By Chandeep Arora:
Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari is positive that his party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will emerge as the winner in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014. That makes quite sense because the UPA II has not lived up to its mandate of 2009 and has not shown concern in issues ranging from Corruption to Kashmir! But, is BJP too powerful to take up the advantage and regain supremacy? With the opposition wrapped up in issues of its own that seems a far distant dream.
In the past 10 years, BJP has lost its major leaders and are left with a few running the party according to their own will. Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee retired from the active politics, Pramod Mahajan was lost in an unfortunate accident, think-tank like Govindacharya and Sudhir Kulkarni left the party, leaders like Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharati were expelled from the party. If we look at the present leaders, L.K.Advani, who is now 82 and also ran into problems with the Jinnah issue, is expected to retire from politics soon. Mr Rajnath Singh who does not have any mass appeal. Miss Vasundra Raje openly challenged BJP leadership but the leadership could not dare to take any disciplinary action against her. The party has allowed entrapping itself in its own quandaries. Youth which form an important part in the development of India, have never been looked upon by the BJP.
UPA in this case has a strong foothold. Initiatives like the Youth Congress, involve the “young guns” of India in the decision making, thus providing a fine vote bank. Rahul Gandhi is seen as the youth icon, ergo increasing the popularity among the youngsters. The ideology of BJP can also be seen as hurdle in acclaiming votes. Hindutva, that initially means development for all, fails to connect the minorities. This ideology needs a serious rethink and a relook.
The religious tag attached to it should be thought upon. The infightings within the party members are on a rise. There have been incidents of accusations on one another for each and every problem. Amidst the corruption hitch, the UPA II has focused on some of the issues that are worth noting. Unlike BJP, it has always focused on the minorities. According to the Prime Minister’s 15 point program, 17.29 lakh scholarships were given to children belonging to the minority communities for their pre-matriculation studies. Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has provided nearly 600 crore person-days of work at a total expenditure of around Rs 70,000 crore since its inception in 2006. According to the report card submitted by the UPA-II, construction of around 1.5 million houses for the poor and slum dwellers has been approved. This aims to make the country slum-free in the next five years under the Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum dwellers.
Before anything else, BJP needs to get a New Leader. A leader who can rebuild the party. The first goal is to get the internal house in order and win back the lost trust and confidence of the people, before one starts making dreams of winning 2014 elections. It’s the time for BJP to end its communal hangover. It should talk more about uniting India rather than dividing in the name of religion. It should focus upon having strong and reliable allies. The breaking of ties gives the voters the impression about communalism within the BJP and about factionalism within the NDA. Youth has little interest in caste and religion; they are interested in open minded thoughts. Targeting the youth is mandatory for BJP to win the chair. Minority also form a major section of the vote bank. Due to BJP’s radical Hindutva, it has failed to attract the minorities. Nobody has a clue as to what issues will dominate the voter’s mind in the summer of 2014. For the moment, with the promise of three years of robust economic growth and with Mr Rahul Gandhi as the mascot for the post-2014 future, the Congress is fancying its chances. With such strong foothold of UPA, BJP needs something out of the box to let the floppy lotus bloom again!
The second part focussing on why BJP does stand a chance to win coming soon!