Friday, November 11, 2005

BJP - Why so much hate?

I have been blogging for some ten months now. I find the issues which bring me immediate criticism are Cricket and BJP. I find it really interesting that the mere mention of BJP generates considerable anger among my friends and some of those who read my blogs. Considering that BJP is the second largest party in India and hence the nations future is very likely to be influenced by BJP's future, it is important to understand the passions aroused by BJP. To begin with, it seems really odd that we should still be debating whether BJP should exist or not! Afterall BJP is nearly half as old as Independent India and Vajpayee and Advani were union ministers even before its foundation! Why do people hate BJP? Answer clearly is its Hindu Nationalist agenda. Anybody who was witness to Gujarat riots will surely find the BJP untouchable. Besides RSS is the fountainhead of the BJP and is likely to influence atleast the way in which BJP thinks in the future. Its very much debatable whether a political party answerable to the people can be influenced by a particular organization. A political party being identified with a religion is undesirable indeed. But there is nothing odd in having a conservative right party. Many countries do. (Even the Republican Party in US mobelized the churches across the south to help Bush retain the Presidency) But it will really be helpful if the BJP disassociates itself from organizations like the VHP and the Bajrang Dal. Maybe we will see a moderate BJP in the future or may be not!

Then there is the question of BJP's stand on the three contentious issues. Ram Mandir issue is debatable. Ofcourse nobody is justifying the demolition of the Babri Masjid. But people who have followed Indian Politics will remember that it was Nehru who allowed the Ram Lalla to be placed inside a Masjid! and it was Rajiv Gandhi who allowed worship there. I doubt most people will know that Rajiv began his 1989 election campaign from Ayodhya. Well there definitely is more to Ayodhya than that meets the eye. As for the Uniform civil code is concerned, the opposition to UCC is such a farce that I am not going to write about it again. (Check my early blog on this!). Infact its a real pity that BJP is no longer demanding this along with the other two issues. Third question on Article 370 is tricky. The constitution demanded that it be reconsidered in 1960 and it may have served us better if we had abolished it then. But with so much water having flown under the bridge, abolishing it now may not have any desirable effect. Ofcourse if (and its a big if) we were to reach any solution on Kashmir with Pakistan, Article 370 may have to be abandoned anyway. BJP also has (or had) opposed caste based reservation. I leave it to the judgment of the reader on whether caste based reservation has helped India. Ofcourse BJP opposes Muslim Appeasement. If you think secularism and Muslim appeasement are the same, then please think again! If Gujarat was BJP's contribution, then so were Delhi and Bhagalpur from Congress. (Have you heard of Bhagalpur?) I guess I can write several blogs on Pseudo Secularism and Muslim Appeasement but that is not worth the effort!

Comments like "what did BJP contribute?" or "Laloo's Bihar didn't have religious riots" baffle me! Agreed that BJP government at the centre was not the "Ram Rajya" but to dismiss that as inconsequential betrays a seriously partisan attitude. No, I'm not going to comment on unintelligent support for Laloo! Then there is the question of Corruption. While the communists have the best record in this score, BJP doesn't do badly either. Except Bangaru Lakshman, I can't recollect any other BJP leader being accused of corruption. Even Lakshman was only guilty of receiving party funds from questionable sources and the BJP has kept him in the dog house ever since. For those who jump shouting "George Fernandes", I don't think even his worst enemies will believe he can be corrupt. (He is not in BJP anyway). Yeah there were Judeo and Mahajan episodes. While Judeo obviously was framed by Ajit Jogi and Sanjay Nirupam's accusation against Mahajan haven't been pursued further. Maybe Mahajan did get get shares from Reliance but if that were true, it is unbelievable that other parties didn't corner him. Again I leave it to the judgment of the reader on where the Congress and the scores of other parties stand in this corruption ladder. As for leadership of the BJP is concerned, indeed BJP is not in for a smooth transition like the communists. But atleast there is atleast some semblance of intra-party democracy and a fair chance for every leader to be the next president. Come to think of it - most of the parties in India (Congress included) are either family fiefdoms or one man parties. The only exceptions being the BJP, Communists and to some extent NCP, AGP, ADMK and JD(U). I would appreciate if any reader can add any other reasonably sized party to the list.

The purpose of my blog today is not to glorify the BJP but instead to provide more food for our thoughts. I for one, don't hate the BJP. I wanted to review my stand on the BJP in response to adverse comments in my blogs. As I had said in response to a comment, we should not judge BJP on its saffron foundation alone. I feel BJP, Congress and the Communists should be the political pillars on which India's future should be built. They form the right, centre left and left groups respectively and every country requires parties based on such ideology. I look forward to the day when India would have gotten rid of dynasties and caste based and one man parties.


Anonymous said...

The tendency here, it seems, is to make it a debate between BJP and Congress...I would like to consider BJP and it's effect on Indian polity. No sense in bringing up Nehru or Rajiv Gandhi. "Yours truly" is not glorifying Congress here, but merely pointing out how evil BJP can be.

Here we go...

1. Tussle between the late Mr. Narayanan and BJP. I recall an earlier blog at this very site, commending the stand taken by Mr. Narayanan against BJP's misuse of Article 370 and various other things. A bit of googling will provide a wealth of information on these issues.

2. Are stories accepted? My uncle
has worked a lot in setting up a local school in our village. With this he has contacts with the local politicians. It is my understanding from him that BJP has tried repeatedly and failed to divide the people on the basis of religion.

Why do I stress upon the religion so much? Am I anti-hindu? Am I pro-muslim? Do I rate every politician on the basis of this??? Because, religion is the core of Indian nationhood. Dig into the past, religion is the core of everything in India. Tilak associated Ganesh Chaturthi and the calls for "Ganesh ... moriya" with Indian independence. Religion is the basis for everything in India. It is the fundamental fabric that runs through India. If we break this fabric, everything falls - India falls. This holy fabric can *not* be touched. India is built on this.

3. What does the common man think? Does he think it is necessary to have a nuclear weapon or build a temple at Ayodya or is he concerned about his daily wages?

4. Why ape America? Because the U.S has right wing groups doesn't warrant such a thing in India. India is not U.S. India is more complex than the U.S and we don't want a group that tugs at the holy fabric of India (read religion), time and again.

5. In my opinion, Politics is not just about building better roads and dams. It is also about holding the people together, preventing violent riots (which I understand that Lalu has been able to do in Bihar). But alas, this will be seen as me being a pro-Lalu supporter.

6. A lot of your information seems to be based on newspaper reports. Saying that Bangaru Laxman is the only corrupt politician in BJP is hard to believe. Maybe you are waiting for the newspapers to print more stories. Mr. George Fernandez? I thought there was some noise regarding him. Is there smoke without fire?

Question now is: Is BJP a reliable second front? No, they are not. BJP will be the death of India. I stand by my statement...

Anonymous said...

I go on the record about Lalu Yadav:
It has recently been acknowledged that Yadav did a lot to improve the Railway Ministry. Remember we are talking about the Indian Railways - the largest employer in the world. Even God can not clean it up in one life time, let alone in 5 years with all the existing constraints.

There was corruption in a simple thing like weighing goods and it has been noted that Lalu Yadav bought transparency to this.
Fodder scam? Isn't there a possibility that he could have been framed? I mean, your Mahajan logic can be applied here.

And as I repeat time and again, Bihar is devoid of Hindu-Muslim riots. Mr. Yadav had anything to do with it?

But again, for saying this, I will be slammed as a congress or a yadav supporter or I would be called a yadav myself. Or even called 'anti-BJP' just because I said that there are no Hindu-Muslim riots in Bihar.

Anonymous said...

It is the tendency of any Chennaite or Bangalorean to comment that Bihar is a bad place to live in. Yes, we are to believe that these guys live in Utopia.

But ask any Bihari on how distorted the image portrayed by the media can be. Bihar is nothing like it is portrayed in the media.

Ask any Bihari...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, as an Indian citizen, I have been provided with 2 choices:
Congress and BJP.

Congress: It works with vote bank politics, appeases the muslims by creating reservations. Has a corrupt record.

BJP: It works by inciting people against each other in the name of religion, making inflammatory statements. Result is that we wait for the day where a person whom we love and care would be hurt, or God forbid, killed in such a riot. India has a chance of being broken into pieces in the name of religion - the core fabric of Indian nationhood.

Whom do I choose, in that I have been presented with two morally correct political parties.

Balaji said...

Response to Comment 1:

Well, I don't think any party can be valued individually instead of being compared with others. In anycase doing such individual valuation serves no practical purpose.

I wish respond to your points despite this obvious difference in our perspectives.

1. Yes BJP did try unsuccesfully to impose president's rule in Bihar. But aren't you yourself setting a higher goal for the BJP when Congress and others have dismissed countless state governments compared to one by BJP?

2. Anyone can give innumerable stores about Politicians in other parties provoking religious tension. In anycase, even I have critized the BJP's divisive idealogy.

3. Oh yeah, Lets abolish all the ministries except those involved with the people's daily needs! Please be practical.

4. I can give you countless examples of rightwing parties from other countries.

5. I can't agree with you more on preserving communal harmony. The view about Laloo protecting Muslims keeps proping up. What about other states which preserve communal harmony. When did the last riots happen in say Andhara or West Bengal which have considerable Muslim population. It's unfortunate that even educated people vouch for Laloo on such flimsy grounds.

6. Yeah, mere mortals like me have to go by what we get from the media. I don't have any divine intervention to educate me on who is corrupt and who is not.

Response to Comment 2 and 3:

If you feel Bihar is a good place to live and Laloo yadav is a good politician, then its upto you. Surely you can be right and a zillion others can be wrong in their views about Laloo and Bihar.

Response to Comment 4:

I agree that BJP and Congress are not the best options to have. But I guess we'll have to live with what we have.

Anonymous said...

>individual valuation serves no >practical purpose.
Wrong! It serves a purpose when the individual is evil. Evil needs no comparison.

1. Precisely, BJP is no better than Congress in this matter. But on top of this, it is more evil, simply by the fact that it brings about communal tensions. This is the core of my entire argument. My question is 'Who is more evil'? I rest my case.

2. I commend you for this.

3. My life-long dream.

4. I am not concerned about other countries. India is not like any other country. We can not apply their systems in India. Religion is the core fabric of this nation. We can not tug at it.

5. Please! Hyderabad or for that matter guntur has communal riots just about any other day. Get your facts right!

6. I rest my case on this point.

Response to Comment 2 and 3:


Response to Comment 4:

A 3rd front is required.

Balaji said...

I don't want to be seen like retorting everything you have said but I am replying nevertheless.

1. You are entitled to your views on BJP being an evil. But I guess if several million people are voting for that party, we should atleast analyse rather than dismiss it as "evil".

2. ok.

3. I guess if we are going to demand abolishing, say Defence or Home ministry, then we are not being serious.

4. I guess there is always something to learn from other countries.

5. I'm sure every state in India has sporadic skirmishes including Bihar. I have myself witnessed religious riots in my hometown in Tamilnadu and once in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. (Not the tea-stall arguments but curfews and loss of life). I don't think Such skirmishes can be used to judge Governments. If you say Modi govt in Gujarat acted badly then you may have a point. In anycase praise for Laloo only amuses me.

6. ok. You have divine intervention and I don't.

On Third Front:

We've had six such governments (most supported by either Congress or BJP). None of them lasted more than two years. But it may succeed if we have one strong party leading the alliance instead of having a kichidi post poll alliance. Communists may be fit the bill but it remains to be seen. But if BJP and Congress can refine themselves, then their rivalry will be good for India.

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Anonymous said...

5. Please! Hyderabad or for that matter guntur has ...

Yeah, and what else? There's an earthquake in Japan everyday? Hurricanes hit the US coast everyday? Which world are you living in? Who told you Hyd has riots everyday? Or, how do you define a riot? Man, you people need to stop living in this dream world of yours.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you dont support the BJP much but you sure hate the Congress.As you say several million people have voted the BJP into power for six years but several million people voted the Congress into power for around 54 years.Why? Obviously because the voters in India are dumb,stupid and have no brains.All the smart people who know exactly whats wrong with India go to the United States and then tell us dumb people whats wrong with where we choose to live.After six years of a shining India the BJP were turfed out in the elections and the corrupt Congress voted back by dumb people like us.Gee, we didnt know Bangaru Laxman was the only corrupt guy in the BJP.And we didnt know he accepted the bribe only for the party though he forgot to deposit it in the party account.And ofcourse Mahajan who showed a annual income of around Rs.80,000/- when he filed his nomination has probably borrowed the Lexus he drives around in from a friend,though I didnt know that before voting.And Vajpayee calling an emergency cabinet meeting just to pass a Reliance proposal and then rushing to parliament and resiging as PM just twenty minutes later was all in good faith ofcourse, no money changing hands though we didnt know that.Ofcourse only an idiot would believe that George Fernandes, Shiv Sena,the Akali Dal, the TDP,Jaylalitha,the AGP etc are corrupt or communal.Though us voters being idiots believed exactly that.Now thanks to you we have realized that the Bjp govt. was everything we thought it was not.Thanks for enlightening us.

Balaji said...

Have you said anything that I haven't already said in my blog? If you are uncomfortable with this level of corruption, how do you accept Congress party's levels of corruption?