-By Sanjay Jha
By the time you read this, hopefully the dust would have somewhat settled post the “ chintan baithak” of the BJP. Introspection and incriminations over, analysis and acrimoniousness being left behind. The grocery-list of reasons cited for the 2009 election defeat are hardly worth a “ Eureka” – so let me save you some precious web space of mindless reading. Much has already been said about the dramatic expulsion of veteran Jaswant Singh and the quiet resignation of master-strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni, and the excitable debate over Congressman Sardar Patel’s rightist leanings. But let’s get down to some brass-tacks and evaluate the whole BJP drama in a more dispassionate linear fashion based on hard facts. I will keep it extremely brief ( it does not require much extrapolation actually).
Firstly, as Jaswant Singh’s damning revelations on LK Advani establish, the so-called Iron Man of India had a fist full of soft wool, one whose chicanery and ruse on Kandahar hijacking are a shocking manifestation of his flip-flop character. I think the entire country of India should heave a massive sigh of relief; it is downright scary to contemplate Advani as Prime Minister given the highly dubious credentials he has demonstrated as Home Minister in it’s most critical test hour.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, what exactly does BJP stand for? I think that’s what the “ chintan baithak” failed to principally address. But let me tell you the harsh truth; nothing. The BJPs “ total growth” story is centred around a historically disputed site; Ayodhya. And it has been almost 20 years since LK Advani’s discordant and disruptive rath yatra created that exaggerated tale of Hindu pride bordering on militancy , creating fissures within our national polity, which was to finally result in riots all over and wasted deaths of innocent people. Even Godhra started with a pilgrimage returning from the visit to the much controversial Ram Janambhoomi. 20 years later Kalyan Singh is with Mulayam Singh Yadav , the Babri Masjid has been destroyed, the Ram temple not yet built, and the man who coined the term pseudo-secularist can now be termed himself as a “ pseudo-nationalist” who exploited communal and caste vulnerabilities unleashed by VP Singh’s Mandal obsessions by diverting attention to the emotive issue of Hindu resurgence. Ayodhya was the perfect bait. It worked briefly electorally, but after a while even the diehard Hindu fanatic knew the stark truth; the Ram temple was just a political pawn on the BJP chessboard.
Bottom-line: In the last two decades the country has been transformed beyond recognition. There is a global aspiration in urban India and rural India is beginning to experience both the tractor and some traction as well. The Congress Party’s NREGS and farmer loan write-offs have improved BPL sustainability somewhat , and the government is marching relentlessly forward on narrowing the rich-poor divide even as it expands livelihood options and addresses the common man’s problems. . It has an economic agenda based on human want , basic needs and minimum standards of quality of life. Social cohesiveness is central to the developmental agenda , there is an absence of caste and communal divisions. That’s what the pragmatic visionary Dr Manmohan Singh ordered. His plans are working because they are well-intentioned.
The BJP should do a nation-wide survey to find out what people thinks it stands for. It will 100% get just one answer: Anti-Muslim . And that is hardly the prescription India needs to be amongst the three biggest economic superpowers in a prosperous global world in the coming three decades or earlier.