BJP’s Next President – Letter to Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat

Poojaneeya Sarasanghachalakji


BJP’s president race is important because it will provide contours of post LK Advani BJP. Among other it will indicate who will be the top gun.

BJP and the wider Sangh Parivar suffer from serious ailments which ZIM had covered in election analysis LS 2009.  Its  serious situation is an outcome for which essentially intent to placate congentially hostile elements, lack of discipline, poor understanding of money power and its influence on media are responsible. Above has resulted in among others perceived loss of credibility – serious handicap in electoral arena. As was pointed, rapid reorganization rollout is what will revive BJP rather than piecemeal approach.

ZIM believes that the thinking that a single person as president, even if fully empowered will be panacea for BJP ills is short sighted. What BJP needs is a triumvirate:

  • Public face – potential PM candidate
  • Organizations lead – someone that can crank up the organization
  • Alliances Lead – who can convince alliance partner

These three roles call for differing focus and teams. Its better for BJP if all the three are announced one shot in umambiguous terms – persons capable enough to pull the organization as a team. New President may be the person who is first among the equals.

While there is clamor among some well meaning individuals for organization elections culminating in new leadership, present situation in BJP precludes rigorous US type primaries. In the short term we have to live with a well thought out decision. It can be said with good confidence that potential BJP voter (not just the core) would prefer NaMo should he put his hat in the ring. BJP and the wider Sangh Parivar would be fool hardy to ignore what its followers think. Among the names that did/are doing rounds, Manohar Parrikar too has quality backing.

Among Advani acolytes, Arun Jaitley has some credentials, but his credentials appear weaker compared to NaMo’s/Manohar Parrikar’s. (See below for why). AJ does have his strengths.

Nitin Gadkari, whose name is doing rounds in Delhi seems rather weak on the credentials.

Proposal: ZIM believes NaMo alone has the gravitas to be first among equals. Potential BJP face for PMship.  Manohar Parikkar can be the organization man and Arun Jaitley – lead for Alliances.

Other important aspects include following:

  • Visible female faces:  In Vasundara Raje, Kiron Kher, Smriti Irani, Sushma Swaraj and prospective Uma Bharati, BJP can proffer a galaxy of competent women. Vasu’s imperiousness and her caste background are serious assets and unless there are compelling reasons publically articulated, she should remain the face of Rajasthan BJP and the leading BJP female light. Deploying Smriti Irani or Kiron Kher on media would be wiser than Prakash Javdekars.
  • Uttar Pradesh: Swinging UP is crucial for BJP. A strong and charismatic leader who can pull BJP on a strong development agenda is important.
  • Inorganic Growth: Integrating synergistic entities.

What to look for when top job is decided:

  1. Credibility
  2. Tack record
  3. Ability to inspire
  4. Decisionmaking
  5. Managing disagreements

Parivar should be mindful that ‘Good consensus’ person as leader may turn out to be ‘good for nothing’ person. When I analysed credentials of the short listed candidates, it looked something like this:


Arun Jaitley: 57 years old, Delhi based, old ABVP hand is a seasoned BJP hand and claims to have involved in strategising victories in many state elections. His weakness is he has not seen failures unless one attributes 2004/09 LS failures to him. He is also perceived as a factional player and there are allegations of his using media plants to undermine some of his party colleagues. He has also been cited for his ties to Sonia Gandhi dynasty. He is a top lawyer, extremely articulate, well networked.

Manohar Parikkar: 54 year old RSS Man and IIT Mumbai alumnus, Manohar Parrikar has outstanding credentials – leading BJP to victory in Goa in the face of hostile islami-isai forces. Goa is a state where BJP was absent. Though a small state, politics there is complex. Manohar was responsible for enhancing Goa’s infrastructure remarkably.

Narendabhai Modi: 59 year old RSS man is a cult hero for native Indians. Someone known for cutting islamic extremism and evangelical deceit in Gujarat and making it the unofficial Hindu Rashtra. His contribution on development – infrastructure, job creation, social initiatives have resulted in native Indians across the spectrum backing him as India’s future Prime Minister. He has an added advantage of being from politically decisive middle castes of India. His weakness shared to an extent by both Manoar Parrikar and Jaitley’s is that he has not seen many failures.

Nitin Gadkari: 52 year Nitin Gadkari is known for improving road infrastructure in Maharashtra: through bridge constructions in Mumbai, Mumbai-Pune highway and initiating worli-bandra link. His inability to deliver Maharashtra to NDA despite woeful governance by UPA, known MNS factor, 26 November islamic terror attack remain serious albatross across his neck.

What will Revive BJP

  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 and unlikely to sustain BJP.



2 Responses to BJP’s Next President – Letter to Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat

  1. Viva says:

    I think that the minimum criterion for party democracy is a system of governance in which the principal positions of power are filled through regular and fair elections and based on meritocracy.Personal judgement has no part to play.

    The BJP always prided itself on these virtues – meritocracy and performance – lets not leave these behind.

  2. Venugopal.V says:


    As a well wisher of BJP, I would like to make a strong pitch for Manohar Parrikar again. Nitin Gadkari (if media stories are to be believed) is a good choice to be brought forth to national politics considering his organizational and administrative skills. He will be a refreshing face and when BJP forms a government in Maha or Center, he should be given a vital portfolio.

    But for current day situation of BJP, Manohar Parrikkar is the best choice. [b]The reasoning is that it will be a “CHANGE” in the true sense of the word.[/b] He does not belong to any faction. He does not have any “Godfather” within the party promoting him. He has a proven past track record of Governance. He has won many direct elections and served as CM of a state for 5 years.

    As for the Hindi belt, anyway Rajnath Singh per se could not help the fortunes inspite of being from UP and BJP is at its lowest ebb in UP. The successes in Himachal, Uttaranchal, Punjab, MP, Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand have little to do with Rajnath Singh occupying the position. It has more to do with a strong local organization which whenever found to be working in unison under a widely acceptable leader can deliver success. The key is strengthening and motivating the organization while keeping them united. In fact an outsider from Hindi Belt may prove to be better in putting the house in order especially in Rajasthan, Delhi and UP. An unexpected byproduct of Mr Parrikar’s choice could well be his regional appeal may help in reviving BJP in Maharashtra, Goa and strengthen further in parts of North Karnataka.

    The fact that Mr Manohar Parrikar is from IIT is not as much important (though it is good to have a well educated person) as the fact that he was a CM of a highly cosmopolitan state and unbiased observers atleast agree that he had a very good tenure. What this does is makes him establish a command on other Party CMs which a Nitin Gadkari cannot achieve for now. Mr Gadkari had problems in getting a person of his choice appointed as Mumbai City unit head of BJP. He has not fought a direct election till now. Rajnath Singh is an ex-CM of UP and thats why he was preferred over Pramod Mahajan or Sushma Swaraj in 2006. People like Venkiah Naidu, Jana Krishnamurthy, Kushabau Thakre and Murli Manohar Joshi did not need such great credentials to become Party President as the 2 greats Atalji and Advaniji were active during those times and they were the real high command of the party. Since 2006 with Atalji’s departure high command is weakening. After 2009 election failure it is really non existent. We need a person who can establish one. Mr Parrikar is capable of that. The difficulty in creating one is because, first you need a stature. Second you need acceptability within and outside the party. Third you need to sound reasonable and prove yourself over and again for people to agree to your command. Rajnath Singh asking Vasundhara Raje to resign was definitely an ill-advised move as she enjoys the support of the overwhelming majority of the legislators. I mean he was just not being reasonable. Thats why the attempt failed and showed the high command in poor light. Mr Gadkari even if he is reasonable is very much junior to Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitely, Ananth Kumar, Venkiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, B.S.Yeddyurappa, S.S.Chouhan, Raman Singh, Sushil Modi P.K.Dhumal and Ramesh Pokhriyal. Lets not forget Mr Manohar Parrikar became CM in May 2000 when even Narendra Modi had not become CM and stayed CM till 2005 in the volatile politics of Goa.

    [b]So what is preventing Parrikar’s choice ?[/b]

    Only one point – “He apparently made a bad remark about Advaniji”. [b]Please try to see thru’ the conspiracy in the whole episode. Just when his name started doing the rounds for Party Presidency and many of us in this forum and other forums started dicussing about it very positively, the single biggest enemy of the BJP – ELM ( English Language Media) created a crisis which never existed.[/b] A comment made in Konkani to Vernacular press was completely distorted and misrepresented just to ensure Mr Parrikar fails to secure the backing of Advaniji. There are only 2 people whose views matter at the top when it comes to the choice of President. They are Mr Bhagwat and Advaniji. So it is expected that they carry the aspirations of the RSS and BJP ollowers while making this important choice. By distorting Mr Parrikar’s remark very carefully the English Media has achieved a major success by keeping him out of the race.

    [b]I appeal to all of you and Advaniji to defeat the evil designs of the English Language Media which is working overtime with a single point agenda of annihilating the BJP and go by the aspirations of Millions of BJP supporters. That aspiration as I see it is that since Mr Modi is currently needed in Gujarat, Mr Parrikar is the next best to become Party President. Mr Nitin Gadkari needs to occupy a very prominent position of say General Secy (Org) in Delhi to assist Mr Parrikar in revamping the BJP. He can use this time to prove himself and get a national image that can come in handy for the next term of Presidency or may be something else at the national level[/b].


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