Sunday, December 20, 2009

BJP - Starting a new chapter

Something that we all waited for has finally happened. The baton has been passed in BJP as the party has a new of leaders with Nitin Gadkari becoming the Party President and Sushma Swaraj taking over as Leader of Opposition. Arun Jaitley has already been the leader of the party in Rajya Sabha. This also means that the eternal yatri of Indian politics and the kartavya purush as I would like to remember him moves away from the limelight and becomes the mentor for the party as it weathers the toughest storm it has faced in it's history.

Many people I spoke with, asked about how does this team expect to be an alternative to Rahul Gandhi. Well, when people say that they forget that there is a basic difference between BJP and Congress. While Congress follows a top-down approach where in the Gandhi Family decides the party and government policies, BJP follows a grounds-up approach where the strength comes from the grassroots. This is infact the reason why there has been an organisation change in BJP. Like BJP, Congress too lost elections in 1996,98 and 99 but there was no change at any level. Even after 2 consecutive debacles, Sonia Gandhi ran the party. Whereas in BJP, electoral defeats results in introspection on leadership, ideology and approach. This is the more democratic manner of functioning and a healthy sign for a national party in a long run.

Taking a look at the choice of Nitin Gandkari are Party President, one get's a feeling that the idea is to get a person who is a doer and someone who have proven skills as a manager. Nitin Gadkari is long remembered in Maharashtra as the person who showed how infrastructure can be developed without bowing down to corporates or without burdening the common man. His work as PWD Minister and his vision for infrastructure during NDA regime proved to be the catalyst for the infra boom India saw. While Nitin Gadkari is a person who understands the concept of Hindutva, he also is not a hardliner. His concepts of Hindutva, secularism are very clear and one could see from his interview on NDTV that he is ready to take this debate beyond the television studios. He is unapologetic about his ideology which helps the grassroot workers to throw their weight behind him. Add to this the clean image he enjoys. All this makes his new inning one worth watching. The future of Indian democracy will depend heavily on how he delivers in next 3 years.

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