Disclaimer: The views expressed are personal and in national interest without any bad or ill intentions. Many points could be generalised and based on public perception and talks with others.
Introspection and review is an essential part of any individual and more so in the case of organizations that define the destiny of nations and masses. BJP, the party with a difference has much to introspect and so its allies and supporters who all have a huge task and responsibility over their shoulders. When we say introspect it should not be construed ‘Negatively’ for introspection is not just looking into your weaknesses but strengths also. Let us take some points in this post to discuss the same or to put it specifically Introspect . We will not place our opinion but would like the readers to decide on their own and mark on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being fully satisfied.
- Party with a difference (PWD) ? :- This is a million dollar question that keeps coming to the mind and is always asked. To answer it we have to define whether we are comparing the party with another political party or is it a standalone statement with an absolute value and not relative in sense. So in a relatively sense YES, the party has some remarkable differences with other parties and the most significant in BJP the field is wide open for one and all to be party President or the Prime Minister. All have equal rights to contest nd check the destiny power without any discrimination , and that is indeed a big thing.
Having said that , what else distinguishes the party. Many would say that it is committed to the Hindu and nationalist cause like abrogating 370 from Kashmir, building Ram temple in accordance with the wishes of citizens, fighting for illegal migration from Bangladesh and other places and similar issues. In fact these are the reasons why the party has survived and blossomed over the years. It’s like the USP and brand value of the party.
But coming to the basic question, the reason it was called ‘ Party with a difference’ is much deeper. This is tricky because many would like to convey that the nationalist value of the party and the democratic value it upholds are the true reason for it being labelled as PWD. However that is not the main reason and those who have been associated with the party for long would know that the party got the tag because of its adherence to simple and adhering to Hindu aachar and vichar ( behavior and ideology/thinking). So one has to ask if the party differs in terms of its aachar and Vichar criterion with others .
We leave the question wide open for everyone to think and decide on this point.
- Has the Party delivered what all it promised :- This is another critical issue when it comes to any introspection. By and large one can say that the central government has delivered after the actions on 370 and Ram mandir . There have also been many schemes, projects, reforms etc . But in two terms of 10 years will that be sufficient ? Again one has to define the minimum expectations that have to be fulfilled to claim that the party has indeed delivered what all is promised but was also expected to deliver.
This is again a dicey question and depends which lens one uses , a very short or long focus one ?
- The Regional satraps: The strength of the BJP comes from its uniform national level character , atleast in the ideal condition. Thus whether one talks of down south Kerala unit, or northern most Kashmir or Maharashtra or Bengal , the basic aachar and vichar of the party remains the same. This similarity should have been also utilised and exploited for better coordination and uniformity across the states. For example what are the common features of BJP ruled states say MP, Gujarat, UP..etc except that they all are ruled by the saffron party. Can there be some common goals and schemes that can distinguish them from congress ruled states? Can the CMs of these states meet once a year or once in two year to chalk down a few common themes and also utilise the commonality between them for better national integration.
In fact this would have made the party deserve its party with a Difference tag and anyone – layman- who travels to the saffron ruled state must immediately feel that BJP is in power in the state without any other clue. That would have been simply a remarkable point to boast about.
- The Sangh as a Mentor: One of the main features of BJP is that it has a parent or rather mentor organization to seek guidance both in terms of actions and ideological leanings. In fact this is one of the main differences between the congress and the BJP. The congress has only one source of all thinking and decision making powers whereas the BJP has a large organization which takes feedback from the people across the country and discusses debates to decide on a subject matter. That is one of the reasons why the Sangh at times lags in arriving at a decision because it does not take knee jerk actions. The decision may come from one person but only after it has been well debated within the Sangh ecosystem.
However, with power and position coming to the Sangh the role of the mentorship has taken a beating and now the Sangh is more like a silent partner who also enjoys the power plays and accompanying aura of government.
This may be contested – with power the value and weightage of everything increases , so one would argue. Many Sangh Karyakartas are still doing hard work in the remotest corners of the country , unknown to us and away from any public galleries.
Yet one feels that the Sangh has to be more disciplined and circumspect because at the end of the day whatever the BJP government does gets reflected on the Sangh. There is still politics especially at the lower level / mid levels which is much against the cherished nationalist goals.
- Teamwork and coordination: Any organization is based upon collective team work and coordination amongst its members. The BJP on its surface looks pretty coordinated . However the truth beneath the surface speaks something else. This is a question that needs to be addressed by the party from a longer term perspective.
- Merit based system hierarchy:- All organizations need competent persons to fulfill duties and responsibilities only then it can retain and survive its tenure and also deliver on multiple fronts. Most political party work on the basis of some ‘God father ‘ i.e. your rise in the party depends on the person who will promote you and the BJP is no exception. We have seen quite a number of duds becoming big and even getting RS memberships while the meritorious is still nowhere. Such mechanisms hurt any organization and it will fail to come up to the party’s expectations.
This way we cannot forget the leadership of BJP’s LK Advani who nurtured many leaders as party president. Though there will always be a selfish reason and interest in this process, the end result is good as many competent persons come into party fold and get a position that suits their skills.
- Free discussions and debate: Finally all organizations have a mechanism to gather feedback and scope for internal discussions and debates in a free environment. Unfortunately in India this is not practiced by any political party including the BJP . THough the party organizes conventions and annual meetings, they are more like formalities without any serious discussions.
The party must open up a seperate cell whose job should be to send survey letters to its cadres and office bearers and collect answers on various questions ranging from economy to foreign policy and all others. However this looks to be an idealist situation and the Indian system will never make most of the person speak. But the party can definitely think of device mechanisms for collections answers on policy issues.
The BJP is a typical party with strengths and weaknesses of its own just like any other organization. It is still far superior to many other political parties as it allows any one to come on center stage without any discrimination woth respect to caste or any other criterion.
Yet there is a need for the party to indulge in some good practices that can keep its competence higher than others. For all organizations are finally subjected to decay and inherent weaknesses. The wise one will survive if it moves with time and instrospects itself from time to time. This will lead to better leaders, policies and deliveries which are all necessary for a strong nation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are in national interest without any bad or ill intentions.
Dr. Asheesh Shah