Friday, May 29, 2009

Dare to be different - what BJP should do now

Circa 1999 - coalition politics was at helm and India had witnessed 5 general elections in past 10 years. BJP along with NDA became the coalition to garner most seats i.e. 270 out of 545. With support of TDP of 29 seats it comfortable got the majority and formed the government. This was first time in 10 years a party or alliance was given such a clear mandate and without much doubts this government looked to last whole 5 years which it did.

Another thing happened around the time was Congress or (UPA - the coalition), got a new leader, Ms Sonia Gandhi. Firstly congress did not have much bargaining power in terms of seats to threaten the formed government and secondly under the new leadership it decided that there was not much long term gains in de-stabilizing the whole democratic process. What it decided was to behave like a responsible opposition and strengthen the party and its alliances. So it went for long terms gains at the cost of shot term gains, which today when we look back sure worked out to be a perfect strategy.

BJP on the other hand had a very big coalition, it had to appease all in a hope for five years at center (for the first time). This in many ways backfired the future prospects of BJP and weakened it internally. There was lot of internal dissatisfaction among its members and in order to appease all alliances it angered some to an extent they left coalition in coming elections. BJP was never able to put forth its own agenda that displeased some of the party members and above all displeased the great Indian voter class which showed it the boot in next elections.

Next elections was in-fact no surprise, BJP went in with fewer partners, angry voters and lot of internal instability. No wonder it lost. However there was a blessing in disguise, it was given a chance to be a responsible opposition and win back support of voters (which Congress did this time). However BJP was far from being a responsible opposition. It constantly opposed government in its every development efforts, and to top it all when we needed the whole India to unite against foreign attacks, it did just the opposite. Instead of showing solidarity with the ruling government, it constantly blamed and bickered with them.

India has come a long way in past 20 years. We have a lot higher literacy rates, much better education system and lot lesser poverty as compared to those times. There is a still long way to go. The point political parties should notice that today there is no way to win voters with usual histrionics and firebrand speeches. People or the voter class are lot smarter and want results. If you give them clear objective results, they are with you else you are shown the door. There is no tolerance for incompetence anymore.

These facts are very evident in current elections results. States where ruling parties (irrespective of the alliances) did good development work, stayed in power, rest were shown the door. This elections have marked the emergence of politics at national level and local politics fighting for a narrow cause have been defeated. So looking at the changes in the social scenario of India, if BJP at all is to have any chance of success it should do the following.

Firstly, dare to behave responsibility. One has to be a bigger person in order to win greater support. First thing BJP can do is support the current government in coming vote of confidence. No one has done this kind of act before, this sure is going to send a strong message among Indian public. Be a responsible opposition, in times of distress to nation, show solidarity. Oppose and oppose logically where you feel current government is wrong. Remember Indian public is now smarter to understand a good argument.

Secondly, dare to be alone. Let the Indian voters know that its working for the cause of whole nation and just a particular sect of people. Further in its current coalition there are many parties which only fight for narrow local causes and if nothing they are slowing the BJP down. I think BJP (or matter of fact any national party) has better chances of succeeding alone in future.

Thirdly, dare to say no. Today maximum politicians in current lok sabha with criminal background are from BJP. Say no to such people in deciding whom to give tickets next time. Infact this practice should be followed by every political party. Remember in democracy government is by the people, for the people and to the people and not vice-versa.

These bold steps may not grant a chance of success in next elections or even elections after that, but one has to loose something in order to gain something. So in order to gain long lasting support of the people, one has to let go some of the popular practices which are actually not that effective.

Where do we go now!


No comments: