Saturday, June 23, 2012

BJP - The Suicidal Bridesmaid

The last time India had ‘Strategic alliance’ discussions with the USA, it was advantage India all the way. India dictated what kind of technology should be freely made available to it by the US and they agreed. India also asked the US to get rid of their plans to park armed forces in the Bay of Bengal and the US meekly agreed. The US also agreed to support India’s plans on Internet censorship in the UN and ban service providers like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Twitter in the US instantly, if India ever demanded it. (The power of Zero Sibal!) The best part was India finally forced the US to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. All this was achieved by the smooth and tactful S.M. Krishna against a bungling Hillary Clinton. At the recent G-20 meet when our honest, principled and decisive PM met President Obama one could tell even from a great distance that ‘Obama’s legs were shaking with fear’. India’s position as the new superpower is now firmly established.

I know what you’re thinking! You’re probably thinking the crook has gone nuts!

'Black Lotus' - The Suicidal Bridesmaid
Alright, alright, none of the above ever happened. But I can dream, can’t I? And so can the BJP! Truth is, in a strategic alliance one is better off negotiating from a position of strength or, at worst, from a position of equals. The recent nomination of a presidential candidate, the fracas with JDU leader Nitish Kumar, a bullying Shiv Sena and many other issues have shown all the strengths of BJP with relation to its alliance partners. Alliances make any sense only if you are in power. I doubt you had an UPA in 1970, 1999 or pre-2004 elections. Just as the NDA was cobbled together in 1998-99 the UPA too was cobbled together in 2004. In both cases the alliance partners have frequently changed but the one on top, the one with ‘strength’ retained the advantage. Once out of power the NDA has been practically dead. This is the fake dream the BJP still lives with. This is the reality the BJP is simply unwilling to accept and act upon.Fact: Except for the SAD in Punjab and ShivSena in Maharashtra the BJP does not have any real long term allies. Now, in contrast, look at the formidable alliance the Congress has with either or all of the following players at any given time:

RJD, CPM, CPI, MIM, DMK, Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, JD(S)-Karnataka, TRS (AP), CBI, ED, IT, RAW, NDTV, CNN-IBN, TimesNow, AajTak, HeadlinesToday, ABPNews (formerly StarNews), Indian Express, TOI, Hindustan Trolls,BSP (Mayawati), Christian missionaries, Islamic outlets, spurious NGOs AND, being in power, for a fair consideration,it can also rope in Nitish’s JD(U), AIADMK, even Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and Vaiko’s party in dire situations or if it comes to Marathi Manoos, even the Shiv Sena.

In case we forgot, the BJP even played T-20 (Term-20) matches with some of the Congress alliance partners for power. First Mayawati fooled them into a 20-month rule each. When the BJP’s turn came she dumped them. Then they played another T-20 with JD(S) in Karnataka who, after batting, refused to field. Dumped again! The outcome in Karnataka was a BJP victory without any alliances. That’s a first for the party in Southern India.

It doesn’t take a wizard to observe that the BJP in all its alliances where it’s the ruling party, it plays second fiddle. Bihar, Mumbai (Municipality), Punjab. Earlier the alliance with Naveen Patnaik also crumbled and the BJD came to power on its own in Odisha. That makes BJP the suicidal Bridesmaid!

Among its rare long-term allies the Shiv Sena is an out-dated, redundant party and doesn’t even add any value to a national party like BJP. This is what dismays its members and followers. Why does the BJP have any alliance with the SS when it’s not in power in the state or the centre? Foolishness! Despite the bad governance, all the scams and even 26/11, the Congress got a third straight term in Maharashtra in 2009 and is the dominant partner in its alliance with the NCP. Dominant is the key word. The one time BJP came to power in Maharashtra the dominant party was the SS. Since then it has been downhill for BJP in Maharashtra. So why does it still ally with SS in elections? Does it make any sense at all? So, if the BJP wants to assert leadership it has to go it alone in the state in the next election and any alliance with SS or MNS should be on the poll outcomes. Pre-poll alliances with the SS is nothing but suicidal. The SS has no respect from a majority of Maharashtrians and counts for absolutely nothing at the national level and in the rare instances it counts it goes against the BJP. Why play bridesmaid to this insignificant party? At best of times the SS behaves like those Kashmiri youths who store bagful of stones to throw at the slightest incentive at the BJP.

Now, where Bihar is concerned the JDU is now flexing its muscle perhaps because its leader, Nitish Kumar, has his own ambitions. Nothing wrong with that! But why should the BJP again be the victim? Simply because it is once again not the dominant party but the second fiddle. For a national party it’s better to sit in the opposition than to play second fiddle in a coalition. This is a lesson the BJP hasn’t learned from the Congress. It must anticipate that the JDUs and the BJDs are in principle more aligned to the Congress than to the BJP. Both, the JDU and BJD, are welfare-state specialists and are clones of the Congress. Their alliance is based on convenience, power, funds and not on principles. I’m sure this is not lost on BJP either. What kind of national party allows a man to dictate who will campaign in a state, who should be the party’s PM candidate in the future and who keeps defining ‘Secularism’ as frequently as he goes to the toilet every day?

In absence of a clear, unambiguous message to Nitish Kumar the BJP is once again playing the suicidal bride. Voters don’t vote on manifestos, they vote on the confidence and strength a party and its leaders exude, communicate and demonstrate. Tragically, the BJP management hardly seems to realise who represents that confidence, leadership and performance in their party. The other thing they would certainly know is that voters don’t often vote similarly in state and general elections. Congress which was thrashed in UP in 2007 came up with the largest seats for Parliament in 2009. Even Gujarat gives a better deal to the Congress in centre’s elections than in state elections. There is no reason to believe without SS or JDU the BJP wouldn’t score more in Maharashtra and Bihar where they have a much better standing than say a state like Bengal. Whether they declare Narendra Modi a PM candidate or not is hardly important. First they need to demonstrate they are at least a party capable of leading and performing and worth the votes without their sundry allies.

Given the complete disenchantment with the Congress and the UPA’s non-performance, scams and corruption there is absolutely no risk in going it alone in 2014 in states where their current or previous allies are a constant nuisance. Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha are prime states ready for a solo run for BJP. In Punjab unless they get a majority of seats to contest the BJP must go it alone. In the state, it’s fine to allow SAD the majority but not at the centre. At no cost should they have a pre-poll alliance in these states unless they hold a substantial advantage in terms of seats to contest.

The artful photograph in this post, an imaginary dead woman underwater, is titled ‘Black Lotus I have just given it a new name. And the woman does look suicidal. Not much is different with the present BJP and its central leaders. Each time they are called upon to be tough, responsive and combative and to the altar to be the bride – They end up playing the suicidal bridesmaid. The worst part is their spokespersons keep appearing on and giving interviews to Congress alliance channels in the media. What is evident to even a stray observer seems invisible to the BJP.  NDTV, CNN-IBN, ABPNews have sworn their allegiance to the Congress. Some channels are even predominantly anti-Hindu. Just as they should take strong positions with their state-based allies they need to take a strong stand with the corrupt media as well. If they are truly a national party then it’s time to assert their leadership.

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  1. Another classic post from Ravi.
    BJP should be party at their own if they want to be national party. But who will bell the cat ? We have a person in central leadership after two defeat , still don’t want to give up PM ambition.


  2. In my opinion, JDU is flexing its muscles not on the basis of some kind of support it might have got from congress, but from support from the old guard of the BJP itself.
    Mr Narendra Modi is a game changer. He is a threat not just to the opposition, but to his own partymen as well. Old guard of the BJP understands it quite well that their divisive politics will become outdated, if Narendra Modi's politics flourishes.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I think until gujrat elections come out things will continue the same
    way.and i also think that if bjp parts its way with jdu, nitish may call elections and will be able to return into power by its own.with te period of time his popularity will decrease in bihar.After the guj
    elections modi and bjp will get
    new energy and after rss intervention bjp may field him in centre in january that time modi's popularity will b highest and at that time jdu will b weaker in bihar and bjp can get rid of the hypocrite nitish

  5. I dont think BJP stands a chance as a 'dominant partner' in the next election in any way. True that the UPA has failed enough for a drubbing of the congress in the next elections but the whole outcome will be that we will see a khichdi government in 2014 or earlier) like we did in 1996. In all likelihood the new government will not last more than a couple of years during which there will be enough of political turmoil. For the BJP to come to power as a dominant partner that dictates terms to its allies, it should secure more than 200 seats on its own which seems a remote possibility given that they do not have a standing in many states. At best they can get 60% of the seats and come a cropper in 20 % of the constituencies. where they have absolutely no presence(read north east, WB, Kerala, TN, AP). The only way that they can get to 200 seats is when there is a BJP wave in the country and I dont know what will trigger that. Maybe a general disaffection for the other ruling parties that have not delivered on governance.

  6. Only a relentless effort to remove the mythical "communal" and "non secular" tag seems to be the way forward for BJP...esp in this era of powerful regional politics..

  7. Don't agree with your views about BJP-SS ties in Maharashtra.As a close observer of Mah politics, I can vouch that BJP will reduce to a single digit party in Mah Assly without alliance with SS ( or in future with MNS ). Entirely agree on the point that BJP is showing pusillanimity while dealing with Con-supporting media. BJP should boycott the blatant pro-Con channels like NDTV,CNN-IBN,ABPNews for at least 6 months. They will feel the pinch. There won't be any loss to BJP. But some publicity hungry Delhi BJP leaders will not do so. Or some Trojan horses in BJP at the top. Modi has shown in Guj that pandering to biased media is not required to be in power.

    1. @Masterpan

      I dont see your point as disagreement but a different POV. This is mostly what all of us see and know. My point is what is the BJP WITH the SS? Nothing. What will they be without SS? As you say, Nothing. They were so in Karnataka too. What I've theorised is that if they don't try something different in Maha they will be in the same hole over and over again. Nothing gained, nothing lost. It is worth taking the risk and discovering something new than being bullied by a party that is nationally far less significant.

    2. Dear Ravinar,

      Comparing Karnataka with Mah seems far fetched to me.In Kar BJP is the only party to occupy Right of Center space and they have a strong caste leader to boot. In Mah it has to contend with two Senas for that space. BJP doesn't have a strong caste base or leader to go solo. Gadkari or Munde are no patch on Thackeray Uncle-Cousin duo. Going solo will be suicidal. Can't afford to give a state with 48 seats on platter to UPA when BJP is in shambles in larger state like UP and possibly will have to go solo in Bihar. Prudence says to bide time and bear tantrums of Sena.

    3. Even if reduced to single digit in Maharashtra, it is advisable for the BJP to go alone. It is not suicidal for BJP alone but also for the duo purportedly dominant. The dominance did not convert into vote bank since the same is split into two.

      Apropos the rest the author has hit the nail on the head and it is anybody's guess how the egoistic leaders are taking clue. The common are longing for to be freed from the corrupt Sonia cong and its corrupt allied partners. Will India shine for ever?

    4. @ Masterpan

      What you mention is true. Giving Maha to UPA is pretty much the threat BJP shd hold out to both the Senas too. If the BJP doesnt get more seats to contest then I'd say let the Senas take the risk of a UPA white-wash too. Why should that scare the BJP? This is exactly what I'm saying. Why should a national party operate in fear? It is time to show some spine against those who bully them.

    5. Dear Ravinar,

      I can understand your angst at BJP getting cowed down before smaller parties. Discretion is the better part of valour. SS can't be compared to parties like JDU. SS is perhaps the most vocal pro-Hindu party in India. After recent Nitish fracas, it was Thackeray who supported RSS view of pro-Hindu PM in its mouthpiece.BJP needs to measure it with different parameters than other alliance partners. I rest my case.

  8. Agree with your contention.
    The guy who saw it all and who drove the party from the bottom upwards was the one and only Pramod Mahajan.
    Alas, after his passing, its' been a downhill run.
    A lot of the youth urgently waits for LKA to move out and be an observer/ advisor.

  9. Waowww ... Well bcoz you published my thoughts .. I automatically now came in here .. Lived your tweets ... Didn't really know that u write blogs !
    But this on BJP has been going on in my mind for quite some time ! And u know I m v apolitical ! But as a layman ... We trust on BJP a lot as if they are going to bring about some magic ! Does BJP has an intellectual cell who guides them ...?
    One more thought that occurs is that Congress is safe under the clutches of raja pariwar ---- the gandhis --- we Indians are of that mentality .....since ages ... So there is nothing new ...& that's why they are back in power again & again !

    1. BJP is not short of intellects but short of crooked as the corrupt sonia cong in the first place. But the ailing part with the BJP is it is pregnant with egoism and as Mr.PNR opined below.

      Sonia has the authority to eliminate the opponents since being infested in her blood out of expediency and five educated foxes around her to bail out her unbecoming for their petty pittance and at the height of selfishness in the first place.Rest are all good for nothing

  10. During its 6 year rule BJP could instill new sense of Nationalism. A simple example is commercials, even MNC products sported tri-color in their ads. All that despite aggressive FDI and change in relationship with US.
    Now BJP is proverbial "dhobi ka ...".

    Honestly it is not needed in the country.
    Now IT IS JUST A CARBON COPY of congress.

    Relabeling themselves as Hindu party also will not help anymore. The party does not offer even lip-service to the attacks on Hinduism and Hindu practices.

    They lost a golden opportunity in dealing BSY. They could have shut mouths of media and congress on corruption matters.

    What is its agenda?
    Economic policy - same as congress.
    Farmers - till date they did not understand.
    Good governance - BSY ruined it.
    Caste politics - they have to still learn.
    Foreign policy - gone with Vajpayee
    Popular schemes - reforms come in the way

    An aspiring actor: "main jitender jaisa naachtaa hoon.. dharmendar jaisa dishyum dishyum karta hoon... eka mouka deejiye"
    Producer: "wohtho hainaa!..."

  11. The sycophancy and broker leaders in BJP has made it look like a regional party rather than a national party. Their leaders do not have guts to call a spade a spade. They should call JDU and SS and tell them to get out NDA if they donot accept their Prime Ministerial candidate. Let them fight the national election 2014 all alone. Nothing wrong if they donot form the govt. At least they can be proud of their principled stand of non-appeasement.

  12. BJP should not be afraid to loose and have a mental frame to sit in the opposition for 100 years but NEVER BEG FOR ALLIANCE PARTNER. Courage of Conviction. Proud of RSS and Hindutva which is secular and not to behave DEFENSIVE. Their gallery must be the citizens, like ANNA &team and NOT OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES AND SPOKES PERSON. The public should see great confidence in BJP. Every body wants to support a winner and NOT A LOOSER. Boldly declare MODI as the PM.

  13. Dear Ravinar,

    Every political party has some highest authority who takes the final call in crucial matters. As far for the BJP, this power vests with a non political group known as RSS. Now due to this situation it so happens that many times the BJP either delays any strategic decision or waits for RSS to respond. Hence it took honorable RSS Chief to clarify that the future PM must be a hindutva leader. Soon we saw BJP leaders taking a hard stand against JDU for criticizing Mr Modi. As for shivsena, they have a Hindutva mindset hence the RSS does not look for a direct confrontation with them.

  14. I think JD(U) and Cong have cut a deal and JD(U) might join UPA after presidential Elections. Nitish wants BJP to kick him out and waits for Mamata to get out of UPA. Same way Mamata wants Cong to kick her out in stead of quitting. Sharad yadhav could be the next Railway Minister after presidential poll.

    Nitish might get all the aid from centre and can go alone in assmebly polls in 2014. Thats all he wants. For congress, it can get back to winning ways in Bihar by dumping the Lalu the loser and join with winning hand.

    Cong and Left could form alliance in West Bengal. But not sure about how it would work over there.

  15. Another interesting post!
    I agree with you that BJP should go alone even in Southern states.. because all the other parties are pro congress or rather they are pro ruling.

  16. You have enough on the crooks in the media, and now should concentrate on the crooks in the BJP. the PM in waiting and who is being manipulated by the like mulayam and others is making more damge to the party than being pro-hindu. The calls for being secular by BJP is worse than MIM calling itself secular party.

    BJP is trying hard to remain out of power, and Congress is happy to oblige.

  17. so true: Voters don’t vote on manifestos, they vote on the confidence and strength a party and its leaders exude, communicate and demonstrate.

  18. what a post,,,each line of the post is a true mirror to central wishes to the writer of this post!!

  19. @Ravinar, you can add AP to the list. They did the same there even when Vajpayee's charisma was at the peak and are paying dearly for it now. They won 8 MP seats from AP at one time, I think those golden days are behind them in AP. Looks like Narendra Modi is one of the few leader or should I the only leader who can call a spade, a spade.

  20. excellent post by Ravinar. Each and every sentence u have written are very true.

  21. I was thinking about this foolishness of BJP that why they care to pamper anybody such as shiv sena who are ideologically bankrupt and political goons .I earnestly feel that they require revival of leadership in ORISSA , MAHARASHTRA , and other such states where they are acting as side kicks because once a strong leadership emerges all those cheap leaders such as NAVEEN PATNAIK, SHARAD PAWAR will loose their fortress

  22. Excellent Article! Absolutely my view on BJP Alliances. They always play the second fiddle. Typical Hindu party. Team Advani/Sushama etc were weak in my opinion. Weak leaders make weak decisions. Even for people like Mr. Munde (from their own party) to be angry and express grievance openly is uncalled for.
    Nobody in Congress has the guts to do this to the High Command. Even in their bad times.

    I am happy Mr. Modi is flexing some muscle. JD (U) was made to leave the alliance. I completely agree that Shiv Sena needs to be shown the door. For a party way past its prime, it tries to flex too much muscle. I think a strategy similar to one used in Bihar would be ideal. BJP takes its own decisions on MNS etc. Let SS get miffed and break the alliance. That way, BJP does not lose any sympathy vote too.


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