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BJP must go back to old avatar

BJP must go back to old avatar

Author: RN Chawla
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 4, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/213276/BJP-must-go-back-to-old-avatar.html

Chandan Mitra's article, "Ekla Chalo re!" (October 25, The Cutting Ed, Foray) is a thought provoking write-up. It is a must read for the top brass of the BJP leadership. By and large the party's experience with respect to coalitions, both at the Centre and in the States, has not been very encouraging. That the coalition partners during the NDA regime had deserted the BJP for opportunistic gains is all too well known. It is sad to see that in order to accommodate parties with divergent ideologies, the BJP, time and again, has compromised on its core issues - implementation of uniform civil code, abrogating of Article 370 with respect to Jammu & Kashmir, and the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

By sidelining these issues, the BJP has lost its traditional vote-bank as well as its credibility as a Hindutva party. It has been too timid in its alliances. In Orissa, for instance, the party thought that it could cross the river on the BJD boat. But it ended up being marginalised and was thrown out as soon as the BJD sensed that the mood of the voters was in its favour.

In Punjab where the Akali Dal is in power in alliance with the BJP, both the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister are from the regional party and the people hardly know about the BJP MLAs in the State. The state of affairs in Bihar is no different. The BJP will have to fight the next Assembly election in the State at the mercy of Mr Nitish Kumar and the JD(U) as whatever development is taking place there is widely perceived to be due to the efforts of the Chief Minister.

To keep its identity, the BJP will have to chart a different path for itself (Ekla Chalo re) which is inclusive, nationalist and non-parochial. Hence, from now on, it will be in the best interest of the BJP to go solo as far as possible in State elections and preserve its identity as a national party.

For this the BJP will have to abandon its dream of coming to power at the Centre and shift its focus on the States. It is imperative that the party strengthens itself in the Hindi heartland and goes back to its core issues. If the BJP, like its old avatar, once again becomes a party with a difference and not a party with differences, I am sure that it will rise like a phoenix from its present state of despondency and regain its lost ground in national politics. The party must act now before it crosses the point of no return.

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