- Posted December 30, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
BJP Must Rethink Strategy Urgently
Am I saying this to utter sheer alarmist words? Or am I suffering from unnecessary panic? Am I an agent-provocateur spreading disinformation? Am I a committed sympathiser reading the signals wrongly? All of this, or any combination of the above, may be the reaction of the people living in ivory towers or occupying places in top echelons and the inner circle. Shooting the messenger is always an option for power centres when they are losing the plot. Hitler routinely resorted to it. So did Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi.
Among the ones currently in power, the North Korean abomination also does it with predictable frequency. However I would like to immediately clarify that I am not, by any means, suggesting a parallel between the top echelons of the saffron movement and the despots whom I have just named. By the same token, history also gives us enough examples of good people who failed their destiny because of common human frailties like ego and shortsightedness.
I am sure there are enough thinkers in New Delhi’s 11 Ashoka Road, the sprawling bungalow complex in the Capital’s Lutyens zone that houses the nerve centre of the BJP, who will be acutely aware of the historical parallels that support my thesis. Let us analyse just a few cases. If only the great Napoleon had given the command to Marshal Davout, rather than to General Ney, or not relied so much on the bumbling Grouchy to counter the Prussians, the Battle of Waterloo would have been a resounding French victory and there would have no British global domination for the next 100 years.
Similarly, if Lenin had heeded the advice of some of the genuine revolutionaries, he would have seen through the machinations of the Georgian butcher, Josef Stalin, who derailed the onset of genuine Marxism in the Soviet Union forever. In our shores also, we have had numerous ‘what if’ scenarios in recent times. In 1972, India had the best chance to neutralise Pakistan for many decades, but Indira Gandhi blew it all in the Shimla Agreement. We allowed 92000 Pakistani POWs (out of whom at least a few thousand were war criminals and butchers under any criteria) to go home, without sorting out the Kashmir mess, or, most atrociously, getting back all the Indian POWs in Pakistani hands. Earlier, in the late 1940s, even the great Sardar Patel could have allied with Shyamaprasad Mookerjee and ensured a non-Nehruvian regime in Delhi. Or possibly, Shyamaprasad Mookerjee could have initiated the approach to the Sardar.
There can be a whole lot of polemics about the parallels I have cited. Be that as it may, the situation at this juncture for the BJP-NDA group is critical. The high command needs to introspect deeply about the developments in Delhi in the last few days, with the coming into power of a minority AAP Government with the tacit backing (so far) of the Congress. The BJP strategists need to ponder dispassionately about the groundswell of support and empathy for Arvind Kejriwal and his young team.
There is, of course, always the Gadkari-type assessment they can make – a knee-jerk reaction that talks of the role of business houses in the formation of the Delhi Government. That would be a lemming approach, leading to certain extinction in the hustings in 2014. Or they can look at other conspiracy theories to justify their lack of rational thinking. Instead, they should be looking at the lessons of their own success in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. And very, very closely at why they could not make the magical number of 36 in Delhi. The top brass should study why the public found the working of the BJP-controlled Municipal Corporations in Delhi (MCDs) so unsatisfactory and abhorrent. The stench from these local bodies drowned out all the impact of the NaMo wave in the minds of the Delhi voters who could have made the difference in the critical 4 to 5 constituencies.
The next question they should pose to themselves is the fatal effect of the delay in naming Harsh Vardhan as the Chief Ministerial candidate, instead of Vijay Goel. The saffron lot really don’t know a winning horse from a losing nag. Even after the Modi wave had made people forget the sorry shenanigans of Advani and company five months ago, when this writer was compelled to pen two appeals to Advani. Hubris in one’s own house is always more tragic than in the opponent’s mansion.
This brings us back to the main issue that should be agitating the think tank at 11 Ashoka Road. This is the overwhelming and unconditional preference of the Indian masses for a corruption-free and efficient State apparatus. Every Indian, with any consciousness, wants a sarkar that responds to the needs of the citizen and keeps in check the rapacious instincts of the babus and the netas. Is this so difficult for the saffron strategists to grasp?
Allied to this is the national desire to see young and energetic faces in the winning team. The geriatric group in the BJP and its allies must step down – those who have had their innings must contribute from the changing room. Yes, there is glory in stepping down when you are at the peak, rather than being shown the door. Look at Zidane, Pele and Puskas. Even Tendulkar, for heaven’s sake, without talking of his Bharat Ratna bravura.
Finally, get cracking on the manifesto and its key issues and themes. Give the electorate a distinct and justifiable alternate plank compared to what the Congress lot were fibbing during the last 62 odd years. Don’t waste your time with non-issues and bagatelles, like the Section 377 judgement of the Supreme Court or the antics of Khobragade and the IFS gang. These will not even be footnotes in the history books that will be written by future generations. Do not forget that the Congress war room is depending on AAP to cut into the BJP-NDA vote-bank so, drastically that it will be virtually curtains for the latter. Therefore, getting the act together for the nationalist forces is vitally important at this stage. Remember that human history is never kind to losers.