Sanjay Jha


-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.


  1. Paying respect to the opponent is one of the characteristics of a wise person. Sadly, despite the literary merit of the article, i get repelled by its continued vitriolic tones for opponents and biased perspectives.

  2. The BJP is a party which is stuck in the past. whether it is Ram, the Islamic conquests or partition. while all of them may be important, none of them is going to provide roti, kapda aur makan !
    they need to learn to move on and look at today & tomorrow

  3. Dear Mr. Jha,
    Your explanations about the current turmoil in BJP & what does that party stand for are quite true. It seems that its about time that BJP should re-evaluate its role and standing in the socity & politics. But I do not quite agree with your views of NREGS & the framer loan write offs. While both the scheme are the need of the hour and no doubt are best suited to raise the standsrds of living, there lies a wide gap between their theory & implementation. Lets start with the Loan write-offs. More that 50% of the farmers go to private money-lenders taking money at the average rate of Rs. 5 per Rs. 100/ month. In places like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Maharashtra it goes up to Rs 20 per Rs 100/ month. The write-offs does not address that group. Secondly, small farmers with land holdings less that 4 hectares are most of the time reluctant to take govt help due to corruption at the level of gram pradhans & panchayat samitis and this problems have also not been addressed. Here the role of the dictrict magistare & bock development officer is most important but are they doing their bit in most cases the response is less than satisfactory.

    Coming to NREGS, the scheme was to provide emplyment and the work was to be done on public projects. Great idea…. but actual money going to the worker stands some where between Rs. 85 – Rs. 70. Also the nature of public work is like digging ponds, tanks , wells, making un-metaled roads, making embankments solely out of mud & stones, etc. Does it serves the purpose? What is the use of launching a scheme with almost no forward planning? We are pumping huge amount of money into it but the result boils done to nothing at the end. Here also there is a problem with the over-seeing authority.

    This year as you would be aware the rainfall is deficient by atleast 47% and the exodus of the rural small land-holders & farm laborers to the citis in the vicinity has started. There is no doubt now that the pulses production has taken a hit & some of the effects will also show on the rabi season. Would there be an another loan waver, who is going to fund for it?

    My intention is not to be critical but be pragmatic, instead of eulogising the scheme we need to look at the weak points that they have and try to rectify them so that there really is development.

    And lastly, there schemes are not about political parties…they are about people and in this season about 40% of them are still in the villages & the rest 22% working as daily wagers in the cities…its about them…..

  4. It was the fortune of the congress that last time Left was supporting the government from outside and restrained it from being extreme liberal. It is a fact that NREGS and many poor friendly schemes were the brainchild of the Left; which Congress is not willing to accept now. Secondly, there has been more spending on rural development as well as on social sectors, thanks to the Left. It is the victory which has ligitimised the congress’ claim.

    As far as the BJP is concerned, it was definitely its great lack; it could not place the real issues before the people and pushed for individual qualities of the leader. It was also its lack to contest election unitedly and having its pan Indian coalition presence. Last but not least, Congress seems a successful family business while BJP is a corporate failure for the time. Obviously, in India this is time for family business !

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