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Reviving BJP – Points to Ponder

24 May 2009 235 views 87 Comments

I write this post as someone who wishes well to the BJP – a party from whom I have high expectations. It is essentially a compilation of key points culled from various articles, analyses, emails and comments following the party’s dismal performance in the 15th Lok Sabha elections.

Since I have never been trained to be a writer, the form of expression that comes naturally to me – after more than two decades in the “real word” – is a “summary of key points”. This is what the post is.

*** Some suggestions and points to ponder for BJP ***

Pl. stop comparing yourself with the Congress(I)

The ideological differences are far too many. While bi-partisanship may have its virtues, the BJP must strive to consciously and deliberately project itself as an alternative – with a perspective that is sharply different from the Congress(I).

Avoid knee-jerk reactions, especially at election-time

For example, the demand for bringing back money deposited in Swiss banks came across as a last-minute effort as the flip-flop on Varun Gandhi.

.

Define what the party stands for – This is an URGENT Task

I believe that the common BJP supporter today is confused about BJP’s ideology. This does not help.
The leadership needs to develop an over-arching, distinctive national identity and agenda.
What is the BJP’s self-identity?
Is it a “Hindu” party? Is it a party of “capitalists”? Is it the political arm of the RSS? Does it stand for Hindus? Hindutva? Indians? Individuals or the collective? Socialism or Free Markets?
Good-governance is not enough…and it cannot be the defining ideology. All parties must commit to good governance. What makes the BJP different?

Where is the party’s second-line of leadership?

Who are the ten leaders who can lead the party in 2020? In 2030? Where are they? How are they being nurtured? Do they exist?

Develop a pan-India base

If it ever hopes to be at the centre again, the BJP must (in my humble opinion) deliberately, consciously and slowly build its pan-India base. The goal must be to contest every single seat – nothing less.

Develop a Winner’s Psychology

Be ambitious. If you cannot think you can win, you will never win. Top sportsmen and sportswomen know this. The BJP would do well to internalise this.

Redefine the debate

Redefine Dharma – It is *not* religion. BJP must be for Dharma not for Religion.
Redefine “Secularism”. Redefine “Communal”.
Change the parameters of the debate.

Where is the BJP’s answer to Rahul Gandhi?

Where is the face that can take on Rahul Gandhi one-on-one on every single dimension? Where is the party’s answer to Priyanka Gandhi?

Dharma is NOT the “politics of religion”

Good governance does not run counter to “Dharma”; In fact it is part of “raj-dharma”.
As is secularism.
The party needs to redefine the debate

Concluding Comment, courtesy Radha Rajan (writing on 1st April ’09):

The vision, the courage and the wisdom to stand alone are interlinked and cannot be sequenced. Therein is the wisdom.

Comments, suggestions welcome as always.

Related Posts:

India decides on Congress led UPA – Guest Post

Open Thread to discuss Elections 2009

87 Comments »

  • 1. Kislay Chandra said:

    I strongly feel that the BJP need to dial down hardline Hindutva , and focus on emerging as a true secular party . I mean , how many christian and muslim votes does the BJP get ? If the a significant part of the population does not even consider you an option , you need to change . BJP preaches Integral Humanism , but does it practice it ?

  • 2. Incognito said:

    There is a Panchatantra story about a person who gets a goat as gift. He is very happy as he plans to have goat milk everyday.

    While he carries the goat home, three swindlers plan to appropriate the goat. They hatch a plan.
    Accordingly, one by one, the swindlers approach that person and ask him why he is carrying a dog.

    Although at first the person is incredulous about the suggestion that he is carrying a dog, when he hears three people succesively saying the same thing, he is decides to believe them.
    Thinking that he was fooled into accepting a dog as a gift he throws the goat away and goes home empty handed.
    The swindlers who come behind him catch the goat and takes it away.

    Back in the 80s and 90s, BJP got the gift of support of people who valued ancient indian culture and wanted PROgress (PRO as against CON).

    As the BJP leadership began to dream of enjoying power, those who did not want to lose the vote bank of majority indians started planting ideas that the gift is actually an undesirable thing. They got their sidekicks in the media and academia spout the same propaganda.

    Hearing such talk over and over from different quarters the BJP leadership decided to throw away the gift.

    That is what they did in 2004.

    And like the person in the Panchatantra story, BJP is even now, dreaming of having goat milk one day, without nurturing a goat while the swindlers have been fattening up on goat milk.

  • 3. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Read Swapan Dasgupta on “Before gangrene sets in” from which this brief excerpt:

    While all these shenanigans are taking place, there is one question that few are willing to address: the moral decline of the BJP. In ethical terms, the past three years has seen the BJP sink to the level of the SP and BSP.

    In the past, corruption and money power was a marginal problem. Today, it is reaching the very top. Is the failure to extract favours a reason why some people are demanding the Uttarakhand CM’s head? Wasn’t this precisely why some people also turned against Modi?

    The issue briefly came to the fore in the wake of Arun Jaitley’s protest against the appointment of an individual to an election body. Jaitley was then advised by everyone to hold his fire till May 13. After the verdict shouldn’t some of these ethical issues be addressed seriously? Or should everyone wait for the gangrene to set in?

    That the BJP needs an ethical purge is certain. But why such a purge worry those whose records are clean?

    What is striking is the extent to which those who claim to speak on behalf of the RSS have been compromised.

    and from Why Rahul charmed voters – also by Swapan Dasgupta:

    …Rahul, it would seem, bolstered one of the main attributes of the Prime Minister: He enhanced the decency quotient of the Congress.

    …The BJP, which was once noted for its disciplined dedication, was perceived to be as much a problem as the old guard of the Congress. The Congress’ integrity quotient didn’t rise; the BJP’s fell dramatically in the past decade.

    …Unfortunately for the BJP, the people not only voted for their today but also their tomorrow. On the latter count, the BJP didn’t have a message. The idea of a Resurgent India which the BJP successfully sold in the 1990s was lost in transmission this century.

    This disconnect owes quite substantially to the party’s low decency quotient.

  • 4. Incognito said:

    Kislay>>>”I strongly feel that the BJP need to dial down hardline Hindutva…”

    The dial has been at zero for many years now.
    Further down it can go only into negative.
    So only if you are prepared to take on competition from the likes of MMS who says muslims have first right to nation’s resources ( a sentiment shared by past rulers of Delhi before him such as Aurangazeb, Qutubuddin Ibak, Babar, Shah Jahan, Jehangir, et al, and our contemporaries across the border, the Taliban, who impose Jizya on non-muslims of Swat), from the likes of Karunanithi who question Sri Rama’s credentials, from the likes of Lalu and Mamata who question the integrity of police force of the country when it goes after terrorists who happens to be muslims, but have no problems if the suspects are followers of ancient indian culture, from the likes of Mayawati who slap NSA on someone who talks in support of the followers of indigenous culture, from the likes of CPI(M) who court Abdul Nasser Madani for votes, from the likes of Sonia, the chairperson of UPA which includes Indian Union Muslim League and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen… and so on…

    Only if you are prepared to compete with these illustrious worthies should you venture further dial down.

    Some suggestions in this line are – To counter MMS, BJP should argue that only madrassa educated unemployed muslims should have first claim to national resources. This will perhaps help turn them away from jihadi ideas.
    To counter Karunanithi, not only Sri Rama, Sri Krishna’s credentials also should be questioned. sample- Who gave Sri Krishna driving license to become the driver of Arjuna’s chariot ?
    To counter Lalu, who questioned the integrity of police, BJP should question the integrity of the Defence forces deployed at border areas, especially when they shoot at infiltrators. What if those are some poor lost villager or a wandering tourist, who by pure chance picked up an AK-47 that was lying on the ground and is testing it?

    To counter Mayawati, BJP should slap NSA on all remaining Sadhvis and Sadhus.

    To counter CPI(M) and UPA’s IUML and MIM …. since all muslim groups are affiliated to either UPA or Left, BJP should start one of its own, or maybe, ask Dr Zakir Naik to start a party and give support to him. The other option is SIMI or Indian Mujahideen. But if it is SIMI, Lalu already has a first claim on their support.

    But these steps are not conclusive (BJP must be prepared to counter Jayalalithaa, Chandrababu and even Patnaik who are actively wooing christians, Mulayam who is after muslims, Akalis who is after Sikhs and MNS and SS who are after Manoos). Nor will it be enough in the long term.

    It must be prepared to go to further if it plans to be more secular than the ‘secular’.

    >>>>>>”I mean , how many christian and muslim votes does the BJP get ? ”

    BJP actually needs only the votes of Indians.

    Those who consider being Indian as their identity.

    Those who respect this land and the civilisation it gave birth to, who have a sense of its history.
    Those who share the spiritual values developed in this land, which have been recognised and appreciated by even westerners (Scopenhauer, Einstein, Voltaire, Thoreau, Emerson…).
    That such Indians are less vocal in the mass media is no reason to discount them.

    Who knows, they may even be the majority in this land, although silent.

  • 5. Kislay Chandra said:

    @Incognito
    I hope it doesn’t appeal to the minortities that way . They shouldn’t compromise on these things , and yet make themselves acceptable to these Indians .

  • 6. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Icgnito,
    Please understand that it is not the Hindus to blame, it is we Indians to take responsibility.
    The trend is not twards Congress or against the BJP. It was only that the maths did not work out for the BJP. If one looks at the outcome of the elections one would see that the BJP has not performed badly where they are ruling as state governments.
    In another post in this blog I have specifically stated that the BJP does have a very pathetic representatin in 5 major states; namely TN, AP, Kerala, Orissa, WB. All the allies of the BJP have been Sikhandins, using them as a prow to gain the upperhand and then throwing them out when they have found their moorings. JD(S) in Karnataka, BJD in Orissa, Mayawathi in UP, and the AIADMK on TN.
    Where they have had no alliances or fought their way thru, they have made it in a strong way.
    Hindutva, Islam, Christianity,; Religion, Caste all these have played a major part in these elections. If anybody says it is not so then let them go thru my letter in another place in this blog where I have given sufficient evidence that it has played a major part.
    The BJP has let down all Hindus completely. It has played into the hands of the Christian based “Gora” media and tripped and has fallen on its own lies and weakness of Secularism and other Hogwash.
    Everybody knows why it won the first time. Let them go back to the basics and not confuse issues. Let them be honest with themselves and the people will believe them. Let them not take the Hindus for granted. They cannot run with the fox and hunt with the hounds.
    Youngsters believed in them to a great extent but they let them down. They still have a fighting chance by building their base on more stronger foundations, and I am sure they will bounce back.
    If you take an example. In spite the fraudulent attitude of the British and Americans oaf Human Rights and other Hogwash, President Rajapakshe of Sri Lanka stood by his committment to eliminate the terrorist of his country, who had devasted it fr 25 years.
    That should be the spirit of the BJP. Stand up for what you are. Stand up for your Indianess that for which it was formed.
    Stand up to its principles that it recgonises no majority or minority and that it stands for BHARAT.
    IT WILL FIND ITS SPACE IN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE; Hindutva or no Hindutva.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 7. K. Harapriya said:

    If the BJP gives up the concept of Hindu Nationalism, why should it even exist? We already have one party which has no desire for a any kind of nationalism. I think that if that is the route the BJP wants to follow, they should just disband and all the individuals that make up the BJP should just join the Congress or other regional parties.

    By Hindu Nationalism, I do not mean the routine beating up of women in pubs or some such nonsense which some organizations indulge in. This is not Hindutva regardless of what the media portrays. This is breaking the law and should be dealt with as such.

    Hindu Nationalism is one that believes that the country and its citizens come first. It recognizes that India is unique and India’s culture and civilization have given it a certain dharmic world view which tolerates pluralism but does not indulge in moral relativism. It recognizes that all Indians regardless of individual religious beliefs are the children of this civilization. This kind of nationalism is one that will stand up for individual rights based on the ideal that all are equal before the law and that the laws that govern all citizens are one. (No individual tailor made flexible law systems based on religious, ethinic, caste etc. identity).
    This sense of identity also recognizes that while many Indians may practice non-Indic religions, these religions are essentially foreign in nature and thought and any attempt by its adherants to change the demography of India or destroy native cultures and religions represent just another form of foreign aggression and a threat to national integrity.

    Such nationalism also recognizes that national and territorial integrity is paramount. It is committed to NEVER redrawing the map of India in order to appease minority interests. That means dealing with every terrorist, militant, separatist group as an enemy of the state, not as a group with legitimate grievances. This also includes dismissing state governments which question the rights of all Indians to the land in that State.

    This ideology would never indulge in caste politics and recognize that there is only one legitimate basis to have any kind of welfare or affirmative action program–and that society ultimately is divided only on the basis of those who have access to education, health care, housing, employement, etc. and those who don’t. Upliftment programs are only to be targeted toward those who need it.

    Such a nationalism would also recognize that while we may be world players in trade etc. we can never give up self reliance and food security.

    It is a pity that the BJP lost its opportunity both in 2004 and this year. By not focusing of what it can do, by not having a clear vision of its own ideology, it lost its way.

    I have often wondered if the BJP, by not standing up for what is right and mindlessly imitating the Congress can be revived. It might be that in its present avatar it cannot. I
    think that it has managed to sufficiently damage its brand name that it may not recover. What it needs to do is to repackage and rebrand. This is very similar to what tobacco companies did –they changed their names and remarketed themselve. Unfortunately for us Hindus, if the BJP tries to rebrand itself as another “secular” party, we will need to create another Hindu party. Maybe this time we will only include people who will park their egos at the door and actually work toward a common goal. (This itself would be a monumental achievement since Indians can be very egotistic and often have a problem with group work).

  • 8. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Kislay, Incognito, vck and Harapriya: Thanks for some very thought-provoking comments…It is very late in the night but I will try and respond tomorrow.

    Thanks.
    Shantanu

  • 9. Kislay Chandra said:

    I must add , that I too wish to see a stronger and truly national BJP , cause this country needs two good national parties to maintain the balance . what did not make me cry afte the Election results was the fact that the left and some regional parties got a kick on the butt .

  • 10. Sundararaman said:

    BJP should redefine itself and say since Hindutva is being misunderstood and misinterpreted, it should say that it will henceforth call it ‘Dharmatva’. It should say that henceforth it shall work for Dharmaapeksha and not Dharma Nirapeksha.

  • 11. Uma said:

    Hello Shantanu,
    BJP cannot come to power because Hindus are not organized in AP, Kerala, Rajasthan, J&K, UP and even Uttarakhand. Christian and Muslim vote is strongly behind congress because of the benefits being given to them. So what is the solution. Till the Gandhis rule India, nothing can stop the destruction of Hinduism and it is same case of DMK ruling Tamilnadu or YSR ruling AP. They cannot be divided since their votebank is secure. So how can you ensure HINDUISM survival. We are all waiting for KALKI to come………yaa, waiting for someone to bell the cat….

  • 12. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Thanks all for sharing your thoughts…very very interesting…I sincerely wish that people who matter in the party are reading these discussions – here as well as on numerous other blogs…and taking note.

    That said, I am not very hopeful.

    The BJP appears to be throughly confused regarding what it stands for – and appears to have lost the spine to stand up for what it believes in (if it does believe in anything anymore).

  • 13. ramam said:

    In AP, many important govt.posts are held by christians like in Centre. The registrar, civil court judges, MRO’s, BSNL head, all are christians and you have a church in the secretariat.CM’ wife openly visits christian meetings with her son-in-law, who is a converted brahmin.

    All govt.schemes in many rural villages are subject to acceptance of christianity. The biggest beneficiaries of white ration cards given by govt.in last 5 yrs are christians again, but they are INVISIBLE since they do not change their names nor do they mention their religion change.Andhra JYOTHI newspaper reported after elections that nearly 95 lakhs votes solidly were behind YSR out of the 1.75 crores Christian Population (Census 2010 or even 2020 as well will not detect the Invisible Christian and still term it as a minority. there are nearly 3 crores christians in andhra pradesh out of 7 crore population as advertised by Churhces in AP themselves). So there is no proof for any of these actions. YSR’s work is easy since he is not spending a rupee from his pocket, but instead using govt.money to distribute to christians. So this should ensure that YSR and his son will rule AP for another 100 years. There is no strong opposition to HIM at all. TDP will falter in these 5 years since many of the losers are bankrupt already and TDP has nothing to talk about except bank on its Kamma Unity. if TDP can break into christian votes, then alone can they have any chance…

    Time and again, we have debated on temples being independent from State, but unfortunately, noone has so far adopted the Legal procedure to it and neither has BJP. Once temples funds are available for propogation of Hinduism, one can work wonders through it. Temple lands are private people’s jagirdars and christians are given free access to hindu temple funds. But why doesnt someone FIGHT for freeing govt.temples from govt.Control. I think all of us are like me only who just talk, but are afraid of doing something legally since all of us are dependent on the Christian dollar and cannot come out openly and fight against the system.

    So many discussions and not a single leader. In AP, BJP has been more discredited than honored. Bandaru Dattatreya, noble man, but has brought down prestige by his 150+ letters to YSR. BJP is seen as a intellectual organization or a violent organization, but not middle man. it doesnt help bringing venkaiah naidu or modi to hyderabad. BJP needs to start winning councillor posts and build its base. BJP cannot count on the OPEN support of swamijis since all swamijis are afraid of Govt. They even asked SatyasaiBaba to Shut Up. So as someone said above, the expt.of karnataka cannot be repeated. We need more Youth to come into Politics openly, but even in AP, BJP is plagued by the reddy and kamma leadership. There is no chance for other castes to come up here as well. Dattatreya doesnt inspire anyone. We have enough people to come into Politics, if BJP brings in a dynamic leader.

    Also, Hinduism stops to pamper swamijis and temples and start building orphanges, old ages, hospitals and more saraswati vidya mandirs. Instead we are happy to organize more rituals, more swamiji’s sermons and infact pay for them to sit on top of our heads. Infact, i am very happy with the Anti-Hindu Media who keep exposing ONLY HINDU SWAMIS because it helps Hinduism get cleaned of Dogma and blind faith. So in a way, my thanks go to the likes of TV9 and others who constantly bash Hinduism’s traditions and its upholders. We have enough swamis, astrologers and sadhus to clean from Hinduism.

    In a way, we are at that point where Hinduism was before Buddha came, blind beliefs, superstitions and rituals. God couldnt be reached without Brahmin. Faith couldnt heal.Buddhism swept India like anything. It took the stature of Adi Shankacharya to Unite Hinduism and root out Buddhism. It was a ideological debacle which he corrected. We now need more than Adi Shankacharya, someone who towers above all factions of hinduism and can unite them.

    Also note that the states where BJP is in power today are states where Hinduism has been protected through the 1000′s of years, states like maharashtra where Sivaji was teh protector or down in Karnataka which was site of vijayanagar empire,etc., We had Maharajas who protected Hinduism, but in Andhra, we never had strong protectors of Hinduism. Andhra was more in muslim control like Delhi and people are addicted to slavery of another faith and hence none of our swamis have a militant or a nationalistic attitude since they are just carrying on the traditions of their earlier seers. So what is needed is more than a WAVE.

  • 14. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear All,
    It gave me great pleasure to go thru all the mails. The time has come for the BJP to listen and not talk. Let all the leaders stop talking and act.
    There is still an overwhelming support for the core BJP ideals of BHARAT. There is still a lot of support for the BJP from students and the mature.
    From the readings the undercurrent is that all feel that as Ms. Haripriya has stated, they want to appear more “Secular” than what they are “TRULY SECULAR”.
    The BJP has believed in the true ideology of BHARAT but lost it somewhere when it gained power. It tried to be what it was not. It tried to emulate the “Secularism” of the Christian West, which for the west by the west of the west.
    Let them get back to the basics. Let them go back to the drawing board which has apparently has not been dusted for a very long time.
    Let them not feel ashamed of their true “Hinduism”. which is LOKA SAMASTHA SUKINO BAHVANTHU.
    Let them wear their “HINDUISM” on their shoulder lapels. Let them show to the world that they are not ashamed of being TRUE HINDUS.
    Let them stand up and say; Yes we are Hindus and we have a great tradition and we believe in 33 crore gods. Yes we believe that God did not create this world in seven days. Let them stand up and say, yes we have a tradition of respecting Elders.
    Let them stand up and say that the western political class does not define our political life as President Rajapakshe has stood up to the WESTERN BULLYING.
    Iam sure ther is still a lot of fire left in the BJP, and they will rise.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 15. Indian said:

    What Christians in AP did? just followed their Dharma! Did any one branded them Christutva?

  • 16. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Still in denial?

    It was no defeat for BJP nor victory for Cong: Advani

  • 17. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    If BJP has to redefine itself, it has to go back to the core roots of why BJP was established in the first instance.

    Is it the RSS ideology of Guru Gowalkar or Savarkas’s hindu mahasabha ideology or Dr. Hedgewar ideology of cultural nationalism. The three ideologies though looked inseperable on the route to capturing power in Delhi, there has always been a difference of opinion in Jan Sangh/BJP. BJP used the above three ideologies to its hilt and also promogulated one ideology over th eother as adn when they needed it.
    It is important to go back to basics and define what BJP needs to be.

    Also i would not make much of a distinction between BJP and Congress when it comes to major issues in India be it in economy, bridging urban – rural divide. The differences are in implementation and different takes and views. This is the beauty of Indian democracy.

    Shantanu has raised the issue of 2nd line leadership, BJP has them in plenty adn they are articulate and well educated who have come through the caders or through their links. But for variety of reasons there is internal squables between them and also they are not pan India acceptable as leaders for both urban and rural India. BJP’s biggest investment was lost before it could start paying dividends (read Pramod mahajan, a leader who was acceptable pan India).

    BJP should make use of the current stint in opposition to effectively raise issues concerning the people, which was missing in the previous term. I hope with the crop of BJP’s Gen Next in Loksabha, i hope for better things.

    BJP cant penetrate TN and Kerala for the inherent anti “brahminism” (not Brahmin caste). Turn to Bhagwad Gita for “Dharma” as suggested by Shantanu.

    BJP came to power as part of change, i can still remember the days when i campaigned for Ananth Kumar for Bangalore South parlimentary constituency, but today i feel he did not live up to the expectations but he can still win because of the “brahminism” combination in Bangalore. This change that BJP wanted to bring about was in areas of accountability, corruption and to bring back the pride of hindus (they are confused on which of the 3 ideologies they need to follow. As long as Vajpayee and Advani were around they successfully managed the dichotomy).

    I strongly beleive, BJP should come out of the current defeat quciker, faster adn more powerful as India needs them to counter the govt. A strong opposition would lead to a strong govt performance.

    I firmly beleive it is a matter of time, BJP will come out stronger and i shall wait for that day……This hope in BJP does not mean i subscribe to their philosophy. It all deepends on which of the 3 ideologies BJP will choose from now on.

  • 18. Dirt Digger said:

    @Ashwin,
    I agree that the absence of both Pramod Mahajan and Vajpayee during the campaign hurt the BJP’s chances most of all.
    More than anything the BJP needs to be more media friendly and get more TV channels and newspapers to publish its opinions.
    More than anything they need to clearly differentiate how they can improve the economy and the condition of the poor (without using Left wing aphorisms).

  • 19. Dirt Digger said:

    @Shantanu,
    Please do also provide a link to this excellent article by Tarun Vijay on the same topic,
    http://www.rediff.com/election/column/2009/may/23/loksabhapoll-tarun-vijay-on-why-the-bjp-should-not-be-disheartened.htm

  • 20. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ DD

    I am not sure if BJP needs to get more media friendly, their 2nd line leadership is more media frieldy than any other political party adn some times they have been rather too close.

    They need leadership which can appeal to pan India and not just to their core constituency

  • 21. ramam said:

    Yes Indian! christians in ap and India lived to their DHARMA of voting only for SECULAR parties- Obviously..There was lot of hue and cry over Advani’s writing to seer heads after manifesto release and the congress SWAMIS infact went to supreme court as well. Christians have never had it so good enjoying all top mosts in AP and India. Look at LIC, look at PSU banks..It was widely reported that LIC head was selected even though he is not the senior-most. So why will they not support Congress. Churches all over India in their weekend prayers asked their brethren to vote for Congress only since they can flourish only under Congress rule.

    What has happened today is that it is not just a TWO party system that has been created out of this elections, it is that the congress has successfully ensured the complete shift of christian and muslim vote to itself. It has hence secure votebank for the next 100 years, a votebank which is only increasing over time with the community spreading no bars child growth and no family planning. Unfortunately, there are very few moderate christians and muslims. Most of them are fundamentalists and blindly believe that Hindus are their enemies. They just believe what Media tells them and Media only reports what their shareholders want them to write. It is a different atmosphere in Media than what was in 1999 and 2004. The shareholders are christian organizations in most media and hence biased report. Look at NDTV, CNN or down south, the marans and reddys. They control almost all news channels and hence they all speak only the UPA tongue.

    A younger leadership may inspire definitely and there are certainly ways to promote hinduism without endangering the SECULAR regions. we should concentrate on winning more of the Hindu Vote. But we are faced with more fundamental problem in Hinduism today- the Definition of Hinduism itself. The BJP finds itself at the same crossroads. It has identified for long Hinduism with Ram Janma Bhoomi alone. Ram himself wouldnt have fought so much for a symbol. Instead, he would have been happy if the Ram Namam is spread across the country promoting vasudaika kutumbam. We are not concentrating on that. We are conveniently throwing everything on RSS to work those things. How far can RSS take things alone..and they are branded as Defenders rather than protectors. We need to protect rather than Defend.

    Many a times, i am told by the so called intellectuals that Sanatan Dharma will hold. it held even in british and mughals time. One thing they all forget is that in the last 700 years or after Ashoka, India was never United under a Single Ruler. Hinduism thrived wherever there were hindu kings even in times of british or mughals. But today we dont have those maharajas to Protect Hinduism. Hindu temples and institutions are under GOVERNMENT CONTROL. THE RULER never CONTROLLED TEMPLES in the past 800 YEARS. now it is happening. HENCE we are forced to sit quiet when a CHRISTIAN is given TTD Chairmanship and is now being given again since he has lost elections. Government will never allow Hindu temples to be separated since it will STRENGTHEN THE BJP when temples are INDEPENDENT and controlled by Pontiffs who will have the POWER then to influence decisions based on the huge resources at their disposal.

    In AP, let TTD alone get out of Government control and with the vast resources at its disposal, christian missionaries will be thrown out of Job. Govt. knows it and hence it has appointed christians on TTD boards and weak seculars. Even the special secretary is a christian. Christians wherever they are, in Pune or AP are 85% fundamentalist.

    From all posts on this board, i believe all on this board only talk like me and are venting out their views just because they cannot afford to do anything in physical world but posting in hope that some KALKi will read it…

    In TN as well, you raise the Hindu consciousness and remove govt.control over temples and then see how DMK runs for cover. Please someone FILE in SUPREME COURT for either temples be freed or churches be nationalized.

  • 22. bsks said:

    Why do all the points listed in the article apply only to BJP and not any party for that matter, Congress included (except the Rahul Gandhi point :) ).
    All the points are sensible and need to be answered by any organisation, political or not.

  • 23. Hemant said:

    I agree with Incongnito’s remarks.

    Its unfortunate that with less than 50% voting (with 20+ % being the vote bank) people are trying to read too much in the results while they should actually think about the ‘voting problem’. I mean only 50 voters out of 100 voters have voted and there will be around 100 eligible voters behind every 100 actual voters who didn’t figure in voter’s list!

    Regarding suspicious articles such as “Why prince charmed voters” I would like to refer you to my (1st) comment @http://satyameva-jayate.org/2009/05/16/india-decides-on-upa/#comments. Such articles have now become a daily affair and it is sad to see many writers/bloggers following the same path :(

  • 24. AG (author) said:

    BJP at crossroads: Back to basics or irrelevance? by Virendra Parekh, 25 May 2009 (excerpts)

    http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=593

    …The alternative explanation – that BJP might have been rejected by the people for not being “chauvinist” or “communal” enough – never occurs to those offering this unsolicited advice.
    “Mr. (Varun) Gandhi has swept a polarised Pilibhit, but the party has done poorly in Uttar Pradesh. Indeed,
    even in Mr. (Narendra) Modi’s Gujarat, the difference between the BJP vote and the Congress vote is barely 3 percentage points,” points out an edit writer gleefully.
    What if the whole of Uttar Pradesh had seen polarization?
    How many more seats could BJP have won in UP without Varun Gandhi? What if Mr. Modi could polarize Gujarati votes as he has done in the past?

    Yet the critics have a point: BJP cannot avoid taking a hard look at itself without risking total irrelevance and terminal decline. Its ‘success’ in persuading Mr. L.K. Advani to continue as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha for a while has only exposed its weakness. It has postponed the day of reckoning to prevent exposure of the faultlines in its central leadership.

    The real challenge before the BJP, however, is not to find a successor to Mr. Advani but to rediscover its own original self, to compare what it aspired to be in its original incarnation with what it has made of itself through decades, and chart out a course of self-renewal which would restore its credibility and relevance.

    It is amazing that BJP has been fighting a life and death battle as per rules framed by its inveterate enemies. Instead of challenging the values fashioned by the anti-Hindu secularist elite, BJP has been bending
    backwards to conform to them. The enemies say “secularism is good.” BJP says “We are secular, you are pseudo-secular.”

    Murli Manohar Joshi says BJP lost because it did not field significant numbers of Muslim candidates. Arun Jaitley
    boasts of Muslims being drawn towards BJP. Is this what BJP was set up to achieve?

    The first thing for BJP to do, therefore, is to resolve its ‘existential dilemma’ in favour of returning to its roots. It must develop the courage and vision to think and act like a party centred on Hindu India. If parties speaking for Dalits, Muslims, Yadavs and other small groups claim legitimacy, a party whose vision encompasses 82 percent of the population cannot be denied it. Secondly, a Hindu-centric party or polity need not be anti-Muslim in intent or action. Only it will not run after votes of
    Muslims as Muslims.

  • 25. v.c.krishnan said:

    That is the spirit AG. You have hit the nail straight on the head.
    Let the leaders get out of this syndrome of Secular and Pseudo secular.
    Bharat has never been Secular or Pseudosecular it was Bharat.
    Let the BJP go back to its core idealogy. It will get back on its feet. No coalitions and all that bullshit.
    Get the people of Bharat together.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 26. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ VCK and AG

    Which ideology are you asking BJP to go back to – its is confused or rather than has three ideologies that it subscribes to. The India for Hindu ideology of Hindu mahasabha which Veer Savarkar belonged, was added to BJPs core ideology of cultural nationalism that Dr. hedgewar talked about some time around 1945s.

    The classic case of dulaity was exhibited in Jan Sangh days initiall adn BJPs road to power. Vajpayee was acceptable pan India bu his cultural nationalism cutting across party lines, caste lines,where as Advani was a organisation man who managed the hindu manhasabha ideology adn that of Guru Gowalkar take on combining Hedgewar and Hindu Mahasabha ideologies.

    Hence BHP today is left with no leader other than Late Mahajan and Vajpayee who can reach out to every section of the society.

  • 27. Hemant said:

    @Ashwin in last sentence did you mean “fool every section of the society.’? Because that was what the media, prince and the queen did with Indian people and now many writers, columnists are following the same!

  • 28. B Shantanu (author) said:

    From What’s wrong with debate? – latest blog post by Swapan Dasgupta

    I am appalled that there is a move to amend the BJP Constitution and allow the party president to extend his term by another 2 years. If this happens, the BJP motto should read: Nothing succeeds like failure.

    and from a comment by Swabhimaan on the same post:

    Orissa failure was not because of Hindutva. I have first hand feedback from a friend from Orissa who talked to people from different strata- a VC, a maid, a student. To his surprise (my friend is an ex-anti BJP person and now he is neutral), none of them said that BJP is communal. All of them thought of the BJP candidates from Orissa as useless and corrupt. There are also candidates with criminal cases against them. The BJP must learn to talk about such things and take a stand on these issues. I won’t be surprised if the BJP is wiped out in a few years going by the way its leaders are conducting themselves. This is what worries me because I don’t want this to happen.

  • 29. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Hemant,

    Vajpayee and Mahajan from BJP had the appeal length and bredth of India. Though Mahajan found it tough to win elections in Mumbai, that did not dent his appeal across the country. Also he showcased hardwork and the desire to dream big and bold.

    As for Vajpayee, one can also call him as Atal Nehru.

  • 30. Manoj said:

    Shantanu-

    Absolute first thing BJP needs to do it is to define what it stands for. It needs to come clean and clearly spell who they are – the problem though it seems is they try to project themselves as someone who they are not but want to be yet remain what they are (Confused?, well thats what it seems to be)

    ..on a few other points- Ideology- no party in India has ideology (not saying BJP ought not to have that)..today all that differentiates BJP from others is the “media-manufactured” term “communal” as opposed to “secular” for all non BJP parties..that is supposedly the ideological difference

    …i think strong goverance is one of the things which strongly differentiates BJP and somehow (dont know yet how) that needs to part of its identity..

  • 31. Dirt Digger said:

    Another thing which the BJP needs to accomplish is the set up of alliances in AP, TN, Orissa and some NE states. Without alliances the BJP loses out on 100 seats there to the Congress and Third Front. As compared to the last election the BJP has lost ground in those states. Simply from a numbers perspective giving up ground on those states is a losing proposition. Talking about philosophies is one thing, but getting the actual numbers to form a Government is another.

  • 32. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Ashwin,
    The ideaology I am talking about is the “Spirit of Bharat” which is total annihilation of the thought of minoritisym. As I have already stated in my post The BJP should go back to its core thought of getting the Bharatiya’s together.
    The Ram Mandir was only a blip on the horizon. The Rath Yathra was only another thought process of action.
    They should have combined the both together and continued on the same trend.
    To amplify; the Ram Mandir was a thought provoking act for the “Hindus” THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE. The Rath Yathra was a thought provoking act to bring the whole of the people of Bharat that WE ARE ONE.
    The whole project was mis interpreted by the Christian Led Press and the BJP is still trying to extricate itself from that quagmire.
    That is what I meant that the BJP should go back to its IDEAOLOGY, which is that irrespective of who you are and what people may say of you, YOU are INDIAN and you are a BHARATIYA.
    They should not be led by the nose by the Christian Led Press and fall in into the trap set by them.
    The Christian led UNHRC tried to Bully President Rajapakshe and got it back form the Asian and African nations led in the front by China and Russia.
    In the same manner it is time for th BJP to clean itself up and come back running to the front and lead the way towards a greater Bharat.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 33. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ VCK

    I am not sure is “Spirit of Bharatiya” is the core BJP ideology.
    In your next statement you are confusing the “spirit of Bharatiya” to a hindu movement launched in the name of Ram mandir, i dont see any need for why there should have been a movement in first place to get upper catse hindus come together in the banner of Ram Temple and Rath Yatra – as conflicts with “Spirit of Bharatiya”
    This is the duality i am speaking about and how BJP has manipulated and talked about “Spirit of Bharatiya” and Hindu movement as one, and when attacked on the ideology they try to unify the two ideologies and take shelter in one or the other.

    Hence i said BJP should re-assess where it wants to go and also learn from history. It was the rath yatra that energised the BJP vote bank, fine but really it was Vajpayee who got them the magic number to govern India. It was Vajpayee acceptance pan India which helped BJP idealogues th etaste of power politics.

    BJP should learn from history, when it talked about hindu movement they were never voted to power. I guess they can be voted to power in the name of “Spirit of Bhatatiya” but for that to happen they need a acceptable face who can appeal to all sections of the society.

    As for your comment on minoritysim, if we talk about the spirit of bharatiya they i dont see why this is a problem. Their is no wrong is helping minorities come to the main stream of the society. Why the difference in access to opportunities, though in urban areas we dont see much of difference in access to opportunities, in rural and semi-urban areas the gap is big engough to create a bridge and hence i still maintain there needs to be an element of help and intervention (though the quantum and sort of help is debatable at length), but cant be denied.

    Also,i dont understand when on one context if BJP subscribes to “Spirit of Bharatiya” and on the other hnad question the muslims and the chruch about their integrity towards India, by doign so is the BJP not trying to divide the society.

    Also the explicit support BJPhas given to the hindu mahasabha movement, is quite shocking, recently in Karnataka just before the elections there were huge conventions organised to galvanise the hindu vote bank and the leading lights of the movement like Vishwatheertha Swamiji of the Pejwar Mutt (One of the 8 Udupi Mutt) urged the people to vote BJp to power. Now i am not saying, one should not express their personal opinion, but if a swamiji wants to join politics he should do so rather than sitting in the confines of being a religious leader and practising politics.

  • 34. Hemant said:

    I am amused to see the congi supporters (supporters of ‘first right’ minority) are the ones giving most of the advice to BJP!

    Also its very shameful that people have no objections when ‘sikh’ vote bank is galvanized by congis by usng ‘PM candidate’, they enjoy when the puppet and his party allots first claim on national resources for minorities, particularly muslims and selectively ‘lose’ sleep!

  • 35. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Some thought-provoking excerpts from Kanchan Gupta’s latest blog post. The concluding sentence (emphasis mine) is particularly striking:

    6. It is doubtful whether barring a handful, others in the BJP are fully acquainted with either ‘Integral Humanism’ or ‘Hindutva’. It exists in their consciousness in a nebulous form. For the flatterers, not even that.

    7. Which brings us to the question: What, then, is the BJP’s ideology? The official Website of the party does not list any ‘Ideology’, though it has a section on ‘BJP Philosophy’ listed under ‘About Us’. This section lists both ‘Integral Humanism’ and ‘Hindutva’, in that order, as the BJP’s philosophy.

    8. And therein lies the problem. What does the BJP subscribe to as its core value? Though ‘Integral Humanism’ and ‘Hindutva’ are, at one level, all-embracing and all-inclusive, they are not one and the same.

    9. The BJP has never really tried to explain, and elaborate, on either. Preaching to the converted does not help. It needs to ‘sell’ ideas contained in both to a wider audience, not necessarily to convert but to convince.

    10. The issue really is not one of the BJP ‘revisiting’ its ideology or revising it; it is of internalising that which it lists as its ‘philosophy’ and extrapolating from it. To jettison either or both would be to give up its distincitve identity, of which some still remains, and become just another party hankering for power, a clone of the Congress but minus its inherent strengths.

    By the way, the revamped and redesigned BJP Website has dropped a key feature of the old Website. There used to be an icon on the side-bar by clicking on which you could hear the full version of Vande Mataram. Since those who are responsible forrevamping and redesigning the Website are also the brains behind the mission to ‘secularise’ the BJP, I can only assume that it was a considered decision to distance the BJP from Vande Mataram and disown the National Song as being part of its identity. Ironically, it was the BJP’s efforts that led to Parliament according equal status to the National Song as that accorded to the National Anthem — each session of Parliament begins with Jana Gana Mana and ends with Vande Mataram.

    There could be two reasons for dropping Vande Mataram from the BJP Website. One, it makes the BJP ‘look’ Hindu and thus ‘offends’ Muslim sensitivities. Two, it makes the BJP appear ‘old fashioned’ and hence prevents it from ‘connecting’ with the youth. But Muslims aren’t exactly tripping over each other to embrace the BJP, nor are the youth rushing to vote for the party.

    Interestingly, although perhaps not coincidentally, the redesigned RSS Website has also dropped Vande Mataram.

    I guess nationalism, Hindu, cultural or any which way, is no longer a dirty word only for the ‘secularists’ but also for our so-called ‘nationalists’.

    Read in full here.

  • 36. Hemant said:

    @Ashwin, regarding Atal Nehru, I feel this is the BIGGEST insult of Mr Vajpayee!

    Even P V N Rao was a beter PM than Nehru (IMO) and none of he PMs of India has performed even 10% of blunders as the so called ‘chacha’ did :(

  • 37. Hemant said:

    Yes, trying to become ‘secular’ is causing great harm to BJP.

    A good example is Modi – since last year he is trying hard to show his development face and ignore that he was ‘selected’ by majority (Hindus) and steadily his vote share is decreasing (or, at least not increasing as it should have if all the Gujarat development hype is justified).

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  • 38. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Hemant

    As they say keep your enemies closer to you than your friends.
    Though i am a congi supporter, i am also a political commentator and have observed and been involved with Indian polity in more ways than one except contesting, atleast now.

    My view of Indian polity is not just based on the party politics but more importantly to create a new generation of leadership be it what ideology they subscribe to, but in effect out destinations are the same: betterment of India

  • 39. vivekam.vairagyam said:

    …. in a truly secular democracy there needs to be absolute separation of religion and state , but till then it must be possible for all religions to “equally interfere and partake ” of the political process , but in our society today hindus are not allowed to do exactly wht other communities do , in the name of communalism , by the media and so many other vested & relgious interests … this is one continuing evil we are gonna contend with till remedial measures like the uniform civil code can be achieved …

    the bjp of today has totally lost its purpose ,

    it is meant to be a political voice for the fair rights and fruits of the hindu community while still engaging other communities both in terms of wht they do right and wrong ,

    instead , bjp either keeps barking like a dog or becomes sycophantic to please other communites to the extent that the injustice committed goes under the carpet …

    it is the job of the bjp to firmly place the voice and rights of the hindus in the political sphere while also engaging other communities …

    while being able to welcome their support when offered voluntarily , the bjp must be able to take on anyone who intends hurt to the democracy , even while staying focussed on the needs of the hindu community ,

    the bjp will never be seen as truly friendly by the church or the mullahs , so stop trying to please them , instead engage them …

  • 40. Jayadevan said:

    @VCK,

    Let me get this right. You actually believe that if some nations acting in their own self-interest refuse to see human suffering as human suffering, it is a good thing? Now don’t come back to remind me that the UN did so many dishonourable things in its existence, being pressurised by one group or the other. That is a different issue. Realpolitik sees human beings as pawns in a great chess game. We are speaking as human beings ourselves. We are no supporters of the LTTE here, but does that negate the original grievances of the Tamils and their sufferings now? Can we put ourselves in their place for a second? Or would we all like to quote Paul Tibbetts once again, “That’s their tough luck for being there.” This also covers “That’s my good luck for not being there.”

  • 41. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Ashwin,
    Please do not obfuscate the issue as the christian media has done. The RAM MANDIR was never an UPPER CASTE HINDU movement. It was a movement for all. It was as I have already said a movement to show the whole of India that the Hindus have also a place in India and that there ia a political party that will not lose sight of it.
    It proved a point to the true believers of Bharat that they will not be an extinct way of life like the Incas and the Mayans, because of the influence of the Christian led groups.
    The BJP has never targeted True Muslims. They have targeted the Muslims who live here in BETRAYAL of Bharatiya way of thinking. They have targeted the Muslims who have supported the seperatists in Kashmir, the Muslims who have advocated the iilegal migrants from Bangladesh and the Muslims who have not raised the voice against the terrorists who have targeted India.
    The BJP has never targeted True Christians. They have targeted the Christians who live here in BETRAYAL of Bharatiya way of thinking. They have targeted the Christians who have tried to demonise the Hindu way of life and demonise the hindu gods through lies and cheating.
    Let me amplify. I still recall two incidents in my life about these TARGETED christians.
    I was travelling through a village in Souhern India where I was visiting a temple near a tribal village somewhwere near Ciombatore and I came across a group which was collecting a crowd like the Snake Charmers. I went closer for a look and I noticed that it was a group of these preachers who were trying to prove a miracle. The Miracle was the floating of a wooden cross and the sinking of an Iron Hanuman. GREAT MIRACLE. The village boys were too shrewd to be taken up by this stupid miracle that they were just chased away and asked never to return.
    The second time was when they came to my house and spoke abut Christ. I showed them the number of copies of the Bible which I had and also gracefully accepted a copy they gave me. I in return gave them a copy of the Katha Upanishad of Shri Aurobindo and one of the Bhaja Govindam of Sri Sankara and they refused even to TOUCH it Leave alone accepting it.
    These are the Christians the BJP is targeting. Anything wrong?
    If not for the Ram Mandir and the proof that the Hindus are not alone and that they will not become extinct like the Incas and the Mayans that catapulated Shri Vajpayee to the post of the PM. Not his Pan Indian acceptance and other nonsense. If that was the case he should have been PM even before Indira Gandhi as he was senior to her. If it was only a question of Pan India Acceptance.
    The Rath Yatra was not in conflict with the true spirit of Bhratiya. It was a wholesome spectacle. On one hand it was proof of that support for the Hindus without losing identity of being Bharatiya. There was no smell of seperatism in these two thoughts until the Christian Media Misinterpreted the wholesome activity as it meant a blow to their avowed concept of either christianise India or dismember India.
    I am ashamed to offer any comment on minorityism as then it means that I support the idea that there are Muslim Indians, Christian Indians and Hindu Indians.
    The Pejawar call was a call for the Hindus to make India survive as otherwise it will be dismembered under the guise of Minorityism and there will be no place for true “Secularism” to exist in this world. There will be only two polarised worlds.
    A Christian Led World and a Muslim led world. No existence for any thoughts of progress and growth.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 42. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ vck: Excellent comment…and thanks for picking up some points that I had missed in Ashwin’s reply.

    ***

    @ Ashwin (#33): vck has already dealt with your erroneous labeling of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement as a movement of “upper caste hindus”.

    But the comment that really surprised me was this: “Their is no wrong is helping minorities come to the main stream of the society.“.

    Who exactly is a minority Ashwin?

    Is it the poor Hindu living in a Muslim majority district in Assam? Is it an IT professional living in Dharavi? Is it a Muslim living in Malegaon? Is it a Kashmiri Pandit living in Srinagar? Is it a call centre employee living in a colony occupied by government officers? Is she the Muslim girl studying Sanskrit at school? Is it the Hindu Brahmin learning Urdu? Is it APJ Abdul Kalam reading Vedas? Is it a “Dalit” living in a village dominated by OBCs? Is it a Brahmin sweeper in a “Harijan basti”?

    Do also read and comment on “A rethink on majority and minorities”

    Finally, Also the example that you have given of Vishwateertha Swamiji explicitly asking his followers to vote for Congress is not an example of BJP’s support to Hindu Mahasabha but a case of Hindus supporting BJP.
    In the same context, what do you make of Churches in Kerala asking their congregation to vote for a specific candidate/party and what do you make of this post re. “Church politics” in Mizoram?

  • 43. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ VCK

    I am not obfuscating, but merely putting forward a view that i have always held being a Hindu myself. Also Ram Mandir movement did clearly bring about the revival of the caste equation in hindi heartland as a retaliation to the mandal movement. Also ram mandir movement was built on the platform of fear that hindus especially upper caste hindus would become extint. To be very true i dont beleive there is any threat to hindu walk of life and there was never a threat. History is evidence to the test of times, hindu walk of life has gone through and yet remained steadfast.

    What use of buliding Ram Temple as a symbol, when majority of those are not subscribing to his ideals of Raj Dharm.

    I take exceptions to equate hindu movement to Bharat – Bharat is a country – a physical boundry where all beleivers exist, hindu are the majority grouping of Bharat and hindu walk of life is a nation to itself, as one can be an hindu even outside Bharat.
    It is this dichotomy which RSS/VHP/Hindu Mahasabha/Jan Sangh/BJP subscribed to after the merger of hindu mahasabha led by Savarkar in 1946 (around that, i might be slight off by couple of years). It is this dichotomy which needs to be addressed for BJP to be more acceptable to everyone.

    As targetting muslims or christians have been done not on the basis that they are a threat to Bharat as a country but there are enough incided like in Godhra, Kandhamal and even in places like Mangalore where culture has been attacked.
    It is important to make the distinction between Bharat the country and Bharatiya the cultural nation we are.

    Especially Christian missionaries have been targetted for preaching the word of God. I see no reason in preaching. The same is done and can be done in Hindu run schools, what is more imprortant is to practice what one preaches and here i am afraid we talk about building Ram Temple, but dont bother to imbibe his ideals in our day to day living.

    You might have had some bad experiences, and my sympathies with you. But on the contrary there are people who can quote good examples as well. Christian missionaries groups contribution to education in India cant be un recognised adn in the same context their service to uphold comunity living needs to be apperciated.

    As for Pejwar swamiji – i can cite things that are probably not worth mentioning on the blog and his contribution to the society sadly is not anyway comparable to some one say Shivakumara swamiji who has imparted education and free accomodation to every bharatiya irrespective of religion/caste/creed adn yet has never come out and said Hindus or hindu walk of life has been in danger – it is merely a figment of ones imagination to capture power by playing on the fear factor.
    Also if one goes to Udupi mutt after visiting the temple and if one proceeds for the prasad in the form of lunch or dinner, why are there still two strands one for brahmins and the other for non brahmins. The treatment meeted out and the way people are served food are just an indication to the fact of how deep rooted this upper caste/brahminical (not brahmin caste) mindset is prevailing and these right woing organisations go on to subscribe these internal difference as valid and yet acceptable Bharatiya.
    Also why does a swamiji who is involved in spreading the word of God need to get involved in politics and the nitty gritties of politics??
    Is this not a covert effort to capture power in the name of religion.

    I strongly disagree to your opinion on how Vajpayee was catapulted to power, he was done so, because he understood that hindu does not mean Bharat and hindus dont just constitute bharatiya – it is a true unity in diversity.

  • 44. K. Harapriya said:

    @Shantanu. I was wondering if it is possible to have a discussion on solid steps Hindus can take and organizations they can participate in to get specific results. For example, to get government out of running our religious institutions, what are the steps we need to take to get a change in the interpretation of the constitution? (From my understanding the constitution guarantees equal rights to all religious institutions but has been intrepreted in court judgements as pertaining to only minority ones.) Are there ways of demanding a change in law which can be initiated by a people’s movement or does everything require political power? I think if we wait for the BJP or any other supposedly Hindu party to rescue us or protect our interests, we will be waiting for a long time.

  • 45. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Harapriya

    I am surprised by your comments – do you mean in India, being a hindu is a difficulty?? And there is no option for Hindus to practice their faith???

    India is not a hindu country, India is a country where all religions and fathis have an opportunity to exist and practice their faiths.

    It would be a alltogether seperate discussion on the cultural aspect of south asia. ure of south asia – irrespective of different religions by and far a similar principles at a high level that govern the culture.

  • 46. K. Harapriya said:

    @Ashwin. I wanted to start another discussion of proactive steps Hindus can take to protect their rights. Yes, being a Hindu in India is difficult if we cannot run our own educational and religious institutions and be free of government interference in the practice of our religion. Recently, the Tamil Nadu government took over the Chidambaram Temple. The last few years have seen the attempt of the UPA and the Tamil Nadu state government to destroy the Ram Sethu. Countless temples have been destroyed in Kashmir since the militancy. Need I go on? If Hindus cannot follow their religious customs and control their temples and educational insitutions, they are a defacto second class citizen in their own country. You say that India is not a Hindu country. Fair enough. But Hindus deserve the same rights given to the minority communities. It might behoove us to remember that just as the Muslims of India claimed that they had a right to self-determination and demanded an independent nation, the Hindus if pushed to a corner can claim that right too.

  • 47. Indian said:

    @Ashwin

    —-And there is no option for Hindus to practice their faith???—

    Why you talk of option, we just want to practice Hinduism.

    —-India is not a Hindu country, India is a country where all religions and fathis have an opportunity to exist and practice their faiths—

    No one has to preach Hindus that. Hindu and Hinduism is secular religion in itself, that the reason existed till now with other culture and religions. And correct your info., India was and will remain for Hindus, where others too can practice their religion without any fear. Why are you twisting the sentence for projecting yourself ‘too secular’ and trying to demean Hindus who love their faith and country?. Jain, Sikh, Buddhism were branches of Hinduism. So the word Hindu covers all of them. Though they say we are not Hindu. Islam and Christians came from outside. Practicing religion in India and calling themselves Indian is different thing and loving the country as dear as mother is different thing.

    Since when did you keep Hindustan on sale! Just congress got elected, don’t get into the mood to hand over the country who so ever you want. Update your knowledge on how dear and near India is to others.

  • 48. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Shantanu

    vck has already dealt with your erroneous labeling of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement as a movement of “upper caste hindus”.
    ——
    My observation was a political ramification, after mandal politics which put up OBC stars across the country, the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement catapulted the majority upper caste hindus in UP, Bihar, MP, Gujrat, Karnataka. If you observe the political graph of parties and their the voter base they have appealed to – it becomes pretty clear how different movements split the voter base. Hence my comments were purely based on the political ramifications of the movement.

    As for the Ram Temple movement – i still maintain those who belonged or subscribed to the Hindumahasabha wing of the RSS/VHP/BJP who provoked and also made history of creating communcal violence in the name of Temple. This explains why Kalyan Singh, Vajpayee – who were leaders of BJP were kept in the dark of pulling the mosque down. The Govt was not against a temple comming up in the vicinity of the Mosque, but pulling down the moseque was a major mistake. I am sure the likes of Vajpayee will express the same view.

    Let me ask a more abstratc question: Being a hindu, do you think that having a Ram Temple there was very mandatory to protect hindu walk of life? And Was it necessary to pull down the mosque to build the Ram Temple to save hindu walk of life???
    Being a hindu, i dont think so: i merely hold this as calculated adventure of catapulting to power by dividing the society in the same fashion as how mandal politics hit the division of the society.

    On Vishwatheertha Swamiji
    —-
    I am not against him giving a war cry for hindus to vote for BJP. But i am against when he talks about dharma and yet is he doing his dharma properly by supporting one political party against the other – which clearly is against the thesis of being a religious guru.

    No political party has been able to hold sway over the entire religion. But if we break them down to caste, we can clearly make out which political party gets support from the different caste segmentation. Hence one should be careful not to geberalise certain castes as hindus and others as not.

    (Below may not be accurate, but gives you a by and large high level view based on my experience of observing political parties)

    BJP gets its votes from:
    —–
    Lingayats, Brahmins, Thakurs, Baniyas, by and large. There is an element of muslims, christians, OBCs and Dalits, STs

    Congress gets its votes from:
    —–
    Brahmins, OBSc, Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Thakurs, Lingayats, SC, ST – there is no caste votes for Congress in majority it all deepends on states and opposition

    Parties like RJD, SP, BSP:
    —-
    OBCs, Dalits, Muslim, Christians – more a caste or identity based parties.

    Hence one can safely say the BJP’s movement and growth helped garner votes en block from the upper caste, in the same way the caset/identity based parties gets their votes enblock from OBCs/Dalits. The electoral improvement of BJPs tally have been defined by Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The electoral improvements of Identity based parties have been defined by the mandal politics. Hence my observation on the ram janmabhoomi movement which paid dividends to BJP in the form of getting upper caste votes to BJP.

    We can agree to disagree, but i would suggest, speak to political party adn election strategists and i am sure you shall coem to the same conclusion as i have.

    Your comment on hindus supporting BJP is factually wrong: dont generalise certain castes as hindus and others as not. For example most of the caste apart from Dalits call themselves as hindus. The caset break down and voting pattern can be studies to bust the myth of your statement.

    Hence, my conjucture that if BJP has to improve, they have to get a mass appeal. They should appeal to all sections of the society. To do this they can either take the route of Vajpayee who was more about cultural India school of thought rather than go down the Modi, Tagodia route of hindu mahasabha route else they should build a leadership structure by giving representation to mass leaders not TV leaders beloging to all sections of the society the Congres way (hence i call Congress party itself is a grouping of different school of thoughts all come together).

  • 49. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ Harapriya (#46): Let me think about that…perhaps I will start an open thread on this topic.

    ***

    @ Ashwin: Let me ask a more abstratc question: Being a hindu, do you think that having a Ram Temple there was very mandatory to protect hindu walk of life? And Was it necessary to pull down the mosque to build the Ram Temple to save hindu walk of life???

    Very good questions. I will attempt to answer these in a post on Ram Janmabhoomi that I am drafting at the moment.

    And you misunderstood me: “Your comment on hindus supporting BJP is factually wrong

    What I meant in my comment was that the Swami asking his followers to vote for BJP is – prima facie – an example of Hindus supporting the BJP rather than the BJP supporting Hindu Mahasabha. That’s all.

    I have no arguments with your support base analysis. It feels right and I certainly have no data to prove otherwise.
    I also agree that “Hence, my conjucture that if BJP has to improve, they have to get a mass appeal.”. The disagreement may be on “how to get this mass appeal?”

    ***

    @ All: I have moved all the comments related to Shri Ram Sethu to this post: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/09/27/voices-of-caution-on-sethusamudram/

    Pl. note that most topics that you would like to discuss are likely to be covered in one of the past posts.

    Pl. use the “Search” box for this purpose or the “Categories” drop down menu (both in the right-hand side bar).

    This helps in maintaining the flow of the discussion and comments.

    Pl. limit your comments on this post to BJP only. Thanks.

  • 50. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Harapriya

    Yes, being a Hindu in India is difficult if we cannot run our own educational and religious institutions and be free of government interference in the practice of our religion.
    —–
    I am not sure if this representataion is wholly accepted pan India basis. There might have been incidences that i am not aware of, but truly this is not the generalised view.
    TN is a peculiar case, as both the dravidian parties built their politics bashing brahminism. It later turned out the AIADMK after Jayalalitha is more softer towards the brahminisms than the DMK.

    For example: Karnataka govt which ran the Gokarna temple gave its adminstration to a particular swamiji from Shimoga dist who was more sympathetic to the cause of BJP. There would not have been a issue had the swamiji been non political and stuck to promoting religion. But his covert support to a party raises question on his integrity.

    Ram Sethu issue needs to be dealth based on facts and fiction. I can only say i dont have all the information to make a more detailed comment on this at this point of time. I can see merits and de-merits in the Ram Sethu issue in terms of heritage and economics.

    Kashmir is a clear issue of militancy adn limitants have no religion – though they give a call in the name of religion to recruit their members.

    Hindus are not being pushed to a corner in India, it is a ploy of VHP/RSS/BJP to play on the fear factor to garner votes. Comming from Karnataka, being a a upper caste hindu, i have never faced any problem that you have cited. Though there may have been cases, but such blips are few. These are nothing more than vote aggregation tactics. Lets seperate religion from politics – meaning let us see though religion and practice of it outside the political prisim.

  • 51. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Indian

    I am not trying to dmean anyone or any religion. I am just holding the view point that i am a practising hindu, and i have not had any problems in practising my faith in India and i dont see hindu walk of life being attacked in any fashion either by the government or anyone, nor being a hindu in India is like a 2nd class citizen like some one in the earlier post mentioned.

    India as a country belongs to people who practice hindu walk of life, christians, muslims, Jains, Bhddhists, beleivers and non beleivers.

    There is a clear differnece between cultural nationalism – that is irrespective of which country one lives in they are still part of the hindu walk of life and in the same context India as a country where hindus are one of the many other faiths which reside.

  • 52. B Shantanu (author) said:

    All: Many of you will find Kanchan Gupta’s latest post thought-provoking.

  • 53. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Jayadevan,
    Let me assure you that I am in no way supporting the Nazi holocaust – vis-a-vis the LTTE.
    The LTTE started of honorably, but ended up a monster of garangutan proportions.
    The world is willing to listen to legitimate methods of dealing with being considered a second rate citizen, but not monsters.
    I am discussing only the monstrosity of the LTTE. You need to destroy a monster and that is what President Rajapakshe did.
    Further the point was raised by me not to focus on the LTTE as it was not the focus of the discussion, but on the leadership of the Prseident.I only drew a parallel as I want the BJP to concentrate on its idealogy and not to be led up the garden path by its supposed to be supporters.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 54. Hemant said:

    Perhaps BJP can take a look at this cartoon and start thinking about minority vote bank politics?

  • 55. harish said:

    Hemant,
    Forget it. BJP will never get votes from minorities. After all the shrill speak about being a party with a difference if they stoop down to what congress does, then people would rather vote for congress not its clone :)
    BJP truly deserves it and I dont see its revival either for the next decade.

  • 56. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Harish,

    You are partially correct in saying BJP which was looked as a party of difference for all sections of the society after 1996. They did not flatter on accounts of major policies but they flattered on their core ideology as they got increasingly confgused about 3 different ideological section of RSS/BJP?jan Sangh/VHP and other off shoots.

    India would be better in having a strong BJP as against various identity based small parties. The bi-polarity of either a Congress led block or the BJP led block should be maintained.

    BJP is not dfret of talents, but they should go out and engage with the masses as against their Gen Next which is happy to sit in the confines of TV studios and scoring debating brownie points.

    I do beleibe like Shivaraj Chowhan, Raman Singh there are many BJP regional satraps who are capable of showcasing the development anagle rather than any negatives or stigma associated with BJP on the issue of religion/hindus.

  • 57. harish said:

    @ashwin,
    You left out Modi. He is the torch bearer of development.
    All that I say is they have no political future if they act as B team of congress. People would choose an experienced congress than BJP if both of them have the same thing to offer.

  • 58. Ashwin Kumaraswamy said:

    @ Harish

    I guess we are in agreement here that BJP cant be seen as a B team of Congress in terms of they were not really party of change.

    The reason for leaving out Narendra Modi – he is to divisive a figure even within BJP. On the larger context his projection in my opinion would be counter productive. BJP needs to find a similar combination liek Atal-Advani combo, one who is more organisational and other who can appeal to all sections of the community. I guess this is where they are missing out.

  • 59. harish said:

    @ashwin,
    Nice that we agree on some issue atleast :)
    But having said that modi being a divisive figure or not is debatable, but that shouldn’t be a reason why one shouldn’t talk about the developmental works and the novel methods of governance he has brought in. Courts will decide his innocence and the planning commission reports his achievements on developmental works.

  • 60. Arise, Awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached : Friends of BJP — Because India Deserves Better said:

    [...] frustrations and lamentations. There are conspiracy galores, thread bare analyses of the defeat and sane advices for future, of which some are for party and some party neutral advices – probably doubting the ability of the [...]

  • 61. Akshar said:

    Some of the finest points I have ever seen.
    The most important does come first. Stop Aping Congress. :)

  • 62. Nitin Shankar said:

    Hari Om,

    This is Nitin…. First of all BJP must understand the real meaning of Hindutva. THey are unnecassarily giving Hindutva a Bad name…. Request to read Swami Vivekananda’s books on the same. You must also include the minorities.

    Man with complete knowledge of Hinduism will never be in this situation.

  • 63. Pradip Ramesh Patil said:

    Namaskar Shantanu,
    Awesome analysis of BJP defeat.

    http://election.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/jun/05/slide-show-1-why-the-bjp-lost-elections-2009.htm

  • 64. Khandu Patel said:

    For me the BJP lost when it failed to grasp the golden opportunity it had when it first rode to power at the centre. Its champions in the Sangh scoffed at me when I pointed out to them that the North of India would be aflame with low intensity war. Kargil followed and they gave up a golden opportunity to make a paradigm shift. They were then a minority partner in the Government which needed to break out as a party in its own right. Since they were not willing to take the war to Pakistan, its other plank of building the Ram temple proved opportunistic because of its unwillingess and inability to deliver. A BJP Minister said to me then that they were willing to sit on it and had very little intention to deliver on their promise.

    It is one thing to work the country into a frenzy of expectation and another to face the music when it is delivered. The BJP then proved to be like any other party and lost power little knowing why it lost. This time round it has not proved any different. The party is now established on the landscape of Indian politics. Advani’s attempt to give it the pseudo secular face of Congress behind the mask of its essentially Hinduvta agenda has been confusing to say the least. It is said of the English Conservative Party, that it is a party of the Anglican Church at prayer. The BJP has a future if it can fulfill that promise.

    Post Advani, the party needs to be able to project a leader as a counter to Rahul Gandhi. This goes very much against the Sangh’s philosophy of not letting any of its leader to be anything more than first among equals. A country’s leader who necessarily needs to embrace the country cannot be so constrained. As an example, Advani’s gesture made at the Jinah temple is tolerable when made on behalf of the country as a visiting Prime Minster but it was foolhardy of him to do it out of office. I myself would not make any such gesture.

  • 65. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Dear All: Thanks for some great comments. I will respond later tonight.

  • 66. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Sudheendra Kulkarni and Swapan Dasgupta weigh in on the BJP’s eletcion performance.

    Both more or less arguing that the party must abandon/ look beyond the “Hindutva” plank.

  • 67. Khandu Patel said:

    Sudheendra should be thanked for his candour but his analysis and conclusions are not correct any more than the policy he helped the BJP on formulating for the elections. The appearance I have of Hindutva as an ideology is as a construct in defence of Hindu rule to that of the British rule of the time. The British had left India more than a century a ago and the same tired script cannot provide the narrative for India in to the future. The suggestion that the BJP should be a party less identified with Hindu causes would be a betrayal of Hindus. The fact remains that if it was alright for the Muslims to have had the Muslim League which delivered a handsome return for the Muslims, what justificiation is there for denying the just their fruits in their own land? The Christian Democrats in Europe are proof that a party of its main religious constituency can occupy political space, and that should also be the case for Hindus of India. The only question is whether Hinduism by its very nature is proving difficult in that regard. That is also true. But the challenge is too important for India as a nation to ignore. The BJP can without loss dispense with the stridently anti-Mulsim focus but the agenda for unifying the disparate entities of India should remain intact.

  • 68. Khandu Patel said:

    To be frank I have been re-thinking the last message posted to your site, and in particular my reference to the anti-Muslim focus of the Hindu right in the elections. That has been the easy course because it neatly submerged divisions in Hindu society. The fact remains that India won independence half a century ago and it seems rather incongruous that the this is the only way that the Hindu majority has been able to assert itself even though the modern state is an all powerful instrument of coercion. The blood bath of partition should have ended the debate about who is the master in the land but communal disturbances that were so much an instrument of British rule used to keep the country on the edge remain a characteristic feature of India to this day. In fact, the new phenomena of BJP rule has seen communal disturbances in states controlled by them abate. My reading of the situation is that the secularists of Congress and and the left generally have found communal disturbances useful to maintaining their rule. But that would not have been possible if Hinduism had not vacated the space to them in the first place: in fact it begs the question whether Hindus India ever occupied that space from independence. We have to bring this discourse beyond slogans into a rational debate with that purpose in mind. Elections in a true democracy are not meant to be simply an exercise in choosing a representative: they are also meant to reinforce the legitimacy of rule by the state and I mean a state that is Hindu Bharat at its heart. If the choices made by the electorate in the last two elections were crass, it may have also been because the choices offered to them were crass too. In the years since Indira took control, the troika of Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins have determined India’s destiny. I am in no doubt that there is a common Hindu characteristic that is crying out for self expression and which for too long has been suppressed. The BJP in their review of the causes of the defeat in the elections would do well to bear that in mind. I for my part believe that if the BJP cannot come up with a satisfactory answer that reconciles Hindus of the country, then a much more drastic course of action is going to be necessary.

  • 69. ACH said:

    BJP’s failure – Note by Arvind Lavakare

    So many firends — and foes! — have been writing about this or that being the reason for the BJP’s humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
    But a little bit of news in the Delhi Confidential column of *The Indian Express* of 8th June may well be a key factor in addition to those causes “analysed” by commentators.

    That news is about Jaswant Singh who, having been elected to the Lok Sabha, has found himself denied all the pampering and privileges he previously enjoyed as the Opposition Leader in the Rajy Sabha. According to *The Indian Express *issue referred to above, *”He (Jaswant Singh) has told his successor Arun Jaitley that he would retain his room till the end of the (current) session (of Parliament). Two, his staff would be working for Jaitley only on paper but actually continue to be with him. Singh’s wish-list includes the retention of a South Avenue flat as guest accommodation.”*

    **
    It should be noted that *The Indian Express* has *not* reported the above as hearsay gossip but as a fact of which the reporter is sure. It therefore reveals the very self-centred and selfish attitude of Jaswant Singh who, as a retired senior Army officer, was expected to show a moral and self-effacing trait in his character.

    The above obnoxious reaction of Jaswant Singh is exactly the opposite of the ordinary Mumbai citizen’s perception about the self-sacrifice made by Rahul Gandhi in refusing a ministerial berth in the new government and preferring instead to work on his party’s organisational matters.

    There’s a lesson, I believe, in this for all BJP people. They simply must understand that the Indian instinctively has a soft corner for those who are willing to give up on their pelf and positions, and instead be seen as working for the common citizen of the country in some capacity or the other.

    The BJP must indeed first win the people’s hearts before trying to win their minds and votes. The common citizen faces so many problems throughout the year — admission of his child to a school, securing registration on the electoral roll and getting his Voting ID Card, getting his medical insurance reimbursement, getting regular water and power supply, etc etc etc. Help is needed for little little things everywhere — in the village, in the tehsil, in the town and the metro. But is there a political party worker available there to help? Hardly ever. If the BJP can provide this help — even if only to represent the grievance and follow it up with the authority concerned—the BJP will win the people’s hearts and, later, their votes. Talking from personal experience, many a Congress worker does have that quality of offering help, irrespective of whether he finally succeeds or not in his/her effort.

    But the BJP seems totally deficient in that requirement. Instead, like Jaswant Singh, the BJP seems interested only in the loaves and fishes of office. For example, why didn’t Advani just be firm on giving up his position as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament? Why hasn’t he demanded that his Z plus security be brought down to a minimum level? (Who would want to kill him now?) Why doesn’t the BJP decide that its MPs will not take their daily allowance whenever there’s a walk-out from Parliament by *any *political party?Above all, why did Vajpayee want a seven-star bungalow as the retired PM of this country? Why, oh why, didn’t he move in with his adopted son-in-law’s specious dwelling in the capital?

    Sacrifice, common man above self — that is one integral part of the new “ideology” which the BJP must adopt — right now. Let the BJP do it in a sustauined manner in its weakest states — West Bengal, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and a most pleasant surprise, I’m sure, would await them.

    Arvind Lavakare

  • 70. ACH said:

    Sudheendra Kulkarni’s friend speaks

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    Dear friend,

    Namaskar,

    Sudheendra Kulkarni, who currently works as an aide to Mr. LK Advani, is an old friend. In 1975, both of us joined IIT Bombay for B.Tech. A couple of days back Sudheendra wrote an article “Hindu Divided Family”, which you may read at

    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=Ne130609hindu_divide… .

    Sudheendra’s article has drawn considerable attention in media. I am replying to Sudheendra in an open letter discussing the role of Mr. Advani in BJP and also the defeat of BJP in recent elections.

    The enclosed open letter to Sudheendra is about 2000 words. Please read it and send me your comments.

    With Best Wishes and Regards,

    Anil Chawla

    – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    Dear Sudheendra,

    I have just read your “deeply introspective essay” on tehelka.com about BJP’s defeat in recent elections. The article is described as introspective, but I failed to find anything that could be called introspection by any stretch of imagination. True, you say that “I too carry my share of responsibility”, but that is more courteous than introspective.

    All through the essay, you look upon BJP as a patient lying on an operating table and your role as that of an outsider trying to see all that has gone wrong. The patient is being blamed for all that has gone wrong, without in any way blaming either the virus or the team of doctors who have brought the patient to the present critical state.

    Please pardon me for being direct and on the face. I guess as a former classmate I can take this freedom. I campaigned for Janata Party in 1977 elections. Ever since then I have been in and around the party (JP/BJP) working at various levels. Sure enough, I have not been an aide to Mr. LK Advani (LK) like you have been. Both of us began dabbling in public life together at IIT Bombay. I have spent
    more than three decades in close proximity with BJP and RSS without ever being offered a post. I am not alone. There are thousands like me who have served in their own humble way. What has always surprised me is that someone like you who was a committed fulltime communist for almost two decades, suddenly did an ideological somersault and
    landed up straight in the top rungs of BJP. When you are in mood for some introspection, please do think about this. Probably, the roots to the present malaise in BJP can be traced to your own personal journey.

    When a communist suddenly becomes an ideologue for a party like BJP, there is bound to be skepticism and even some ridicule. It becomes imperative on the neo-convert to prove that there has been a genuine transformation of the soul and not just a change of coat. Even if the neo-convert does manage to prove his credentials, there is no way that he should ever be allowed to rule over the heads of people who
    have devoted their life to the cause. In your case, (a) you have never proved that you have really changed and (b) you actually landed up on top of the ranks in a manner that is most inexplicable. I say that you have not been able to prove your credentials because I have read some of your articles and I can say with a fair level of confidence that you remain at heart a communist who is trying to put on the camouflage of a Hindu.

    Dear Sudheendra, I have nothing against you personally. Your appointment as National Executive member of BJP, at the time of your joining BJP, and later as Prime Minister’s key aide had pleased me enormously. One always likes to see old friends in positions of power. The problem is that your case is not an isolated one, but a representative one. There are many in Delhi and Mumbai who have been able to gain access to LK’s coterie by hook or by crook and it is
    these who now rule over BJP.

    When you analyze BJP and RSS with a cold surgeon like approach, you ignore the role that LK’s family and coterie has come to play in the party. Elections of 2009 were not fought by BJP against Congress, but were reduced by LK and his gang to a war by LK against one and all.
    The party has been systematically hijacked and decimated over the past decade and a half by LK’s coterie. You just need to look at the campaign material prepared by the party for the recent elections.
    There is only one face — LK’s. Even Atal ji was not considered worthy of being put on the hoardings and posters. Congress gained mileage from photographs of Gandhi and Nehru decades after their deaths.
    Communists continue to revere Lenin and Stalin till today. Contrast this with the way LK and his war team dumped Atal ji most discourteously even though he is alive and continues to be revered by millions in the country.

    You say that the BJP leadership is in disarray. If it is true, the only person who is responsible for the mess in the party is LK and no one else. He has ruled over the party with an iron hand for more than two decades. In fact, the words “Majboot Neta” (Strong Leader) that were used to describe LK during the recent election, apply only in
    respect of the way LK behaves in the matter of crushing his critics and opponents within the party. He is ruthless in demolishing anyone who as much as raises an eyebrow against him. He has no patience for anyone who even dreams of being his equal within the party. Can you please name for me two people who are LK’s equals within BJP, in LK’s vision? LK’s desire to stand as a tallest leader made him choose only
    pygmies for all critical positions in the party. The only way that one could rise up in BJP with LK at helm was to act as a subservient spineless dwarf.

    The problem with dwarfs is that while they are very good for boosting one’s ego, they have limited use when one faces a war-like situation.
    In the recent elections, LK decided to fight it all alone. LK and his family and coterie thought that their rag-tag army of laptop professionals could substitute for the well-oiled and tested machinery of BJP, ABVP and RSS. The irony is that the blame for the defeat is now being put on the doors of the organizations that were treated most shabbily when LK and his team were dreaming of victory.
    LK and his team are now complaining that no one from BJP top leadership stood up to defend him when he was under attack. The fact is that among BJP leadership, the ones who command any stature were always ignored, attacked and pushed to the sideline by LK and his gang. So when LK came under attack he looked around for support and found none. Of course, there were many rats who were raising their
    feeble voices in his support. Unfortunately, the voices of rats do not count. This is something that LK should have thought before he appointed rats in all the key positions.

    You talk about the party’s social base. Did LK do anything in this regard during the past five years? The answer is an emphatic NO. When LK did his last ‘yatra’ before 2004 elections, a photograph of his starting point was circulated. It showed LK standing with his daughter and wife. There were no BJP leaders on the dais. LK defended
    the presence of his family by saying that he drew strength from them.
    This is the root of the problem. In the past decade or so, LK stopped drawing strength from the party or Sangh parivar, and started leaning on his personal family ignoring the larger family to which small humble persons like me belong and from where we draw our strength. LK
    saw the party and Sangh pariwar as a tool to achieve his personal ambition at all costs. In the past decade, LK’s focus was on building his personal image, his family strengths, his mafia-like grip on the party. The thought of getting or building leaders who command or could potentially command respect in various social groups seems to have been far removed from LK’s mind.

    I attended the function at Bhopal of LK’s unveiling of his
    autobiography in Hindi. What an unabashed projection by a person who has no achievements worth mentioning even in one paragraph! Future historians will mention LK as a classic example of a person who had illusions of grandeur. They will write that he was a manipulator who was ruthless to independent thought within his party and rose by
    methods that ruined the party. Having said that they would probably add – he saw films and wrote two eminently forgettable autobiographies. What else is there to mention about LK’s lifetime achievements? Are there any articles / books written by him on social-political issues? At least I am not aware of any. He is a self-centered person who cannot see beyond himself and his interests.
    If he puts pen on paper it is to describe his own self because that is all that he can ever see. If he talks about Hinduism / Hindutwa or any political ideology or national issues, it sounds hollow because he has never applied his mind to anything except his own interests, his family, his career, his ambitions, his dreams etc.

    You might respond by saying that all politicians today are like that.
    You would probably be right on that. But then they know that they are run-of-the-mill politicians with no illusions of being grand strong leaders. If LK had realized his own limitations, he would not have tried to fashion 2009 elections as an exercise to elect him as the prime minister. The worst thing that happened in 2004 and 2009
    elections is that the BJP, under the influence of LK, did not use the elections as an exercise to take party’s ideology forward. In days of Jansangh, when it used to be absolutely clear that there was no possibility of winning, the party would still fight. In those days, it used to be clear that fighting an election was an opportunity to
    propagate our ideology and thoughts to a bigger audience. In the 2009 election, the campaign was focused only on the persona of LK ignoring even the party’s manifesto.

    As an old hand of the broad ideological historical process that I call as Hindu nationalistic movement, I have no serious regrets about BJP losing 2004 or 2009 elections. But I do regret that the party which was making an attempt in its initial years to define a new vision for Ekatm Manavwad (translated by me as Monistic Humanism) lost way. I regret that instead of focusing on issues and ideas the
    party focused on an individual. I regret that the party for whom thousands shed blood and lives became a tool in the hands of some who want to live a seven-star lifestyle. I regret that personal ambitions and aspirations of one man became the focus of many organizations that are known for the sacrifices of their leaders.

    Dear Sudheendra, I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say, “The BJP can indeed bounce back. But it can do so only if it first renews and empowers itself comprehensively — in its ideology, its geographical-social spread, its own political strength, its mass activity, its alliance-building, its cadre-based organizational network, and its leadership”. The difference is in approach. While
    you would like to probably do it with LK and his cronies at the helm, I shall like Sangh pariwar to put the dark days of LK and his cronies behind.

    Sangh leadership must act to decisively purge BJP of LK and his individual-centered style of working. Competence and not loyalty to this or that individual must be the criterion for all appointments.
    Ideology must take centre-stage once again and those who can help with defining and clarifying ideological issues should be in key positions and not sycophants or moneybags.

    I am making this letter public because I think that the issues that are discussed here are very important and need a wider debate. Of course, I know that this will put me at the risk of harsh retaliatory action by LK and his coterie. I guess that I have to take this risk in wider national interest. I hope I can count on you as an old friend if the action turns nasty.

    With Best Wishes and Regards,

    Anil Chawla

  • 71. Avinash said:

    Chawlas letter is good, but why not a Kamaraj like plan for the BJP. In the post IT age , the media , TV and blogs have come to stay. They have to project leaders with charisma at the top level. Leaders who can handle the media well. Marx called religion the opium of the people, but in the present times media , TV can be an overdose of opium for the party if they are not able to present themselves before the media well.

    So, those who are vulnerable to the overdose of this opium, they must go to grassroots and work to strengthen the party at the base. Those who are not vulnerable to this opium , must be projected as leaders.

    Yes , Media can be the opium, if the limits are not known.

  • 72. Khandu Patel said:

    Chawla’s remark about LK has the ring of truth but let us not forget that it was LK’s almost blind vision and conviction that brought the BJP to the centre stage. Without his achievement which were those of a megalamaniac we could not even have hoped to have our rightful place for Hindu Bharat of the future. We need to be as charitable to LK as Nil Chawla who was right to say his piece. In that lies greatness. It is to the future that we should be looking.

  • 73. RR (author) said:

    (Excerpted from an email)

    …With what is Advani going to re-vitalise the party? With the same tired thinking, same worn out cliches, same floundering sense of identity, same cluelessness of what constitutes the soul of the nation? The same Chennai coterie, the same Sudheendra Kulkarni, the same neo-cults whom Advani is promoting as important hindu religious leaders?

    We have rejected Advani, his coterie, Sudheendra Kulkarni and the new-cults. I dont want a Gandhi clone, I dont want another failed INC now masquerading as the BJP.

    The Congress at least, true to its origins has gone back to being led by an European Christian. The BJP as it is today, will at best not even be a clone but a cheap imitation.

  • 74. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Stumbled on this:
    12 unsolicited revival tips for an ailing BJP

    to which Sh Kalyanaraman-ji added a “13th tip”:

    Advaniji, stop talking of ratha yatras. Stay at home to enjoy the 80 years of life.

    ACTION: Let BJP karyakartas visit every one of the 6.5 lakh villages — at least once a month — and set up a bhagava flag in very village with a representative to receive peoples’ grievances.

    Some of the twelve bits of advice echo what I have written in the post.

  • 75. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Also read:
    BJP: Himalayan Shame
    by Sandhya Jain

  • 76. K. Harapriya said:

    There is an important spiritual lesson here for the BJP. Those who would sacrifice dharma for rajya find that they have neither.

    One important point in reviving the BJP is for it to identify its base. It really cannot be all things to all people since that particular post is occupied by the Congress . Furthermore, if it is serious about some of its positions like the uniform civil code, anti conversion laws etc, it will NEVER get the Christian or Muslim vote. So it has to decide which is more important–principles or minority votes. If the BJP is serious about its political future (as opposed to providing employment for the unemployable), it had better start recruiting professionals to manage and market its brand.

    Finally, I have to say that many of the Hindus like myself left the BJP precisely because there is nothing to show for their being in power–no Uniform Civil Code, no change in Kashmir’s status and no Ram temple in Ayodhya. They didn’t even alter the laws to give Hindus greater control over their temples and educational institutions. In fact, in might be easier to pressure the congress government on the last agenda–giving Hindus control over their religious organizations.

  • 77. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Thought provoking excerpts from The lost generation of the BJP by Neena Vyas:

    For nearly six decades — from the early-1950s when the Jan Sangh was born through 1980 when it was re-born as the Bharatiya Janata Party up to the present — the party leadership has remained firmly in the hands of two gentlemen, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. This was irrespective of who might have been the party president at any given time.

    Now that Mr. Vajpayee is no longer active because of ill-health and Mr. Advani is 80-plus and well past his prime, he is certainly to be counted out as a prime ministerial candidate for Lok Sabha election 2014. For two or three decades, the party failed to put a younger leadership in place. That is now the source of great anxiety and also the cause of a lot of heartburn. Those in their sixties and seventies are now doomed to become the “lost generation” like Hemingway’s characters in The Sun Also Rises. For them the sun is about to set, and they are fighting to take their place under it.

    The struggle for leadership has just begun. It is expected to become intense ahead of impending changes that will include Mr. L.K. Advani giving up his position as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha by year-end to make way for a younger leader. The change will almost certainly bypass those currently in their sixties and seventies.

    …The BJP is already conscious of the youth factor and the changing demographic profile of the Indian electorate. Five years from now, when the next Lok Sabha contest is expected to take place, the battle for the top slot will not be between an 80+ Mr. Advani and a 75+ Manmohan Singh. It is no secret that the new face of the Congress would be a 40+ Rahul Gandhi because by then Dr. Singh would be 80+.

    The party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh seem to have made up their mind to promote the leadership of those in their fifties. That perhaps explains why Mr. Jaswant Singh, who circulated an “open letter” to all members of the party’s core committee on Wednesday objecting to inam being handed out to those who did not bring in the desired parinam (results), later told a television news channel that Mr. Advani should continue as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. He would be saved the embarrassment of seeing a much younger leader take over as Leader of Opposition.

    …Former general secretary Pramod Mahajan foresaw all this a year or two before he was murdered (in 2006): “I have become a grandfather. I would have retired as a school teacher if I had not joined politics. Our turn [to be leader] will not come because the two top leaders — Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Advani — are still there. We are too young to be considered but they assumed leadership when they were in their thirties.”

  • 78. Tapan Ghosh said:

    On 29th May afternoon, one prominent BJP leader from West Bengal (I cannot mention his name without his permission) met Advani at his residence in Delhi.

    LS election was out on 16th May. Assume the name of the leader is X. Mr.X asked Advani,”We are at present slightly right to center. After this disastrous election result, should we move towards more right or slightly left towards center?” Advani replied,”Now we should move towards centre.”

    Mr.X asked,”In that case will it not increase the risk of looking BJP similar to Congress?” Advani replied,”May be. But there is no problem in it. Only one thing we should ensure that we must cater hundred percent of people, not eighty two percent of people.”

    Everybody should draw his her own conclusion.

  • 79. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Do read this Jaswant-Tharoor comparison….and why the BJP is not like the Congress.

  • 80. B Shantanu (author) said:

    I am moving here a few comments by Khandu and Vivekam re. BJP. Pl continue the discussion here:

    ***
    Comment by Vivekam:

    i know this discusion is abt something else .. but still need some place to make this point ..thn for letting me do it here …

    for someone who is quick and unambiguous about taking stands against , say , the upa , xtistis , islamics and others … u r surprisingly slow and equivocal with regards to the issues in the bjp like arun shourie ’s and jaswant singh’s recent problems … is it like u do not wanna burn any political bridges there by taking sides and a stand .. if i am right , u do travel and talk often with lka ?

    ***
    Comment by B Shantanu

    @ Vivekam: This is my last comment on this issue before the post that I am drafting.

    Let me first make a few general points. I have no idea why Arun Shourie’s 4-part series did not appear on the Friends of BJP website. If you ask me, it should have. But I do not run that website and neither do I have any influence over it.

    You had asked in one of you earlier comments: “do u think they deserve to win elections?” In the current form and shape, I would say the answer is no – this is my opinion. Others may not agree with it.

    And no, I do not write anything with a view to building (or burning) bridges. I write what I feel.
    And I have no idea why you think I “talk often with lka”. Not true at all.

    Finally, the reason I have not written anything or commented on Arun Shourie’s articles (or Jaswant Singh’s expulsion) is that I want some time to collect my thoughts and not just print something off the web (One can already find a lot about it on the web)

    Most readers are aware of my sentiments re. this issue but a serious reform of the party cannot be dictated by outsiders (I am not even a member of the party)…our work is to project the failings…but the fixing has got to be done by those who are in it..

    I believe there have been various writers who have been scathing in their criticism of the party (Kanchan Gupta for one) but I have some 100 pages of reading material to look at before culling the best out of the lot.

    And why do you assume that there have been no private discussions about this at all? I am sure you realise that some of these issues are fairly sensitive and there are limits to what you can write on blogs about specific groups and personalities – which might explain others’ silence.

    ***
    Comment by Khandu Patel:

    @vivekam

    The feelings as regards the BJP is that it had preoccupied itself with its own internal feuds. For a party that depicted discipline to the sort of disarray it has been in for some years now is letting the Hindu cause down. Jaswant as the former Foreign Minister might have had something useful to say about Pakistan in its present reincarnation, and there are no words to describe the monstrosity it has become. Quite why Jaswant chose to raise the currency of that country by elevating their founder as a hero is beyond me and any other Indian who has the best interest of India at heart. A military man such as Jaswant Singh should have understood this. But the reason for his outlandish claimns has all to do with the soft Hindutva that was recently coined. I am afraid Jaswant chose the wrong person to eulogise in Jinnah and paid the price for it.

    ***
    Comment by Vivekam:
    @ khandu patel

    i have no problems with disciplining any one … but there has to be a pattern to the madness … first of all , jaswant writing this book and its probable contents was wellknown to the top brass of bjp , hence the repeated postponment of the release dates at their request ..
    besides , with the ousting of jaswant , the only thing revealed is that bjp is not capable of disciplining its memebers .. the party simply had to issue a SHOW CAUSE to jaswant to hear him out , one should have the freedom to express one’s views , no matter wht they are as long as one can back them up,

    besides that one needs to be able to look history from everyone’s view point , it requires maturity …

    how different was jaswant’s praising of jinnah from wht lka did?

    the shrewdest of the lot is jaitley with his friendsofbjp group ….he is gonna out maneuver all others pretty soon despite nothing to show in terms of results in even delhi !

    ***
    Comment by Khandu Patel:
    @Vivek

    I am afraid it goes it back to the raison d’tre of the BJP’s existence which is the shifting sands of its core ideology. LKA made a blunder with his Jinnah declaration. The two people most culpable for the India’s partition are Gandhi and Jinnah. Gandhi for taking the country along the path of Hindu satyagraha and Jinnah who drew the conclusion that it was againt the nature of Muslims to follow Gandhi. Volumes have been written on why Gandhi is though to have been wrong on his Satyagraha. Jinnah’s proof of secularism has been written in the blood of the countless thousands that perished for his vision of Pakistan. What Jaswant (and before him LKA) had been saying is so repugnant to Indian’s that it could not be contained as a mere academic debate. I will add that there has been nothing in academic circles that detracts from the above analysis. Jaswant is in the business politics and his party has found that a major portion of its Hindu constituency has become detached from its moorings in the last elections. Jaswant was well advised against publication but as he did so, he paid the price of his ill-advised actions. He put profit before his party and nation. I hope we will see the last of him in politics.

    ***

    Pl. continue the discussion here

  • 81. vivekam.vairagyam said:

    @ kp

    i havent read the book ,,,, have u?

    i am gonna assume that jaswant wrote unpalatable things about patel and jinnah ….

    my questions are….

    1)wht did he present abt them?

    2)did he present facts previously established or merely his conclusions?

    3)did he present something abt them that had not been presented before by someone else in bjp , esp lka on jinnah?

    4)did he do this project on the sly or was the party leadership aware of its contents and tone ?

    5)did the bjp leadership ask to read the book before it was released ? have they read it now that it has been released ? do they still feel they are right?

    6)did they ask jaswant singh to explain his book ?

    7)how was lka overlooked for this same offence?

    8)so wht if patel is accused ? patel is not 100% angel , no one is! does evidence/facts on the ground support the view taken in the book?

    9)why cant someone take a different viewpoint of the same fact as long as they can back it up?

    10)wht were people like jaitley doing when lka did this? did jaitley kick out lka from bjp ?jaitley shuld stick to his coterie at the friendsofbjp , ignore arun shourie et al (as already being done)on that website and go around giving talks and receiving praise from “his followers”… but praise for wht ?… his amazing work for the bjp in delhi politics and during the elections? … ya rt!

  • 82. vivekam.vairagyam said:

    @ shantanu (#79)

    THE INNER DANCE IN THE BJP ……

    A REPLY TO SHANTANU @ #79

    .. really …. ?

    let me point out the inconsistencies in that argument …

    tharoor had just lost the elections to the top spot at the un in 2006… wht was the poor man to do … his best bet was to use his un mileage in india and for that he had to choose between congress and bjp … after vajpayee , bjp wasnt really showing signs of recovery or prospects … besides that even those in the bjp didnt know wht they stood for post 2004 … why would he choose to bait bjp ?

    that leaves congress as the natural choice …so ,tharoor did that book in 2007 … whtever others may think , i think it was a well laid out plan to first attract the attention of sonia and the congress top brass … wht better way to attract attention than the kid-gloved cinematic jabs he took on sonia and her ilk …

    he didnt get any rewards from the congress for that , but he sure got attention ..

    the next step was to simply sing the praise of sonia which he did on TIME apr 2008 , rt?

    … that completes the circle and now tharoor who had criticised sonia earlier in a book , had come around , “had a change of heart” and woken up to her greatness …!

    … the “enlightenment” he had was subsequently conveyed to outside world in that article … now that the world had been informed of the “message” about “the great one” by the “messiah” , it was only appropriate for “the great one” and “the angels” to reward “the born again ” “enlightened” “messiah” who would spread the “gospel” he was enlightened about to less fortunate heathens … Presto ,,,, Make him the MP ….. and is it difficult to fool desi mallus with firangi credentials ?… evidently not!

    It was all along a carefully orchestrated dance ,,, i would love to be wrong on this one …..!

    as u can see there are no parallels between the books although Chindu would love for us to delude ourselves otherwise …. !

    u will see the storyline when u look carefully at the timeline … it is not wht the “screen-play” would have u believe !

    as for jaswant , he wasnt looking for a foothold ,trying to get ahead in party or even simply looking for attention … this book was no overnight surprise .. everyone there knew well abt it … so he doesnt have to do a “tharoor” ….

    this is not his first controversial book … he had done this before … the irony is that , this time he simply echoed lka , but had his butt kicked by the predecessor himself … it is more an inconsistent act of bad PR by the bjp in the face of a tactful PR dance by the KKKaangress guys .

    so ,,, i repeat , there are no parallels here !

    wht ppl fail to see here is that jaswant was simply screwed by the shrwed maneuvering of jaitley and his camp… even modi wuldnt have had a foothold in the issue , he had to ban the book to pre-empt congress and save his butt in the state … so the one who was clearly creating newer greener pastures to graze was jaitley and his camp , clearly positioning themselves next in line to lka ….!

  • 83. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Stumbled on this:

    # हर शाख पे उल्लू बैठा है, अंजाम – ए – गुलिस्ताँ क्या होगा. भाजपा से नम्र निवेदन है – अपना ही वस्त्र हरण भरी सभा में मत करो.about 21 hours ago from web

    #
    भाजपा का नया शौक – अपने पैर पर ही कुल्हाडी मारो, अंत कितना निकट है उसकी कल्पना का अनुमान पार्टी के हाई कमांड को नहीं है.about 21 hours ago from web

    #
    माननीय अडवाणी जी से निवेदन है की वोह अब वानप्रस्थ आश्रम की और प्रस्थान करें. शास्त्रों में भी यह ही लिखा है.

    Courtesy http://twitter.com/vaakpatu

  • 84. vivekam.vairagyam said:

    @ shantanu (#83)

    is it fair to expect a translation of anything not presented in english for the benefit of those who do not understand the script u might have used there ?

  • 85. B Shantanu said:

    Fair point Vivekam. Very rough translation below:

    1. Kind Request to BJP: Do not get disrobed (“vastra haranam”)on your own, in full public view

    2. BJP’s new hobby: Cut the branch you are sitting on…The BJP “High Command” does not know how close the end is.

    3. Request to Hon Sh Advani: Pl proceed to the forest (“Vaana prastha ashram”) – this would also be as per our scriptures.

  • 86. Mod Prakash said:

    कहाँ तो तय था चरागाँ हर एक घर के लिए |
    कहाँ चराग मयस्सर नहीं शहर के लिए |

  • 87. Mohan Sonti said:

    *** COMMENT EDITED ***

    [Reviving BJP] Part-1: Leadership

    BJP: Rather than following the ‘standards’ set by Congress after independence, we need to take an independent path that learns from systems across the globe during its entire history and seek (or aim for) a ‘perfect path’. Here is one way to do that (any comments and improvements are much appreciated) -

    1) Get all the RSS branches, their affiliates and ‘patriotic citizens’ to ‘register’ with the party – in the lines of what is done in USA. This
    a) adds a psychological element (for registered members) of ‘owning’ and ‘being part of’ the party
    b) helps in tracking, collecting and measuring the sentiments of the active participants

    2) Have an internal elections (like primaries) for the ‘chosen leader’ of the party. This
    a) ensures that the majority of the members would vote for the party as a result of having a leader of their choice and as a result of the leader representing the general sentiments of the majority members
    b) gives the needed respect and adherence from members for the leader – at par with their respect for democracy
    c) reduces (or better – eliminates) the infighting among the top leaders as the verdict has come from their supporters directly
    d) there by inherently brings in the stability for the party leadership at par with that brought by the sycophantic slavish Indians to the ruling ‘foreign’ dynasty of India.

    3) There should be an election (secret ballot) every 3 years for the president of BJP and once before general elections for the ‘PM-in-waiting’. This
    a) distinctly separates the roles played by the positions with
    (i) the president presiding over the activities of the party including growth, development and strategy
    (ii) while the ‘PM-in-waiting’ would either become the PM or the ‘leader of the opposition’ forming a ‘shadow government’ with one-to-one ministries matching the running government
    b) gives an opportunity for people to get more involved in the party affairs – there by gaining their trust repeatedly over the years and thinking more about the development of the country in the lines of the development of the party.
    c) keeps the BJP on the news on a positive note for about 2-3 times between general elections
    d) helps in ‘midterm’ assessment of the leadership atleast once between general elections
    e) keeps the leaders at work because now people are ‘watching them’ every few years!

    *** NOTE by MODERATOR ***

    Pl. keep your comment short and to the point. Alternatively, please link to the source URL. Thanks

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