By Gladson Dungdung
MuslimIndia 17 May, 2009
The BJP must introspect on its ideology and stances because a huge youth brigade of the congress party is ready to bring back the Congress era under the magic leadership of Rahul and Priyanka by giving youth the new hope and aspiration for the progressive, modern and inclusive India.
The biggest festival of the Indian democracy has come to an end. The voters have given their mandates to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for the good governance, inclusive development and secular India. A major shift has been noticed in this election is that the first time in India, the majority of the voters have voted on the issues of development, good governance and inclusive politics by putting aside the caste and communal politics. This change has been brought by the youth who played a vital role in the general election inspired by the Obama’s ‘change campaign’ in America. In these circumstances, the biggest loser of the game is none other than self declared iron man, PM in waiting and self made powerful leader L K Advani, whose dream of entering into the India history as the Prime Minister even for a moment has been completely washed away. Now he is preparing for the ‘political sanyas’ (retirement), which would be the most painful for him because he cannot even sing ‘Ram Dhun’ to comfort himself as he has promised during the election campaign for not say “Jai Shree Ram” till the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya.
It would be interesting to know that why the self declared iron man lost the battle even after putting each and every effort to make it possible. The main reason is that the majority of Indians who believe in the ethos of secularism, pluralism, inclusiveness, peaceful and just society would never accept L K Advani as the prime minister of India. Precisely, because Advani is known as a hardline Hindu leader, who flamed the communal fire in India in early 90s, which led to the communal riots in the country in 1992, Gujarat riot in 2002, Kandhamal communal violence in 2009 and list goes on. Interestingly, the major communal violence was taken place only in the BJP ruled or supported states and instead of punishing the perpetrators, they were awarded. The major contribution of Advani for the country is ‘communal violence’ therefore the secular voters voted against the so-called iron man. The BJP would have gain more seats if it would have not declared Advani as its PM candidate.
Secondly, what cost the Advani most is the BJP’s negative campaign. The BJP had released its election manifesto with the good promises for the urban middle class and the poor but the party failed to take it to the masses. The right from the beginning of the election campaign, the issues of common men became secondary for the party and the Advani and PM post took the centre stage of the campaign. The BJP also failed to give new hope and aspiration to the youth and it created extreme fear and uncertain atmosphere in the country in the name of terrorism, inflation and recession for ensuring the vote bank and came up with the slogan of “Bhai Ho” to counter the Congress’s slogan ‘Jai Ho’. The party also lost the real issues and went back to the issues of Ram Temple, Article 370 and Common Civil Code, which was kept aside and not required for the moment as the BJP’s hardline voters would have not changed their minds at any cost. On the other hand, Advani also failed to take issues to the people and started personal attack. He regularly attacked Dr. Manmohan Singh by coining him as the weakest prime minister of India and projected himself as the most powerful leader of the Country. He also tried to copy the Obama’s internet campaign and suggested to debate in public like what Americans do. But all these went against of the BJP.
Thirdly, the BJP’s dubious role on the issue of Varun Gandhi’s hate politics cost the party. The party left Varun in isolation immediately after his hate speech in Pillibhit was appeared in media but when Advani met the RSS chief Bhagavat, the party took u turn and stood behind Varun. The party also attacked the constitutional body the ‘Election Commission’, when it suggested the party for dropping Varun Gandhi from contesting election after going through the CD of hate speech. Though Varun himself won the Pillibhit constituency but party lost the Muslim as well as Hindu voters who believe in inclusive politics.
Fourthly, the voters also measured the BJP’s performance as there is a major gap between rhetoric and reality of the party. Though the star campaigners of the party including L K Advani cried foul on the issues of terrorism but during the NDA regime the terrorists attacked on the Parliament, the Red Fort, the Akhsardham Temple, and the JK Assembly but neither Bajpayee took the responsibility nor Advani resign. The terrorists were also treated like guests and escorted by then the External Affairs Minister Yashwant Singh to Kandhar. Similarly, after the Gujarat riot, CM Narendra Modi was made a hero by the both Advani and Bajpayee. On the other hand, the Congress took stringent action against its own three ministers including the Home Minister Shivraj Patel and mobilized the world community against terrorism after the Mumbai attack. The Congress also denied the Lok Sabha tickets to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar the accused of Sikh riot 1984. Similarly, on the issue of inflation, the UPA government took enough steps to control it by cutting the oil prices, relief in service taxes and many other areas. On the other hand, the Indian voters still remember of buying onion at the price of Rs 50 per kg for the first time in the Indian history during the NDA regime.
Fifthly, the BJP as a party as well as its alliance could not stand united during the election. In the beginning of the campaign the issue of Jetaly vs Mittal came up and took almost a week to address, which also paved the way in creating the issue of leadership crisis between L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi, created and spread a lot of confusion among the voters. Similarly, the NDA alliance was also collapsed. The TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu was not ready to accept Advani as the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA therefore he left the alliance. The biggest setback for the NDA was the divorce between BJP and BJD in the middle of the campaign led to a major loss for the alliance.
Finally, the arch rival of the BJP, the Congress was responding the BJP strongly through its positive campaign with the slogan of “Bharat Nirman” (building India). The Congress also had numbers of achievements to show the voters which begins from the Right to information Act for every one, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for the poor, Forest Rights Act for Adivasis and other Forest Dweller Communities, welfare schemes for minorities, weaved loan for farmers, Mid-Day-Meal, National Rural Health Mission, Balika Samridhi Yojna, and the list goes on with the Sixth Pay commission for the middle class employee families. Besides, the Indian Railway is booming with the net profit of Rs. 90,000 crore and the country was able to face the recession with prompt actions of the government. In the issues of terrorism and the national security, the Congress has taken a clear stance against terrorism and it has also passed legislation for the national security. The major change was the youth mobilization by Rahul Gandhi, which translated into Rahul magic, created a huge impact in the election. The charismatic leadership of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, clean image of Dr. Manmohan Singh and effective campaign by Priyanka was good enough to mobilize the Indian voters for burying the dream of so-called iron man, Advani.
The major question comes to one’s mind is that where the BJP will go from here as the future of the party seems to be in the dark? The youth of India do not want to live in fear, insecurity and uncertainty. They need inclusive progress India, where they can enjoy, breathe in healthy atmosphere and live with peace. Therefore if the BJP wants to win the hearts of Indian voters especially the young voters, the party has to change its exclusiveness and go for the inclusive politics, which would be extremely difficult for the party. But the BJP must introspect on its ideology and stances because a huge youth brigade of the congress party is ready to bring back the Congress era under the magic leadership of Rahul and Priyanka by giving youth the new hope and aspiration for the progressive, modern and inclusive India.
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based at Ranchi, Jharkhand. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org