BJP’S New Course For Mission 2014
The political situation in the country is becoming more prominent as the nation is forced to face multi-pronged problems ranging from food security to price rise, failure of governance, fall of economy, farmers’ problems, mismanagement of defence affairs, and what, not. The common man in our country is on the road and is seeking justice from our political leadership to follow: Live and let live. When the ruling party is in disarray, the middle class, the poor and the farmers are again looking at the principal opposition party—the BJP—to save the nation from the clutches of mafias, who are happily enjoying powers, educating their children in foreign countries and stashing money away in Swiss banks. True to its approach, the BJP recently held its national executive meet in Mumbai on May 24-25 to chalk out strategies for Mission 2014, wherein the party chief Nitin Gadkari requested the executive members to “consolidate and expand to fulfil people’s expectations”. The BJP chief assured the nation that the BJP is the ‘solution’ to the existing multi-pronged problem, the nation is facing today. He candidly admitted that being a democratic party there is a difference of opinions but there are no differences in the party.
The BJP in its conclave made a scathing attack on the UPA government and alleged that it has become a lame-duck. When farmers are committing suicide, rupee is falling steeply, essential commodities are getting costlier overnight, the UPA is celebrating people woes & sufferings mindlessly. From Mumbai, the BJP sent out a message loud and clear to this corrupt, scandal-ridden, anti-poor, anti-development and increasingly unpopular government: “Your days are numbered. People of India cannot afford to have any more of your misrule. And they have made up their mind to throw you out lock, stock and barrel. It’s time for the BJP-led NDA to come back, clear the mess you have created, and take the nation on to the path to progress.”
Nitin Gadkari giving a solution to the present crisis the country is afflicted with said: “I believe that all such basic problems can be addressed only by combining our ideology of Nationalism with a strong commitment to Good Governance, Innovation-driven Development and Antyodaya.” Explaining the detailed plan Gadkari said: “The strategy to replace the Congress as the principal pole of Indian politics hinges critically on three imperatives: (a) Expansion of the BJP’s support base in states where we have been traditionally weak; (b) Increase in the BJP’s overall vote share by at least 10 per cent on a consistent basis; and (c) Expansion of the NDA.” The BJP chief called on the executive members to convey the message of the national executive to the grassroots-level workers and the common man and said: “We not merely criticised the government for its failures and betrayals, but also put forward concrete solutions and commitments that the BJP will implement if given an opportunity to form the next government at the Centre. If our vast organisational network takes the message of these activities to the grassroots, it will definitely enhance the goodwill for the BJP among various sections of society. BJP has decided to prepare, and present to the nation, a VISION 2025 document. It will project the BJP’s future-focused perspectives, ideas and commitments on a wide range of issues centred on the theme—‘Making India a Strong, Prosperous and Harmonious Nation, A Shaper of the World’s Destiny in the 21st Century’. The document will contain big and ambitious ideas, and at the same time also a practical roadmap on implementation.”
Gadkari informed that the BJP’s ‘VISION 2025’ document would enable all karyakartas and supporters to propagate the party’s perspectives and goals on many issues that the thinking people in our country are already seriously debating. It will also be helpful in projecting the image of the BJP as a party with an inspiring vision, which it is committed to implementing by uniting the productive energies of the nation.
MODI-GADKARI PACT COULD BECOME BJP VS. NDA
There is turmoil in the BJP. Let us tsee why. Let us see where it will lead to. To appreciate the crisis, consider first the past. There was rivalry between Narendra Modi and Sanjay Joshi when Keshubhai Patel was the Gujarat Chief minister. The CM favoured Joshi over Modi. Subsequently Modi became Chief Minister to marginalize Joshi. Joshi was then inducted in the central party as a general secretary.
Consider the present. Modi sulked over Joshi’s induction in the central party. He used his clout as a powerful Chief Minister considered invaluable to the party. He flirted with other regional party leaders. Rumours were floated that he would start his own party. In order to downgrade LK Advani the RSS amended the party constitution to give Nitin Gadkari a second term as party president. This did not please central BJP leaders loyal to Advani. Modi threatened to boycott the national executive which was to anoint Gadkari for the second term. Gadkari desperately needed support from outside the central leadership. Modi wrote that he would attend only if Joshi was removed from his post.
Gadkari with the blessing of the RSS obliged. Sanjay Joshi resigned from his post in order to maintain party unity. Modi attended the executive meeting. Following that Karnataka’s BS Yeddyurappa, at odds with Advani, also agreed to attend the executive. The executive meeting in Mumbai was held with great fanfare to hail Modi’s attendance. To rub salt on Advani’s wound Yeddyurappa said that Modi should be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. In this entire unsavoury episode the only leader to emerge with some dignity was Sanjay Joshi who resigned for the sake of the party by obeying the RSS.
Now consider the future. Has the BJP preserved its unity? Not quite. In the public rally held after the executive meeting in Mumbai both LK Advani and Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj boycotted the rally. Excuses trotted out about previous engagements may be conveniently trashed. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley attended the rally but left before Modi spoke. Later in the day Jaitley in a public statement while criticizing the UPA government openly invited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to quit the UPA and join the NDA. This unconventional public invitation is pregnant with meaning. It indicates the future course of action that will likely be followed by the Advani supporters.
If Modi can bully the RSS so can Advani. To find the soft spot for hitting Modi and Gadkari was easy and obvious. Inviting Mamata Banerjee was the give away. Mamata cannot alienate the minority vote. She would join only if Modi was marginalized or even eliminated. The same holds true for other NDA leaders like Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav. One wonders if the RSS had calculated that. Projecting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate and the main vote getter implies that the BJP would be prepared to go it alone and strive for a single party majority. Advani and his supporters would rule out that option and stick with the NDA as the future alternative. Thanks to the RSS the BJP has sharpened a split personality. Which will the party swing? Will it remain united or split?
This trouble arose because of a basic flaw in the RSS. It favoured unity above discipline. Surely open blackmail by a chief minister to compel the dismissal of a loyal party functionary by the party president does not indicate commitment to any kind of discipline. At what cost has temporary unity been achieved? The days ahead will reveal that. The honourable and principled course for the BJP for long term gain was to maintain discipline regardless of threats held by Modi. If Modi had split BJP its remainder would have retained credibility to bounce back. Perhaps the RSS sacrificed Joshi for temporary reprieve to confront Modi at a later more suitable time. Such compromise and rationalization never delivers good results.
In fact the Sangh Parivar’s commitment to discipline is a myth. It has always described blind obedience as discipline and refused to confront the indiscipline of its top leaders. Twenty seven years ago there was an episode that resulted in a member of the national executive being sacked from his post for alleged indiscipline. Unlike Sanjay Joshi that member did not meekly quit his post but resigned from the primary membership of the party. In his resignation letter to the party president of that time, Atal Behari Vajpayee, he wrote:” I must say that I was surprised by your request that I resign from the National Executive for my ‘inability to abide by the discipline imposed by its membership’. You deem me undisciplined for informing the press that the General Secretary of the party, Shri Lal Krishna Advani, and the Bombay unit of the party, were undisciplined for brazenly violating the resolutions of the National Executive. You consider me undisciplined for exposing the indiscipline of others, but have no word of reprimand for those who oppose your own formal policy statements as well as resolutions of the National Executive. Discipline, let me remind you, enjoins a code of conduct on all members of the party, including its President and General Secretary… you conceded that the General Secretary was wrong …Privately you may deplore this fact, but what good is private anguish? The party’s image and credibility are totally tarnished by the wide divergence between its precept and practice and by your pathetic inability to impose your will.”
In the last two decades nothing much has changed. Except that earlier LK Advani was the wrongdoer. Today he is the victim.
By Rajinder Puri
In its two-day meeting at Mumbai the BJP had passed an economic resolution, political resolution, resolution on agriculture, drought and had prepared a statement on the interlocutor’s report on Jammu and Kashmir.
It was a brain-storming session at a right time for the BJP to discuss many aspects. The time was too short to discuss a wide range of issues concerning the party and the nation. First, the BJP has to put its house in order, to put on a brave face as a principal opposition party to the ruling Congress party. Of course, the party clarified that there was no indiscipline in the party. In the Mumbai conclave it was wide open when Sanjay Joshi controversy again surfaced due to the pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Once former party General Secretary Sanjay Joshi had to bite the dust when Modi was hell bent on removing him from the national executive. Keeping away from the executive committee was the decision of senior party leaders, and Sanjay Joshi accepted the party decision with great humility. When asked many members of the party about Sanjay Joshi’s expulsion from the executive, they all expressed their unhappiness and reacted strongly and said that nobody was above the party. One national executive member and state president said that the ousting of Sanjay Bhai was an insult to the every cadre of the party, and we all condemn this decision. Confirmed sources informed us that many BJP CMs, state BJP chiefs and senior RSS leaders called Sanjay Joshi and central BJP leaders and expressed their unhappiness over the party’s decision punishing Sanjay Joshi and giving the upper hand to Narendra Modi. On May 31, 2012, when NDA observed Bharat Bandh against the price rise of petrol, it was found that Sanjay Joshi participated in the bandh on behalf of BJP in Delhi.
Seeing is believing. Dekho dekho kaun Aya, Hindusthan ka Sher Aya. Yes, after Atal Behari Vajpayee, nobody has attained that much popularity. If one has seen the height of reception Narendra Modi received during the conclave in Mumbai, one would not hesitate to call him one of the tallest leaders of the party. Both party workers and the whole media found it difficult to take a glimpse of Modi when he arrived and also when he left the venue of the executive meeting. Finally, Modi took centre stage when he addressed the public meeting in Mumbai. Modi lambasted the UPA government with his powerful speech, and he received a rousing response after his speech, which no other BJP leader received when they addressed the public meeting. Absence of senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj at the public meeting in Mumbai created confusion among the cadres.
One BJP leader who was distinctly missed in Mumbai executive was Pramod Mahajan, whose life-size portrait was installed at the entrance of the venue, YV Chouhan Hall. Pramod Mahajan’s ardent follower and former MLA Atul Shah, a competent organiser, very effectively managed the media for the national executive meet. Pramod Mahajan’s daughter Poonam Mahajan, a Yuva Morcha leader, was also seen active in the executive, managing the event. Poonam Mahajan, like her father, was chatting with the media with utmost care. It seems Gopinath Munde had to take the initiative to make Poonam like her father.
By Deepak Kumar Rath from Mumbai