BJP can Stoop to Conquer!

Barring unforeseen developments it is reasonably certain that after the assembly election results are out there will be a serious effort to create a new national alternative. The united move by chief ministers against the centre’s high handedness related to the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) issue provides clear indication. The centre’s abuse of federalism is just one issue that has caused resentment against the UPA government. The NDA would be greatly mistaken to rely upon getting automatic endorsement because of the UPA’s failure, as happened in the past. The country needs a genuine change and the chief ministers have correctly gauged the popular mood. The NDA does not offer hope of genuine change. Genuine change implies assured stability and good governance. That will be ensured not by the return of the NDA but the revival of the Janata experiment of 1977 in a new avatar.

Chief Ministers of the BJP have all endorsed their colleagues in other states by opposing the centre on the NCTC proposal. This gives the BJP a real opportunity to recreate a single party national alternative for the first time after the Janata experiment failed because both the government and the party at that time were led by ex-Congressmen. They failed to keep the organization united. If a genuine alternative does emerge, thanks to the initiative of some chief ministers, it cannot be ruled out that BJP elements could defect. The arrogance about being too disciplined for that to happen should by now have evaporated among the Sangh Parivar leaders. The record of Mr. Kalyan Singh and Ms. Uma Bharati reveal only the tip of the iceberg.     

However, for the BJP to enter into the new alternative in its entirety would call for statesmanship. If the BJP stoops to conquer it could hugely benefit itself and the rest of the opposition. To recreate the Janata experiment in a new avatar a federal party would have to be created. Meaning that while the state parties might retain their separate identities during the first phase, there would have to be a single party fighting under a common symbol for parliament. The Election Commission forbids dual membership for any legislator. This hurdle can be overcome by each state unit, whether of a regional party or the BJP, selecting candidates for the election from each respective state as per the norms determined by the Parliamentary Board of the federal party. Thereby no party would lose its recognition. The state parties would continue to be recognized as state parties. The BJP would retain recognition as a national party because of its strength in several states. 

As elected MPs the winners would become members of the federal party and technically renounce their membership of the parent party. There is no impediment to members of all parties to attend the meetings of such a federal party as special invitees. They could address the meetings without having the right to vote. For all practical purpose therefore in the first phase of the evolving federal party the views of the affiliate parties would get due recognition without being technically its members. 

The BJP would defuse any inhibitions against it by accepting two norms for the creation of the proposed alternative. It must shed its mindset that is similar to the Congress by failing to give weight to the popular view of the rank and file. Need one remind that in the 2009 general election Mr. LK Advani actually urged the voters in Haryana to vote for the Congress rather than Mr. Chautala’s party which had been its alliance partner? Need one remind that Mr. Advani actually offered a letter of apology to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi after a BJP leader justifiably asked her to explain the credible allegations against her of an illegal foreign bank account? 

Therefore, firstly the BJP should not insist upon anyone to be the leader of the parliamentary party. All the MPs hailing from different parent parties would have to democratically elect the leader most acceptable to them. Secondly, the BJP would have to be flexible in the choice of the common symbol. It must be prepared to give up its symbol for the parliamentary poll in favour of whatever symbol, most likely a new symbol, which all parties might choose. As for a radical and meaningful common poll agenda that ushers in genuine systemic reform, its preparation should present no hurdle. If the BJP plays ball it can help create another single party alternative that might rule the centre. Will the BJP dare to stoop and conquer? 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3382      Comments: 3

Comment Hello Krish,

I opened this article again to put similar thoughts as provided by you.

While all is OK conceptually, there is little hope that alternative alliance can really become a change agent required in the country.

Krish, notice that Mr. Puri is analysing possibility of alternative front like JP, and not a 3rd front like India witnessed during 1989-1996.

But, even with the alternative alliance, the problem is it will have the same politicians that are already in politics.

Can you name a big politician not practicing corruption ? You may name politicians that have 'LIMIT' and those who DON'T HAVE ANY LIMITs.

And it is very difficult to assume that politicians working for themselves making all the changes that are good for the country and the society at their own expense of individual interests.

So, practically, until India gets a strong leader, an alrounder, we can only rely on fate.

(And such a strong leder will not let individual state level parties keep their identities preserved - it simply does not happen under strong leader, he/she will ensure that he/she gets enough power accumulated to be able to leaverage his/her position at top. Modi is just like that and MMS is just opposite of it)

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
22-Feb-2012 13:30 PM

Comment Dear Sir,

Yes, I too feel that public gave mandate for change to BJP / NDA (half heartedly) in late 90s, which BJP/NDA did not deliver completely. (there were partial measures, some in one direction and others in opposit diection).

Eventually, NDA lost the power (results of 2004 Loksabha elections are unexplained and will remain unexplained).

The loss of NDA was understood by UPA as license to revert back all good changes. This understanding was reinforced by 2009 win by them.

Now it seems the misunderstanding is creating a platform for their collapse as well.

I feel the same as suggested in the article - public do not see NDA as a change agent anymore. Therefore, a new alliance, a promising one from NDA components, will serve a real alternative.

But this new alliance must be clear to work on the issue that gets most hatred among politicians - the eradication of corruption & good governance.

as I understand, Mr. Vajpayee gave up working on eradicating corruption after learning that he won't get enough support to take this task through.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
22-Feb-2012 08:17 AM

Comment Really hair-brained ideas.No wonder, Mr Puri, you are a keen follower of Madhu Limaye, the wrecker-in-chief of Janata experiment in 1979 on the fake argument of double membership. But Mr Limaye was really very intelligent as all wreckers are.
Between Mamata, Jayalalita, Navin Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar, there are at least six aspirants for PM-ship, not counting Nitish who will have his own ideas after the Lok Sabha election results are out in 2014.
Congress is sinking but the so-called third front as alternative will be a prescription for anarchy.This is amply born out by the past experiments in coalition making.
India needs two strong parties as cores of the two rival coalitions. The longer you deny this the further down you push India towards anarchy.

22-Feb-2012 05:25 AM

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