it intensified after the defeat of the BJP/NDA in 2004. There was a strong view within a section of the party — and a much stronger and almost unanimous view within the larger Sangh Parivar — that the Vajpayee’s government was defeated because the BJP had “abandoned Hindutva”. The argument went like this: “In its bid to form the NDA government, the BJP kept aside its core ideological commitments on the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the abrogation of Article 370 and the Uniform Civil Code. The Hindu voters, who had enabled the BJP to emerge as a strong force in Indian politics in the late 1980s and 1990s, felt let down by this. In 2004, the BJP again kept the Hindutva issues in cold storage and made development its main plank. This further disillusioned the Hindu voters. Their indifference led to the party’s defeat in 2004.” In the aftermath of the setback in 2009, many angry voices have again blamed the party leadership, Advani in particular, for the same reason — “You lost because you abandoned Hindutva.”

    The BJP’s Hindu base is less than 25 percent, too small to have lost because it abandoned Hindutva
    It’s a deeply flawed view. It errs in believing that the BJP’s Hindu base is synonymous with the totality of Hindu voters. The fact is, Hindus never vote as a block for any particular party. There is only a small section of Hindus who have voted as Hindus for what they perceived as a pro-Hindu party — the Jana Sangh in the past and the BJP in later years. Their number increased dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to the Ayodhya movement, which, for about ten years, caught the imagination of a large section of the Hindu society. However, the BJP’s rising strength in the late 1990s was also on account of another important factor, which had nothing “Hindu” about it: the people’s desire to give the BJP also an opportunity to govern the country. This desire was further whetted by Vajpayee’s pan-Indian popularity, as was evident from the appeal of the slogan “Sabko dekha baari baari, Ab ki baari Atal Behari”.

    If the BJP’s electoral success in 1998 and 1999 was due to factors beyond what are narrowly seen as “Hindutva” issues, subsequent events have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the party’s Hindu base is small even within Hindu society, not to speak of the electorate as a whole. This small Hindu base on its own can never bring the party to power at the Centre. Between 2004 and 2009, some people were toying with the idea of constructing a ‘Hindu Agenda’, and creating a large enough ‘Hindu Vote-Bank’ around it. Even the idea of establishing a new Hindu political organization, as a counter to the BJP, was being talked about. In the aftermath of the BJP’s defeat in the 2009 parliamentary elections, these ideas may get a new lease of life. They are doomed to fail.

    At a broader level, it is high time the BJP seriously debated and decided what it means by ‘Hindutva’, and also what formulations of ‘Hindutva’ are not acceptable to it. True, the BJP must remain an ideology-driven party. But without clarity on what the BJP’s ideology is, the party cannot win the support of more Hindus, let alone the support of Muslims and Christians. Understood as ‘Cultural Nationalism’ in an inclusive, integrative and noncommunal sense, Hindutva indeed defines the organizing and sustaining principle of the Indian Nation. However, just as the noble principle of secularism can be perverted and practiced for politically expedient reasons — the selfstyled ‘secular’ parties have indeed done it to isolate the BJP — Hindutva is also vulnerable to narrow interpretations and bigoted practice. My own understanding of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ‘Integral Humanism’, which the BJP accepts as its guiding philosophy, convinces me that it completely rejects narrow, exclusivist and communal interpretations of India’s national identity.


    Post-2004, many leaders in the BJP, Advani in particular, had come to the correct conclusion that the party faced twin tasks: (a) to nurse its core ideological/social constituency (which had felt let down for various reasons, including the valid reason of a lack of sufficient dialogue and coordination between the BJP leaders in the Vajpayee government and the leaders and activists of the Sangh Parivar at various levels); and (b) to expand the BJP’s appeal and support base beyond its core constituency, both on its own and by forging alliances. Sadly, between 2004 and 2009, the BJP leadership attended only to the first task and did very little to attend to the second. For example, even within the Hindu society, large sections (especially Dalits) have remained outside the influence of the BJP. No effort was made to endear the party to them.

    The party’s collective mind is confused about how to deal with the issue of Indian Muslims
    As far as taking the BJP closer to the minorities (Muslims and Christians) is concerned, both confusion and indifference within the party are of Himalayan magnitude. The mentality of a large section of the party is so dogmatic that any idea of promoting the welfare and development of Indian Muslims, or of addressing their legitimate concerns, is quickly brushed aside as “appeasement”. In five long years after 2004, the BJP did not come up with a single worthwhile initiative which Muslims could welcome. Take the example of the Sachar Committee report. No doubt, the Congress party, guided by its votebank politics, tried to appease the Muslim community with some dangerous and thoroughly condemnable pronouncements — reservation for Muslims on religious grounds and the Prime Minister’s shocking statement that Muslims should have the first claim on the country’s budgetary resources. But was everything about the Sachar Committee report or its recommendations objectionable? After all, by highlighting widespread socio-economic backwardness within the Muslim community, the report laid bare the successive Congress governments’ own failures and betrayals towards a community that has been its most loyal supporter. Sadly, the BJP rejected the Sachar report completely and unreservedly. The party could have responded to its findings and recommendations in a more nuanced manner by presenting some alternative proposals for addressing poverty and backwardness among Muslims. It didn’t do so because, as I have mentioned earlier, the party’s collective mind is suffering from a prolonged confusion about how to deal with issues relating to Indian Muslims. Those leaders who want to think and act innovatively know that they are prone to be quickly accused of following a “Muslim- appeasement” policy. The BJP’s Minority Morcha is a non-operational body, whose voice is heard neither within the party nor within the Muslim community.

    The entrenched thinking within the BJP is that “Muslims never vote for us and therefore there is no need to think or do anything for them.” The party gave tickets to only three Muslim candidates in the recent Lok Sabha elections. True, the party’s manifesto had some good points about minorities, but these could hardly change the image of the BJP as a party that does not care for Muslims. Purely in electoral terms, all this contributed to the BJP’s grievous self-disablement. Consider the following. The party has a near-zero presence in 143 Lok Sabha seats in four big states. On top of that, it practically writes off 15% of the electorate who are Muslims. In recent years, even Christians have turned against the BJP. Even within the Hindu society, the BJP’s support base is less than 25% nationally. Thus, both geographically and socially, the party’s electoral base is not strong enough to challenge the Congress. On top of all these, we had the Varun Gandhi episode in the middle of the election campaign, which, along with other factors, clearly led to the consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of the Congress in UP.


    In hindsight, it is obvious that the BJP failed to utilize its five years in the opposition to construct and present a positive agenda that could catch the imagination of the people beyond its core support base. We harped too much on the UPA government’s failures, without convincing the people how we would perform better. The party rightly adopted ‘Good Governance, Development and Security’ as its plank for Elections 2009. However, none of these three ideals was intellectually fleshed out in terms of specific policies and programmatic initiatives, nor made the basis of a sustained mass campaign. The people, who were hardly enthused by the performance of the UPA government, were keen on knowing if the BJP had superior ideas on tackling the problems of price rise, unemployment, economic downturn, plight of farmers, etc. The middle class wanted to know if the BJP had better plans to address the shortage of housing, water and power, the problem of transportation, and the rising costs of education and healthcare. India’s young men and women were waiting to see if the BJP was capable of making them dream big and if it could connect to their own rising aspirations.

    We harped too much on the UPA’s failures without convincing people we would be any better
    Advani did speak of the Ladli Laxami Yojana for the education of the girl child, his infrastructure vision and his vision for ‘IT as an instrument for transforming Bharat’. But all this did not cohere into a sharply focused superior agenda of governance and development. On the issue of security, which was a BJP’s strong point, we fumbled on many occasions. Even the Congress party’s completely baseless criticism on the Kandahar episode put the BJP on the backfoot. On the whole, we did not dictate the agenda for Elections 2009. As a result, the media as well as a large number of uncommitted voters concluded that this was an ‘issue-less’ election.


    My last point in the analysis of the 2009 elections concerns the state of the BJP organization. Never in the history of the Jana Sangh or the BJP was the party enfeebled by so much disarray at the top. The disorder at the Centre and also in several states (examples: Rajasthan, UP and Delhi) demoralised the disunited party workers down the line, with disastrous results. Although Advani was projected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, this took place after he had been dis-empowered after the Mohammad Ali Jinnah episode. The cropping up of Narendra Modi’s name in the middle of the campaign did not help at all. To the people of India, the contrast was obvious: there is unified command in the Congress party, but not in the BJP.

    Look at the irony. Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul made an essentially weak Prime Minister like Dr Manmohan Singh look strong by backing him solidly. In contrast, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar made a strong leader like Advani, whose contribution to the growth of the party is enormous, look weak, helpless and not fully in command. Saddened by this, many dedicated party workers bemoaned, “Atalji succeeded in becoming Prime Minister because he had Advaniji working for him faithfully and determinedly. Unfortunately this time, there was no Advaniji working similarly for Advaniji.” Of course, it is also true that Advani himself failed to assert his leadership at crucial points before and during the campaign.


    Where does the BJP go from here? The answer depends on how honest and widespread the introspection about the past and the future is within the BJP, and how thorough the corrective action in the near future will be. For this to happen, the party should encourage free debate, based on constructive criticism and self-criticism. But let it be understood both by the BJP’s supporters and adversaries the outcome of Elections 2009 is by no means a catastrophe for the party. True, our strength in the Lok Sabha came down from 182 in 1999 to 138 in 2004, and has further come down to 116 in 2009. But in defeat we should not lose a sense of balance and perspective. After all, in 1998, the Congress was reduced to a tally of only 110 in the Lok Sabha. Yet, six years later it bounced back. So can the BJP. Today the BJP is not only the main opposition party in the 15th Lok Sabha but, in some ways, the sole opposition party because the Left parties have been completely marginalized. What this means is that, whereas there is need for honest introspection, there is no need for despair at all.

    Advaniji worked hard for Vajpayeeji but there was no Advaniji working for Advaniji’
    This is not to belittle the fact that difficult days are ahead for the BJP, at least in the short term. The Congress seems to be on the revival path in UP and Bihar. The support for the BJP is declining in its two strongholds — Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. In Rajasthan and Delhi, the BJP has again scored self-goals. In Karnataka, in spite of the good showing in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its government face many problems that demand immediate attention. As far as leadership is concerned, the party needs to address the challenges in the post-Advani era, while recognizing that it needs the guiding hand of karmayogi Advani — who embodies the best of the BJP — for as long as he can be active in public life. His message of ‘Good Governance, Development and Security’ has relevance for the BJP in the future too. However, the party has to infuse positive and inspiring content into this message, and the content has to become more visible in states where the BJP is in power. One of the most important learnings from the NDA government, as well as from the governments of Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh and Nitish Kumar, is that inclusive development should become as important an element of the ideology for a Nation First party like the BJP as, for example, Hindutva.

    Here is a sensitive question that the BJP cannot shirk. Issues relating to the right relationship between the BJP and the RSS also need to be candidly debated for mutual good. The RSS is indeed a nationalist organization, and there are many valid reasons why India needs a non-communal pro- Hindu organization committed to the ideal of Hindu unity and renaissance. However, just as the BJP needs introspection, the RSS needs it no less. Its leaders must ask themselves, and answer the question honestly and earnestly, “Why is the acceptability of the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad limited in Hindu society itself?” No less important is the challenge of re-orienting the party’s thinking and action on issues relating to the suffering of the poor and the downtrodden, and the severe regional and social imbalances in India’s development.

    The BJP can indeed bounce back. But it can do so only if it first renews and empowers itself comprehensively — in its ideology, its geographical-social spread, its own political strength, its mass activity, its alliance-building, its cadre-based organizational network, and its leadership.

    Kulkarni was a key aide to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and
    a member of the BJP’s Election Strategy Group, 2009


    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 23, Dated Jun 13, 2009

  33. zoomindianmedia says:

    Anil Chawla responds to Sudheendra Kulkarni, though his response is mild towards Sudheendra Kulkarni, his points are perfect.


    Open Letter to Sudheendra Kulkarni

    Author – Anil Chawla

    Sudheendra Kulkarni, a key aide of LK Advani, wrote an article about the malaise afflicting BJP and Sangh Pariwar. This reply to the article takes a critical and frank look at LK Advani’s role in the problems facing BJP today.

    Dear Sudheendra,

    I have just read your “deeply introspective essay” on tehelka.com about BJP’s defeat in recent elections. The article is described as introspective, but I failed to find anything that could be called introspection by any stretch of imagination. True, you say that “I too carry my share of responsibility”, but that is more courteous than introspective.

    All through the essay, you look upon BJP as a patient lying on an operating table and your role as that of an outsider trying to see all that has gone wrong. The patient is being blamed for all that has gone wrong, without in any way blaming either the virus or the team of doctors who have brought the patient to the present critical state.

    Please pardon me for being direct and on the face. I guess as a former classmate I can take this freedom. I campaigned for Janata Party in 1977 elections. Ever since then I have been in and around the party (JP/BJP) working at various levels. Sure enough, I have not been an aide to Mr. LK Advani (LK) like you have been. Both of us began dabbling in public life together at IIT Bombay. I have spent more than three decades in close proximity with BJP and RSS without ever being offered a post. I am not alone. There are thousands like me who have served in their own humble way. What has always surprised me is that someone like you who was a committed fulltime communist for almost two decades, suddenly did an ideological somersault and landed up straight in the top rungs of BJP. When you are in mood for some introspection, please do think about this. Probably, the roots to the present malaise in BJP can be traced to your own personal journey.

    When a communist suddenly becomes an ideologue for a party like BJP, there is bound to be skepticism and even some ridicule. It becomes imperative on the neo-convert to prove that there has been a genuine transformation of the soul and not just a change of coat. Even if the neo-convert does manage to prove his credentials, there is no way that he should ever be allowed to rule over the heads of people who have devoted their life to the cause. In your case, (a) you have never proved that you have really changed and (b) you actually landed up on top of the ranks in a manner that is most inexplicable. I say that you have not been able to prove your credentials because I have read some of your articles and I can say with a fair level of confidence that you remain at heart a communist who is trying to put on the camouflage of a Hindu.

    Dear Sudheendra, I have nothing against you personally. Your appointment as National Executive member of BJP, at the time of your joining BJP, and later as Prime Minister’s key aide had pleased me enormously. One always likes to see old friends in positions of power. The problem is that your case is not an isolated one, but a representative one. There are many in Delhi and Mumbai who have been able to gain access to LK’s coterie by hook or by crook and it is these who now rule over BJP.

    When you analyze BJP and RSS with a cold surgeon like approach, you ignore the role that LK’s family and coterie has come to play in the party. Elections of 2009 were not fought by BJP against Congress, but were reduced by LK and his gang to a war by LK against one and all. The party has been systematically hijacked and decimated over the past decade and a half by LK’s coterie. You just need to look at the campaign material prepared by the party for the recent elections. There is only one face – LK’s. Even Atal ji was not considered worthy of being put on the hoardings and posters. Congress gained mileage from photographs of Gandhi and Nehru decades after their deaths. Communists continue to revere Lenin and Stalin till today. Contrast this with the way LK and his war team dumped Atal ji most discourteously even though he is alive and continues to be revered by millions in the country.

    You say that the BJP leadership is in disarray. If it is true, the only person who is responsible for the mess in the party is LK and no one else. He has ruled over the party with an iron hand for more than two decades. In fact, the words “Majboot Neta” (Strong Leader) that were used to describe LK during the recent election, apply only in respect of the way LK behaves in the matter of crushing his critics and opponents within the party. He is ruthless in demolishing anyone who as much as raises an eyebrow against him. He has no patience for anyone who even dreams of being his equal within the party. Can you please name for me two people who are LK’s equals within BJP, in LK’s vision? LK’s desire to stand as a tallest leader made him choose only pygmies for all critical positions in the party. The only way that one could rise up in BJP with LK at helm was to act as a subservient spineless dwarf.

    The problem with dwarfs is that while they are very good for boosting one’s ego, they have limited use when one faces a war-like situation. In the recent elections, LK decided to fight it all alone. LK and his family and coterie thought that their rag-tag army of laptop professionals could substitute for the well-oiled and tested machinery of BJP, ABVP and RSS. The irony is that the blame for the defeat is now being put on the doors of the organizations that were treated most shabbily when LK and his team were dreaming of victory. LK and his team are now complaining that no one from BJP top leadership stood up to defend him when he was under attack. The fact is that among BJP leadership, the ones who command any stature were always ignored, attacked and pushed to the sideline by LK and his gang. So when LK came under attack he looked around for support and found none. Of course, there were many rats who were raising their feeble voices in his support. Unfortunately, the voices of rats do not count. This is something that LK should have thought before he appointed rats in all the key positions.

    You talk about the party’s social base. Did LK do anything in this regard during the past five years? The answer is an emphatic NO. When LK did his last ‘yatra’ before 2004 elections, a photograph of his starting point was circulated. It showed LK standing with his daughter and wife. There were no BJP leaders on the dais. LK defended the presence of his family by saying that he drew strength from them. This is the root of the problem. In the past decade or so, LK stopped drawing strength from the party or Sangh parivar, and started leaning on his personal family ignoring the larger family to which small humble persons like me belong and from where we draw our strength. LK saw the party and Sangh pariwar as a tool to achieve his personal ambition at all costs. In the past decade, LK’s focus was on building his personal image, his family strengths, his mafia-like grip on the party. The thought of getting or building leaders who command or could potentially command respect in various social groups seems to have been far removed from LK’s mind.

    I attended the function at Bhopal of LK’s unveiling of his autobiography in Hindi. What an unabashed projection by a person who has no achievements worth mentioning even in one paragraph! Future historians will mention LK as a classic example of a person who had illusions of grandeur. They will write that he was a manipulator who was ruthless to independent thought within his party and rose by methods that ruined the party. Having said that they would probably add – he saw films and wrote two eminently forgettable autobiographies. What else is there to mention about LK’s lifetime achievements? Are there any articles / books written by him on social-political issues? At least I am not aware of any. He is a self-centered person who cannot see beyond himself and his interests. If he puts pen on paper it is to describe his own self because that is all that he can ever see. If he talks about Hinduism / Hindutwa or any political ideology or national issues, it sounds hollow because he has never applied his mind to anything except his own interests, his family, his career, his ambitions, his dreams etc.

    You might respond by saying that all politicians today are like that. You would probably be right on that. But then they know that they are run-of-the-mill politicians with no illusions of being grand strong leaders. If LK had realized his own limitations, he would not have tried to fashion 2009 elections as an exercise to elect him as the prime minister. The worst thing that happened in 2004 and 2009 elections is that the BJP, under the influence of LK, did not use the elections as an exercise to take party’s ideology forward. In days of Jansangh, when it used to be absolutely clear that there was no possibility of winning, the party would still fight. In those days, it used to be clear that fighting an election was an opportunity to propagate our ideology and thoughts to a bigger audience. In the 2009 election, the campaign was focused only on the persona of LK ignoring even the party’s manifesto.

    As an old hand of the broad ideological historical process that I call as Hindu nationalistic movement, I have no serious regrets about BJP losing 2004 or 2009 elections. But I do regret that the party which was making an attempt in its initial years to define a new vision for Ekatm Manavwad (translated by me as Monistic Humanism) lost way. I regret that instead of focusing on issues and ideas the party focused on an individual. I regret that the party for whom thousands shed blood and lives became a tool in the hands of some who want to live a seven-star lifestyle. I regret that personal ambitions and aspirations of one man became the focus of many organizations that are known for the sacrifices of their leaders.

    Dear Sudheendra, I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say, “The BJP can indeed bounce back. But it can do so only if it first renews and empowers itself comprehensively – in its ideology, its geographical-social spread, its own political strength, its mass activity, its alliance-building, its cadre-based organizational network, and its leadership”. The difference is in approach. While you would like to probably do it with LK and his cronies at the helm, I shall like Sangh pariwar to put the dark days of LK and his cronies behind.

    Sangh leadership must act to decisively purge BJP of LK and his individual-centered style of working. Competence and not loyalty to this or that individual must be the criterion for all appointments. Ideology must take centre-stage once again and those who can help with defining and clarifying ideological issues should be in key positions and not sycophants or moneybags.

    I am making this letter public because I think that the issues that are discussed here are very important and need a wider debate. Of course, I know that this will put me at the risk of harsh retaliatory action by LK and his coterie. I guess that I have to take this risk in wider national interest. I hope I can count on you as an old friend if the action turns nasty.

    With Best Wishes and Regards,

    9 June 2009

    Please write to me your comments about the above article.

    ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer (and now a lawyer too) by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and a management consultant by profession.

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  34. zoomindianmedia says:


    Another dinosaur shares his muddled thought. Two errors (1) about moderate Indian muslims is pure nonsense – these are the moderate ones that created pakistan (2) His analysis on Karnataka is nauseating. (BJP had a thumping victory there) (3) Modi hardly pushed Hindutva.

    Varun’s repugnant words did BJP greatest damage’
    4 Comments | Post Comment Larger | Smaller
    Express news service
    Posted: Friday , Jun 12, 2009 at 1025 hrs IST
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    New Delhi: As the BJP grapples with the growing internal chorus questioning its failed strategy in the general elections, Brajesh Mishra, former National Security Advisor and one of the closest aides of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has come out with the first categorical denunciation of Varun Gandhi’s hate speech in Pilibhit saying it caused the “greatest amount of damage” to the party’s electoral fortunes.

    Speaking to Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Indian Express’ Shekhar Gupta for NDTV’s Walk The Talk — to be broadcast on Saturday — Mishra said the BJP committed a mistake by not censuring Varun Gandhi’s “repugnant” statements. The right course for the BJP would have been to “completely dissociate itself from him and not give him a ticket,” he said. Asked how Vajpayee would have handled the situation, he said, “He may have called him and advised him. But I am sure he would not have liked it.”

    Although not formally associated with the BJP, Mishra was considered extremely influential in the NDA government, mainly because of his proximity to Vajpayee which he continues to enjoy to this day. Underlining that the continuance of BJP as a major political party was good for the nation, Mishra put his critique in context.

    “I want the BJP to survive and thrive,” he said. “This country needs the BJP. It needs two national parties. Otherwise if BJP were to, God forbid, disappear, then within four to five years, regional forces will once come to the fore and we will again be faced with very very unstable situation,” he said, adding that not just the BJP but its ideological parent, the RSS, too, needed to reassess its strategies and bring moderation in the ranks.

    Mishra said the BJP had come to power, with the help of allies, only by moderating its agenda and people had accepted that. He said the top leadership of the party had not moved away from that moderate agenda but in these elections, however, the impression went out — “through the voices of Varun Gandhi and Narendra Modi” — that the party stood for a very strident form of Hindutva which was exclusivist in nature.

    “I am absolutely clear that the Varun episode did the greatest amount of damage to the BJP…his speech and his behaviour…The BJP should have totally moved away from him,” he said, adding that such statements did not go down well with the masses. “The kind of statements Varun Gandhi made…people were completely taken aback. They also thought that as soon as a BJP government came to power in Karnataka, organizations like the Ram Sene came out in the open.”

    “The Hindu ethos does not allow people to go beyond a limit,” said Mishra. “The impression going out was that this was not Hindutva. This was something else,” he said, adding that the inclusive nature of Hindutva had affected other Indian religions as well. “That is why today you cannot say that more than, say, 0.0001 per cent of Muslim population would be jehadis.”

    “Clearly, your (BJP’s) message of Hindutva, howsoever you may define it, did not get across to the voters who voted for the Congress, and for stability,” he said.

    Mishra also faulted the BJP for unnecessarily attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the strategy only helped in consolidating support for Congress and the Prime Minister. “By calling the Prime Minister weak, more publicity was given to him than he himself could arrange. It also resulted, for the first time, in the Congress announcing that so and so would be its Prime Ministerial candidate. This benefited the Congress and gave strength to Manmohan Singh,” he said.

    Mishra said instead of running a highly negative campaign, the BJP should have concentrated in telling people how it could have performed better than the UPA government. “The negativeness was not liked. The BJP could have run a positive campaign and concentrated on telling people that it could have done much better on bijli, sadak, paani issues,” he said.

  35. zoomindianmedia says:

    Vir Sanghvi is a Rogue – Here is the proof.

    See the video before reading him.

    Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times
    Email Author @ counterpoint@hindustantimes.com
    June 06, 2009
    First Published: 21:16 IST(6/6/2009)
    Last Updated: 11:30 IST(7/6/2009)


    As the BJP begins post-mortems of its defeat in the General Election and tries to institute a generational change in its leadership, many suggestions have been put forward about how it can recast itself.

    The first suggestion — made by Arun Jaitley in an article in the Indian Express — is that the party must abandon shrillness because voters prefer moderation.

    This sounds sensible enough but the problem is: can there be a BJP without shrillness? Its chosen persona is of the Hindu with a grievance. And a party of grievance can hardly mumble its complaints.

    When the BJP talks about ‘shrillness’, it means Narendra Modi’s speeches during the campaign. But Modi was not their only problem. All of them — including Advani — were shrill. In the Eighties, when the BJP sprang to national prominence, it tried a dual approach. LK Advani would wring his hands and pretend to be the mild-mannered fellow who had been driven to anger by the injustices that had been heaped on Hindus. But even as Advani was doing his impression of RK Laxman’s common man, the message was being hammered away by a host of others who were shrill, almost by definition: Uma Bharati, Pramod Mahajan, Sadhvi Rithambara etc.

    Since then, the BJP has always been shrill. Over the last few years, Advani himself has abandoned the mild-mannered fellow impersonation and revealed a nasty, combative side, attacking Manmohan Singh with needless viciousness.

    During the last campaign, the defining characteristic of the BJP was pointless shrillness. Forget about Narendra Modi, what about the rest? Jaitley himself wasted his own time (and everybody else’s) by going on about the threat posed to Indian democracy by Ottavio Quattrocchi, massively exaggerating the significance of a 25-year-old scandal that most people had forgotten. Other spokesmen echoed this line (“this is a dark day for Indian democracy”: Sudheendra Kulkarni).

    When the BJP talks about ‘shrillness’, it means Narendra Modi’s speeches during the campaign. But Modi was not their only problem. All of them — including Advani — were shrill.

    And frankly, I don’t think they know how to conduct a debate in any other way.

    The second suggestion, made by Swapan Dasgupta in The Times of India on Thursday, is that the BJP should play down its Hindutva agenda. Dasgupta has long rejected the Hindu basis of the BJP’s agenda and argued that the party’s best hope lies in recasting itself as a modern, right-of-centre, internationally-minded grouping.

    This is an interesting suggestion but it does not belong in the real world. There may or may not be room for such a party within the Indian political system but that party is not the BJP.

    To ask the BJP to recast itself in this fashion is akin to asking the CPI(M) to transform itself into the party of free speech, pro-Americanism and private enterprise. In other words: good idea; wrong party.

    The BJP without Hindutva is like Pizza Hut without the pizza. Most of the BJP’s cadres are committed to some form of Hindutva. The party’s bosses in Nagpur are only interested in promoting a Hindu agenda. And much of the BJP’s support base likes the party because of its Hindu agenda.

    A third suggestion, which first surfaced during the campaign itself, is that the BJP’s problems are the consequence of a leadership crisis. Halfway through the campaign, sections of the BJP began talking about Narendra Modi as a potential Prime Minister, even while Advani was still fighting for the job.

    Now, the BJP is open about the leadership problem. When leaders say “we missed Vajpayee’s leadership” what they really mean is “Advani wasn’t up to the job.”

    Proponents of this view argue that new leaders will revitalise the party. Perhaps they will. But who will these leaders be?

    It is now clear that Advani wants Sushma Swaraj to succeed him because a) she is a mass leader, b) she is not Murli Manohar Joshi and c) she stood by him during the campaign when his other protégés rushed off to embrace Modi.

    But is Sushma a 21st century leader? It is not unlikely that Rahul Gandhi could be the face of the Congress during the 2014 campaign. Is Sushma going to be effective in countering all the things that the Congress will claim that Rahul represents: youth, a forward-looking approach, empathy with the Kalawatis and other disadvantaged people of India etc?

    It is hard to say. Certainly she will have to transform her persona from the xenophobic, rolling pin-wielding middle class housewife she now represents. And with Sushma at its head, the BJP will more or less have embraced shrillness as its tone of voice, regardless of what Jaitley wants.

    But if not Sushma, who? Arun Jaitley perhaps. But does he have the electoral credentials any mass leader will require? Narendra Modi? Could be, even if the current mood is against him.

    But do any of these people strike you as having the ability to lead the BJP in the way that Vajpayee did? Rahul, on the other hand, strikes most people as being quite capable of following in his mother’s footsteps.

    Which leads us to the real crisis of the BJP.

    The problem with the BJP and the reason why it gropes for old issues to blow up again and again is that it is a party with no core beliefs. Nobody is really sure what it stands for any longer.

    We saw this in the campaign. It’s all very well for Arun Jaitley to call for moderation and an end to shrillness but for many years now he has been Narendra Modi’s ambassador in Delhi. He has consistently defended Modi’s behaviour during the Gujarat riots, has attacked anyone who dares question Modi and during this campaign, he sang Modi’s praises.

    Or take the Varun Gandhi case. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the BJP should have stripped Varun of his ticket.

    But the only people in the BJP who spoke out against Varun were its token Muslims (Shahnawaz Hussain and MA Naqvi). Other leaders either helped Varun’s legal defence or portrayed him as a victim, railing against the Election Commission.

    When such leaders talk about the need for a moderate BJP, what credibility can they possibly have?

    Then, there are the economic issues and the nuclear deal. The Vajpayee government would have grabbed the nuclear deal — we know this because Brajesh Mishra has said so. Yet Advani found pretexts to oppose it, before hurriedly re-arranging his position once again during the campaign.

    So it is with liberalisation. Where does the BJP stand? Is it the party of the global economy? Or is it the party of the bania who wants no regulation for himself but regulation of all his business rivals?

    We still don’t know.

    For me, the defining moment of the campaign came when Yashwant Sinha went on TV. Yashwant is an old friend from the 1980s, an essentially decent and moderate man who finds it difficult to live it down that political circumstances drove him to the BJP just months after he had attacked the party in Parliament over the Babri Masjid demolition.

    He was asked about Modi. I waited for Yashwant to give a reasoned or evasive reply. Instead he declaimed, “Narendra Modi is our most popular leader. He has all the qualities required to become Prime Minister of this country.”

    I knew then that the game was up. The BJP had become a party full of people who stood for nothing except for political opportunism.

  36. zoomindianmedia says:

    Senior Citizen Indra Advises BJP

    BJP Leaders! Many are Watching
    Posted : June 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm [IST]

    Let the BJP leaders realize that many of the well wishers of the country who may or may not be its voters are watching every move of yours and every word that you utter with interest. LK Advani came out with good points and Sushma was just stunningly impressive who is now second in command as opposition leader. Surprisingly, the contents were very positive. Any one listening to the debate can feel proud of it. BJP must perform its best in parliament. Many like me get their impression changed for the party. But BJP as promised in parliament must cooperate with the government on issue of national interest without politicking; otherwise the people will not take it kindly as in case of indo-US Nuclear deal.

    However, the other press reports are equally depressing for the well wishers. With media that is very fast and active today, the news from BJP is worrisome for its future. The senior leaders while demanding for “free and frank” discussions on its rout in the Lok Sabha polls are trying to become very personal and trying to settle to score against individuals. First of it, they must realize it’s not rout. It may be certain losses in certain states. If they can’t positively introspect themselves, they can agree to appoint some outsiders to pinpoint the reasons for not reaching the target numbers of win without making individuals responsible for it. It should also get a code of conduct for the way its leaders must behave to make it a good party, if necessary from its well wishers.

    It must not lose time and start working with zeal to prepare itself for elections in the states. Let Jaswant Singh, the Darjeeling MP see if he can facilitate its constituency to get its pride past and expand the BJP in the area. Arun Shourie is an intellectual and he must be the face of the party on small screen and other for a. He must develop a team of intellectuals some of whom can substitute him on the forum in his absence.

    Let all the senior leaders above 70 years in age who do not wish to retire give up the dreams of leading the country only as prime ministers or leaders of opposition. Some of them can be mentors at the centre and some may volunteer to go the state. Let them follow the example that the CEOs of Infosys are setting.

    Let the party elect a panel of four-five second level leaders, one of whom can work in rotation as president for a year. The party members can elect the best of them to lead the nation in next election. As unlike Congress, BJP is not a dynastic party, the dissidence is obvious but by creating a transparent democratic system of party organization, the party can win election. Internal democracy must be the marketing strength of BJP.

    Why can’t BJP drop introspection if it is creating trouble within the party? Let it go to decide the roadmap for the win in the next assembly elections in the states and a win in 2014. Many columnists including Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Vir Shangvi, and their own Arun Jaitley, Swapan Dasgupta and Sudheendra Kulkarni have already written their views on the shortcomings. Why can’t a select group of senior BJP leaders take the viewpoints of the columnists and discuss them positively for decision on the action plan?

    Let the top leadership facilitate its chief ministers to perform with development reaching to the vote banks. Let it also make every MP who has won election this time responsible to win at least two more constituencies for BJP. Let the party select at least two young and winnable candidates for each constituency right now, and facilitate them to nurture their constituency.

    In the parliament BJP or NDA must create a shadow cabinet giving the responsibility to cover one ministry of the government to two of its members, the second MP as alternate. It will build responsibility and prepare them for future. It should also keep on reshuffling them based on performance.

    As the government now will go for development politics, the party must come out with better ideas and appear to be superior to the ruling one.

    Under the changed expectations of the voters, the party and its MPs the present one or the prospective ones must be different and may be more professional in approach.

    The top senior leaders or mentors such as Advani, Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, Murli Manohar Joshi and others must keep on moving all around the country and undertake the task of involving good leaders from all walks of life – the professors, the scientists, the economists, the farmers, leaders from unions, women and students- in the party .

    – Indra

  37. zoomindianmedia says:

    Watch this before reading on. Dont trust those with crocodoile tears. Ask these communist rogues to do analysis on why cpi(m) lost

    Barkha Dutt
    Email Author – barkha@ndtv.com
    May 29, 2009
    First Published: 22:04 IST(29/5/2009)
    Last Updated: 22:07 IST(29/5/2009)


    There’s a story about Varun Gandhi that no one in the BJP will tell you on the record. It goes something like this. A party leader, who shall remain unnamed, rang the controversial young politician to invite him for a party function. “Varun,” he said, “could you please come to …” only to find that he had been cut off midstream by an irate Gandhi at the other end of the phone line. The 28-year old lit into his senior party colleague and reprimanded him for addressing him so casually by his first name. At the very least, he argued, he should have been called ‘Varunji’ for being the party’s next big hope in Uttar Pradesh. The story gets even better. Despite the drubbing in UP (many BJP leaders privately blame Varun Gandhi’s hate speech for polarising the Muslim vote in favour of the Congress), I’m told that the poet-turned-politician still fancies himself as the main contender for state president.

    While the psychological delusions of Varun Gandhi are the subject of a whole different column, the man himself has come to represent all that is wrong with the BJP today. Simply put, the party suffers from paralysis every time it has to deal with its loony fringe. Usually, it dithers for so long on what stand to take that by the time its condemnation is made public, it sounds effete and unconvincing. And then, as the media stomps all over it, the party slips into victim mode and tries to aggressively promote its vices as if they were virtues.

    Once the preferred choice of India’s middle class, the BJP is now in danger of losing the big metros entirely (Delhi and Mumbai were swept by the Congress). Its agenda seems woefully out of sync with its own vote base. The opposition to the nuclear deal was a prime example. As a party leader confided to me in a private conversation, “ no party can afford to go against the sentiments of its core constituency.” And yet, by repeating the same mistakes over and over again, the party that had once positioned itself as the robust, rooted and nationalistic political alternative, now looks confused, anachronistic and weak.

    Rewind to the Mangalore pub attacks. By the time the BJP decided to condemn them unequivocally, the attackers and the state government were seen to be on the same side. No one was ready to listen to the BJP argument that the Ram Sene was not a partner and had in fact, put up candidates against it in the previous Assembly elections. Ideological obfuscating had made the BJP look like a sympathiser of the attackers, even if it was not.

    The Malegaon blasts and the entire ‘Hindu Terror’ issue proved to be another conundrum for the BJP. A party that had designed itself as absolutist (despite the IC 814 and Kandahar barter) on the matter of what it called ‘Islamic terrorism’ could not exactly afford doublespeak if allegations of terror links surfaced on the other side of the religious divide. But once again, the party dithered and dallied endlessly. Eventually, it ended up challenging the integrity of the police officer (Hemant Karkare, who died in 26/11) who was leading the investigations.

    So much has already been said about how LK Advani and the BJP chose to handle Varun Gandhi’s inflammatory campaign. But once again, the confused balancing act — disowning the speech, but clinging on to the man who made it — speaks to the essential existential crisis of the party.

    Like many others, I believe that Advani is a politician with unimpeachable personal integrity. But more than that, I have always found him a thinking man — with far too much intellectual curiosity — to be at ease with petty bigotry. And yet, on so many key issues, Advani’s public statements seemed to be at odds with his own comfort zone. It was almost as if the pulls and pushes of politics had forced him into positions he was not entirely at ease with. But it also underlined the lack of clarity in the BJP.

    The party’s Prime Ministerial candidate was trying to be moderate and extreme at the same time. It didn’t work. Just as Vajpayee missed his moment in failing to push for Narenda Modi’s removal after 2002, Advani’s test as a leader for modern times was how he would handle Varun Gandhi. Both men will have to live with the knowledge that these two decisions have pushed the BJP along a trajectory that may not allow it to navigate contemporary India.

    Where Narendra Modi goes from here will probably mark which road the BJP has decided to journey on. The whispers against him within the party have begun. All those rooting for him as perfect Prime Ministerial material have now begun to talk about his ‘shrillness’, his ‘obsessive dislike of the Gandhi family’ and his inability to reinvent himself into a politician with national acceptability. Yes, the verdict in Gujarat was largely status- quoits (with a marginal decline in vote share) but there was absolutely no Modi Magic outside the state. Will the BJP force Modi to apologise for the anti-Muslim riots or will it accept that without that, he will remain a powerful regional satrap and no more?

    The most honest critique of the party has come from Arun Jaitley — the man who led the election campaign in 2009. He has written about how New India is looking for ‘moderation’. After an election that has proved that identity politics can travel only so far and no further, the question is whether he will be able to prevail upon his party? Will the right find its centre again? If it doesn’t, the BJP may lose its way permanently.

    Barkha Dutt is Group Editor, English News, NDTV

  38. zoomindianmedia says:

    Past its Blooming Period
    Rajdeep Sardesai
    Email Author, rajdeep.sardesai@network18online.com
    May 28, 2009


    As a news anchor who lives in a television studio, and whose reporting days are rapidly becoming a fading memory, my one connection with the ‘real’ world is a morning walkers’ group in the neighbourhood park. The gathering includes senior citizens, service sector professionals and independent businessmen. Their viewpoints on most issues — be it POTA, uniform civil code, black money in Swiss banks, or even the Ram Mandir — are similar to a BJP manifesto. Yet, a majority of them voted for Sheila Dikshit in last year’s Delhi Assembly elections and Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister this year. In their voting preferences lies the key to explaining perhaps the only nationwide trend of election 2009: The dominance of the Congress/UPA over the BJP/NDA across urban India.

    As the comprehensive National Election Study done by Yogendra Yadav and his team has shown, the UPA has gained in votes and seats in urban constituencies. With the exception of Bangalore and Ahmedabad, the Congress and its allies have swept metropolitan India. The UPA won 34 of the 57 major urban constituencies, the NDA just 19. The UPA won an impressive 81 of the 144 semi-urban constituencies, the NDA only won 39. It’s not just the urban poor, the study shows that the UPA was 15 per cent points ahead of the NDA among urban middle class voters.

    For the BJP, it’s these figures that must spark off introspection: Why has the BJP lost its appeal in its traditional bastion? After all, it was the rising clout of the new Indian middle class that was seen to have driven the BJP’s ascent to power in the 1990s. This class was the economic beneficiary of liberalisation and socially conditioned to seeing the minorities as hostile to national interest. The journalists, bureaucrats, professionals and even army officers, who embraced the BJP in the 1990s, were products of this period which saw the Congress being typecast as a corrupt, dynastical, pseudo-secular party, while the BJP was seen as a moral, democratic, nationalist alternative.

    With Atal Behari Vajpayee as the mascot, the middle class was attracted by the idea of a soft Hindu identity that would correct the anomalies of the Nehruvian period. The appeal of this identity politics was not just witnessed in election results — the BJP emerged as the single largest party in three successive elections in the 1990s — it could be seen in television studios as well: Assertive voices that spoke out against the alleged ‘pampering’ of minorities, against foreign origins and which called for tougher anti-terror laws were applauded across audience-driven TV debates.

    Those voices can still be heard, but their arguments seem to have lost their resonance. How long will we debate the Kandahar hijacking, or who was responsible for the Shahbano controversy or who gave biryani to terrorists in Kashmir? These questions were relevant at the time, but the priorities of a nation have shifted. The fact is that emotional issues matter much less now than ever before, that in a ‘normal’ election, the urban voter chooses present-day governance over past animosities. We are in an era of inclusive, ‘identity-plus’ politics, where winning elections is more about gaining new voters and not relying on narrow identities, be it caste or religion.

    The BJP should have realised this last year itself when in the Assembly elections, after the 26/11 terror attack, the party did badly. Full-page ads warning of terrorism did little to sway an average Delhiite: when he wanted to be comforted, spreading fear wasn’t the way forward. Sheila Dikshit provided that comfort factor, the Delhi BJP leadership did not.

    In a sense, what happened in Delhi has now been replicated across urban India. The BJP has acquired the image of being disruptionist where once it was seen to stand for effective law and order. Be it moral policing in Karnataka, Varun Gandhi’s hate speech, or the violence in Kandhamal, the BJP is burdened with the tag of flirting with irresponsible forces. When a Varun Gandhi spoke out against minorities, he energised the BJP’s core constituency, but ended up alienating the moderate centre, which was more concerned with the economic slowdown and job losses. Unfortunately, instead of distancing itself from Varun’s rhetoric, a section of the BJP almost justified it, leaving the undecided middle class voter confused about the party’s true intentions.

    This confusion was also manifest in the BJP’s opposition to the the Indo-US nuclear deal last year. Here was an issue which logically should have been championed by the BJP as its own. After all, it was Vajpayee who had opened a window of opportunity with Washington. Yet, the BJP contrived to be seen as being on the same side as an ‘obstructionist’ Left, further alienating the middle class voter for whom the US is far from being the Great Satan. Moreover, the ethical core which the BJP once claimed made it a party with a difference is clearly gone. When a bureaucrat who is voted the most corrupt by her peers becomes a party member, when BJP MPs engage in passport rackets, when jailbirds are given party tickets, then the party loses the moral high ground. By putting ‘winnability’ ahead of idealism, the BJP leadership squandered the goodwill quotient. By contrast, Manmohan Singh was seen to epitomise a certain decency in public life, an ‘accidental politician’ who was untouched by the trappings of power.

    Perhaps, the BJP needs to rediscover the average middle class voter who isn’t swayed by shrill vocabulary or marketing hype. In an increasingly aspirational society, this voter is only concerned with his personal well-being and an assurance of future prosperity. Which is why the Third Front and the prospect of a Mayawati in power frightened him. His voting choices are determined by a desire for stability, ethical behaviour, a violence-free society, rapid economic growth and a rising Sensex. He wants an enlightened political leadership that offers a mirror to the future, and is not imprisoned in the past.

    In 2009, it’s the Congress troika of Manmohan-Sonia-Rahul and not the BJP which offered him this futuristic vision. Which is why a majority of the middle class voted for them.

    Rajdeep Sardesai is Editor-in-Chief, IBN Network

  39. zoomindianmedia says:

    Read this on to get how enemies of native Indians deal with lies, lies and more lies.


    Election Verdict 2009- Whither BJP?

    Ram Puniyani

    The resounding defeat of BJP in the 2009 elections, decline in number of seats and decline in voting percentage prompted various BJP insiders and sympathizers to do the some introspection. Where did the party go wrong? In his piece in Times of India 4th June 2009, Swapan Dasgupta feels that BJP has got too much identified with Hindutva, which is no more appealing to large section of Hindus so it needs to come out of this image for a makeover. Sudheendra Kulkarni (Tehelka 13th June 2009), looks at the defeat as close Advani aide and also as an insider and points out that Advani was not sufficiently backed up by RSS and BJP on one hand, and on the other he goes on to say that BJP’s implementation of Hindutva looked to be anti minorities and that its links with RSS need to be given a second look.

    For Kulkarni projects as if Hindutva is all inclusive, Hindu identity is core of Indian Nationalism, and Cultural nationalism is not meant for Hindus alone. One can infer that Kulkarni stands by the core RSS concepts of Hindutva, Cultural Nationalism and Integral humanism and finds BJP practices faulty in this direction. One can point out that since Kulkarni is an insider, associated with BJP from the times of Advani’s Rath nay, blood yatra, and is close to the top echelons of BJP and that he had all the time to point out to BJP leadership as to how their practice is deviating from the genuine Hindutva. One is not sure whether this has been done inside the party forums, any way lets keep that aside.

    Concepts and ideologies are not made in the thin air. They reflect the needs of social groups. These terms couched in the language of religion were devised by ideologues of declining sections of Hindu society, the landlords and Brahmins early nineteen twenties onwards. The term Hindutva in particular came into being as the politics of Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. It stood for politics of Hindus, for the building of Hindu Rashtra. This word was coined by Savarkar in 1920s and was meant to be an alternate notion of politics to the one being articulated by national movement, led by Gandhi. Similar concept of nationalism, based on the values of liberty, equality and fraternity were also articulated by Ambedkar, while the third major stream during freedom movement, Bhagat Singh and Communists dreamt of a Socialist society, based on the notions of substantive equality and state regulating the social relation to ensure this equality.

    It must be pointed out that the concept of Hindutva was aiming at Hindu nation, in contrast to the Muslim nation being propounded by Muslim League, and in opposition to the concept of democratic secular nation for which Gandhi, Maulana Azad led national movement was working. This Indian nationalism is all inclusive, inclusive of all religions, castes and both genders. The concepts of Hindu and Muslim nations are exclusive concepts. The second point is that the Gandhi-Ambedkar Nationalism was based on the equality of caste and gender while HIndutva and the ideology of Muslim nationalism were continuum of the feudal values, the harping on caste and gender hierarchy. In the same direction later Deen Dayal Upadhyay the ideologue of RSS-BJP very cleverly put up the concept of Integral Humanism. This concept argues that as any organism is well balanced due to the division of work between different parts of the body, similarly different social groups perform different well defined tasks to provide the equilibrium for the proper social functioning. This in a way talks of status quo in the caste and gender relation prevalent in society.

    Similarly Cultural nationalism as propounded by RSS and adopted by BJP stands for the elite Brahminical culture as the synonym for Indian ness. All in all this is precisely what RSS defines and BJP practiced so far. There cannot be equal place of dalits, women and non Hindus in this scheme of things. Swapan Dasgupta feels BJP has to drop Hindutva, to provide an alternative based on good governance, non dynasty politics etc. Kulkarni’s reading of Hindutva and integral humanism is from the world of make-believe, totally off the mark. The simple question is why were these practitioners of Hindutva, cultural nationalism aloof from National movement, which laid the basis of India and India’s independence. These streams which take the cover of glorious traditions focus only on those traditions which are elitist, in Indian context; Brahminical or those belonging to Ashrafs from Muslim community. Why can’t RSS-BJP talk that primarily they are loyal to the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and dump all those concepts built around religious identity? It is because these religion based concepts are the best cover for oppression of women, dalits and non Hindus. And in turn these concepts also demonize, intimidate and commit violence against minorities, trying to reduce them to second class citizens.

    BJP could come to power only because of harping on identity of Lord Ram. BJP does hold Ram is the symbol of India’s identity. This is one of the expressions of their cultural nationalism. The question arises why only Lord Ram is the symbol of India, why not Shambuk, or Bali or Sita. In nutshell their cultural nationalism picks up those characters which suit the interests, agenda of Hindu elite. Surely had Ram temple agitation not taken up, Babri mosque not demolished and Mumbai and Gujarat violence not instigated, BJP would have been on the margin of Indian society. Its very raison detre is due to the fact that it is progeny of RSS, to the fact that it is related to VHP, Bajrang Dal etc., whose vagaries it keeps defending most of the time. It is thoroughly exclusionist and that’s why it justifies Gujarat violence, Kandhamal, rejects Sachar committee etc. It is not a mere coincidence; it is the core of BJP politics. It is not that the concept of Hindutva is inclusionary and practice is faulty, the very concept of Hindutva is exclusionary, in theory and practices both.

    Can BJP throw away Hindutva, aim of building Hindu Nation around glorious Hindu traditions of Manu Smriti etc? The question is misplaced as BJP is nobody to decide that. BJP is merely a political arm of RSS; it is RSS which has to decide that. Can RSS cut its own legitimacy off by renouncing Hindutva? The question does not arise. RSS essentially is aimed around these goals. Kulkarni’s confusions and his welcome concern about poor, minorities and dalits are misplaced as those are not the concerns of RSS, they have never been and can never be the concerns of BJP and company at any point of time. Hindutva or integral humanism is cleverly worded disguise to undermine the concept of democracy. Last two decades had been a nightmare where the values opposed to Indian nationhood asserted themselves aggressively, bringing immense miseries. One hopes with the trend of decline of BJP, those striving for democratic struggles, struggles for equality and rights of dalits, women, adivasis, workers and minorities will come to occupy the main social space and protect the nation form the damages done by the politics in the garb of religious identity.

    Posted on June 12, 2009

  40. zoomindianmedia says:

    TogadiaSpeak – Dr. Pravin Tagodia is much smarter than what people credit him with (MSM perception deception). Here is the proof

    (Organiser June 21, 2009)
    Lost Love Always Hurts
    By Dr Pravin Togadia

    Myth 1: We lost because of Hindutva identity. Muslims voted against us due to this.

    Truth: Muslim was never a core constituency. It was Hindu. Everyone accepts and understands electoral growth. But if this growth is at the cost of the core or even anti-core, then it is called cannibalisation.

    If a party cannot satisfy its own core constituency and limits itself to power gain by projecting individuals or issues that do not appeal or matter to its core constituency, then it is a love lost. And lost love always hurts. Both ways it hurts. It has hurt the Hindu core constituency that it was taken for granted.

    If the Muslim League tomorrow says, it wants to grow in vote share and therefore it would start a majority morcha and gives tickets to Hindu sadhus (That Hindu sadhus would not take its tickets is a different issue), it would hurt Muslim League’s core constituency and it would lose even its sure seats.

    When Mamata Banerjee fought against Tata Motors for grabbing farmers’ land for Nano, many so-called intellectuals declared that Mamata was finished and that she would never be able to come up in politics ever again. Communist parties, which usually speak only about themselves or against US, also tried to paint Mamata as anti-development and therefore, ‘useless’ for the today’s changed world. The then PM of Congress Dr Manmohan Singh too went to West Bengal to see if Mamata could be pacified and Tatas continue holding farmers’ land for Nano, as at that time the Congress was with the Left. Mamata sat on fast for the poor farmers for over two weeks, got her kidney ruined, Nano left the Left from West Bengal—and rest is history. Those so-called intellectuals, who had so confidently declared Mamata as permanently lost, were in for a huge shock in the Parliament elections. Mamata won with a thumping success. Not that credit of this doesn’t go to her tie-up with Congress, but even Congress tied-up with her knowing well the boiling sentiments of West Bengal poor and farmers. There it is! West Bengal’s poor and farmers. This was a core constituency of the Left. In the bargain of showing itself progressive, Communists hurt their core constituency by giving their land to Tata. Result? The core constituency was hurt. Hurt so much, that it left the Left.

    This is what happens. For years a political party grows and shines with the votes of a particular core constituency—with its votes and with blood/sweat of the workers who come up from the same core constituency. It takes years to nurture faith and confidence of any core constituency. When this core constituency starts trusting a particular party for a particular stand and type of thinking, then the party grows fast and goes places. It takes years of unconditional commitment and sincerity from the party side to convince any core constituency that yes, truly this party has our well-being in its heart. Then this core constituency watches the behaviour and actions of that party and its people including its workers who deal with the core constituency daily and its top leaders. As the promises given to the core constituency get translated into real actions, the core constituency votes for that party and this way loyalties are built just like a brand loyalty. It does not happen overnight; it is a result of many above things as explained.

    But the moment core constituency realises that the party in which it had faith and confidence over many years now has started compromising with core constituency’s interests for getting into the power, the core constituency loses faith in that party. This happens faster than building up faith, i.e. the moment Bengal farmers realised that the Communists have compromised on land protection of the poor farmers, the poor farmers felt cheated and they left the Left. It may sound crude but the truth is always crude and rude. It is not as simplistic as it may sound.

    Now when it comes to yet another core constituency of Hindus, this was never a core constituency in the beginning when India got Independence. Yes, there were emotive issues like creation of Pakistan and attacks on Hindus during the Partition. But the Hindu was never perceived or nurtured by any party as a core constituency at the time of India’s Independence. There were organisations like the Sangh and the Hindu Mahasabha, which had the Hindu well-being in their hearts and actions, but for them, the Hindu was not a core constituency for votes. Indian National Congress grew during the Independence movement and Indians had only two groups to choose from: The British and the Indian National Congress. Obviously, Indians chose anything that was non-British (or so to say—anti-British). Congress ruled for many decades and that was the time for basic infrastructure development like roads, railways, electricity, water, schools, colleges, post offices. Indians got these to certain extent. But then came the need for holistic development of Hindus as a majority in India. That’s where Hindus felt that parties like Jana Sangh and Hindu Mahasabha had the Hindu interest in their hearts. Such parties even promised Hindus many things like removing Article 370, Common Civil Code, protection of Hindu religious monuments, etc. It took over 30 years for building up and nurturing the Hindu core constituency.

    Slowly, this core constituency got consolidated and the Jana Sangh grew. In 1967, even before the Emergency, due to great sacrifice by lakhs of swayamsevaks of the Sangh, the party that grew was the Jana Sangh, which could form state governments in MP and UP with other parties. This party later transformed into BJP. In 1980 same people suddenly left ideology of Hindu core constituency’s well-being and adopted Gandhian Socialism. The party that was reduced to two core constituencies was hurt, its love had cheated it immensely.

    Then the party slowly returned to the Hindu core constituency. Ram Mandir movement was a peak of it. After returning to Hindu core constituency with the Hindutva ideology, the party went up to power in many states and at the centre. This core constituency had human beings in it who had emotions, intellect and aspirations.

    Any core constituency consists of human beings. Their emotions, intellect and aspirations if fulfilled, then and then only that party grows. If their sentiments, intellect and aspirations are ignored or thrown down the drain or taken for granted, then the core constituency feels cheated and hurt. If one loves someone from the bottom of one’s heart and that someone does not keep promises given in love but breaks the promises for gains which may be hurting the core of that love, it hurts more. The Hindu core constituency got hurt this way post-1998 resulting into 2004 debacle. Excuse given was power to be retained with allies at the cost of core constituency’s interests and thereby alienating the core constituency. The Hindu does not react fast. He waits, gives more time for improvement and watches the behaviour and actions. The Hindu core constituency again waited even after 2004. What the Hindu core constituency saw after that was more appalling and hurting the core. Love was not only lost; love which was showcased all the time was false! There was no love! The Hindu core constituency was not only hurt; it was angry. It did not abstain from voting. It voted decisively. It locked its Hindu sentiments, intellect and aspirations within its heart and voted for any other party that at least took care of some local issues. This does not mean that this Hindu core constituency would not spring up again together. It would. But for a truly caring party.

    To distract the attention of those who nurtured this Hindu core constituency, some myths are now being floated as if this Hindu core constituency is full of fools and has only sentiments but no intellect and aspirations.

    Myth 1: We lost because of Hindutva identity. Muslims voted against us due to this.

    Truth: Muslim was never a core constituency. It was Hindu. Everyone accepts and understands electoral growth. But if this growth is at the cost of the core or even anti-core, then it is called cannibalisation, e.g. in the market of dental care. Dabur later added toothpaste. Its market share grew. It was in sync with its core target group. Dabur later added many more products in personal care but kept its dental care cash flow intact. If Dabur had launched anything with USP of no need to use toothpaste/toothpowder for teeth, then Dabur would have not only lost its market share but also would have lost its core customers’ faith and company credibility. When a party says or does anything to grow which is essentially anti its core constituency’s emotions, intellect and aspirations, the party loses miserably. Wherever this Hindu core constituency felt that warmth, it voted. People who were blamed for defeat, have won like Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and many others who stuck to the core constituency have won.

    If the Muslim League tomorrow says, it wants to grow in vote share and therefore it would start a majority morcha and gives tickets to Hindu sadhus (That Hindu sadhus would not take its tickets is a different issue.), it would hurt Muslim League’s core constituency and it would lose even its sure seats.

    Myth 2: 40 per cent population is youth. Three crore youth voters are added. Youth have great aspirations. Youth do not like Hindutva.

    Truth: It’s not that many of us, as a part of a large organisation, do not travel all India—both urban and rural. We travel extensively, more than 5,00,000 km per year, meet at least 10,00,000 people from various professions and of various age groups every year. Many of us did it this year too. That youth does not like Hindutva may be a part of a wish-list of a few power-mongers, but it is not a fact. From Varanasi to Bengaluru and from Indore to Lucknow, is there no youth? If they disliked Hindutva then in these places they would not have voted for some people who cared for the Hindu core constituency. Wasn’t there youth in India in 1990-98 when the same Hindu core constituency voted this party to the power based on the Hindutva identity? Were there only children and old people then? It is also a pseudo-intellectual air-conditioned thinking that today’s youth has different aspirations. Yes, the local and temporary issues change, but the ideological, emotional, intellectual and aspirational issues closer to core constituency’s heart do not change.

    Myth 3: People want development and governance. People do not want Hindutva.

    Truth: Core constituency, as said, is made of human beings who share the same ideology, has the same emotions, intellect and aspirations. Responsibility of any party that grows because of core constituency is not limited only to arouse these human beings’ emotions but also to give them all benefits of development and governance that come out of power. Has this party provided the benefits of its so-called development and governance to all people in its core constituency totally? If not, then on what basis, such a party went ahead and started saying that it needs to give development and governance to those who are anti-this core constituency while its own core constituency was without such development and governance. Hindus voted this party to power at the centre once and in a few states repeatedly. Has every Hindu irrespective of caste and gender got a job? Has every Hindu family enough food so that the family does not have to sleep with an empty stomach? Does every Hindu boy and girl have a school to study? There are many such questions.

    If this party does not want to be answerable to the core constituency’s ideological questions related to Ram Mandir, Article 370 or Common Civil Code, then fine. But the Hindu core constituency has never got answers to their questions about their development and governance. So, leave the core constituency half attended, take them for granted thinking that where else can they go anyway and only for votes or for allies cater to the development of those who are all out to kill this core constituency. This is not development or governance at number 1; this is an immature hurry to get power at any cost. Hindu core constituency realised this and left this party. The very efforts of a few of painting Hindutva as anti-development and governance were a logical fallacy and the Hindu core constituency is wise enough to see through this.

    Myth 4: If any party has to come to power, it has to compromise on its ideology and tone it down to accommodate the allies.

    Truth: We are not worried about any or every party here. If the party that grows on a specific ideology and due to a specific core constituency, tries to hurt the very essence of that core constituency only to gain power, then the core constituency not only feels neglected but also feels cheated. Adding Muslims and Christians was not a problem for Congress. They were always a part of that party from the beginning. If Hindutva core constituency party tries to add such elements, then it becomes B-Congress. Then why would anyone vote for B-Congress (duplicate) when the A-Congress (original) is available? This apart, the party was nurtured by the Hindu core constituency as an anti-thesis to Congress. The Hindu core constituency is intelligent enough to see the faux pas in this ‘aim power’ logic. The core constituency may be just 10 per cent of the total voters but if even five per cent of it sees through the betrayal to the core, then this vote share makes or breaks the chances of winning. It is a paradox! The very reason to leave the core constituency was to gain power. And the same reason has become the etymological blunder for many parties in this election like the communist parties whose core constituency—the poor and the farmers—felt this loss of love. They were hurt. And so were Hindus. For different reasons and by different parties. When this happens, the networks of the workers who were attached to the party due to the core constituency and the organisations that were instrumental in nurturing the core constituency feel hurt. It shows in the real life, in voting patterns and in loss of percentage of votes. It also shows in the end of the state of inertia in some states like Rajasthan where there are fatal losses of sure seats.

    Myth 5: It worked in the American elections, it must work in India too.

    Truth: Although India has seen many kings and dynasties, India and Hindu core constituency follow their own cultural and intellectual ethos and now have their own democratic system, which is a parliamentary democracy and not a presidential one. Just because Obama projected himself in America as a change agent and won, it does not mean the same will happen in India. India and Hindu core constituency do not get enamoured by an individual for long and especially if an individual is projected, the Hindu core constituency still examines his/her behaviour and actions on the parameters of core constituency’s core interests. Consistency is not a weakness or not an anti-thesis of being progressive. Consistency gives credibility. For any brand to be successful, it needs credibility that appeals to its own core customer, not just to the media or the internet or the world.

    If a party cannot satisfy its own core constituency and limits itself to power gain by projecting individuals or issues that do not appeal or matter to its core constituency, then it is a love lost. And lost love always hurts. Both ways it hurts. It has hurt the Hindu core constituency that it was taken for granted and then was betrayed again and again of late. It has also hurt senior and junior—millions of workers of the party who nurtured the party through the Hindu core constituency for so long. And it hurts party’s vote share too. For any party to come to power in a democracy, the support of the majority is a must; but for any majority, supporting a particular political party is not must.

    And now, if people and organisations, which are associated with such a party that has hurt its core constituency, continue with it for long, the Hindu core heart, intellect and aspirations will go off at a tangent. Looking at the current scene, there is surely a scope for any party that is willing to truly address and fulfill the emotions, intellect and aspirations of the Hindu core constituency. If the old party does not want to follow it and disown this constituency, then it is that party’s own choice. But the Hindu core constituency has already been decisive and if not addressed with the same old love and care then surely there is a vacuum for any new or other party to grow. What is more important is the ideology and only ideological consistency can give any party a credibility for longer survival and symbiotic growth—whether it is a communist ideology (which we may not agree with) or the Hindutva ideology. Until there is some concrete care for the Hindus now, lost love always hurts and will keep on hurting.

    (The writer is a cancer surgeon and secretary general of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and can be contacted at drpravintogadia@yahoo.com)

  41. zoomindianmedia says:

    Home > 2009 Issues > June 21, 2009

    Opinion Maker Shift thanks to MSM has hit BJP says Dr. Arya.


    BJP ideology has not failed
    An analysis of Congress win in 2009
    By Dr Arya K Bhattacharya

    Now why would this compositional change in POM space affect the BJP? Because that component which is the most antagonistic to the RSS school of thought has increased sharply, while that which was least unfriendly has contracted the most.

    Superficially, the BJP was fighting the Congress and the Congress the BJP, so the loads supported by both beams were apparently the same (here load = what is being fought against). But in reality, the BJP was fighting the Congress plus – and here we introduce a new term – the “Public Opinion Makers”, while the Congress was fighting the BJP minus the Public Opinion Makers (or POM). And the load supported by the steel beam was far, far higher than the wooden one, leading to its collapse. This is the fundamental reason for the BJP defeat, not just in 2009 but in 2004 as well.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party, the vehicle of pure nationalism in Indian politics, has suffered a second successive defeat in national general elections. It is understandable that a lot of effort will be spent on localised micro-analysis, as well as on extracting generalised views like imperfect confidence levels, negativity in campaign, national-mood-an-aggregate-of-local-ones.

    Let us look at the analogy of two beams each fixed at one of their ends to a solid wall, and at the other end supporting equal loads. One of the beams is made of solid steel, and the other an awkward construct of wooden pieces patched together with pudding. The former is like the BJP, the latter like the Congress – with SRP as the pudding. Now which would one expect to collapse first when heavily loaded (with the same weights) – the solid steel beam or the wooden patched one? Obviously the latter. The wonder is that the solid steel beam has collapsed, while the wooden patchwork has held.

    Trying to explain the causes of defeat in terms of local organisational weaknesses is like trying to explain the above analogy in terms of hairline cracks in the solid steel beam. And trying to explain the causes in terms of incorrect confidence, negativity, agglomerated effects, etc, is as superficial as trying to explain the above analogy in terms of colour of the steel beam or its surface roughness. It is obvious that the reasons lie in things more fundamental – those that have not yet arisen properly within the boundaries of our thinking processes.

    Fact is, the comparative environment in favour of the BJP was even more drastic than the analogical comparison between the two beams would suggest. Just look at these aspects:

    No ruling party at the Centre since 1989 has ever returned to power under conditions of greater than eight per cent inflation in prices of primary food articles. In the five years of UPA rule, these prices have increased more than 60 per cent; the latter half of this period accounting for the bulk of this increase.

    A terrorist attack of the magnitude of 26/11 has not occurred in India before. This was preceded by equally jarring terrorist attacks across all major Indian cities – with the exception of cities along the eastern coast. And it was the activism of the BJP ruled Gujarat government post-Ahmedabad-attack that put an end to this chain of bombings

    The chain of scams like Satyam, Quatrocchi, CBI-misuse and parliamentary bribery scandal were unprecedented in any prior 5-year governance period, including those of Congress rule.

    The depression, job-losses and economic uncertainty in the past nine months were again unseen before in India.

    The Congress chief campaigners shamelessly ran away from one-to-one debates in public, and its president didn’t even have the guts to give a single press interview—lest the internal hollowness get exposed.

    Most importantly, the comparison between the years of NDA and UPA rule. The BJP faced the wrath of the world order by making India an overt nuclear power. It faced and rolled back the global economic sanctions (accompanied simultaneously by years of poor monsoon) to transform India into an economic powerhouse – with years of unprecedented low inflation creating low interest rates that spurred capital investment, leading – with a time lag – to greater than 8.5 per cent growth rates that continued into the first three years of UPA rule. In the process every Indian across the world could hold his head high. And what did the UPA do? Transformed this atmosphere of positivity into depression. The Indians across the world who could strut around proudly – “our time has come” – were now transformed into shamed “slumdogs”. Any Indian with minor self-esteem (and that leaves out only spies and criminals) would find it extremely painful to sit through that movie. Its decoration with multiple Oscars is only a sequel to the Western attempt to humiliate emerging powers like India and China. And yet the Congress claimed credit for that movie and co-opted its theme song into its campaign. And wonder of wonders, with this sort of background the Congress won the elections hands down while the BJP reached its nadir!

    Obviously there is something profound, deep down that is causing this. To find this out, let us return to our analogy and ask the question – were the two loads supported by the two beams really the same, as we had assumed?

    Superficially, the BJP was fighting the Congress and the Congress the BJP, so the loads supported by both beams were apparently the same (here load = what is being fought against). But in reality, the BJP was fighting the Congress plus – and here we introduce a new term – the “Public Opinion Makers”, while the Congress was fighting the BJP minus the Public Opinion Makers (or POM). And the load supported by the steel beam was far, far higher than the wooden one, leading to its collapse. This is the fundamental reason for the BJP defeat, not just in 2009 but in 2004 as well.

    Now who are the “Public Opinion Makers”? As the name suggests, they are the ones who determine what the country thinks, how it responds to emergent situations, and how it evolves in thought. In other words, they determine the direction of the National Mind. They operate at both pan-national and regional levels. Broadly, they can be classified into three groups: TV News Channels (we will club Radio with this), Newspapers (including newsmagazines), and what we may call as “distributed opinion makers”. The first two do not need any explanation. The “distributed opinion makers” are the traditional, localised, grassroots-level opinion makers. This includes samskaras and socio-cultural values and traits, public-place gossip, views of reputed personalities, and also mass movements. As an aside, the following clarifications are in order:

    1.“Character maker” and “Opinion Maker” are two different things, in so far as character is different from opinion. While opinion is transitory, character is more fundamental and permanent. If “character maker” and “opinion maker” are defined as two different sets, the region of overlap between them lies in the “distributed opinion maker” space. TV news and newspapers have hardly any role in making character, while primary & secondary educational institutions, which have no role in making opinion, have a significant role in making character.

    2. The internet and blogspace cannot be considered to have any worthwhile role in making public opinion in our country, and the situation will not change at least in the next ten years. This space is restricted (in terms of time spent) to those who do not have any serious family or professional responsibilities, who are usually males, who are unlikely to turn out and vote, and most importantly, to those who are social loners – the latter trait increasing in intensity with time spent on the net. The BJP erred severely in trying to make the internet its prime means of advertisement and public reach in election 2009 pushing newspaper & TV ads to a secondary role, and it needs to seriously introspect why (i.e. what led it to) it did so, instead of just saying retrospectively that it was incorrect.

    Continuing with the Public Opinion Makers or POM, the first important point of note is that its composition has been changing significantly with time. When there was no TV and hardly any newspapers, the bulk of POM was composed of the “distributed opinion makers”. That is no longer true today, and this shift has been very rapid over the past twenty years. (Figure 1) shows the evolution in the composition of POM space over the past twenty years, from 1990 to 2009. Please note this is an approximate, qualitative view, not based on analysis of accumulated data. It shows the trends, not the actuals, and serves as an enabler in framing our concepts. Furthermore, these trends are averaged across the country, and across urban & rural areas.

    In 1990, when Sri Ram Janambhoomi agitation was at its peak, TV-news occupied only 10 per cent of POM space, while the “distributed opinion makers” occupied about 40 per cent. The share of TV-news increased sharply in the period 2000-2005 (during the NDA government), when a multiplicity of regional news channels came into existence across the country. Share of newspapers did not decrease correspondingly due to the spread of literacy. Consequently, the share of “distributed opinion makers” decreased the most (see Fig. 1).

    Now why would this compositional change in POM space affect the BJP? Because that component which is the most antagonistic to the RSS school of thought has increased sharply, while that which was least unfriendly has contracted the most.

    (The writer can be contacted at 5, Straight Mile Road, Northern Town, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand-831001. Email: aryabhat@@hotmail.com)

    (To be concluded)

  42. zoomindianmedia says:

    Rather third rate analysis from a canadian orientologist.

    June 21, 2009


    Page: 27/38
    Home > 2009 Issues > June 21, 2009


    BJP beware of dynasty, demography
    BJP needs a radical change in strategy
    By Bojil Kolarov

    Varun Gandhi possess more political talents than his cousin. It’s not excluded that in the future Congress party will try to attract this young and perspective politician in his rows giving him a high post, that’s why his detaining among the lines of BJP has to become one of the most important priorities of the party.

    The results of the Parliamentary Elections 2009 in India are just another proof that this country is a de facto single-party state not too different from a totalitarian regimes. Like it or not, the Congress has no real competition on the Indian political scene. Despite all of our desires and efforts, for simple demographic reasons, BJP has no chance to succeed in a country where around 20 per cent of the population are religious minorities and where for six decades the educational system has been brainwashing the Indian citizens, even from the crib, about the excellence of the Gandhi-Nehruvian dynasty and its huge merits for the nation.

    Under those circumstances, the only wise thing BJP can do is to accept reality and change its confrontational policy for a policy of rapprochement to the Congress. Perhaps these words will sound heretical to many a follower of the Indian Right. But to them it could be said: In politics, and especially in religious matters, there are no eternal friends or eternal enemies; there are only everlasting interests. The everlasting interests of Bharat Varsha and of the whole Hindu community dictate that the only way for the forces of Hindutva to abandon their state of permanent opposition and begin to exert a real influence in community is to try and get closer to the only ruling party in the country: the Congress.

    This is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. There aren’t and can’t be real right politics in India because the country is still too poor. Almost all political parties except the BJP are in the left spectrum and prone to demagogy; that is why the BJP has no real coalition partners. But between a centre-right party like the BJP and a centre-left party like the Congress there can be sometimes fewer differences and more similarities than between the moderate and the extreme Left (the communists) because the parties of the Centre are more or less close in their ideology. A typical example of such rapprochement of parties from the centre in modern history is Germany where after the last parliamentary elections two years ago the Social-Democrats and the Christian-Democrats reached an agreement and formed a coalitional government although they used to be fierce political opponents for decades. If BJP succeeds in getting closer to the Congress both on the national and on the regional level, in a future election 10 or 15 per cent of the national vote should be enough for the forces of Hindutva to have a direct influence over the government of the country because in a coalition all partners are equally important. And is there anything more important for the Right than the triumph of the Hindu ideology? If the leaders of the BJP don’t understand this simple truth today, they risk to send Hinduism into a state of permanent opposition of the sole ruling party, which will hold the power as long as the Gandhi-Nehruvian dynasty exists in this world.

    Of course, there is an alternative scenario. And it can be realised if the BJP and Sangh Parivar invest all their energy and skills to promote the figure of Varun Gandhi— because after an intensive sixty-year-long brainwashing a large number of Indian citizens are brought to ecstasy and owe by the mere uttering of the word ‘Gandhi’. We shouldn’t be worried by the fact that Varun Gandhi doesn’t possess the charisma of a political leader because Rahul doesn’t have it either. Actually in my opinion Varun Gandhi possesses more political talents than his cousin. It’s not excluded that in the future Congress party will try to attract this young and perspective politician in his rows giving him a high post, that’s why his detaining among the lines of BJP has to become one of the most important priorities of the party.

    And finally as third alternative—half-seriously, half-joking—I can propose the following scenario: Let all presidents of the BJP adopt the name “Gandhi” from the very moment of their election. They are just as entitled to it as were Jawaharlal Nehru and Sonia Maino in the past. By the way, this political joke can lead to consequences much more serious than one could ever expect.

    (The writer is a Canada based orientalist and can be contacted at bojko7@yahoo.com. His website on voice of India is bojilkolorov.voiceofdharma.com

  43. zoomindianmedia says:

    une 21, 2009
    Organiser belatedly points media and defines corrective states. Well. Better late than never.


    Page: 29/38
    Home > 2009 Issues > June 21, 2009


    BJP lost because of hostile media
    By Subhash Bisaria

    It was the media that did the BJP more harm with its focused, negative, venomous and malicious onslaughts than anyone else.

    How many public meetings did Rahul Gandhi attend—100, 150 or 200? Even if we take 5000 as audience listening to him (of whom many would be party workers) how many people did he reach? Just 10 lakh out of 110 crore. A pittance! But media reached him to all. Contrast this with Shri Advani, Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Rajnath Singh’s much more qualitative and substantive public meetings, how many people did it reach? Media, out of necessity, showed a few glimpses of those portions specially that were unimportant or controversial or quoted out of context. Harm done? Double. Plus it did not fail to hold group discussions, or sought opinion from so-called experts thus establishing the bias deep down in the psyche of the people.

    I remember one Jan Jagran Abhiyan held at Balrampur Gardens in Lucknow for which people deliberated, held meetings and month-long preparations were done. The yatra conducted state tour and was received into the city from Hardoi. About ten thousand people attended it, but it was hardly reported by the media though they were all there.

    What I mean to say is that nationalist forces fail to get themselves across to people. Similarly, BJP has many issues before it, but it can’t build up the pressure in the absence of media. Neither Shri Modi nor Shri Varun Gandhi are responsible for the debacle of the BJP. In fact, Shri Modi tried to rejuvenate the masses (but his Hindutva was often deflected or communalised by the media) of the Congress and media propelled notions of secularism. Hindus today need mass awakening, awareness and revival and for that a vibrant, honest and fearless media is required. Attitude of 110 crore Indians can’t be changed overnight but it can be done.

    What can the BJP’s media do?

    Awaken 50 per cent non-voting class

    Mitigate the adverse publicity made by the secular media that maligns the Hindu image

    Restore the confidence and self esteem of the Hindus through short serials, documentaries etc on our great leaders like Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Vir Savarkar etc

    Counter the propaganda against the saints, RSS, VHP or other Hindu bodies. Show the other side of the coin too on issues pending before the nation. For example, Kashmir problem, show the plight of the Pundits in camps repeatedly, how their properties are being seized by the local jehadis in Kashmir. Infiltration by the Bangladeshis and plight of the local Assamese and Bengalis.

    Not to report the random cases of terrorism or conversions but to complete the jigsaw picture of converting India into the pockets of Islamic and Christian states and to seize power from the Hindus.

    Issues of distortions in the text books

    Convince how only swadeshi or India-centric policies can ensure food and employment to all

    Pick every opportunity, festivals etc, for talking and discussing the Hindu customs, traditions and scientific values attached to it and removing the doubts created by the opposition and many more.

    Teach Sanskrit and scriptures through TV

    Importance of cow

    Bring awareness to love-jehad where Hindu girls are purposely trapped by the paid Romeos then converted and married.

    The nationalist forces have all been painted in black by the media and the secular jamat. The challenge before the new channels would be highly challenging. As the secular brigade and the vested interests from the India and abroad would like to isolate and choke it to death as they do fervently to BJP, VHP or RSS.

    Even backward looking and averse to technology, Muslims have launched a channel deceptively called Peace Channel.

    India has 5 crore cable network connections and DTH and if there are five members in a family the cable has a direct access to 25 crore people especially in the urban sector and incidently it was in the urban sector where the BJP lost more than in rural or Vanvasi areas.

    Media made the poor victims as the perpetrators of crime in the following and created a false public opinion abroad

    Violence in Kandhamal

    Killing of Swami Laxmanananda

    Godhara retaliation


    Party workers should be respected and listened to

    No compromise on Hindu-centric ideology

    Media savvy

    Launch of at least two national magazines one in Hindi, the other in English and two TV news channels effectively managed and controlled.

  44. zoomindianmedia says:

    The courage of conviction

    Rakesh Sinha
    Posted: Friday , Jun 19, 2009 at 0131 hrs IST

    (While Rakesh Sharma is right on defining BJP problems, mere perception management wont suffice. Gandhian Socialism nonsense, again reflects ideological incoherence)

    The crisis in the Bharatiya Janata Party should not be seen as an outcome of the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections or merely a rumpus hinting at the change of leadership. Even if BJP had emerged victorious, the crisis was inevitable.

    The party can ill-afford to be insensitive to its core constituency. Ironically, those who constituted, either formally or otherwise, its core group and managed the election campaign are now appearing in the role of interpreter of maladies. Of course, there is also an element of personality and factional clash masquerading as ideological debate. And so, some radical suggestions have been advanced, which range from redefining the relationship with the RSS to abandoning Hindutva and acquiring the space of an Indian centre-right.

    It would be an exaggeration, if not downright presumptuous, to say that Kandhamal, the anti-pub campaign and Varun Gandhi’s speech alienated the middle class from the BJP. These were discussed inside the party as well as in the media, and RSS has taken its categorical stand. Moreover, they remained localised and isolated issues. The real problem with the party is growing individualism, which turns the party into a federation of competing clubs of loyalists. It is disastrous for a party, whose role is not confined to electoral performance but also promoting alternative ideological debate. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh had faced a similar crisis in the 50’s. Pt. Mauli Chandra Sharma became the party president after the death of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee. He interpreted organisation and ideology according to his political convenience, and also nursed ambitions of disengaging the party from the RSS. There were many prominent men with Sangh backgrounds in his coterie. At this juncture, Deendayal Upadhyay intervened, leading to the expulsion of Sharma and his men.

    Those who believe that RSS or Hindutva is a stumbling block to the growth of BJP have misconceived the RSS worldview. The question is can BJP manage without them?

    The membership of the RSS is virtually a daily trial. RSS itself is an idea, more than merely an organisation. It signifies an alternative socio-economic philosophy. Egalitarianism is the core guiding value for RSS and its affiliates whether Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra or Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. The opposition of appeasement does not mean anti -minority politics. Although it rejects categories like right and left, its ideological moorings are closer to left of centre Gandhian socialism. All efforts to create a common front with Swatantrata Party and the BJS failed in the past due to the RSS aversion to laissez faire ideology. The Jana Sangh faced splits and desertions more than once when it took a radical approach on socio-economic reforms, like abolition of zamindari, jagirdari and support to the rights of central government employees. Veteran leader Balraj Madhok’s plea to grab the space of Indian right did not cut much ice in the party and Parivar. Nothing has changed the perception of the parivar. Therefore, the BJP cannot be allowed to take the space of the Indian right, as people like Brajesh Mishra and Swapan Dasgupta suggest.

    Moreover, the party has been a victim of indolence on the ideological front after the Ramjanmabhoomi movement and Rath Yatra . Had the party done so it would have changed the course of politics more effectively. But it could not even counter the Nehruvian-Marxist propaganda against the Rath Yatra, which alleged it was a precursor to communal riots. The party missed one of its finest moments, and individualism increasingly took centre stage. Of course the party attracted a large number of intellectuals but their role remained undefined and underutilised. RSS affiliates work among workers, peasants, tribal and slums. BJP is a natural beneficiary of their selfless work. However, it failed to give expression to their socio-economic perspective of Sangh cadres. Does Hindutva prevent BJP to struggle for farmers committing suicide or presenting an alternative of the western model of globalisation? No Hindutva stigma could deter Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh from becoming the largest central trade union in India. Nor Hindutva derail the Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra from carving its niche among our tribes. So why should Hindutva be a hurdle for BJP’s return to power?

    The party also became coalition-oriented and wilfully ignored basics to remain acceptable for allies. Thus its strength became its weakness. Orissa is a typical case where state units suffered humiliation as the high command sometimes overrode them to appease BJD. The same thing is being repeated in Bihar. The party changed itself to suit allies, like rectifying the size of foot instead of changing the shoe. BJP should resurrect ideological debate not only on secularism but also economic reform and its impact.

    The importance of the BJP is not only due to its emergence as the second largest group in the Lok Sabha but due to its ideological distinction. BJP leaders should do soul searching not only on ideology but also on the image-deficit of its leadership. It should not be a hostage of journalistic thinking, of those whose understanding of the RSS is skin deep. RSS could not be used even by the Hindu Mahasabha in 30’ and 40’s when its leaders Hedgewar and Golwalkar were little-known personalities in comparison to tall Hindu ideologues like VD Savakar, Dr B S Moonje or Bhai Parmananda. Even in 1978-79, the Janata Party faced the dual membership crisis and the demand for dissolution of RSS was raised. RSS remained uncompromising. BJP cannot make any concession on its social philosophy. Its present suffering is a forerunner of a long due ideological and organisational consolidation.

    The writer is associate professor, Delhi University and biographer of RSS founder Dr K.B Hedgewar

  45. zoomindianmedia says:


    What exactly is ‘Hindu nationalist’ about the BJP?
    T V R Shenoy

    June 17, 2009
    How does a cadre-based party handle failure in drawing votes from the masses? The BJP and the CPI-M [Images] could start by defining exactly what they stand for.

    First, by way of comparison, look at the Congress. The word ‘congress’ is derived from Latin, via French, and means ‘meeting’. The Americans still use it in the original sense; the Senate and the House of Representatives together constitute the Congress of the United States, the place where elected politicians meet.
    The US Congress is home to people from both the liberal and the conservative ends of the political spectrum but the body has no ideology of its own. That is just as true of the Indian political party of the same name.

    In the 1930s Sardar Patel was waging a battle against the socialists. In 1955, at the Avadi session, Pandit Nehru [Images] succeeded in enshrining socialism as the reigning philosophy. In 1991, under pressure from the World Bank and the IMF, P V Narasimha Rao embraced free markets.

    Congress leaders don’t need to justify policy shifts with ideological acrobatics, they only have to ensure that everyone in the party gets a small slice of the pie.

    (Talking of the ‘aam aadmi’ does not constitute an ideology. Is there any political party, even in a one-party state like China or North Korea, that does not claim to be acting for the mythical ‘common man’?)

    This approach does not work for cadre-based parties, which operate under the conceit of a central guiding ideology. To give the CPI-M its due there is a vast body of work that seeks to define ‘Marxism-Leninism’. The CPI-M’s challenge is to popularise those principles to a sceptical, occasionally hostile, electorate.

    Is that true of the BJP too? The English media, both Indian and foreign, delights in describing the BJP as a ‘right-wing, Hindu nationalist party.’ But when you come right down to it, what exactly is either specifically ‘right-wing’ or ‘Hindu nationalist’ about the BJP?

    You could lay the economic policies of the Congress and the BJP side by side, and 999 out of 1,000 would struggle to say which is which. A truly right-wing, meaning fiscally conservative, party might have considered opposing schemes like loan waivers or employment guarantee programmes. Did you ever hear the BJP oppose a populist scheme?

    No ‘right-wing’ party would ever countenance a Stalinist horror called a Planning Commission (foisted on India because Jawaharlal Nehru swallowed Soviet propaganda). Did the BJP ever discuss burying it for good?

    Again, how much did the BJP do to dismantle the ‘licence-permit-quota Raj’ when it was in power? I am not talking about the things that irk big business, just the strangling web of forms in triplicate that plagues the ordinary citizen. The answer is that the BJP did only as much, or as little, as the Congress itself — or so goes the popular perception.

    If it isn’t ‘right-wing’ what exactly is ‘Hindu nationalist’ about the BJP these days? The party was identified with the Ayodhya issue, but how much did it actually do to erect a temple? Take that out of the equation, and what, specifically, is so ‘Hindu’ about the BJP’s programmes?

    You could actually put up a perfectly consistent series of plans based purely on ancient Indian traditions if you want, one that has nothing to do with temple building.

    For instance, Kalidasa mentioned the ‘royal sixth’ and Kautilya said the land revenue could be raised to a full quarter. The modern equivalent would be tax rates between 16.67 per cent and 25 per cent. Nehruvian economists used to speak of a ‘Hindu rate of growth’ (while laying down Stalinist policies); why shouldn’t the BJP advocate Hindu
    rates of taxation?

    There is a line in the Rig Veda that is translated as ‘You delight yourselves, you Gods, in plants and waters.’ (Hymn 70 of the seventh Mandala if anyone is wondering.) One could easily build a development policy that is also environmentally sound around that verse and others like it. But the BJP is just as much for big ticket items — large dams and so forth — as ever the Congress was.
    Did anyone in the BJP even try to put together an environmental case against the Rama Sethu Project alongside one based purely on religious sentiment? (Or even one demonstrating that the project is a waste of money?)

    Those are just two examples of ancient traditions being adapted for today, there could be others. But if the BJP is neither particularly ‘right wing’ nor draws on ‘Hindu’ tradition in formulating policies, why should anyone vote for it rather than the Congress? Come to that, what is there to keep even the BJP cadre motivated between one general election and the next?

    Both the BJP and the CPI-M are now speaking of reviewing what went wrong. But ‘introspection’ should mean more than simply playing musical chairs in the party headquarters. Seriously, outside the parties themselves, is anyone interested in who gets to be party general-secretary or president?

    I can remember when both the BJP and the CPI-M were noted for their discipline and their incorruptibility. (Yes, I know how funny that sounds in the age of Lavalin!) The BJP (or its Jan Sangh ancestor) was the party that placed national interests above those of the party; the Marxists would prize ideology over individuals. Would anyone say half as much of them today?

    All you have these days are, to be frank, rather mushy imitations of the Congress. And in that case, the voters apparently feel, one may as well just opt for the original.

  46. zoomindianmedia says:


    Important interview: Govindacharya: asserts BJP abondoned Hindutva, giving it lip service, riles down factionalism, poor leadership

    The RSS Can Walk Straight Without The Crutches Of The BJP’

    RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya takes the BJP to task in a hard-hitting interview with HARINDER BAWEJA

    I want to start with the concept of Hindutva. What is the meaning of Hindutva? Even senior leaders like Jaswant Singh are asking this question and you were a general secretary with the BJP when this word was coined.
    There are five constituents of Hindutva. First, respect to all modes of worship. Second, there is one and the same consciousness in all animate and inanimate beings. There is nothing like inferior or superior. Therefore egalitarianism is Hindutva. Third, man is not a conqueror of nature but a part of nature. Therefore, an eco-friendly economy is what Hindutva proposes. Fourth, because of the special quality of motherhood, women have a special respect in the public welfare society. The purpose of life does not end in eating, making merry and dying, but transcends that. And finally, there is the nonmaterial value of pursuing a goal, even if it may be endless. A faint realisation or feel — that is what Hindutva is. That is what the RSS also believes in.

    So how does the RSS expect the BJP to translate this politically?
    The BJP must have an understanding of what Hindutva means in terms of governance, economic policies, relating itself to the whole spiral of individuals, society, cosmos and reality. They must understand the statecraft pertaining to these aspects. That is what is expected of the BJP as the political component of the same ideological family.

    And you feel that the BJP has failed to translate the concept of Hindutva?
    I won’t be uncharitable to them because they neither had any conviction nor did they want to understand Hindutva. Therefore they cannot be blamed for functioning contrary to their beliefs. In a way, they were the tools of pseudo-Hindutva. For example, the content and tenor of Varun Gandhi’s election speech could be endearing to some people, but it wasn’t Hindutva. It is pseudo-Hindutva of the reactionary, irresponsible kind. In response to MG Vaidya’s article, if BJP president Rajnath Singh says that he is a strict adherent of Hindutva and so is his party, he is also being opportunistic; without having the onus to prove that they are following Hindutva.

    Are you saying that the current leadership of the BJP, including President Rajnath Singh, is practising pseudo-Hindutva?
    Yes, because they neither have the conviction nor the commitment. They think politics is everything – from the beginning till the end. Their thought process revolves only around power. They are more of achievers than performers.

    They have not succeeded in achieving either. The BJP is down to 116 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
    They still have some six to seven state governments and for the post of prime minister, they had a challenger in Advani. They had enough to win with and therefore I wouldn’t attribute much value even if they had come to power. How they function and what they can deliver is more important. For example, if ecofriendly techno economic order is Hindutva as I see it, then the attitude and response of the Uttarakhand government should’ve been different to the ecodestructive hydel projects that don’t subscribe to the norms. Such an unscrupulous handling of such a pious issue like Gangaji speaks of how hollow the claim of having worked with Hindutva is. There could have been 100 ways of generating electricity to fulfil the needs of Uttarakhand and saving the surplus too without destroying the fragile eco-balance of Uttarakhand. Similarly, there were five more alternatives for Sethu Samudram Pariyojna, for which even the environmental assessment could not be carried out. They catered to the ideology of Hindutva neither as a party in power nor as a party in opposition. They could not endear to vast mass of supporters they had gathered 20-25 years back. They ran out of that capital.

    How is the RSS leadership viewing the election results?
    As a responsible swayamsevak, this is how I read the mind of the RSS leadership — the RSS will have a straight talk with the BJP now, and tell it to decide what kind of relationship it wants to have with the RSS. Whatever the paradigm of the relationship was till now, it needs to be discussed further. If needed, the mechanism has to be thrashed out. The RSS will tell them: if you want to go without us, don’t worry; you are welcome to take your own course. We don’t even attribute good or bad values to it. If you are taking yourself with us then we will proceed on our own path. We feel that we don’t need any appendage or extra baggage. Nor any crutches. The RSS can walk straight without the crutches of the BJP. This is the message the Sangh leadership has given to the BJP. One more thing, if at all the BJP thinks of having a relationship with the RSS, then the RSS has made it clear that it should function in terms of ideology. The Sangh will then definitely want to have a say, command and intervention. That’s what they have conveyed to the BJP.

    To Advani or Rajnath Singh?
    To both.

    You said the RSS does not need the crutches of the BJP. But isn’t the opposite true – the BJP needs the Sangh?
    I don’t know. There is a big section in the BJP – and the number has gone up in the last 15 years — that thinks that the RSS is an appendage and that if they get rid of the RSS, they will be able to fly much higher. I will just compare this with an anecdote of a soaring kite, which is connected to a thread. The kite may think that it can fly on its own, and if it thinks it better to delink the thread and soar higher, it’s okay.

    Which is the section in the BJP that thinks it can do without the RSS?
    I had a glance over the list of the MPs elected this time. Of them, 30 odd MPs have some link, weak or strong, with the RSS or with its ideology of integral humanism; the ideology propounded by Deendayal Upadhyay. That’s the basic ideology of the BJP, even today. But there are about 85 MPs who may not have even heard of Deendayal’s ideology. And among them there may be many who may think that the RSS is not needed. If this is the problem with the composition of this parliamentary party, then the executive committee will have the same problem. The BJP therefore is a party full of opportunists and careerists and if I were to be charitable, then I can say that it is a party full of liberal democrats. They are taking politics only as a career, or a dhanda.

    What about the better-known leaders of the BJP like Advani, Jaswant Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Yashwant Sinha. Does the RSS consider them as careerists and opportunists?
    There is not just one group. There are subgroups. There is a phenomenon of ego conflicts and personality clashes. Such factors are there in the BJP and this has created many complications. Suppose the person speaks in favour of Hindutva, it does not mean that the person is actually in favour of Hindutva. For him, it may be suitable at the moment. Among other parties also I have seen many people who privately say that they are strong Hindus but don’t say it openly. I have found these double standards in some BJP leaders also. For example, if one says Ram Janmabhoomi is a cheque which can be encashed only once, what does it mean? Similarly, there are innumerable examples, anomalies, conflicts, duplicities. So what I feel is that 20 to 25 MPs can talk on ideology. Whether they can function as a lobby needs to be seen.

    As far as the RSS is concerned, you said it is okay if the BJP goes a separate way, but if they don’t, what would the RSS expect of the BJP?
    Perhaps some people of the RSS and the BJP must be sitting together to chalk out a roadmap on how to bring the BJP back on the roads of ideology and idealism. It may also happen that the RSS may think in terms of promoting new names from the lower rung of the party cadre and also freshly induct from other organisations.

    Was the RSS totally behind projecting Advani as the BJP’s PM candidate?
    It was.

    Did he make a mistake by running a presidential style campaign?
    I didn’t keep the track of the election. I saw it from a distance. I think the basic premise of the election campaign itself was on a wrong footing. It said, ‘mazboot neta, nirnayak sarkaar’. People’s issues could have been projected better instead of entering into an arena of competition.

    ‘BJP leaders are tools for pseudo-Hindutva. They are opportunists who use Hindutva as a vote plank. For them, politics is a career, a dhandha’
    Do you refer to Advani harping on Manmohan Singh being a weak PM?
    That is one issue. Similarly, in the realm of mazboot neta or strong candidate, the issue of Kandahar kept coming up. It was really a competition between two weak prime ministerial candidates. On the one side, there was Manmohan Singh and on the other side there was Advaniji. Both of them were weak. As home minister, Advani’s comparison can only be made with Shivraj Patil. There was nothing much to choose from.

    Do you think the BJP runs the risk of losing its space as a national party?
    In the present scenario, BJP exists as a competing political force more at the state level than at the Centre.

    So it is no longer a national force?
    It is not a national party in terms of ideology, policies, and conviction. I feel the Congress and BJP are both pro-US and pro-rich. This does not go in favour of Bharat. Take disinvestments — when the UPA mentioned it, Arun Jaitley said that was also their position, so both BJP and Congress become pro-disinvestments.

    One of the things that created quite a stir is what Sudheendra Kulkarni wrote for TEHELKA. He said that the RSS and the BJP made a strong man like Advani look weak and helpless.
    He shouldn’t have made the RSS a scapegoat. In no way was the RSS involved in any kind of election strategies. Only BJP people occupied the war room and they should be held responsible for all this.

    Jaitley was a member of the war room. Is it okay that he is now the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha?
    See, Rajnath Singh has come out with a dictum – that the BJP take collective responsibility. That does not allow for individual accountability. That, in fact, gives an escape route to everybody, including the BJP president. In Rajnath’s own home state, Uttar Pradesh, there was a pathetic performance. But now I see that he is enacting the same strategies and taking the very steps he took in Uttar Pradesh as its state president (when Kalyan Singh was the chief minister). Those strategies did great damage to the party at that time.

    Has the RSS asked for accountability?
    No, the RSS does not involve itself unless asked to. The BJP comes for advice. The RSS says if you are fine with it, do it. Face the music.

    But then the RSS can’t be happy with Rajnath Singh as the president.
    No, the RSS will not analyse in political terms as I am analysing now. I analyse because I have been in the BJP.

    But Mr Vaidya’s article enters the political realm.
    He only says very sarcastically that if you want to get rid of the RSS, you are welcome. Go ahead, if you dare. And face the music afterwards.

    ‘Many in the BJP think the RSS is not needed. The BJP has 85 MPs who may not have even heard of Deendayal Upadhyay and integral humanism’
    I am quoting from Kulkarni’s article that a lot of the BJP’s allies went away because of Gujarat. Do you agree?
    I don’t agree with it. Because the allies have come closer to the BJP for two reasons. One, when they don’t have to protect a Muslim base because there is no Muslim vote base in their state, be it Orissa, Punjab, Haryana or even Tamil Nadu. Two, when they think that the BJP’s vote share is more than the Muslim vote in their state, they just measure it in terms of loss and profit and then they ally, like in Bihar. Therefore the BJP is easy to ditch, like the Telugu Desam Party did. They are all opportunist political groups. Ajit Singh and the TRS had no qualms going against the BJP or coming towards it as the occasion demanded. They are just opportunist groups that take advantage when required for political gains.

    The BJP is introspecting the whole business of Hindutva. Do you feel that maybe Hindutva is out of tune with today’s India?
    Their perception may be out of date or irrelevant. But Hindutva is a steering wheel for the post-industrial society in the world. Hindutva is tomorrow’s ideology, not just yesterday’s. So the introspection is because of the lack of knowledge, and conviction about Hindutva. So if anybody says that they don’t know anything about Hindutva, I don’t know what they mean.

    Jaswant Singh said on record that he does not know.
    He should have specified as to what he thinks of it. I know personally that he also thinks about Hindutva on the same lines as Govindacharya. If he were given the opportunity to complete his thoughts he would have done it. I am confident about it. Because he is a practicing Hindu.

    Does the BJP appear like a party of yesterday because of Hindutva?
    It’s because of its opportunist approaches – of treating Hindutva as a vote plank rather than a comprehensive vision and ideology, complete in itself.

    Why is the BJP such a divided house?
    Because it could not evolve the scientific form of functioning required. The Congress could evolve in a manner that is power-centric. And the Left could also evolve in a style whose history goes back to 1848. When the BJP started out as the Jan Sangh, function methodology was a feeble thought. They thought more about ideology than the style of functioning. I feel personally that the BJP’s main problem is that it lacks a style of functioning. That is why today it appears to be so divided.

    Is that why you say there are too many ego problems?
    Naturally. If ideology and idealism take a back seat and the style of functioning doesn’t enforce those components, then naturally politics becomes just a power game. You cannot avoid ego-politics and ambition clashes. There has to be something more moral and superior as the chief parameter. When that goes missing, only vote gaining and fund raising capacities matter. Gradually, the degeneration starts. Sycophancy and conspiracy take front seats. Dedication, sacrifice, hard work – they will not matter.

    ‘The election was a competition between a weak Manmohan Singh and a weak Advaniji. The slogan“mazboot neta, nirnayak sarkar” was wrong’
    Was it a mistake to project Narendra Modi’s name as the PM?
    It was certainly by default. Not by design. Arun Shourie held a press conference in Ahmedabad and said that Modi has all the capabilities of becoming a PM, which was thoroughly unwarranted. But the war room should have taken immediate initiative to instruct all the responsible office bearers of the party to not engage or respond to this question. But they just sat. So this issue was raised by the opponents and also by the media.

    Is there a feeling within the RSS that perhaps it’s time for Advani to retire?
    The RSS, unless asked to think and advise on these aspects, will not apply its mind on such issues.

    That’s not true because some years ago, Sudarshanji said on camera that there should be a retiring age.
    As a person, he may have said that, but it was never discussed in any forum of the RSS. It was not a collective feeling.

    Is there such a thought now?
    Advaniji has definitely expressed the will for a retired life. He desires it and deserves it also. He doesn’t deserve this kind of lampooning and cartooning from either the media or from within the sections of the BJP. He deserves a happy and serene life.

    So why defer it till December?
    I don’t think there is any such decision. I don’t think there will be any change except that the working time of Rajnath Singh is ending in December. Advani has never said anywhere that he is going to quit in December. This is rumour, conjecture.

    Who will make a good president of the BJP after Rajnath retires?
    I don’t want to spoil the chances of that person by naming him. He will be unnecessarily targeted.

    ‘Advani wishes a retired life; he desires it and deserves it also. He doesn’t deserve to be lampooned by either the media or the party’
    So are you a ruling out a ‘she’?

    What do you think of Yashwant Sinha’s letter?
    Yashwant Sinha had all the time at his disposal in the last 10 years. He should have deliberated upon these matters with all the responsible people concerned.

    Somebody like AB Vajpayee, who was considered to be more moderate, was able to lead the party to power at the Centre. There’s something that needs to be said about the moderate face. Does the RSS also need to introspect?
    At that time Atalji was the supreme leader. He never adhered to Hindutva.

    That’s my point. If the BJP, without adhering to Hindutva, could be in government for six years…
    But they could not win on the basis of disconnecting themselves from Hindutva. Because of Hindutva they rose from 2 to 182 seats in the 1980s and when they left it, they came to 137, and now 116. Let them experiment. They are more than welcome. But don’t blame Hindutva.

    There is something called a youth vote now and in contrast, the BJP came across as a communal party. That’s why I am asking, should the RSS too not introspect?
    Don’t attribute the whole success to Rahul Gandhi. What happened to his karishma in Bihar and Orissa? It is a cumulative effect of various factors. Elections are a complex game.

    Does the RSS need to reconsider the way it remote controls the BJP?
    The fact of the matter is that it should have controlled remotely but it hasn’t. That you can deduce from Sudarshanji’s interview. He sought the resignation of Brajesh Mishra but he couldn’t. So there is no pressure like that. At best, the RSS plays the role of an elder person giving suggestions. It is the BJP that has come to the RSS, twice or thrice. Once at the inception of Jan Sangh, then after the defeat in 1984, and then in 1991, when they asked for more pracharaks. Even in 1984, the RSS told the BJP to return to the ideology of integral humanism. The same as they are being told today.

    Given the divisions in the BJP, the way it is rocked, how do you see the future of the party?
    I leave it to the wisdom of the leaders. If things go as they are, the party will be reduced in the arithmetic of elections, and then they won’t even hold as many states in power as they do today.

    (note that tehelka is an islamist paper with a Hindu/Sikh facade)

  47. zoomindianmedia says:


    ‘When a post-poll alliance is possible, why go for pre-poll alliances?’

    Digvijay Singh, Congress general secretary, up, elections

    I was made party in charge of UP after the disastrous Assembly elections. We have been out of power in UP since 1989 and so the organisation had collapsed. People who had grassroots support either went to the BSP or the SP. It was a challenging task. We chose 35 viable candidates for the Lok Sabha elections and we hinted that they could go ahead and start work, alliance or no alliance. We then wove the organisation around these candidates. Of the 35 candidates we chose, 18 won. Mr Rahul Gandhi was very keen that we build up our own party—how long can one walk on crutches? The whole effort has been to build the party. We had discussions with Samajwadi Party (SP). We tried to negotiate but that did not come off. People were fed up of regional parties, be it SP or BSP. I thought that the ground reality favoured Congress and we had nothing to lose—we had only nine Lok Sabha seats. So we might as well take a risk. It paid off.

    •COOMI KAPOOR: Why wasn’t the man responsible for the UP success included in the UPA Cabinet?

    That is an old story. In 2003, when I could not form the government in MP, I had said that there should be some kind of accountability and that I would not hold any government position for the next 10 years. That self-imposed exile will end in 2013. Till then, I am in the party.

    •UNNI RAJEN SHANKER: Now that your experiment has been successful in UP and partially in Bihar, are you going to extend it to other states?

    If the Congress has to go beyond 272, it cannot achieve that without fighting most of the seats and unless and until we break ground in UP and Bihar, it won’t happen. The Congress’s Panchmarhi resolution said Congress should go it alone but later it was amended. My own feeling is, when a post-poll alliance is possible, why go for pre-poll alliances? Transfer of votes is not easy—for instance, the upper caste vote cannot be transferred to Lalu Prasad. Similarly, it is difficult to transfer Congress vote to BSP but BSP votes can transfer to Congress.

    •J.P. YADAV: Do you think the results marked the beginning of the end of the regional parties?

    I would not call it the end of regional parties but yes, a decline of regional parties. Regional parties are basically caste-based parties. They have peaked, they can only decline now. People are once again looking at national alternatives rather than regional parties. But we cannot write them off because in state elections, they will have a considerable say.

    For any pan-Indian political party, there are national issues and regional issues. There have been Congress chief ministers who have raised regional issues quite effectively. Mrs Sonia Gandhi has been very supportive of the regional leadership. In Congress, we don’t believe in caste-based politics, though we do take into consideration the caste composition of any constituency while deciding on candidates for elections. People are fed up of caste-based politics. I think in 2014, we will have to go back to what Indira Gandhi once said, “Na jaat par, na paat par, button dabao haath par.”

    •RAVISH TIWARI: Why did the Congress do so badly in the MP assembly elections, its second consecutive defeat?

    We did not prepare ourselves as well as we should have in the Vidhan Sabha elections. The BJP did not win, we lost. We made certain mistakes because of which we could not win.

    •AMITABH SINHA: What is the Congress strategy vis-a-vis former allies like Lalu Prasad Yadav?

    I am a great admirer of Lalu Prasad Yadav to the extent that I have people telling me that I have become Digvijay Yadav instead of Digvijay Singh! He is one of the greatest political brains in the country. But if Congress has to grow in Bihar, it has to grow on its own. Still, Soniaji has great regard for Lalu Yadav

    •AMITABH SINHA: Will Congress’s overtures to Nitish Kumar continue or end?

    In politics, one has to take into account all options. Nitish Kumar has his own ideological problems with BJP. He is having problems within his own party too. But Nitishji has delivered better than the previous regime. If it hadn’t been for the fodder case, Laluji too would have been a fairly good administrator. But the person who did not deliver in Bihar delivered at the Railways.

    •UNNI RAJEN SHANKER: Do you think anti-incumbency as a factor is over in Indian politics?

    There was a period till 2004 when state governments were starved of funds. The Centre did not give them the money that was due to them because of recommendations of the Finance Commission. In the last five years, because of better tax collections and better GDP, more than 4-5 times central assistance has been given to state governments. So anti-incumbency was more pre-2004 than post-2004 because post-2004, CMs had much more funds to deliver.

    •RAVISH TIWARI: How do you view the BSP’s future? Will it be confined to UP?

    Mayawatiji is really not being able to deliver what she had promised. She is now saying that people remember the Roman Empire because of their massive buildings. So people will remember Mayawati because of the massive buildings that she is constructing. She is not delivering to the people who put her there—the Dalits. Whenever Rahul Gandhi has gone to a Dalit house, she has been the first one to react. We always ask the BSP, what have you given to the Dalits? And the answer is nothing. I met a very senior leader who left BSP and started working with us. He said that from Sarvajan Hitaye, Sarvajan Sukhaye (universal good and happiness for all), the BSP’s rule has become Sarvajan Dukhaye aur Dalal Sukhaye (universal misery and happiness for contractors). The media attributed her victory to very clever social engineering but there was no social engineering. She won because she was the only one to speak up against Mulayam Singh Yadav’s misrule.

    •VANDITA MISHRA: What is the long-term organisational plan for the Congress in UP?

    There are two to three issues that we are debating these days—in fact, the very structure of the Congress is being debated. The lowest unit is a polling booth, which is a political boundary. The next one is the block Congress committee, which is an administrative boundary, and then there is the district Congress committee which again is the administrative boundary. In a block area, there are some polling booths in one assembly seat and some polling booths in other assembly seats so there is no proper coordination. A debate has been going on within the party whether the political structure should be based on political boundaries rather than administrative ones. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi is working hard on democratising the party organisation by holding Youth Congress elections and he says he will complete the process by 2010.

    •AMITABH SINHA: In Maharashtra, has the party decided to go with the NCP in the coming Assembly elections?

    There are two schools of thought. One section wants to go it alone, the second section wants to go with the NCP. Again, it is a question of transfer of votes. In local body elections, we don’t have alliances. But here, the acrimony builds up to such an extent that it is very difficult to patch up and transfer votes. Congress and NCP have to take a call as to what should be done.

    •VAIBHAV VATS: Will the Congress consider Mayawati’s idea of trifurcation of UP?

    Population wise, UP is the seventh largest country in the world today. There is a strong argument in favour of division. Congress does not oppose it. But a decision has to be taken on that.

    •J.P. YADAV: Does Congress want a bipolar polity where there would be only the Congress and the BJP?

    We want to have bipolar politics in the country but it will always be a multi-party democracy. BJP can never go past 160-170 seats in this country. BJP has an ideological contradiction. What degree of Hindutva on a scale of 1-10 has to be adopted is something the BJP has not been able to decide in the last 30 years.

    •MANEESH CHHIBBER: Tell us about your relationship with Amar Singh.

    Mr Amar Singh is a very colourful figure and I met him in the late 80s when he was a very close associate of Mr Madhav Rao Scindia. He had political ambitions in the Congress which were not fulfilled and he blames me for that. He later went to the SP, where he has performed exceedingly well. In 1993, during the MP elections, he opposed me bitterly. He has also said that I have been gracious enough to maintain good relations with him despite that. And then of course, the rest is history. He rose in politics and Bollywood and his rise has been phenomenal.

    •DHIRAJ NAYYAR: In terms of economic policy, is there a clear shift to the left in the Congress party now?

    The Congress has always been pro-poor and that continues. Reform with a human face has been a Congress strategy, inclusive politics have always been the party’s forte. The majority of Congressmen feel that we cannot do without investments in the social sector, more poverty alleviation programmes. An environment has to be created where industry, manufacturing and other sectors grow without hindrance from the government. Free economy, yes, market economy, yes, not with blindfolds on, but by keeping our eyes wide open.

    •SUMAN K. JHA: During the Gujarat elections, the phrase ‘Hindu terror’ was used and seems to have helped the BJP.

    As far as Hindu terror is concerned, what happened in Malegaon is well-known. When I was MP chief minister in 2002, a bomb was thrown at a temple in Mau. The MP police arrested five people from the VHP and they confessed that they had thrown the bomb. Terrorism knows no caste, whether it is a Hindu or a Muslim. The hub of the Gujarat communal riots was the central part of the state, where we had won only seven assembly seats in 2002, but in 2007, I was put in charge of those 62 seats and we improved from 7 to 22.

    •SEEMA CHISHTI: Parties which enjoyed premium space in the last 20 years are now on the back foot. But they have done something for the Dalit/OBC awakening. What will Congress do to retain the tremendous mandate it has received?

    There’s no doubt that Mandalisation unlocked the political strength of OBC leaders. At the same time, their performance has not been outstanding. That period is now over. The Congress’s mistake of not building up enough Dalit/OBC leadership has now been realised and efforts are being made to build leadership in all sections of the Congress.

    Transcribed by Maroosha Muzaffar and Vaibhav Vats

  48. zoomindianmedia says:


    Important Insights for the BJP.

    Home > 2009 Issues > June 28, 2009

    The Moving Finger Writes

    The changing face of India
    By MV Kamath

    According to the survey what showed clearly is that Congress success did not mean that it was won either by Dr Manmohan Singh or by Rahul Gandhi, let alone Sonia Gandhi. The impact of the Prime Minister on election results was ‘at best, modest’. But does the election results mean that it is the beginning of the revival of Congress?

    It is over sixty years since India became independent and 1947 onwards we have had fifteen national elections. In these sixty odd years the mindset of the people has changed drastically. Ideological concepts have given way to more prosaic ones like caste and creed and people now vote not on issues of merit but whether the candidate belongs to one’s caste.

    So in Andhra Pradesh what is important is whether one is a Reddy, a Kamma, a Kapus, a Yadav, a Gowda, a Mala, a Madiga or a Muslim; in Tamil Nadu whether a candidate is a Thevar, a Venniyar, a Mudaliar or an OBC, in Uttar Pradesh, to provide one more example, whether one is a Rajput, a Yadav, a Kurmi, a Lodh, a Jatav, an OBC or a Muslim. Ideology hardly matters. Kalayan Singh’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party reportedly angered a substantial proportion of Muslims (18 per cent). The Congress gains among Kurmi-Koeris at the cost of the BJP is attributed to former Samajwadi Party leader Beni Prasad Verma joining it. In Bihar, 69 per cent of Brahmins voted for the BJP-JD(U), as did 80 per cent of Rajputs, 62 per cent of Kurmi-Koeris and 58 per cent of lower OBCs. Whom did the Yadavs vote for? Again for Lalu Prasad Yadav (65 per cent). Muslims would not vote for BJP.

    In fact, in Uttar Pradesh, according to a research paper published in The Economic & Political Weekly (May 16), the aim of Muslims was to consolidate their vote in the way the dalit vote was put together by the BSP “so that the community can then call the shots, negotiating with other communities and parties for political power”. Reportedly in Uttar Pradesh, Muslims have formed two parties, the Ulema Council (UC) and the Peace Party of India (PPI), with the aim of raising their voices “against oppression and injustice in a secular country”. They are reported as saying: “We want to find out who stands with the victim and who stands with the oppressor”. The argument was that “before Independence 37 per cent of Muslims had government jobs while that figure has now come down to two per cent.” Quoted is Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firenghaimahal, Naib Imam of Idgah, Lucknow.

    Is the government –any government in India—responsible for the large scale migration of upper class Muslims from India to Pakistan? Has any government deliberately discriminated against Muslims in admission to schools and colleges? Has it occurred to Muslims that the money spent on hundreds of madrasas could well have been used to set up regular schools and colleges on par with government–sponsored institutions? Has it ever been a matter of concern ¬¬¬¬¬to Muslims that when they deliberately choose to separate themselves from mainstream India in dress and deportment with men wearing white skull caps and women wearing burqas, they are marginalising themselves knowingly or unknowingly? Would someone kindly explain the nature of ‘oppression’ Muslims are suffering from, so that at least some efforts can be made by concerned citizens to halt it? Has ¬¬¬any government levied a jaziya tax on them?

    In Uttar Pradesh, apparently, Muslims voted “for the strongest non-BJP candidate who can defeat the BJP”. How nice! That will, no doubt, explain the success of the Congress in some Muslim constituencies. Only it is a poor reflection on India that votes are cast not on ideological but on caste and religious considerations. According to The Hindu (May 26) which published a post-poll survey (The NES 2009) carried out by the Lokniti team of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress victory was by default, the youth vote is ‘myth’, considering that the pattern of youth vote did not vary significantly from that of the rest of the population. An equally interesting fact that has emerged is that while the Muslim support for the Congress and the Left fluctuated between 32 per cent in 1998 and 40 per cent in 1999, the support of Muslims for the Samajwadi Party has slipped from a high of 25 per cent in 1996 to 10 per cent in 2009, and that, apparently, and nothing to do with ideology.

    Have we come to such a stage that ideals do not matter, caste identities do, and in Mumbai, at least, Maratha identify as well? What hit the BJP in that great city was the intrusion into politics of the hate-filled Maharashtra Navnirman Sena which won no seat but ate into the BJP-Shiv Sena vote bank drastically? A sad fact to remember is that in the elections, leadership did not apparently matter. According to the survey what showed clearly is that Congress success did not mean that it was won either by Dr Manmohan Singh or by Rahul Gandhi, let alone Sonia Gandhi. The impact of the Prime Minister on election results was ‘at best, modest’. But does the election results mean that it is the beginning of the revival of Congress? Not necessarily, according to the survey. The point is made that “despite boosting its tally by an impressive 61 seats, the Congress did this by increasing its vote share by a mere two per cent of the vote, almost identical to its 1999 vote share. That is something to ponder over.

    What should alarm the BJP leadership is the finding that the party in power is in retreat in Gujarat. The survey makes two points: One, that the BJP is no longer the small but crucial player that it used to be in some states, and secondly, the party presently is showing signs of fading in Gujarat. The BJP lost ground in Saurashtra, the region where it had swept the Assembly elections. Where and among whom did the Congress outdo the BJP in Gujarat? Among dalits (Congress won 62 per cent to BJP’s 20 per cent), among Adivasis (Congress bagging 55 per cent to BJP’s 37 per cent) and understandably among Muslims with Congress bagging 69 per cent to BJP’s 13 per cent.

    According to the survey, it was Narendra Modi’s “continuing popularity” that enabled the BJP to stem the tide. He remains the preferred choice for the Chief Minister’s job with 45 per cent of the respondents voting for him with no rival crossing the 10 per cent mark. But the party’s massive lead of over 10 percentage points over the Congress in the 1990s has shrunk to only three percentage points in the last two Lok Sabha elections. The point is that for the BJP the danger light in on. Summing up the situation for the BJP, the survey says: “It is a party with a smaller catchment areas, a declining capacity to reach out to newer groups… perhaps it is time for the party to ask the Big Question: aren’t these limitations related to the narrow and divisive approach the party has espoused?” Good question. It is for the current—and second generation—BJP leadership to ponder over it. It has another five years to re-establish itself, and certainly it is not an impossible task.

  49. zoomindianmedia says:


    The Congress has accepted the ‘ein fuhrer’ idea. Can the BJP accept the ‘ein volk’ principle? asks T.C.A SRINIVASA-RAGHAVAN.

    When was the last time that Congressmen blamed their topmost leadership for an electoral defeat? In 1977, after Sanjay Gandhi caused his mother Indira Gandhi to lose the general election.

    When was the last time that the Congress publically debated the reasons for an electoral debacle? Again 1977. It even split briefly.

    When was the last time the Congress effected a leadership change after losing an election? You guessed it. 1977.

    Obvious contrast
    What did the Congress do after it began to fall part in 1998, when some stalwart ministers in the current and last government began to knock on the BJP’s doors? It scurried back to the Family, which had not been inactive in cutting the ground from under the feet of the two men it regarded as Pretenders — P. V. Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri.

    The above questions provide both a contrast and, possibly, sometime in the future, a similarity between the Congress and the BJP.

    The contrast is obvious enough. Unlike the Congress, the BJP is truly democratic in its functioning. For instance, in spite of fatwas by Mr Rajnath Singh, the BJP President, it has started a public debate. That can never happen in the Congress.

    The BJP President and prime ministerial candidate, Mr L. K. Advani, is being openly blamed for the defeat by partymen. This, too, can never happen in the Congress.

    Various leaders in the top echelons have resigned their posts. This does happen in the Congress but only when commanded by the Family.

    The churning has only just begun in the BJP. Where and what it will lead to over the next five years cannot be predicted.

    But it is not the contrast that is striking. It is the similarities that make you wonder.

    Two pointers have been provided by persons who think for the party. One was articulated by Mr Brajesh Mishra, former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The other is being articulated by the modernists in the party.

    The Mishra formulation is not very startling. It says the party must adopt a right-of-centre posture.

    The modernist formulation is based more on the BJP’s social view of India and, therefore, the BJP’s relationship with the RSS. According to this view, the BJP must cut the umbilical cord that joins it to the RSS.

    Left-right labels
    Consider the right-of-centre argument first. It sounds nice but what does it mean?

    Right-wing has generally come to mean a reduced role for the state and greater role for the markets. On social issues, however, its meaning is not quite as clear.

    But two caveats are necessary here. One is that in the presence of so much poverty, the state cannot reduce its role as arbiter; the other is that, politically more significantly, by this definition, given its ‘reformist’ thrust, the Congress is also right-of-centre.

    Therefore, these left-right labels are irrelevant in the Indian context. They are, if I may point out, constructs of the Western system of thought, arising from a particular historical circumstance and intellectual context.

    Acid test
    That leaves social policy which is the only really meaningful one. The only question that the BJP has to face in the context of the RSS is this: What is your view on the 15 crore Muslims of India, not to mention the 3-odd crore Christians.

    Whether they call themselves Indian Muslims or Muslim Indians, the BJP is being asked to come to a final decision.

    Ultimately, this will be the acid test, just as the acid test for the Congress — which it failed — was whether it could survive without the Family.

    Distinguishing feature

    Likewise, the BJP has to decide whether it can survive without the parivar. The fear, not wholly groundless, is that if it gives up political Hindutva and the concomitant anti-Muslim stance, it will become indistinguishable from the Congress. After all, at present, this is the only distinguishing feature.

    Would it not, then, find itself in the same situation as the Congress did in 1998 with the possibility of desertions and political irrelevance?

    In turn, would that not bring back the RSS just as it brought back the Family in the case of the Congress? If so, why give up the RSS in the first place?

    Reasons for defeat
    What the BJP finally does is likely to be determined by what conclusions it comes to about the reasons for its defeat.

    The so-called secular liberal is blaming it on the disconnect between the younger part of the electorate and the Hindutva ideology.

    But that is too self-serving an explanation. What is far more likely is a set of very mundane constituency-specific reasons.

    When these are identified, Hindutva will probably come way down in the list. This is because it matters in a politically important way only to the Muslims and the Christians, which constitute a very small part of the electorate.

    That, however, does not mean that it should be the only thing that distinguishes the BJP from the Congress. Its challenge lies in figuring out in what other ways it can become the party with a difference.


  50. zoomindianmedia says:


    (While GVLN Rao is right here, he did not get BJP numbers right in his prepoll exercise)

    Read the Fineprint
    GVL Narasimha Rao
    June 22, 2009
    First Published: 22:46 IST(22/6/2009)
    Last Updated: 22:51 IST(22/6/2009)

    Media analysis of the 15th Lok Sabha election results has largely been aimed at forcing certain perceptions that have no empirical evidence. There have been analyses on how the surge in the Congress’s tally heralds a nationwide revival of the party. The Congress’s national vote share has gone up only marginally from 26.5 per cent in 2004 to 28.6 per cent in 2009. Curiously, the vote share of 28.6 per cent secured by the Congress in 2009 is almost the same as what it got in 1999 (28.3 per cent) when it got its lowest-ever tally of 114 seats in the general elections.

    How could one say that the Congress has revived nationally when its national vote share has only increased marginally? Further, even as the party has gained in terms of votes in seven states — Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttarakhand — it has lost votes by more than 3 percentage points in a number of them (such as Orissa. Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh). UP is the only state where the Congress has shown real signs of revival with the party’s vote share going up by an impressive 6 per cent.

    The other myth doing the rounds is that the Congress has an enhanced appeal among metropolitan voters due to its forward-looking policies, as well as the appeal of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among the educated middle classes, and the ‘youth appeal’ of Rahul Gandhi among the young voters. This has no electoral proof. The Congress’s vote share in metropolitan constituencies has virtually remained the same, 30.7 per cent in 2004 and 30.4 per cent in 2009. Therefore, the premise that the new generation of urban voters with increased prosperity and greater opportunities finds the Congress more attractive and in sync with their aspirations has no basis.

    This notion is coloured by the electoral performance of the party in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. While the Congress did creditably well in Delhi, its victory in Mumbai has less to do with the imaginary enhanced appeal of the party and more to do with the emergence of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) as a spoiler for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine.

    If the Congress’s revival is not the reason for its stupendous success in the polls, what factors have contributed to its victory? The party benefited primarily from the decline and division in the vote share of its opponents. The fall in the vote of the BJP in a number of states; huge negative swings against regional parties like the Telugu Desam Party (8 per cent), the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (7 per cent) and the Samajwadi Party (4 per cent); the emergence of new parties like the Prajarajyam Party in Andhra Pradesh; the rise of the MNS in Maharashtra and the break-up of the BJP-Biju Janata Dal alliance in Orissa have all contributed to the Congress’s gains even as it suffered vote losses. In UP, it secured 21 of the 80 seats, even though it polled only 18 per cent of the popular vote. What helped the Congress in UP was the favourable distribution of votes — concentrated in a few pockets — that helped the party to translate its fewer votes into seats.

    It is a given that the Congress has won this election comprehensively. The scale of the Congress’s success has astounded everyone, including party bigwigs. The ‘wave’ in favour of the Congress, however, was invisible — because there wasn’t any.

    It is the failure of the BJP and other parties to hold their own that caused the BJP’s defeat; not because of a serious challenge from the Congress. This should be the message for parties like the BJP.

    G.V.L. Narasimha Rao is a BJP political analyst

  51. zoomindianmedia says:

    Men Overboard Abondon Ship


    Ashok Malik
    Email Author malikashok@gmail.com
    June 23, 2009

    Is the BJP’s principal fault-line indeed that much-contested, little-understood word ‘ideology’? Is the defining concern in the party really on whether or not Hindutva is a ‘geo-cultural concept’?

    To those who see politics as a more mundane, down-to-earth business, the issue is not so much about the BJP’s basic philosophy as its ability to give itself an upgrade. It is to make the BJP’s politics, praxis and personality relevant and contemporary.

    It is crucial that all those facets be seen together. Changing faces without changing the substance of the party’s rot is not enough. Nor will it do to have veterans well past their sell-by dates advocating change. The transformation in the BJP has to be both ideational and generational. It cannot be piecemeal.

    Unfortunately, as the recent BJP national executive meeting made apparent, various party functionaries are attempting to calibrate change to their own convenience. This is not a new phenomenon. It was emergent as far back as 2004 but the party kept postponing any meaningful overhaul.

    The BJP became instead a compromise entity, a condominium of factions — both within the party and the wider Sangh family. This stripped the party’s central leadership of its one critical characteristic: authority. The BJP now resembles a free-for-all. Nobody is in charge.

    It is facile to see the tussle within as one between pro-changers and no-changers. Things are not quite as clear-cut. There is a continuum between a sense of denial, a cussed refusal to move on, and the inability to give the party authoritative leadership. Take some examples.

    First, key people in the party have chosen to remain blissfully, or purposefully, ignorant about the magnitude of the defeat of 2009. True, 2004 was a technical setback, but 2009 was an overwhelming rejection. It was not, as is being made out, a mathematical error, with the fortuitous success or failure of small parties in some states handing the Congress an advantage and the BJP not actually losing at all.

    Second, while L.K. Advani’s recession to a non-executive role is non-negotiable, it would not do to replace an 80-something with a 70-something and pass this off as generational change. Unfortunately, that was the crux of the argument made by three leading dissidents over the past two weeks.

    Indeed, so hypocritical was their case that it provoked a reaction at the national executive and left the dissidents isolated. Both Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha have been previously accommodated in the Rajya Sabha after Lok Sabha defeats. In 1998, Singh lost the election but was soon given a series of government jobs and cabinet portfolios. The imbalance in ‘parinam-inam’ (result-reward) never struck him then.

    Sinha now claims to be a grassroots worker and not a drawing room politician. When he joined the party, he was the ultimate lateral entrant. A resignation was organised to make him an MLA and a BJP leader in the Bihar Assembly. The man who made way for him was Sushil Modi, a party old-timer who had been imprisoned during the Emergency. All this did not strike Sinha as unfair.

    Third, the dissident trio has admittedly raised valid points about the degree of debate within the party and the need for internal democracy. It is worth asking if the situation was any different before the election.

    Consider the issue that remains a scar on the BJP’s conscience — the Indo-US nuclear deal. The general election was not a referendum on the additional protocol, but the BJP’s opposition to the deal did trigger a reaction among middle India’s fence-sitters. It provoked questions on what the party was all about. The deal did not lose the BJP the election, but the fallout of the attendant controversy certainly worked to the Congress’ benefit.

    How was the BJP’s policy on the deal formulated? Was there a structured debate or a vote? Were the views of a substantial number of Lok Sabha MPs, who said their constituency feedback was that the BJP should go easy on the deal, considered? No.

    Rather, two or three individuals — now masquerading as conscientious objectors — hijacked party decision-making. When correctives were sought to made, or alternative points of view offered, those who disagreed were abused, vilified as ‘American agents’ and worse.

    The harsh truth is that very few senior people in the BJP actually see merit in open debate and genuine policy discussion. Most want to manage the environment. In fact, behind the high drama of the letter writers there lurked an element of low politics, from an altogether different address.

    Goldfinger, James Bond’s infamous adversary, had an unfailing principle: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” The three letters fell into this pattern. Who was the mastermind?

    For the BJP, there is no quick route out of the mess. A start can be made by insisting on a rigorous, transparent internal election to choose the next president. Let candidates tour the country, canvass among MPs and state units and sell their visions of the BJP. This will throw up a president who will, at the very least, have legitimacy and the moral authority to discipline, streamline and shape the party.

    The alternative is to let a small cabal dictate a negotiated choice. As the experience of the past three years has shown, this is a recipe for intrigue and private sponsorship, not for rejuvenation.

    Ashok Malik is a Delhi-based writer.

  52. zoomindianmedia says:


    Dont go by islamist magazine tehelka’s articulation. As sharad indicates lack of clarity in bjp is a fact.

    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 26, Dated July 04, 2009
    ‘Confusion Over Hindutva Cost The BJP’

    NDA convener Sharad Yadav tells NEHA DIXIT that the the BJP must shoulder the greater portion of the blame for the poll debacle

    As the NDA convener, the first thing you said after the Lok Sabha results is that the BJP was responsible for the debacle. What do you think led to the defeat?
    There were many reasons for the defeat. The BJP was in charge of our national strategy while the JD(U) was in the driver’s seat in Bihar. The BJP should sit down and examine why this loss happened. Had this analysis happened earlier, we would not have lost. As the NDA convener, I have raised this issue with the BJP; there is a need to engage in serious introspection.

    Sudheendra Kulkarni wrote in an article in TEHELKA that the electorate wanted a change but it was not convinced whether the BJP or the BJP-led NDA could provide the kind of change they wanted. Do you agree?
    See, the philosophy of any party should be crystal clear. The JD(U) is clear on all issues, be it the Sachar Committee recommendations or any other issue. However, with the BJP, a turbulent internal debate has created confusion. Since the BJP is the largest party in the coalition, the greater burden of responsibility for our defeat surely has to be borne by them. Ultimately, it is true that somewhere or the other the NDA could not evoke the required confidence among the masses.

    Soft Hindutva and hard-core Hindutva — does the BJP need to re-examine its approach towards Hindutva?
    Currently, there is a Hindutva vs Hindutva debate in BJP. What the party has ignored is that for ages liberal and non-liberal versions of Hindutva have existed. They should have resolved this debate amongst themselves as believers. But by suddenly raising this issue in the party, the clarity of agenda is gone. This has confused everyone. The main reason for the growing weakness of the BJP among its main base, the middle class, is this lack of clarity of agenda.

    You had also said that the BJP had raised all the wrong issues. What were the issues that needed to be addressed?
    A lot of crucial issues were ignored. For example, the issue of the SEZs was not raised at all. The land on the roadside from Delhi to Chandigarh, Jaipur, Moradabad, Haridwar and Aligarh was given to people who had nothing to do with farming. It must be kept in mind that this land is the very best and most fertile land of India. As a result of this incorrect utilisation, SEZs failed completely. The JD(U) kept raising the issue but it wasn’t raised as the NDA’s issue in the Lok Sabha elections. We couldn’t raise the issue of high prices. The cause of 22 crore retailers in places such as Indore, Ranchi and Uttar Pradesh also did not become a part of the NDA’s agenda. All this had its after-effects.

    Do you feel the BJP had an incomplete strategy, considering that the UPA’s failures were recounted but no proper policies and programmes were proposed as alternatives?
    Many questions could have been raised on the economic and sociological front but never became a part of the NDA’s agenda. We certainly need policy alternatives. Even before the elections I said that some economic issues must be taken up in the campaign, such as farmers’ issues. Compared to the UPA, we had a lot of farmers in the NDA, such as Badal, Nitish, Ajit Singh, Chautala, Yediyurappa, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Raman Singh and Rajnath Singh. In the UPA, few, including prominent people such as Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Chidambaram and Rahul Gandhi, had links with the farming communities or rural areas. We could have used this to our advantage. We failed to address the problems of farmers. I raised this issue at least four or five times but the BJP did not pay attention.

    When Varun Gandhi made hate speeches and indulged in negative campaigning, did you ask the BJP to withdraw his candidature?
    Hate speeches by some people who I don’t want to name contributed to the defeat. It harmed the NDA’s image. Allies protested. As a secular party, the JD(U) opposed this and raised the issue with the BJP. However, we are two different parties. Distributing tickets is the BJP’s prerogative.

    The BJP has an anti-Muslim image. It is believed that many allies deserted the NDA after the Gujarat 2002 riots. Do you agree?
    There is no doubt that Chandrababu Naidu left the NDA because in the elections after Gujarat 2002, he suffered a major loss. He did not leave immediately but after the elections he realised that the reason why he lost was this. In fact, when the communal riots took place in Gujarat, I and Chandrababu went to Atalji in protest. However, others like the BJD left because of the seat-sharing issue. They never said that they had ideological differences with the BJP.

    Post elections, you said that the magic of Atalji’s days was missing. What were the missing elements?
    I don’t want to comment on this. What I’m saying is that the election war was fought through the media, without touching base with the masses.

    There was confusion over the name of the prime ministerial candidate. Modi’s name came up as well.
    Advaniji’s candidature was unanimously approved by the NDA. So other names shouldn’t have been proposed. And if they had, they should have been disowned immediately.

    Advani ran a presidential campaign, bypassing the problems of the BJP and the NDA. What was the consequence for the coalition?
    The BJP should answer this question. The country has a history of coalition government. The deeds of one party do affect the entire coalition.

    BJP fought the election war through the media, without touching base with the masses
    Your key ally, the BJP has a pro-rich stand. Its minority morcha is non-operational. As a leader of a party championing the cause of the weak and the oppressed, do you think the BJP needs to rethink its position towards the reserved categories, dalits, tribals, Muslims and Christians?
    The JD(U) advocates reservation for dalit Muslims and Christians. Our ideological path differs from the BJP’s. We differ on a lot of issues. Despite that, a coalition has been formed. There is a national agenda towards which we work. Secondly, the Indian electorate has not been voting for a single party with a specific ideology for the last two decades. This is where the answer lies. The Congress and the DMK have great differences in their ideological positions. The same situation applies to the JD(U) and the BJP. We have to run the coalition. We can’t fight every day. In politics, there is an ideological roadmap and a behavioural one. The ideological one is the longterm one; the NDA’s roadmap is a behavioural one. If the BJP is not inclusive towards all sections, it can’t be helped.

    The BJP has no young leaders and does not seem youth–friendly either. Do you think it needs an organisational overhaul?
    The debate on the youth issue has been instigated by dynastic heirs. All these young guns in the Congress have no connection with reality. They are saplings grown in flowerpots. It is plants grown on farmland that feed the nation, not flowers grown in flowerpots. There are leaders of various capabilities in the Congress. There are the young but there are also the old and the experienced. The UPA has instigated this debate. I was 25 years old when I entered the Parliament and I was part of the 1974 movement. At that time, Jay Prakashji, who stood against the powerful Indira Gandhi, was not young but he succeeded because of his conviction. That was a youth movement. Is there any trace of such a movement today amongst those who say they are young?


    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 26, Dated July 04, 2009

  53. zoomindianmedia says:


    Reinventing the BJP

    (Must read for BJP)

    Can the BJP do what the New Labour did in the UK under the leadership of Tony Blair and what Obama did for the Democratic Party in the United States?

    By N Vittal
    Posted On Monday, June 29, 2009 at 03:21:50 AM

    A systematic effort initiated by the top brass in the BJP will help it emerge from its defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls

    Following two successive defeats in the Lok sabha elections of 2004 and 2009, the BJP is facing a severe existential crisis. In fact, it is today in the same situation as the British Labour Party after Thatcher and the Democratic Party in the United States after Reagan.

    A crisis is an excellent opportunity for soul-searching and reinvention.

    The question is whether the BJP can do what the New Labour did in the UK under Tony Blair and what Obama did for the Democratic Party in the US.

    Sanjay Baru, the former press advisor to the prime minister, made an insightful comment that the 2009 elections have highlighted very clearly an important fact of Indian politics. At the national level, India can be ruled only from the Centre. For a real healthy democracy at the national level we need two parties of the Centre – one to the right of the Centre and one to the left. The Congress has captured the political left of the Centre.

    Fortunately, the space at the right of the Centre at the national level is for the BJP, almost exclusively. Regional and caste-based parties cannot hope to occupy this space.

    Here is a possible pragmatic road map which may help BJP to reinvent itself and emerge as an effective national party right of the Centre.

    The BJP’s strength is its commitment to nationalism and pride in India’s tradition and culture. This should not be projected as being backward looking and exclusively Hindu, giving an opportunity to its opponents to label it as a fascist and communalist party. It is indeed ironic that while casteism can be passed off as secularism and a cry for social justice, being proud of Hinduism in India can be labelled as being communalist.

    To strengthen this sense of nationalism, the idea that all of us are Indians must be promoted. One important step in this direction would be enforcing a common civil code. Thinkers like B G Verghese have pointed out that a common civil code is, in effect, an act of empowering women. It should not be viewed as being anti-Muslim.

    The second important aspect from a nationalistic point of view must be projecting the territorial integrity of India by abolition of article 370 of the Constitution, giving special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. With the implosion of Pakistan and the successful elections in J&K there must be no objection to the abolition of article 370 at this stage.

    The growth of regionalism and regional parties has been a major trend in the last decade. Every state wants special treatment. Nitish Kumar is the latest to join this bandwagon on behalf of Bihar. Abolition of article 370 will also send the signal that regionalism will not be encouraged.

    The next important step must be to strengthen the armed forces. A conscious attempt must be made to develop a military industrial complex and removal of grievances of the defence forces on issues like one rank-one pay for ex-servicemen. This must be part of developing a comprehensive national power of India, which will include military, economic and cultural power.

    On the economic front, market friendly liberalism must be the main theme. Without falling into the trap of protectionism, imaginative policies must be adopted to strengthen traditional skills and artisanship by appropriate taxation and promotion policies.

    The BJP must re-brand itself as the party of the youth and the future. It must focus on the issues that concern the youth – productive employment and projecting a positive message of hope.

    Good governance with a focus on (a) the rule of law (b) zero tolerance to corruption (c) encouraging productivity in every sector and (d) providing opportunity to every citizen and to realise that his full potential must be the leitmotif of all the policies pursued by the party.

    Reinventing a party takes time but a systematic effort initiated now may help BJP emerge as India’s version of the New Labour or Obama’s Democratic Party.

  54. zoomindianmedia says:
    Shri Arun Shourie made some important points in a serious of posts: On the Way Down (14 July 2009) The End of Ideology (15 July 2009) How the Party Withers Away (16 July 2009) Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New (17 July 2009) Subsequenty there was also the interview when Jaswant Singh was expelled. Interview (26 Aug 2009) http://www.indianexpress.com/news/on-the-way-down/488780/0 On the way down Tags : Allahabad High Court, Rajiv Gandhi Posted: Tue Jul 14 2009, 23:00 hrs Four instances, two questions. •Indira Gandhi is able to block the implementation of the Allahabad High Court judgement by changing — with retrospective effect no less — the law under which it held her guilty of corrupt electoral practices; •Rajiv Gandhi is able to use his control over three-quarters of the House to block all inquiry into Bofors. Do these instances testify to the strength of Mrs. Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi? Or to the weakness of the political system? •Scores and scores of committees and commissions have been set up to reform the civil services; the services have continued exactly as they have been. •Subsection 3 of Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act lists a number of grave crimes, and provides that if a person is convicted for any of them, he shall be disqualified for six years, and, if he is imprisoned, for a further six years after his release. The next subsection reduces this provision to a nullity. It provides, “Notwithstanding anything [in the earlier subsections] a disqualification shall not, in the case of a person who on the date of conviction is a member of Parliament or the legislature of a state, take effect until three months have elapsed from that date or, if within that period an appeal or application for revision is brought in respect of the conviction or sentence, until that appeal or application is disposed by the court.” The result? In August 2008, four persons come straight from Tihar jail to participate in the confidence vote in the Lok Sabha —persons who are serving life sentences, as they have been held guilty of murder! How does a gaping crater of this magnitude in the law continue? How are civil services and legislators able to ward off reform so successfully? Birth to senility A movement, an organisation is originally inspired by an ideal: to undo what is wrong, to establish what is right. Whether it triumphs or fails in its initial objective, over the years it becomes a political party. At its inception, the party too is impelled by ideals. The crusade from which it has taken birth is still vivid, the idealists who led the movement, who then founded it and toiled to raise it are a living presence. Propelled by these memories, the party seeks to change the order, it wants to recast the polity of course, but more: it wants to recast society into the ideals to attain which it has been formed. Over time, it forsakes this idealism, and becomes a mere electoral machine. Soon, it putrefies into a machine that fails to win even elections. Members become increasingly anxious: after all, if the party continues its decline, they tell each other, it isn’t just that the ideals which are its very reason for existence will not be attained, that the transformation for which they have been striving will not come about; but also, their personal fortunes will evaporate. They run from leader to leader, urging reform, a return to ideals. Their efforts go nowhere. The party does not reform. It does not die. It just goes on falling to pieces. Why does this degeneration take place? Why do efforts to arrest its decline come to naught? By what symptoms may we know that a particular organisation is on its way down? In one of the greatest works of history, Ibn Khaldun chronicled the founding, rise, decline and eventual disintegration of dynasties. In the introduction to that work, The Muqaddimah, he set out the patterns he had deduced: the abandonment of the austerities of the desert for the luxury and ease of settled courts; the waning of the “group spirit”; the culture of cunning and intrigue within palaces that replaces the valour of open battle… We have but to tweak the conclusions a little and we have the reasons on account of which our political parties moulder and waste away. And that should not surprise us. After all, so many of them are collections around dynasties; so many of them are gangs around individuals; so many of them are — at all levels, from their central offices to their local branches —parties of four/five persons for the projection of four/five persons. Not just the conclusions of Ibn Khaldun, the very words ring true as we see the parties deteriorate and eventually crumble.* Two suggestions about reading this updated version. Do not rush through it. I have kept examples to a minimum: after a paragraph, recall the examples you know from your own personal experience that fit the words. Second, you will miss the point entirely if you think, “Oh, this is about the BJP… Oh, this is about the Congress…” Instead of concluding that I am out to convey some “hidden meanings” and trying to figure these out, think of your own party or organisation, the party or organisation that you know best, from the inside — the Congress, the BJP, the Communist parties, the regional parties: Telugu Desam, the DMK, the BSP, the AGP. It is then that you will get the point of the updating, namely that the symptoms are true of all our political parties today. Hence, our real problem: there is nowhere to turn for an alternative. The orientation, and its consequences Our system, indeed our society is heavily oriented towards the state. He who occupies offices of state at the moment, receives deference, he is surrounded by hangers-on, by pelf; he gets the opportunity, if he is so inclined, to rake in money: in a word, as they say in Punjab, “the usual pump and show.” Hence, when the party acquires office, its leading figures acquire all this: deference, pelf, the opportunity to rake in money. As they commence to use these, five things happen: •Even if they are personally honest, the principals in the government are implicated by association: they have the clear duty as well as the clear opportunity to put an end to the doings of their juniors; they do not do so — this is enough to put them in the position in which, when the evidence of wrong-doing erupts, they have only one option: to defend their colleague. And there is a ready rationalisation for doing so: “How can we desert our colleague when he is trouble?” Suddenly “loyalty” acquires a new meaning: it does not mean loyalty to those pristine ideals; it comes to mean sticking by the colleague — the very one who has departed from those ideals. •That robs, first, the leaders; then the government; and therefore, the party of its claim that it is different, that is inspired by ideals, that it is in politics not for power and pelf but to recast governance and society in those ideals. •Being in government is far more exciting than staying back in the organisation: for those still committed to the ideals that had originally enthused the movement and organisation, being in government affords an incomparable opportunity to translate those ideals into practice; for those who are impelled now by other goals — money, “power”, pelf — remaining in the backwaters of the organisation is anathema. Hence the “best and brightest” rush into government. Whether the government as a whole does well because of the few who are still dedicated to ideals or not, the party certainly languishes. •A distance develops — first between adherents who are still inspired by those ideals and those who have forsaken the ideals; then between the leaders — who are in office and are visibly enjoying the perquisites of office — and the followers; the latter now ask, “These fellows came to office because of us; they have their bungalows, they have their cars with laal batties; what have we got?” •And distance develops even sooner between the principal leaders themselves: portfolios, size of offices, the ear of the ultimate boss, money — everything becomes a trigger. Comrades become colleagues; colleagues become competitors, rivals. But, in a sense, these spoils can all be managed. That one principal gets more of one thing can be made up by the other being enabled to get more of another. But there is one thing which really is a zero-sum magnitude: prominence. As there is only one front page, if one of the principals is splashed across it, by definition the others are excluded. Distance becomes envy; envy becomes jealousy; jealousy becomes venom. You can see the transformation in the very faces of the principals. Even by themselves, just these features are enough to cause the party to begin losing its vitality as even an electoral machine. The leader and his circle But the leader has done more to weaken the machine. The more power is vested in him, the less secure he feels. Hence, exactly as Ibn Khaldun wrote about the choice of wazirs and successors, in choosing his circle, the leader’s concern is to choose the ones who will least threaten him, who will best advance his dynasty, who will best secure and perpetuate his position — that is, he chooses weak men and henchmen, not ones who will best advance the ideals for which the organisation had been founded. The weaker the man, the more compromised he is, the more dependent he is on the leader. The more unscrupulous the henchman, the more ruthless he will be on the leader’s behalf. Weakness, vulnerability, unscrupulousness become qualifications. The arrangement works when the going is good. No one now is strong enough to harm the leader. But no one is strong enough — in the sense vital in a democracy, that is of having legitimacy, of commanding esteem — to help him when a crisis erupts. But there is an even more consequential change: ideals, the commitment to higher objectives, for the interests of the group as a whole, these are restraints, they are the banks that enable a river to flow. When these are replaced by the interests of an individual and his little circle, the only glue that binds – followers to the organisation as much as members of this circle to the leader — is the prospect of spoils. Pillage commences. Legitimacy begins to dwindle. The leader and his henchmen are unable to stem the decline. Enervated by luxury, by pelf, capable now only of giving directions to others, they are no longer able to toil in the field. They give out calls: “All workers shall hold dharnas at district headquarters against price rise…” “The abhiyaan against the corruption of this government shall be taken to every village, to every hamlet¿” A few desultory meetings are organised. People are bussed in. The abhiyaan disappears as a rivulet in the desert. No one even notices that it has been abandoned. At best, the leader sets out to repeat the performance that had once secured attention — the “struggle”, the fast-unto-death-between-meals, the yatra. But you can’t make the soufflé rise twice: the very fact that nothing was done after the first performance, robs the repeat of all credibility. Some ‘emergency’ is invoked to give up the performance midway. The leader convenes meetings of his ‘core group’, the ‘working committee’, the politburo. Members of these private coteries hold further meetings with their own private core groups. Everyone but the ‘core group’ The factor most responsible for the rout has been the state to which the leader and his circle have reduced the party as an organisation, but that is the one factor which the leader and his cohorts will not admit into the discourse. Is the party seen as, is it in fact different from the others? Are its candidates any different? Is every unit of the party not riddled with factionalism? That these are the reasons for the setback is manifest to all. But the leader and his circle would have none of them — for that would immediately raise further questions. The party is no longer different from others? Who has allowed the party to sink to this level where it cannot be distinguished from the very parties it has been denouncing? The candidates are no better than those of the rivals? Who has selected the candidates? Factionalism has been allowed to continue? Each state faction has a line to some ringleader in the central cabal? Who has allowed the factionalism to fester and swell? They blame others — the rival party; the third party that has stolen their vote; the accidental reason on account of which a section whose vote was to have split got consolidated; the youth; the middle class; the poor who voted on money, the rich who did not vote; the holidays on account of which so many went out of town; the disenchantment with the party’s ally in one state, the absence of an ally in the other; the anti-incumbency factor against us in this state, the advantage that the rival party had in the adjacent state of being in office and thereby being able to use the state machinery; the ‘shameless’ use of money and muscle by the rival… In a word, everyone and everything other than themselves. (To be concluded) The writer is a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha * For a most instructive read, and to see how not just the patterns but the very words hold true for our times, Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, An Introduction to History, translated by Franz Rosenthal, abridged and edited by N.J. Dawood, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1967. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-end-of-ideology/489390/0 The end of ideology Ideology recast After the others on whom blame may be pinned are exhausted, the leader and his circle turn on the ideals on which, on the ‘ideology’ for the realisation of which the movement had commenced and the party had been founded. So, one day they lunge for a ‘hard’ formulation — to win back the ‘core constituency’, they reason. The next, they lunge for a ‘soft’ formulation; one day they are stressing ‘our religion’, the next ‘our culture’; one day it is ‘return to basics’, the next ‘changing with the times’; one day they are declaring their faith in our history castigating persecutors of the past and their current heirs and apparitions, the next they are swearing by inclusiveness and geography¿ One day it is ‘reforms’, the next ‘Reforms with a human face’… One day it is ‘peasants’, the next ‘workers’, the third the inclusive ‘toiling masses’. And they are never short of quotations from the original leaders to justify each twist. What the leader and his speechwriters convince themselves are sparkling new formulations, are, in fact, just clichés. “The party stands for a strong and prosperous India” — but which party doesn’t? “The party will make the 21st century, India’s century” — but which party says it won’t? Can one not go on adding to that declaration, and it would be just as acceptable? “The party stands for a strong and prosperous India, an India at peace with itself and the world”? “The party stands for a strong and prosperous India, an India at peace with itself and the world, an India in which no one goes to bed hungry”? “The party stands for a strong and prosperous India, an India at peace with itself and the world, an India in which no one goes to bed hungry, one in which the benefits of growth are shared by all”? The leader and his circle convince themselves that they are making their party current, that, by the new formulation, they are going to attract new chunks. In fact, they convince the people at large that they believe in nothing; that their proclamations have all along been just opportunism dressed up; that they have no core — there is nothing that they will desist from doing if they see some advantage to themselves in doing it, that there are several things that just must be done but which they will not do lest some slight, momentary disadvantage befall them. The people put no store by the words of these persons. They want to know, “Can this lot bring these goals to fruition any better than the other lot? Is the leader, are members of his circle living these ideals?” The ideas and ideology of this lot, rather the ideas on which, the ideals for the attainment of which this lot was founded no longer permeate or radiate into those who are outside the party or organisation. Even when they accept those ideas and ideals, those outside strain to hide their original source. Recall the net effect of the innumerable gurus and organisations that have been speaking for Hinduism in the last fifty years, or Marxism-Leninism and social justice for that matter: how well the words of Toynbee fit those who, almost furtively, live Hinduism today or do their bit for a more just society — “Under these sinister auspices, such selective mimesis [imitation, adoption] as occurs takes place on the barbarians’ own initiative [in our context, on that of those outside the party or organisation]. They show their initiative in imitating those elements which they accept in a manner which will disguise the disgraceful source of what has been imitated.”* Character changes, relations are transformed By such twists and turns, the leader and his circle, far from inducting new adherents, discredit ideology itself; they turn people off even the talk of ideals. Another factor smothers ideals and ideology. The movement became a party. That party has since become a mere electoral machine. But as general standards deteriorate, the party has to ‘adjust’; it has to effect ‘compromises’. The sole object is to attain office. And the sole criterion for that is numbers. Hence, winnability is all. Whoever can win a seat, be he a criminal or blackguard who has just deserted from the rival camp, is the one whom the party fields. Three consequences follow at once and inevitably. First, the proclamations of the party — ideals, ideology — reek more and more of hypocrisy. Second, the people at large see that this party is no different from any other. Third, and this is what has the deepest consequences for the future, the character of the party changes forever. Everyone above and below comes to rely on the clever strategist, on the deceitful, for he leads them to victories. Either that clever person or someone even more deceitful rises to the top. Gandhiji’s warning comes true — “An organisation that relies on rogues to do its work shall soon have rogues at its helm.” But the transformation doesn’t stop there. Indeed, it has just begun. For the character of the one who has wrested the top stamps itself on the entire organisation, on every level of the entire organisation. His very ‘success’ legitimises ambition, greed, intrigue, double-dealing. “If he doesn’t have what it takes to capture even a party,” the thesis runs, “if he doesn’t have enough fire in his belly to capture even a party, how in hell is he going to lead the party to capture the country?” Ambition, greed, intrigue legitimised, every one becomes every one’s rival. Every one comes to suspect every one. That irreplaceable adhesive — Ibn Khaldun’s ‘group spirit’ — is rent asunder. Both relationships — the one of the leader with his circle, as well as that of members of the circle with each other — are transformed. Every relationship is now pure and simple barter. The leader seeks out not colleagues but clients, not partners but dependents, not associates but instruments. He uses the henchmen, of course. But they also use him. They are nobodies without him. But with him, even with the rumour that they are close to him, they can strut around, and rake in the perks. They strain to be useful to the leader: helping one relative of his out of a difficulty, helping another relative set up a business… The leader demurs, “Is this really right?” They say what he wants to hear: “But why should he suffer just because he is your son?” The leader allows himself to be persuaded, after making sure that everyone has seen him hesitate. They now have him entangled into those “interlocking webs of mutual complicity.” He is as dependent on them, as they on him. Recall the cow-and-calf symbol of the Congress[I], and what the then chief minister of Haryana, Bansi Lal said during the Emergency, after he had helped ram through Sanjay’s Maruti plant, “Jab bachchda mere haath mein hai, gayiyaa kahaan jaayegi?” But, of course, henchmen don’t just work to ingratiate themselves with the leader. They use their proximity to him to seize spoils for themselves. Indeed, in the organisation — and the more ‘disciplined’ and hierarchical the organisation, the more certain this is — they are the ones who are liable to make a grab for the riches because, even if evidence were to erupt in the public domain, the leader is least likely to act against them. They are the ones he is certain to shield. What had begun as a relationship of devotees who had gravitated to an idol, of persons who had gravitated to the leader because he was devoted to a mission, because he personified ideals, becomes a purely transactional relationship. The first to erode is reverence for the leader. Next, the fear of him. That has but to happen and anarchy breaks out in the organisation, a free-for-all. The leader lectures, he admonishes, he threatens ‘disciplinary action’. Members listen. They even make a show of cowering. And resume their skirmishes. The leader wrings his hands, “The party was never like this…Nobody listens… Indiscipline…” Even as he does so, he is externalising the state of affairs — as if he himself has nothing to do with what has come about. The Zulu proverb As relatives and henchmen acquire properties on the sly, as they run businesses benami, the party loses its ability to fight the rulers. The leader knows, the henchmen know that the rulers know. So, they take up ‘issues’, but never push them to the point where the rulers will be really inconvenienced. As the Zulu proverb has it, “A dog with a bone in its mouth, can’t bark”. Indeed, they go farther. They cultivate links sub rosa with opponents, in particular with rulers. They say this is so as to give the country ‘a constructive alternative’. In fact, it is for getting a few crumbs from the rulers’ table, at the least to keep out of trouble. Rulers readily flatter them by making a show of paying attention, they readily steer a few contracts their way — and thereby gain control over the very party that was to watch over them. The sequence weakens the leader vis a vis the rulers. It weakens him as much within the party: no leader who is crooked can straighten others. The henchmen These henchmen become the leader’s eyes and ears. Indeed, his ‘reference group’, they function as the pliable conscience he now wants. They feast off him when he is in office. They dissuade him from quitting when he clearly should. Truth be told, that takes less doing than one might imagine: at such turns, the leader is only waiting to be ‘persuaded’. They pander to his vanity exactly as Ibn Khaldun describes: by heightening the pretences of authority around him, even as they rake up the fruits for themselves. But the henchmen don’t try just to be useful to the leader. Their power, their indispensability depends on making the leader feel insecure. So, they are always conjuring up news of conspiracies. They are forever isolating the leader — sowing doubts in the leader’s mind about one and all, in particular about his former comrades. It is not that the leader never sees the cost these henchmen are bringing upon him. From time to time, evidence bursts forth that makes the continuance of some one of the henchmen completely untenable. The clamour against him becomes so insistent that the leader is brought to the brink of sending him away. Quite apart from the danger that exiling one who knows so much may entail, the leader is easily persuaded to hold his hand: “But they are not after me. Their real target is you. The moment you show that you can be pressurised, they will come after you” — recall the time it took for Indira Gandhi to act against Antulay; recall how Rajiv hung on to Ottavio Quattrochi. The ordinary members watch with dismay as the sway of these henchmen envelops the leader, and, just as much, as their pillage begins to discredit the party. But at this stage they shiver at doing anything: they do not speak out; they do not collect evidence. They wait for something to turn up. They wait for someone else to expose and nail the henchmen: Ibn Insha was right, Haq achcha, iske liye Koi aur mare, to aur achcha They wait for the leader to do something — “At least in his own interest.” Of course, the leader does nothing. He is immersed in his interests of the moment, and, the henchmen are useful agents. Precisely because his failure to act against the henchman who is causing him so much avoidable trouble makes him seem weak, the leader just has to act against others: to show that he is strong, that he will not tolerate “indiscipline”, that he can and will quell “insubordination”. He lashes out — naturally at persons outside his circle. What were mere suggestions from them are projected as criticism; what was criticism merely to arrest the decline is projected as disloyalty. Everyone sees through the vehemence: everyone sees that the leader has an elastic ruler — a long one for his cabal, his instruments, a much shorter one for others. The transformation cannot be hidden from the people any more than a grating cough. The group begins to lose legitimacy. Constitution? What Constitution? One norm after another, one rule after another is set aside. The so-called constitution of the party provides that posts — every post at every level — be filled by elections. In fact, at each level, each gathering hails the leader, and ‘unanimously resolves’ to leave the choice of office-bearers to him. The party hierarchy comes to consist entirely of nominees — of the leader, and of those who, for the moment, have managed to insinuate themselves into the good books of the leader. Tickets have to be distributed for the forthcoming elections? The ‘state leaders’ — nominees all — ‘recommend’ some names. Neither the leader nor his nominees in the central organs have any system of independent verification. Lobbying, insinuation, come to count more than analysis; collateral ‘persuasion’ more than evidence; bargaining more than deliberation. The nominees don’t do well? There was dhaandali in the selection of candidates, someone shouts. He is smeared with motives, drowned with innuendo. Meetings follow meetings. In each, ritual replaces substance. But the rituals, the routine are not for nothing. The ritual — the same “state-wise” reporting — is a device: a device to dodge the issues that are on everyone’s mind. Abhiyaans follow abhiyaans. They too become just routine. The losses mount. Calls for honest examination. For accountability. The leader and his circle swing into action. They galvanise their nominees in the states. “No, no. We can’t afford any witch-hunts,” these nominees of nominees declaim. “Elections are coming up in our state. Inquiry-shinquiry will cause all sorts of mud to be hurled. The media will be full of it. Our chances will be destroyed.” As further losses occur, an inquiry to fix responsibility is at last instituted. But who is to inquire? The leader and his circle — who, after all, are responsible for all the decisions that have led the organisation to this pass — are the ones who alone can decide. They pick from among themselves, or, if the façade of ‘independence’, of ‘objectivity’ has to be maintained, their weak men and henchmen. The inquiry never sees the light of day. In any case, no reform that may have resulted from the inquiry is ever visible. Perhaps for good reason: in all probability, each inquiry has concluded that no individual was responsible. The shortcomings were ‘systemic’! (To be continued) The writer is a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha. * Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, abridgement of Volumes VII-X, D.C. Somervell, OUP, London, 1957, p. 123. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/how-the-party-withers-away/489889/0 How the party withers away The fundamental reason This is the crucial factor: the decision to reform or not has come to vest in the hands of the very persons who will be finished were the reform to take place — recall the two examples we encountered at the beginning: the civil service that stymies every commission’s recommendations, and the legislators who do not rectify the manifest lacuna in the law which allows those convicted of murder to continue as members. Hence the paradox: the stronger that the leader and his circle appear, the weaker the organisation. Factions mushroom As ‘power’ now flows solely from the Leader, factions sprout even within this circle — tiny though it is — around him. All the more so because the only glue now is lucre, pelf. The courtiers are now an ever-changing kaleidoscope of ‘tactical alliances’: three join, get the fourth; then two of the three join and get the first. To each, the nearest neighbour is the greatest enemy. At every turn, each of the sudden allies prides himself on being clever, he preens himself on being successful. In fact, even as they succeed against each other, they are undermining the esteem of the people and the workers of the party itself for the circle as well as the leader who presides over it. The leader frowns, but inwardly foments the factions; at the least, he does not scotch them. As each subaltern jostles to be closer to him, he feels important, indeed he feels indispensable — “They are not yet mature enough to manage on their own.” He preens himself as arbiter, as the dispenser of favour and frown. But the jostling, the ever-shifting alliances and ruptures among the courtiers break through the curtains of the court. Three consequences follow. The character of the leader is soon evident to all: that he is the one who is fomenting factions, that he is the one who is playing favourites. Second, the courtiers defame each other successively: soon enough, people know enough about each of them to believe the worst of all of them. Third, both because the leader has been seen for what he is and because each of the subalterns has shown himself to be but a schemer and plotter, the whole — the so-called party — loses the esteem of the people. As factions fight, as subalterns spread stories about each other, the leader moans, “The party was never like this… When we began, we toiled without any expectation at all that we would ever be in power. We just toiled. Today, everyone expects rewards, office, perks. The simplicity of our leader of the time, his utter selflessness, his humility…And this business of factions, and backbiting — it was unheard of.” Each time he invokes that distant leader, he reminds the listeners how far he has himself come from that sainted person. He reminds listeners how, under his direct stewardship, the party has been converted from being a crusade to becoming an instrument for his aggrandisement and that of his chosen handful. The slide accelerates Cleverness in the leader produces cunning and deviousness among his henchmen. Cleverness, cunning, deviousness at the top produce feigned loyalty among followers. The followers stick to the party only in the expectation that their chance to grab the goodies will also come one day. But as the party suffers successive defeats, that prospect recedes. Seeing that this is not the vehicle to lucre that they had imagined, the followers lose enthusiasm. Chunks break away. To other parties — where, of course, the same sequence is in progress. That the same sequence is being enacted in other parties makes it that much more difficult to arrest it in this party. The rival party is fielding a criminal. Only a more audacious, a more resourceful criminal can defeat him. As winning the requisite numbers is all, those who urge that tickets be given only to persons of integrity and competence are easily shoved aside as unpractical ‘idealists’ — in the very party that had been founded and nurtured by idealists, the word becomes a pejorative. Such adoption of what is common to others is triply harmful to a party that grew out of a movement, that has sworn fidelity to ideals. To start with, it loses its claim to being different from the others. Next, its culture, its very character changes. And third, if by chance and for reasons that have little to do with its new character, it wins, its members are not able to handle the complex tasks of governance — any more than those ‘boors in office’ were able to manage the states they founded after destroying Rome. These accidental victories, however, have consequences for the party itself also. The victories come about from time to time, for reasons that are independent of the drift in the party — the strength in an area of the candidates as individuals, the particularly perfidious conduct of opponents. But the consequence is that the leader and his coterie feel vindicated in their ways. Those who had been warning of what will befall the party should it continue in the direction it has been proceeding are now even more easily put down as the perpetual whiners, the disgruntled, frustrated alarmists, the congenital pessimists. Even as the party wins the odd contest, it continues to lose that vital intangible — esteem among the people. It is seen as being more and more like any other conglomeration. Every memory of the movement from which it had originated, every memory of its original leaders only reinforces this inference. The party no longer claims that it is different from the others. On the contrary, the other parties hurl that erstwhile claim at it — as a taunt. The party which was a movement has become routine. Routinisation robs every abhiyaan it launches of meaning. It dwarfs everyone. How true the lesson that historians hold out: “Early Roman history has been described as the history of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In the later Empire it took an extraordinary man to do anything at all except carry on a routine; and, as the Empire had devoted itself for centuries to the breeding and training of ordinary men, the extraordinary men of its last ages — Stilicho, Aetius, and their like — were increasingly drawn from the Barbarian world.”* But the other parties are enacting the same sequence. They don’t have any extraordinary men either that this party may swear in. Yet something has to be done to shore up its fortunes. The party knows its own too well. They have been around, and have not brought victory. Those in rival parties may not be extraordinary, but they have the attraction of being in other parties. The party, therefore, inducts persons who are like members and leaders of the parties it has hitherto denounced. Better still, it inducts persons who are still members and leaders of those parties. To little avail. The entrants are seen as turncoats. That the party’s claim to being different is fake is reinforced. Those who have served it loyally for decades are incensed. The clever spinners The leader, cocooned, does not notice the ground slipping away, in part because he is by now surrounded by clever courtiers. The moment a victory turns up, they are able to produce a dozen reasons to show that it is due to the leader, and, incidentally, themselves. The moment a defeat occurs, they are able to produce two dozen reasons to prove that it is due to others. And another score why the defeat is due to special, transient, exceptional, local circumstances, and, therefore, is no cause for worry. The party’s electoral losses resume. They accelerate. Fewer and fewer new recruits join the organisation. Those who join, join for reasons other than the ideas and ideals for which that party or organisation once stood — they do so, for instance, in the belief that doing so will get them jobs, posts, contracts. The leader and his circle could easily see the portent, if only they would. Are only the already-converted coming to our meetings? Are they coming spontaneously, or do wehave to bus them? How many uncommitted, new listeners are coming to our meetings? Indeed, the leader and his circle do not have to go even that far. They just have to look only at their own diaries: how many persons outside our circle have we met in the last week? But they don’t see. The organisation is busy talking to itself. Those within the circle are busy knifing each other. And the leader? He is enveloped in an impenetrable fog of self-satisfaction: the day’s photo-opportunity, the day’s conclave, the day’s meeting of the ‘core group’, the day’s meeting of ‘office-bearers’, the day’s meeting of ‘allies’ — what a fulfilling day… The party stops hearing those outside the party. The leader stops hearing those outside his circle — of weak men and henchmen. Many factors continue to obscure the fact that the ground is shifting from underneath the party. For a while, to cite one factor, the ‘core constituency’ continues to support it: out of habit; out of loyalty to the old ideals; out of an obstinate consistency. But the leader and his circle reassure themselves, “Our core constituency is intact.” They draw an operational inference: in the belief that doing so will solidify the support of this core constituency, they reinforce earlier slogans so as to demonstrate that they remain committed to their original ideology. But each time they proclaim the slogans, they remind listeners — all the more so, this core constituency as it remains truly committed to what those slogans had promised — that, when they had the opportunity, they did nothing for those promises to materialise. Regurgitating the slogans thus does little to mobilise the core constituency. On the other hand, it consolidates the opponents. And another thing has happened in the meantime: a host of new elements have entered the arena — for instance, the young. Each time the leader and his coterie proclaim those old slogans — ‘socialism’ of the Congress; ‘Hindutva’ of the BJP; ‘Marxism-Leninism’ of the assorted Communists — they remind these new entrants that they and their party are an obsolete bunch. And then, suddenly, one day, a day like any other, that ‘core constituency’ also walks away. Kafirs and apostates At each turn, well-wishers counsel reform, they counsel that the party change course. But by now the leader is the party, most certainly in his eyes. Therefore, he takes every suggestion to be a rebuke, an assault on him personally for conducting the affairs of the party as he has been conducting them. When the suggestion-which-is-censure comes from an outsider, the leader rejects it as the ranting of a kafir, of one who has never believed, who has never committed himself to the cause. When it comes from one who undeniably has been part of the crusade, the leader dismisses it as being the rant of a murtad, an apostate — as the rant of one ‘who has crossed the barricade’. His reflex is to insulate himself even more into an even tighter circle. The leader whose example used to be the goad; whose mere presence induced attention; whose glance, whose whispered suggestion used to ensure compliance, he now stands on office, on rank, on the years he has spent ‘in the service of the party’. He demands respect — a sure sign that he no longer commands it. Another sign, a sure one that what, in the infinitely vaster context of civilisations, Arnold Toynbee had called ‘the creative minority’ — the small group that brought the civilisation into being, and presided over its flourishing — has become ‘the dominant minority’ — the small group that chokes, and presides over the ultimate disintegration of the civilisation. The circle becomes tighter and more and more homogenous, more and more subservient and sycophantic. As the leader and his cohorts move within this ever-narrower circle, they see less and less of what is going on without the circle, they hear less and less. This blindness and loss of hearing are brought about all the more swiftly the more hierarchical is the organisation — for the greater the respect for hierarchy, the more the leader and his circle are not just looked up to, they are venerated, they are treated as oracles, as paragons of virtue and dedication; and the more disciplined the organisation is — for the more disciplined it is, the less do subordinates speak the whole truth to their seniors, the less they think for themselves: “Sir, hamare yahaan to soochnaa aayi, sochnaa band,” a stalwart once explained to me. (To be concluded) The writer is a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha * Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History, abridgement of Volumes VII-X, D.C. Somervell, OUP, London, 1957, p. 123. Ring out the old, ring in the new http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/490631/ Arun Shourie Posted online: Fri Jul 17 2009, 04:02 hrs AMBITION TO GREED TO JEALOUSY TO UNSCRUPULOUSNESS As the circle narrows, animosities within it become sharper. Rivalries become more intense: for now, all that each has to do is to do two or three in, and he has the top job. Lust is rationalised: “But you have to have fire in the belly. Otherwise you shouldn’t be in this game.” Insatiable ambition triggers unquenchable greed. That greed incites unremitting jealousy. And that compels ruthless maneuvers. As others play by the rules, the one who has shed all scruple triumphs. A vital resource turns out to be the rivals’ respective reach into cabals beyond the party. The one who can garner more money from prospectors; the ventriloquist who can malign through surrogates and thereby frighten others in the circle — as he has a mass-base among half a dozen journalists; this kind of reach proves decisive. Two consequences follow. Cunning, jealousy, unscrupulousness at the top permeate to every pore of the organisation. The party becomes, to pluck Toynbee’s words, “a moral slum”. True, some young idealists still join it. But by the time they rise to any position of authority, their edges have been rounded off, they have been fully domesticated — look not just at our political parties, look at the civil services. And this is the character of the whole that the people see. The party is thus delegitimised. The process is hastened if by chance the party is swept into office. For such a bunch cannot but be venal and corrupt in office. But there is a twofold difference. When some individual is picking pockets at a railway platform, little happens even if he is caught: he is an individual; the infamy is confined to him. But when, as member of a party and government, he is caught, the entire party and government are tarnished. Second, we are all judged by the ideals we proclaim. As this party and government have come out of a crusade, as they have come to office proclaiming that they will clean up the mess, the stain is that much deeper. All this is brought to the attention of the leader. In fact, there is little need to bring it to his attention — the facts burst out day after day, even the cloistered leader cannot miss them. But as these concern his appointees, he is the indulgent father: “You may be right about him,” he says, “but many say that if one becomes a minister and does not do these things, then where was the point of becoming a minister?” The example spreads. The exemplars become bold. The bold become brazen. Seeing the party out of office — with its knifing and defaming of each other; seeing the party in office — venal and corrupt even if less than its rivals, the people conclude, “They are all the same. This party is no different.” Its USP gone, the party continues to lose ground. The cries to stem the rot become shriller. They demand that responsibility be fixed. But the decision to fix responsibility is in the hands of the very ones who have brought the organisation to that pass. THE FOOLS, AND THE REAL FOOLS The leader steps forth. Told by his henchmen that, once the process starts, the clamour will reach up to him, he insists that no individual is responsible, that the tradition of the party has always been “collective responsibility” — but was the “collective” at all involved in decisions? the laity demand. The leader raises the ante: if any one person is responsible, I alone am responsible. That silences calls for accountability — for who can say that, as, on his own telling, he is responsible, he make way for others? He and his circle have little difficulty. Each post at every level in the party has been packed with weak men or henchmen. When the voices for change become shrill, all that the leader has to do is to signal the office holders to “give their views”. Who can say that their opinion is worth less than of the deviants? After all, they are the ones who are general secretaries and secretaries, presidents and vice presidents of state units. Nor is that “strength” confined to the immediate present. The leader and his coterie control the loaves for tomorrow too: who will get tickets for elections in the future, who will get inducted into posts within the party— All these are the prerogative of the leader and his circle. They proffer these, and thus buy prospective silence. That he is in total control of the organisation dooms the leader and the organisation with him all the more certainly: precisely because Rajiv Gandhi so completely controlled the situation within Parliament, he did not see that the situation outside had slipped completely out of his hands. The lay-members run from one mansabdaar in the inner circle to another. The latter are bitter rivals of each other, no doubt — and it is in this that the lay members rest their hopes. But those in the inner circle are one against the outsiders. Moreover, there is a certain naivety in that running: the followers are appealing to these worthies in the name of values and ideals which those in the circle have long abandoned. They listen politely. They insinuate that the other member is responsible. As the followers leave, they exhale, “The fools….” In turn, the followers — steeped by now in the same deviousness and hypocrisy — also learn to just listen politely. And go on doing exactly what they were doing. Solely to advance their personal fortunes. The real fools — the ones who still adhere to the original ideals — try once more to salvage the party. To no more effect than they would were they “to try and dam a river with their bare hands.” The hangers-on in the inner circle have no difficulty in undermining the counsel and warnings of these fools: they smear them with motives. The challenge that has been mounted is to the culture of intrigue, of personal aggrandisement, of contracts and nepotism, of cabalism. But the henchmen drown it in smears: “He is saying all this only because he is frustrated…. Only because he has not been given the post that he thought is his by right….” Actually, the hangers-on have even less than no difficulty for the leader is only too eager to believe that the warnings are impelled by base motive. MEN OF LITTLE FAITH The defeats and setbacks about which these would-be reformers are wailing become tests of faith. Instead of instituting remedies, the leader proffers homilies: “Ups and downs are a part of life,” he intones. “We have gone down earlier also. But we have always risen again. Put what has happened behind you. Brace yourselves for the next battle.” That would be fine if, and only if, in the meanwhile the factors, the personnel and culture which had brought about the defeat have been changed. The fact, of course, is that these declamations are hurled at the members for the opposite purpose: to smother the demands for change, to kill every proposal for reform. For reform, the time is never right. When the party wins, there is obviously no need to change — after all, the leader, his team, the ideology have brought victory. When the party loses, casting blame is destructive, it is defeatist. One must unite, look ahead. The declamations become sharper, they now aim not at the proposals but at the ones advancing the proposals. “We have seen days that were so much worse. But never did we lose heart. Never did we hear such voices of defeatism. Now we can see who has faith in the party and who does not.” Nor is it just a question of faith in some abstraction, the so-called party. The point at issue is faith in the leader. This is tested not when the leader is triumphant and right — after all, everyone will hail the leader when he is triumphant and right. The real test is when the party has fallen into a ditch, when the leader has made a blunder. Only the one who stands by him at such times has faith in him! That is the new thesis. As a result, everyone who points to errors that need rectification has not just lost faith in the party, he is, by definition, personally disloyal to the leader. “What I have heard today, has pained me,” the leader tells the assembly — that is, the one who was making suggestions has inflicted pain on the exalted leader, the kul devta. TO BEGIN AGAIN It is most certainly not the case that the organisation, in this case the political party must inevitably descend and disintegrate. Nor is it “fate”, or some external “law of nature” on account of which the political party goes down. Of course, external factors may accelerate its decline: we noticed, for instance, that the decline is made more likely and is hastened when the political culture itself has become such that all other political parties are also proceeding along the same sequence. But such facilitation, so to say, by external factors apart, the reasons on account of which the political party declines are internal to it. In particular, they concern the deterioration of the political party as an organisation. And the reason why it becomes almost impossible to stem the deterioration of the party is that its organisation is at all times in the hands of persons who would be most inconvenienced, who would almost certainly be dislocated were the changes which are necessary for its survival to actually come about. The key to turning it around, to arresting its descent, therefore, lies in the organisation somehow getting liberated from this handful. This can happen, it can be brought about in several ways: n For instance, a leader may acquire control of the organisation by accident, but, having acquired control, may feel himself to be so hemmed in by the continuance of persons who have dominated the organization till then, that he or she throws them out and reconstitutes the top leadership of the party. Recall, as an instance, the way Mrs. Indira Gandhi threw out the “Syndicate” in 1969. n It may happen by control falling into the hands of a new princeling who has yet not been domesticated by the organisation, who still retains some of the idealism of youth, some of the ideals and goals that originally inspired the party and the movement out of which the party was born: recall, for instance, Rajiv Gandhi at the time that he gives his speech in Bombay against the sway that “power brokers” have acquired over the Congress. But in such an instance, as Rajiv Gandhi’s own example shows, the princeling must persevere. In Rajiv’s case, the establishment soon domesticated him and his initial impulses for reform were successfully neutralised. n Or it may be that the world moves so swiftly and so completely away from the party and its ethos and it becomes so totally irrelevant that the irrelevance bursts even upon those who have been blinded by its hierarchies, its rituals, who have remained hitherto in the thrall of the leader and his henchmen. They rise, “We have nothing more to lose. Let us make one final effort.” Only when the ordinary members or at least a significant minority among them are prepared to risk being cast in the wilderness once again — a risk that will become easier for them to grasp if some catastrophe befalls the organisation and it loses so completely that there is no option than to begin again — it is only in such an eventuality that reconstruction can begin. In such a circumstance, it is almost as if a new organisation is being started. One way or another, the organisation has to be liberated from the vice of the leader and his henchmen, and the organisation has to be rebuilt anew. And for that to commence, the entire leadership at the top, as well as every nominee of it at every level has to be thrown out and a new lot put in place. That is the first step. It is the necessary step, of course. But, as we have seen, it is not a sufficient step. The cycle can commence again, and very soon, unless some novel ways are instituted by which the leadership is perpetually renewed; unless those little circles that are certain to form are broken again and again; unless ways are instituted so that advancement comes to depend on work, on competence and integrity, on dedication to the original goals of the party than on the new virtues — intrigue, cunning, unscrupulousness. (Concluded) The writer is a BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha ARUN SHOURIE INTERVIEW http://www.indianexpress.com/news/atalji-sat-in-the-flight-head-down.-main-kaise-utroonga…-is-kalank-gujarat-riots-ko-mere-munh-par-laga-diya…-but-he-was-thwarted/507118/0 From calling Rajnath Singh ‘Tarzan’ to comparing the BJP leadership to Humpty Dumpty, senior BJP leader Arun Shourie minces no words expressing his disillusionment with the party or urging the RSS to step in. In an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24X7’s Walk the Talk, he regrets the Jaswant Singh episode and dares the party to act against him Shekhar Gupta: My guest is one of my most illustrious predecessors at The Indian Express, one of our leading public intellectuals of all times… at a very interesting time, juncture for yourself and your party. Arun Shourie, welcome to Walk the Talk. Arun Shourie: It is a pleasure. Shekhar Gupta: The Chinese say ‘May you live in interesting times’. Are these interesting times for you and the party? Arun Shourie: Actually, I feel quite distant from the party. I must confess that like all other parties it’s now, a party of three, four persons for the projection of three, four persons. There is a line of Firaq (Gorakhpuri), ‘Ab woh yaad bhi kam aate hain, ab dard bhi kam hota hai’. Shekhar Gupta: The line you like to use all the time, ‘Raat gaee, baat gaee’? Arun Shourie: Haan, woh kal ke baad. Shekhar Gupta: Why the disillusionment? Arun Shourie: From Atalji’s (Bihari Vajpayee’s) departure, his withdrawal and what you see now… In every sphere of life, there is a great pygmyisation, not just diminution, of leadership… That makes a great difference. And then artificial controversies — Hindutva and so on. If you ask what Hindutva is, the Supreme Court has already said it is a way of life. Is Islam not a way of life? Is Christianity not a way of life? Is the addiction of a drug addict not a way of life? So, what is this? People who can’t spell the word, probably in going from one dinner party to the other, keep saying, ‘I am committed to Hindutva’. So these artificial controversies are coming up and are contrived, only to give a signal somewhere — ‘See this man stands by our ideology’, or it is to put somebody else in the wrong and on the defensive. The Arabs have a phrase: I talk so that my neighbours can hear. Here, so that my uncles can hear. That is a Shekhar Gupta phrase. Shekhar Gupta: Well, I said it in a different context. I said the history of the Express shows that it had more uncles than parents. So, has this been building up? Arun Shourie: Yes, of course. The way decisions came to be taken from time to time… things became confined to fewer and fewer persons. When the leaders also feel comfortable talking to fewer and fewer persons, they lose hearing because they don’t want to hear something contrary. And this has happened not just here, not just this party, but in every party, at every level. Therefore, everybody has a factional line in every unit at each level. And when he gets some information from somewhere and gives it to the central leadership, in every party, they have no way of cross-verifying that information. Shekhar Gupta: So coteries are also shrinking. Coteries, caucuses… Arun Shourie: Absolutely. In all parties. Shekhar Gupta: Yours included? Arun Shourie: Yes, yes. Shekhar Gupta: So what changed with Vajpayee’s, sort of, quiet retreat from the scene? Arun Shourie: Everything changed. You see, he is an inclusive person. Firstly, the most important feature I felt about him always was that he is a good man. He will not hurt another person. And, that came through to the country. Second, he won’t get distracted by these foolish contrived controversies. And third, he was a very, very shrewd judge of men. And fourth, he has a code — there are certain things, whatever the costs you show him, he will do them. Shekhar Gupta: And certain things that he will not? Arun Shourie: Not do, whatever the advantages you show him. But then (there are) people who listen to the last man who met them and change their view. This used to happen in the government too. For instance, in telecom, a proposal would be put forward and some friend will go and meet some X and Y and suddenly the view would be changed. Are, you have approved it and today you and the Cabinet say something else. So many instances happened and Vajpayee would then stabilise things. And he has a natural scepticism, a very important quality of a leader. That is, if you tell him something, he will say ‘why is he saying this?’, ‘why is he saying it now?’, ‘what would happen if I do the opposite?’. He will reflect on it and then when he takes a decision, you will not be able to shake it. But all that is missing now. There is no ballast. And so, when your authority goes on eroding, then you suddenly feel, ‘I must show, me Tarzan, me Tarzan’. So, get rid of Jaswant Singh, get rid of… Shekhar Gupta: Vasundhara Raje Scindia… Arun Shourie: Vasundhara. And, then not only that. You take a decision and don’t own it — ‘What can I do? So and so pressed me’. On every matter this is happening, maybe in the Congress too. At least there is one Supreme Court, people fear there is a Supreme Court. This is unfortunately the reality and unless they come out of it, a very valuable institution will be just going… Jaise woh patang kat jati hai na… So it is a kati hui patang. The string breaks off the kite. Then it just, sort of… Shekhar Gupta: Goes into oblivion or people come and grab it… Arun Shourie: Grab it or whichever jhonka, whatever breeze comes… The BJP is, in my view, a kati patang today and unless it is got hold of swiftly… I don’t see many people within the party at the moment who have the moral authority left to be able to do it. If anybody can do it now, it is only the RSS people. When they come in, then there will be other consequences also. Shekhar Gupta: And these may not be all good? Arun Shourie: Well, could be, maybe. It is to be seen how the RSS itself evolves. But I have been pleading with them for a long time that you please stay out of policy. You are not in touch with policy affairs. You watch the conduct of individuals. After all, the BJP is the most visible face of the RSS parivar, so called, in public eye. If a BJP person is caught taking cash for questions, then the whole thing becomes suspect. Just imagine BJP people in Parliament to be showing rupees, and people say, ‘Nahin yeh inka apna kaam hai’. That is the credibility! Shekhar Gupta: So, the real role of the RSS is to be the moral police of the BJP? Arun Shourie: Yes, that is one point. The second point… but the situation now is much worse. They have called me and I have said this to them. Now the situation is much worse and unless they just do what Mao Zedong had said, ‘Bombard the Headquarters’, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Unless you say, ‘Here are 10 persons from the states, 10 honest persons, competent persons, persons dedicated to the country. Bring them and start reconstructing from the headquarters. Not one person from Delhi should be there’… Then you can probably salvage the whole thing. Because there is not time to start rebuilding from the ground. That is a 25-year process. Shekhar Gupta: Did you find some sympathy for this view when you talked to them? Arun Shourie: Yes, but I don’t know what will be done… They are very polite, they listen. Shekhar Gupta: Are some of them also cautioning you to be patient, wait… Arun Shourie: Yes, they do that, but half-heartedly. Shekhar Gupta: Are they disillusioned as well? Arun Shourie: I should not speak for them, but who will not be? I think people who are not even members of the BJP will today be disillusioned and greatly disappointed. After all, the party stood for various things and the memory of Vajpayee’s period is very fresh in people’s mind. They don’t want that party to just disintegrate. Therefore, we can presume, without disclosing anything, that the RSS leadership will also be not disillusioned, but certainly concerned. And certainly Mohan Bhagwat’s interview recently does not express great satisfaction with the way things are in the BJP. Shekhar Gupta: Vajpayee to Advani — was it just a change of style, or change of substance in the very beginning? Arun Shourie: I don’t want to comment on the comparison, but there is no comparison. Shekhar Gupta: I am not saying better or worse, but was there a change of style and substance? Arun Shourie: Yes, of course… But I told you my prescription is only two-fold. First integrity and conduct of individuals; second, bring people from the states. There must be, there are honest people. Shekhar Gupta: Because they are fighting elections? Arun Shourie: Not only that. There are persons of substance in states. Bring them to the Centre, but not one at a time. The whole group and then clean it up and then say we are beginning again… No voluntary thing. ‘Get out. We are bringing in other people’. Shekhar Gupta: There should be immediacy to it? Arun Shourie: Absolutely. And not halaal but jhatka. Shekhar Gupta: But that is not the way anything is done in India. Arun Shourie: Well, then, my friend, the consequences are also no different in India than from what you see. But I personally feel that the time is coming when events will force the hand of the RSS to act in this surgical, jhatka way. Shekhar Gupta: And the sooner they do it, the less the damage? Arun Shourie: The damage is now done but at least the chance of survival, resurrection will once again be there. Shekhar Gupta: And the more they delay it… Arun Shourie: The chance becomes less and less. Shekhar Gupta: Have you been saying this in a sort of inner counsel to the party? Arun Shourie: Yes, of course, many times, and to these leaders, individual leaders… Everybody is very polite. Everybody agrees. Par kya karen, laachar hain… Are bhaiya, humne to itne laachar Rajput nahin dekhe jitney yahaan hain. Shekhar Gupta: I know that is true. You have a strong Thakur leader in control of your party. Arun Shourie: He has a very good voice. All India Radio voice… Shekhar Gupta: RSS people are not stupid… Arun Shourie: Not at all. They know what is going on. Everybody keeps saying ‘Fascist, Fascist’. I think they are too democratic. That was my complaint to Advaniji also. You are too democratic. Arre
  55. zoomindianmedia says:


    The fuel in Rita-Maya fire: Cong emergence as BSP’s main rival

    At One level, the war of words, and worse, that has erupted over Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s comments against UP Chief Minister Mayawati in a speech in Moradabad on Wednesday frames the coarsening of political debate. But the excessive display of firepower on all sides — the Mayawati government arrested Joshi, slapping her with various sections of the IPC as well as the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989; both sides have charged each other with the torching of Joshi’s residence by masked men in Lucknow; and Parliament has been adjourned on the issue — showcases another hard and compelling reality: From Assembly polls 2007 to Lok Sabha polls in 2009, the contest for Uttar Pradesh has become really close.
    And, in the run-up to the 2012 Assembly polls in the state, the fight is primarily between the BSP and Congress.

    The BSP is still the largest party in UP — though it fell short of its own ambition and others’ hype in 2009, its vote share of 27.4 per cent has fallen only marginally below its vote share in the 2007 Assembly polls when it formed a single-party majority government in the state after nearly two decades. But despite the fact that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP also basically held its fort in 2009 — in spite of predictions of a rout, it won the highest number of seats, 23 — it is the Congress that is fast becoming the other pole in the state.

    It is not just that the Congress vote share has leaped to 18.3 per cent from an all-time low of 8.5 per cent in the 2007 Assembly polls, rehabilitating the party in Hindi heartland politics after two decades. What undoubtedly worries the BSP more is a trend highlighted by the 2009 poll results.

    The Congress revival appears to be based on its gains among all castes and communities from the 2007 polls. Moreover, Congress gains are accompanied by a narrowing of the base of all other parties over the same period — this includes the BSP which had made hectic efforts to widen its base and recast itself as a “sarvjan” and not merely a “bahujan” party in the run-up to the 2009 polls.

    This trend, among the findings of the post-poll survey, NES 2009, conducted by the CSDS, is illustrated by these figures: The positive swing in votes (in percentage points) to the Congress from 2007 was 12.5 among Brahmins, 6.7 among Rajputs, 18.8 among other upper castes, 6.5 among Yadavs, 18.3 among Kurmis, 12.5 among Lodhs, 8.2 among other OBCs, 1.9 among Jatavs, 11.0 among other Dalits, 11.1 among Muslims and 5.1 among others. Of these figures, the 11 percentage point swing of the non-Jatav vote to the Congress is bound to concern the BSP most.

    In comparison, there was mostly a negative swing against the BSP across communities from the 2007 results: It was -8.2 among Brahmins, -4.9 among Rajputs, -3.4 among other upper castes, -3.4 among Yadavs, -4.7 among Kurmis, 12.7 among Lodhs, -11.4 among other OBCs, -1.3 among Jatavs, 9.9 among other Dalits, 0.7 among Muslims and -4.6 among others. In other words, while the Congress has gained support among all castes and communities, the BSP has lost support in all, except Lodhs and non-Jatav Dalits and has only marginally gained among Muslims.

    The tug of war between the two parties — one that seems on its way to reclaiming its erstwhile ‘catch-all’ character and the other a wannabe “rainbow coalition” that has been halted in its tracks — is likely to be most acute in the battle for the upper caste, Dalit and Muslim vote. While the Congress has made inroads in each of these groups since 2007, the BSP has massively lost upper caste, especially Brahmin, support, only marginally gained among Muslims and failed to further consolidate its Dalit base significantly.

    The changing nature of the fight — that is now visible in the slanging match and violence over the Rita Bahuguna Joshi issue — was apparent even in Campaign 2009. In her speeches, Mayawati singled out the Congress, invariably pouring scorn on Rahul Gandhi’s attempts to woo the Dalit vote. On the other hand, her attack on her erstwhile main adversary, the SP, remained comparatively subdued.

    With the 2009 results also showing that Mayawati’s BSP has not been able to expand its footprint to other states — there was no clear upward trend in the

  56. Spade a spade says:

    And one thing more BJP should take unapologetic stand on Godhra riots and Babri masjid type issues. There is nothing wrong in being anti-Muslim I believe. We all know what Kuran is all about.

    • zoomindianmedia says:

      One should probably separate out anti-islam, anti muslim.

      BJP/Larger native Indian pitch should be ideological, against foreign totalitarian dogmatic faiths and one of such intensity that muslims and xians feel ashamed following their ugly totalitarian belief.

      A key BJP’s problem is muslim/xian demographics. They have to be on the offensive on whole lot of issues.

  57. […] section making a pitch for re-susticating BJP is part of an extensive analysis that was done earlier post 2009 LS Elections; addressing both strategic and tactical […]

  58. […] and the wider Sangh Parivar suffer from serious ailments covered which ZIM had covered in election analysis LS 2009, a situation for which essentially intent to placate congentially hostile elements, lack of […]

  59. Prashanth K.P. says:

    It is a brilliant perspective, one that should imperativel catch the interest of the responsible echelons of BJP! What I wonder is when a naive outsider like me and a distinguished reporter like you frequently highlight the shortcomings inherent in BJP, what fails them to recognize it? Is it deliberate? It pains me being a BJP activist. I personally think that a departure from BJP’s ideology was the predominant factor that has shrunk the party. My only hope is that better sense prevails and BJP revives its ground – the earlier the better! If not, the country is definitely going to dogs or will be sold out by CONG.

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