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Case for a quantum leap - The Observer

Dina Nath Mishra ()
5 December 1996

Title : Case for a quantum leap
Author : Dina Nath Mishra
Publication : The Observer
Date : December 5, 1996

We hear a lot in the media about the internal crisis of
the BJP. There is a systematic effort by the BJP baiters
to create an image that like all other parties, the BJP
too suffers from the same maladies like internal bicker-
ing, rebellion, and what not. The Vaghela episode, a lone
exception, has come handy to portray the whole party as
full of overambitious and rebellious leaders. The whole
effort is geared to demolishing the image of BJP as a
party with a difference. It is not that there are no
problems with BJP, but these problems emanate from the
sudden and massive growth of the party. After all, it
has become the party of eight million members.

In 1950s, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh secured about 4 per
cent votes: in the next decade, its vote percentage
doubled. During the Jan Sangh days, the concentration was
on organisation, its spread, membership campaign, regular
elections, training camps, raising the issues of public
importance, fighting elections mainly on the basis of
organisational strength, and so on. Its vote percentage
did not touch double digits at the national level. In a
few states, it did. But, it was evident that the organi-
sational approach would make the party a pressure group
in the Indian politics, at best.

In the next phase, the Bharatiya Jan Sangh changed the
gear of its strategy and decided to join the camp of the
anti-Congress parties, along with the non-Congress cen-
trist parties. In 1971 elections, the four-party combi-
nation of Congress (O), BJS, Lok Dal and Swatantra party
flopped. But, after the JP movement, the very same
forces fought the emergency of 1975-76, and unitedly
trounced the mighty Congress in 1977. The BJS faction
was a major constituent of the Janata Party government
led by Morarji Desai. But, the whole Janata experiment
failed due to its own contradictions. Thus, in 1980 the
BJP was formed. The elections of 1984 were fought
against the background of the assassination of Indira
Gandhi. The BJP could retain its vote percentage, but won
only two Lok Sabha seats. The party did a thorough and
deep introspection, formal and informal. This introspec-
tion paid a good dividend.

The next eight years were marked by a massive growth of
the organisation, and its membership increased eight-
fold. In 1991, the party got 120 Lok Sabha seats, and
its elevation from a marginal position to the centre-
stage brought about a sea change.

The grammar of power-oriented activities generates a
dynamic of its own. That is true for all parties. It
ignites ambitions, brings in new players, attracts aspir-
ants, and changes the style of operational politics. In
the process of the BJP's transformation from a fringe
party to one occupying the centre-stage, all these chang-
es were bound to affect it at all levels. Individual
clout has increased because of the party. The influence
of the party has undergone a sea-change during this
period, mainly because of the awakening of Hindutva,
through an unprecedented movement, the Ram Janmabhoomi
Mandir. The spirit of Hindutva was conserved by the

Hindus, generation after generation, despite heavy inva-
sions and slavery. It was not coincidental that about 72
years back, the RSS was born. Lakhs and lakhs of people
sacrificed a lot to nurture this organisation, for the
sake of social transformation and to make India pros-
perous, invincible and a proud nation.

The BJS was born with the same spirit to clear the path
of all its hurdles in the political arena and generate
the maximum energy of the people so that India could
finish the undone job of the past. As a nation, we have
suffered a big patch of terminated growth.

These ideals need matching dedication, discipline and
boundless spirit on the part of workers and leaders of
various parties. More so, because India is passing
through a period where economic neo-colonialism and
Islamic fundamentalism are tormenting this country with
their calculated assaults, disguised and packaged in
various forms. More so, because weaknesses of the Hindu
society are being exploited by the power-hungry and
selfish politicians of various hues.

More so, because the dregs of the communist movement are
still there to confuse the ongoing task of nation build-
ing with its dogmatic approach, as it has been doing
right from the Nehru era with slogans like 'socialism.'
It has caused immense harm to our nationalism and the
economy. As the saying goes, one slogan can arrest
creative thinking for 50 years. We have seen it happen-
ing in Soviet Russia. Against this background, a match-
ing thrust is required on the part of the BJP.

After the December 1992 demolition of Babri, structure,
the opponents of the BJP tried their best to confuse the
Hindu society, and wean away the so-called liberals from
the BJP support base. Till date, they have not succeed-
ed. The growth of the BJP in terms of support base is
consolidated and confirmed by the electorate in all the
subsequent elections. Just five months back, the BJP
attained supremacy over all its rivals in terms of Lok
Sabha seats. Even in terms of assembly seats, its growth
during this period is remarkable. For historical reasons,
the Congress tally is still higher than that of the BJP.
In 1986, the Congress had 1874 assembly seats all over
the country. In 1996, after the UP elections, it is
reduced to 1083 seats. On the contrary, the BJP is as-
cending. In 1986, it had 201 assembly seats in all, and
in 1996 the figure has reached 740. The figure for all
other parties is less than 300.

Despite this, the BJP suffered a loss of image in Gujarat
and UP. Shankarsinh Vaghela's rebellion is a clear case
of explosive ambition. He put himself above ideals,
party interest and the nation at a critical juncture, and
delivered a blow to the party. His contribution to the
victory of the BJP in Gujarat may not match the contribu-
tions made by outsiders like Sadhwi Ritambhara, Acharya
Dharmendra and the VHP. He might have been nurturing a
grouse against some of the state party leaders. Some
people might have thought that his grouse was justified,
but the very fact that his ambitions had overtaken the
party and national interests, proved the point that the
party was right about the assessment of the personality
of Vaghela.

The BJP's performance in the UP assembly elections was
not up to the expectation of the party. Nevertheless, it
retained its percentage of votes and number of seats. But
it has to be thoroughly understood by the party as to
what went wrong, and where. What was the reason for the
cadre not feeling enthusiastic about the campaign?

Apart from this, the party needs a long leap again.
Earlier, it had jumped from 8 per cent to 22 per cent:
now, it has to take another jump to cross the hurdle of
anti-BJPism. It has to have a thorough brain-storming
introspection, and formulate a strategy for a quantum
leap to provide India stable, good governance.



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