After securing a mammoth victory in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s mission is to occupy the position once enjoyed by Congress in the political space. Congress mukt Bharat version 2.O has been activated. Merger of two third of Congress MLAs in Goa with BJP and threat looming large over the coalition government with resignation of 16 MLAs are clear signals that BJP is out there to finish off competition.
BJP sees an opportunity to rule the country for years together (as per Ram Madhav till 2047) with the disintegration of the grand old party and competition left onlyfrom regional parties in some states. In its zeal to become the most dominant and powerful party, critics and even some sympathizers believe it is becoming the new Congress.Arun Shourie ex Finance Minister has in the past termed the new BJP under Modi as “Congress plus cow”.
Manohar Parrikar’s son has criticized the move to in Goa. “The words like trust and commitment which were at the core of the BJP during Manohar Parrikar’s time ceased to exist on March 17 [the day on which Parrikar died],” Utpal Parrikar told PTI. “The party has taken a different direction after March 17 and only time will tell whether it is the right one.”
Lets’ see in what ways is BJP similar to Congress.
Personification like Gandhis
While BJP boasts of being a cadre-based party, its glaring Modification is for all to see. Just like the Gandhi family, the party is slowly becoming all about Modi. The stupendous victory in Lok Sabha elections 2019 where BJP created a new record by crossing 300 seats on its own has solidified his position in the party. He’s created a larger than life image. Party slogans have centered around Modi, PhirekBaar Modi Sarkar rather than PhirekBaarBJP Sarkar, Modi hai to Mumkin Hai instead of BJP hai toMumkin Hai.
Win due to leadership, loss due to organization
Till recently, the darbari culture in Congress credited Gandhi family for victories and blamed the poor organization for losses. Though BJP hasn’t suffered many losses, last year it lost 3 state elections in Hindi heartland. The BJP didn’t hold any press conference to explain the loss. Though Modi extensively toured these states, he wasn’t blamed for losses. All state election wins and Lok Sabha elections 2019 victory have been attributed to him instead.
Power in the hands of a few
Along with Amit Shah the two enjoy complete control over the government and the party organization. The induction of Shah into the union cabinet has further strengthened their position. They take all calls, most people even in party are not aware of their moves. Many ex CMs are now at the mercy of the duo. They have appointed Chief Ministers in states who are considered lightweight like in Haryana and Jharkhand. The Gandhi family in the Congress party has been taking all major decisions for decades. They have been appointing loyalists in key positions.
Massive financial resources
In four years from 2013-14 to 2016-17, a study by ADR shows that BJP received 90% of all donations made by electoral trusts. In 2017-18, BJP got Rs 210 crore in poll bonds, all others only Rs 11 crore as per Election Commission. As per CMS, BJP spent nearly 45% – or Rs 27,000 crore – of total expenditure for 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Rahul Gandhi also highlighted this point in his resignation letter alleging that no election can be free in India if one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.
After Modi came to power in 2014, the party elevated the senior leaders / elders like Advani, M.M. Joshi, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Siha into a newly created body called the Margdarshakmandal. They were denied ministerial berths citing the age factor (75+). Not a single meeting of the mandal has happened till date. They are not consulted on policy matters. In-fact Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie have openly highlighted these facts and criticized the Modi-Shah duo. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections Advani and Joshi were even denied tickets.
During Indira Gandhi days many senior leaders left the Congress party like Morarji Desai, Chandrasekhar, Biju Patnaik, Jagjivan Ram, Inder Kumar Gujral etc. Indira sidelined the old guard (Syndicate) after becoming Prime Minister, the same Syndicate who helped her occupy the position. Similarly, Advani played a key role in getting Modi the Chief Minister chair in Gujarat and also saved him from losing the job after Godhra riots. But he was ignored for the President post.
Jod–Tod politics to expand base at the cost of ideology
The recent turn of events in Goa and Karnataka are a case in point. Mukul Roy is claiming 107 MLAs of TMC, Congress and Left are willing to join the party in West Bengal ahead of state elections. TDP in Rajya Sabha has merged with BJP. 18 out of 23 TDP MLAs in the state of Andhra are open to merger as per reports. In Jharkhand 6 MLAs of Babulal Marandi’s party switched sides in 2015. In Arunachal, party succeeded in installing a BJP government in early 2017 helped by defections, within 2 years of state polls, where it had won just 11 out of 60 MLAs. Leaders across the political spectrum are joining the BJP to further their prospects.
This strategy is harmful in the long run
The big difference between the BJP and Congress is the support of the RSS cadre. Their leaning towards the BJP is on ideological grounds (Ram temple, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code etc.). This gives the BJP and edge in the elections. The party taps these selfless RSS cadre for disseminating its achievements and receiving feedback from the ground. The Congress also enjoyed similar selfless cadre during the initial years when a significant proportion of its workers / members were from the Freedom struggle.
However, over the years, the grand old party compromised on its principles and inducted power-hungry people in its ranks. As soon as it was out of power, the culture it bred completely destroyed the party. These opportunist people lost touched with the masses and again jumped ship leading to complete decay of the party. With increasing entrants from other parties with no ideological match, BJP is falling into the same trap. It could cause long-term damage that may not be visible today when the party’s graph is on an upswing.
To sum up, the BJP in trying to occupy the dominant political space once enjoyed by Congress is
seen committing the same mistakes as the grand old party. This is a risky strategy because due to high media penetration, the power cycles (number of uninterrupted years a party is in power at the centre) could become much shorter.
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