Way ahead for BJP, Congress
The results of elections for the 16th Parliament are out, and the BJP has scored an outstanding victory. During Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's time BJP had won 182 seats in the 1998 and 1999 elections. And the additional 90 seats required to form stable government were managed with the support from friendly parties which were as diverse as the Shiv Sena from Maharashtra to the National Conference of J&K.
Though BJP had its own independent manifesto for the 1998 elections but due to a fractured mandate they had to work out a ‘Common Minimum Program’ with some friendly parties to form a government. But despite it, following uncooperative attitude of one supporting party, the government fell within 13 months and necessitated fresh elections in 1999. The BJP again fought these elections with the CMP (worked out earlier) in its manifesto with its partners but was not able to increase its tally beyond 182 seats. However, with the support of friendly parties, this time Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji was able to run an effective and stable government for the next five years.
This time the BJP has secured 284 seats on its own, 12 more than then number required for forming a stable government – and this is indeed an outstanding historic achievement. The distinctive feature this time has been that the BJP fought these elections on its own independent manifesto which includes the issues of Rammandir at Ayodhya, Common Civil Code and Article 370 that were left out of the 1999 manifesto (CMP) earlier.
Apart from BJP allies, – Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, Chandrababu Naidu led TDP and some other parties in the south were also part of the NDA. Development and transparency in governance were the core issues in these elections. And though everyone may not agree even after the above three issues were included in the BJP manifesto, the very fact that these parties joined the NDA umbrella indicates that they were not likely to have direct opposition if in future steps are taken to resolve these concerns within the constitutional and judicial framework..
This has led to BJP led NDA securing 334 seats, more than 60%, a record breaking triumph, which no other party or group can boast of over the last seven elections – almost 30 years, since Rajiv Gandhi won in 1984.
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The credit for this exceptional and glorious success of BJP, beyond doubt, goes to Shri Narendrabhai Modi. His relentless hard work, untiring efforts in establishing communication with people – addressing their aspirations and concerns, especially his direct connect with the younger generation, has resulted in superb victory for the BJP. This is not to downplay the role of the party organisation or its workers. Their support existed in 2004 and 2009 too. But the party had suffered reverses nevertheless. That the leadership of Narendrabhai Modi infused new life into the party and enthused unbound fresh energy into the workers is now being accepted by all.
Contribution of Sangh Swayamsewaks
The contribution of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to this victory also needs to be recognised. The RSS remains away from politics as a rule and is an organisation committed to the good of entire society.
Politics is one sphere of the social life, but not the only one. Therefore, RSS also has its views on various issues in politics. But the work is not restricted to politics; swayamsewaks have also been contributing to social fields like, education, health & hygiene, religion, industry, agriculture etc.
Shri Mohanji Bhagwat, Sanghchalak, had exhorted all workers and citizens in his Vijayadashmi address last October to exercise their right to vote and ensure 100% voting in elections. In follow up the RSS swayamsevaks visited millions of homes creating awareness, motivating and urging people to come out for voting. They did not influence the people to vote for someone particular. People know about RSS very well and have faith in its work.
These efforts proved very fruitful resulting in extraordinary voting percentages which recorded an exceptional growth [beyond 66%] in 2014 elections. The swayamsevaks were also driven by the anti “RSS” propaganda let loose by the non NDA parties, especially the Congress, who propagated that their fight is with the RSS and not with the BJP. Their misguided attempts were always aimed at capturing the Muslim voters enmasse by spreading the imagined fear of RSS amongst them. Therefore, the spiteful role and contribution of such anti BJP parties and the Congress in badmouthing RSS should also not be discounted in this eyecatching success achieved by the BJP.
Defeat of Casteist Politics
Another distinctive feature of these elections has been the defeat of cast politics. Hindu society is the majority community in our nation. “People are the Nation” is a universally accepted concept. Similarities in cultural and social values, customs and more importantly “roots” of the people are the true benchmarks for defining the homogeneousness, unity and nationality of people. Therefore we consider ‘Hindu’ a Nation – a ‘Rashtra’.
The Hindu societies is made up of many casts, sub¬casts, creeds etc. and have common features among their practices and beliefs with their distinctive lifestyles. However many narrow minded politicians and groups have been trying to achieve power through dubious means. They actively engage in magnifying the differences and inciting injudicious feelings of injustice which rather than strengthening the common features that bind the society have resulted in creating wedges and spreading hatred amongst people. But these elections have been a resounding slap in the face of such casteist political parties and leaders which they will remember a lifetime!
Mayawati’s BSP, a front runner in politics of the Dalits, had won 20 seats in UP alone during the 2009 elections. In this election the BSP has been totally wiped out, whereas the BJP has won all the 17 seats reserved in Scheduled Caste category. The Samajwadi Party, which had won maximum parliamentary seats in UP in 2009 has been restricted to just five seats [only Mulayam & his family members won] out of 80 this time. The SP had not only won the assembly elections in 2009 with a vast majority but is also in power in UP today. This verdict indicates voters of UP have totally rejected politicians engaged in caste-religion based politics as also the politics of equation of votebanks like “MuslimDalit” or ‘Yadav-Muslim’ etc. The credit for the outstanding success achieved by the BJP in winning 71 out of 80 seats in UP goes to Amit Shah who worked himself into the hearts of people and made UP almost his home.
The Congress party has been thoroughly decimated in these elections. A party boasting a tradition of 125 years, which had won 206 seats on its own in the previous election five years back, could not even secure 50 seats– it got just 46. What could be more shameful than the fact that Congress has been completely wiped out in 14 states –J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Nagaland, Tripura, Seemandhra. There could have been no greater disgrace for the party than this shocking debacle.
The BJP and the Congress, not only have a holistic view of national situation but more or they less also have a historical and geographical presence across the country.
Power has changed hands between these two parties over years and it is this that has led to the growth of healthy democracy. We therefore need Congress to be a healthy competitor, and for that the Congress needs to wake up, take stock and revive itself.
Reviving the Congress
The Congress party is presently dependent on the Gandhi Family, Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka Vadra and has no other leaders willing to stand up and be counted. This will not help in its revival. The younger generation is fed up and is against family fiefdoms in politics.
It is thus time to put aside claims of over sixty generation and the likes of Digvijay, Chidambaram, Antony, Gehlot etc. And give charge in the hands of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Ajay Maken, Dipendra Huda, Milind Deora, Rajendra Mulak, Mukul Wasnik, Meenakshi Natarajan etc. Even Rahul and Priyanka could be part of such new formation. They should chalk out a complete plan for revival and form organisational policies anew, taking care that meaning of secularism is not limited to being “anti-Hindu” and pro-others.
They should try to climb above petty politics of caste, creed, religion etc., and move towards redefining the fundamental philosophy of the party.
It is the time for the younger lot to come together and do some brainstorming in the right direction – I feel this is the only way forward for Congress at this moment.
-M G Vaidya