BJP national secretary Shri Prabhat Jha was elected to Rajya Sabha last year. Combining the traits of a journalist, an RSS swayamsevak and a politician, he has been in the midst of numerous electoral battles in various states. He prides in working behind the stage, trying to keep himself aloof from the glare. Organiser representative Ambacharan Vashishth interviewed him. Excerpts:
You have been in the thick of planning and campaigning in a number of elections. What have been your experiences?
I have been through the thick of election campaigns in about 8-10 states during the last over eight years. My experience has been that commitment and dedication are the keys to success in an election. In normal times, the party is engaged in toning up the organisation and promoting public welfare. But during the election campaign, it is like fighting a war when your eye is focussed only on your target to win.
About six months back when you went to oversee the BJP'selection campaign in Madhya Pradesh, the state then looked to be lost for the party. What was the scene then?
The scene then definitely was not very optimistic. I realised that the leaders and the karyakartas have to do a lot to bring the party back to power. I am glad that all did their duty remarkably well with dedication and sense of purpose under the leadership of Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
What were the handicaps you encountered and the positive points you found?
There were no serious handicaps. The moment BJP gird up its loins to face the challenge unitedly, the things changed for the better.
How were the scales tilted in favour of BJP piercing through the anti-incumbency factor?
I don'tthink there was an anti-incumbency factor, not at least against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Government and the BJP. If there was any, it was only against individuals. The party evaluated the performance of individual sitting MLAs/ministers and changed candidates where it was necessary.
The election management was invigorated. The concept of energising booth committees at every polling station propounded by BJP national president Shri Rajnath Singh stood the party in good stead. Work was properly allocated to individuals and groups. Everybody worked with honesty and sincerity of purpose. A vigilant eye was kept on the progress of elections right from the day of announcement of elections and the day of counting. Shri Shivraj Singh worked day and night. If he had a nap, he only dreamt of Madhya Pradesh'sdevelopment.
What is the lesson you draw and want the party to learn from your MP experience?
A lot of lessons were learnt. If we work unitedly with a mission, success is ours. Controversies need to be avoided. Only that person should be given the party nomination who has the capacity and the chance to win. Leaders should keep themselves off from yes-men who indulge in false praise and unnecessarily hover around just to win favour. Assessment should be realistic. Workers should not be ignored. We must keep our finger on the pulse of the people and not overlook their hopes and aspirations.
You have RSS background. How has it moulded your personality, way of working and thoughts?
I lost my mother when I was a child. I lost my father too soon. Therefore, my bringing up was done by the RSS and I got parental care and affection from the Sangh. Whatever I have done so far or whatever has been decided in my life it has always been in consultation with the Sangh.
Don'tyou think there is lack of education and training to the politicians as how to conduct themselves in public and perform in elected bodies?
I stand for some kind of training for politicians and elected representatives. Political parties need to evolve a curriculum in which politicians of every stature should be imparted education and training about the party'sideology, programmes and policies, discipline and functioning in parliamentary bodies.
In Rajya Sabha, what is your priority?
I would endeavour to emerge as a good parliamentarian by raising in Rajya Sabha the issues agitating the minds of the people at large and to do everything to usher in social harmony, break the shackles of casteism, and strengthen the spirit of nationalism among people so that they have greater faith and confidence in the laws of the land and the Constitution.