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Lessons for the BJP

The aftermath of the election is that Congress is back in power and national governance will be back in inaction as it has been. [With exception of the NREGA the previous UPA govt has started no new schemes and even existing visionary projects like the Golden Quadrilateral have slowed down]. 

The lesson for the BJP has come not from where it has lost but from where it has won - Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand; and from its ally in Bihar. And the lesson is governance works, ideology doesn't, religion alienates electorate and hate politics takes you two steps backward.

When the BJP came to power in MP in 2005 under Uma Bharti, the state of affairs was dismal - there was more emphasis on where the next Sadhu congregation is going to be than which districts need roads. It was by a stroke of luck that Uma exited and entered Shivraj Chauhan who started concentrating on development from Day 0. In Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje however repeated the same mistakes as Uma Bharti, but alas there was not Shivraj Singh present to save the BJP there.

Clearly, while fall of regional politics has helped the Congress, it has been because the party has worked hard on developing its cadres across the country in the past 4 years. BJP, basking under the strength of its alliances, never bothered to develop its own organization in states where it has alliance partners. As a result, when regional politics got vetoed, it was completely absent to grab a share of the emerging vote bank.

And the last nail in the coffin was the reluctance of Advani to give up - first the aspiration for the Prime Ministerial berth and second the Hindutva hardline. In fact, even when Mumbai was attacked on 26/11, he in his desperation to become the next PM, played politics rather than deal with the situation in a calm and composed manner.

Varun Gandhi with his hate campaign finally sealed the fate of the BJP when it came to the "religiously neutral but pro-BJP" electorate - traders, businessmen and a large section of youth. What was left for the BJP was only the little victories in Gujarat, MP, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and in success of its stellar leaders [who were far too popular to be defeated].

The BJP's next steps need to be:
  1. Rebuild the cadres in states where it is absent - strengthen the cadres elsewhere
  2. Concentrate on building a governance based agenda for the upcoming elections at state, municipal and panchayat levels
  3. Create a positive campaign for the next election based on educating the voter about its visionary policy/program initiatives
  4. Play the role of a constructive opposition - make sure that it supports the treasury benches on long standing bills like Women's reservation in Parliament and those relating to clean up of Judiciary.
  5. Make use of Information technology to better manage election campaigns and gauge the nerve of the populace before announcing its election manifesto 
All the above points are valid for the Congress too - especially if Rahul Gandhi's listening :-). For the regional/communal/casteist/leftist forces - my wish is that they perish in peace.


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