Now that the elections are over, may one hope that the mud-slinging will stop? It does no one any good. The approach should be to look forward to the future. Some 539 constituencies went to the polls. And there are 539 reasons why one candidate succeeded and another failed. So many theories have been put forth, like anti-incumbency factor, wrong choice of political partners, overemphasis on ?India shining?, the great urban/rural divide, etc. The list is endless.
Let this be said: The Congress did not win. If the TDP had done well in Andhra Pradesh and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, it would have been an entirely different story. What happened is not a victory for socialism or secularism, nor is it a defeat for Hindutva or disinvestment. Nor did the NDA lose. A combination of several factors led to the downfall of the NDA. If Sonia Gandhi single-handedly travelled thousands of miles, so did L.K. Advani and so did Atal Behari Vajpayee. If Sonia Gandhi thinks her communist friends (may one remind her of the communist role in 1942 and after?) are going to help her, she is welcome to her delusions. The country will survive.
Think of the past, when India became independent the right choice of the prime ministership should have been Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Nehru took over. His greatest legacy is the problem of Jammu and Kashmir; his successor Lal Bahadur Shastri should have lived a few more years. In him we had a sterling man; but fate snatched him away when he was barely two years in his post. Indira Gandhi gave us the garibi hatao slogan and garibi is still with us, sixty years after India became free. The NDA was in power for just about five years. Prior to that, according to figures for 1991, sixty crore Indian children under the age of six lived below the poverty line, less than half of India'schildren between the ages of six and 14 years went to school, every second child was malnourished, 24.4 million child workers were in the age group of five to 14 years, there were hundreds and thousands of street children in the streets all over the country and so on. Wonderful record for the Congress. Forget the I.K. Gujrals, the notorious V.P. Singhs, the Charan Singhs and the Deve Gowdas and even the P.V. Narasimha Raos.
The fun is in aiming at the stars and living for the future. Leave the gloating to the Congress and its allies. The BJP should have other, and better things to do. And the time to start is NOW. The BJP'sstrength lies in its will and its determination to get on and get going. And when it gets going it will sooner, rather than later, arrive at its rightful destination. The journey will be strenuous but it will be eminently worthwhile. Forward, BJP!
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated because of the wrong policies the Government of India played against Sri Lanka, just as Indira Gandhi was assassinated for the wrong policies she in her wisdom played in Punjab, by two Sikh guards in whom she had placed infinite trust. And never mind the pogroms and genocide that followed. Congressmen don'tobserve pogroms. They only kill. Congressmen do not practise genocide, they merely kill selectively. And never mind if the Rajiv Gandhi regime took 72 hours to call the army to control the riots. There must have been Neros in the Supreme Court then. Having said that, let one be permitted one observation. If it is true that some 65 per cent of the population is between the ages of 18 and 35, then an equal percentage of voters surely must come from that same group. And the aim of any party today must be to see what this age group wants. Mud-slinging, name-calling and other literary exercises can wait. Leaders come and go. In due time the Jyoti Basus, the Laloo Prasad Yadavs and other provincial jokers will pass away, their earthy existence recognised in some footnote.
If the Congress cannot find one single native born Indian as its candidate for prime ministership, India should be able to swallow the humiliation. India has a great record of being humiliated time and again down the centuries and one more should only serve to strengthen its character. May Sonia Gandhi live for a thousand years. Having said that, what should the BJP do? It should act in such a way as to bring succour to the under 35s. Times have changed. Socialism, secularism, Hindutva and other concepts have become out of fashion. There are two things on which full attention should be immediately focused. One is providing employment to the unemployed. There is unemployment at every educational level. From the street child begging for a living to the engineer graduating from our colleges, unemployment is rampant. The BJP should focus on this. How can village self-sufficiency be worked? Is khadi and other similar approaches a way out? Do we need so many engineering colleges that annually spew out some 20,000 graduates who have no jobs? What kind of cruel joke is it? Some attention is to be paid to that.
The other issue to which immediate attention needs to be paid is population control. Population growth is becoming the biggest problem for India and the BJP must undertake a nation-wide programme to see that birth control measures become effective. Hindutva can wait. Ayodhya can wait. If Muslims insist on being ungracious and indifferent to the feelings of millions of Hindus, aided and abetted by our thoughtless and vicious secularists, there is nothing that one can do. Let the BJP get along with the job of providing jobs. That by itself is a thrilling task and far exceeds the joy of being in power. Look after the farmers and their fields. Look after their women and their children. Set up a committee to create jobs. This task is not for the government. Sonia Gandhi and her cohorts cannot be any wiser than all the ministers and their sycophants who have come and gone. Who remembers them? But if the BJP can make rural India shine, it would be a victory in itself.
The defeat at the polls must be taken as a golden opportunity to engage the party in some really befitting work. This is not a job that the Left parties can do. They just don'thave the cadres. They are fit only to spout venom. Nor does the Congress Party have any cadres. It is a party of the middle class which has lost its way. If Sonia Gandhi thinks she can re-build the party she should know better. Only the BJP with its strong Hindu base?and it need not be apologetic about it?can get going to make our villages into models. Power is not important though it helps. Important are the smiles on the faces of our farmers and their wives and their children. What the BJP should realise is that the entire political complex has changed. That is the first lesson that it should learn. Sonia Gandhi can be defeated in the next elections if between now and 2009, BJP can make rural India shine, if it can make every young man have a job that he can be proud of. That is not going to be easy doing but the fun is in aiming at the stars and living for the future. Leave the gloating to the Congress and its allies. The BJP should have other, and better things to do. And the time to start is NOW. The BJP'sstrength lies in its will and its determination to get on and get going. And when it gets going it will sooner, rather than later, arrive at its rightful destination. The journey will be strenuous but it will be eminently worthwhile. Forward, BJP!