Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Terminal Decline

As a supporter of the BJP, I have been only distressed by the direction that the party has taken in the recent times. Many others too feel the same way...that they have been let down by the party which they thought to be the only credible alternative to the Congress. With this mess in the BJP, the Congress is virtually without opposition, save a ragtag bunch of meglomaniacal idiots. TV anchors have started speaking of the decline of the Sangh, and the BJP in particular with undisguised glee. But being the eternal optimist that I am, I still see hope, although I must confess that the vision of hope is still hazy without a strong leader in the cowbelt. Also, I must mention that I am thinking long term, that is 2019, not 2014, where I see little chance.

At a logical level, I am confounded by all this talk of BJP being in terminal decline, a patient on life support. In such a widely split polity, a party that brings in about 22% of the popular vote is by no means insignificant or in terminal decline. BJP won by handsome margins in many states and that might explain to large extant ass to why the votes did not get translated into seats. It has the core support base of the Sangh, which is estimated to be about 20 % and the BJP has always fluctuated between 20% to 28% of the popular vote. BJP or its long term allies have strong presence in India's wealthiest states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Punjab. It is significant in many other small states. So at one level all this talk of the party being in decline is a wee bit presumptuous and tinged with a healthy dose of bias.

But the scary part is that BJP has no leader of Vajpayee's repute who brought in the additional 8% of the vote that helped BJP form a government in 1999. And that leader has to be from UP, where the party can grow the most.

Now a leader is not born overnight and has to be groomed over a 5-10 year period. This is where the RSS's role becomes important. It is the only organization that can provide BJP the leaders and more importantly help it regain the moral compass it had lost track of the past few years. This is truly a long term project and only the RSS has the wherewithal to see it through. Of course, the RSS also needs to see some things differently, but its nothing that cannot be accomplished. In the interim, the BJP must play it role of opposition to the full and encourage its state governments to improve the level of work they are doing.

My unstinted support for the BJP stems from the fact that its time that India took a right turn in its economy and politics.A continuum would mean more of under achievement in terms of wealth creation. The Congress cannot take that right turn because it is too short sighted and does not have the guts. The BJP must stand up now and try to define itself as a true Right of Center party. It owes this much to itself, its supporters, and ultimately to the country. The good people at Jhandewalan House and Ashoka Road must have realised this much. Lets hope they can see it through.