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.