The BJP must rededicate itself to India, allowing for every hue and variant worldview, every form of diversity to peacefully exist and thrive; now, that would be a wonderful gift to give to itself on its anniversary. (Representational Image/ AFP)
The born again version of Jana Sangh, the Bharatiya Janata Party celebrated its 42nd year of coming into existence at near peak success. Its story of rags to success is best epitomised by the personal story of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, its most powerful leader ever; from a mere two Lok Sabha MPs in 1984 to two consecutive Central governments with absolutely majority and a near proportionate sway over the states, reflecting in its having over 100 MPs in the Upper House.
The BJP, which claims with credibility of being the world’s largest political party, has indeed come a long way; from the Jana Sangh days when for decades it found little support amongst the people to a point where it has almost delivered on all its key promises — construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, removal of Article 370 (and 35a) — and few citizens in the country really doubt that the Uniform Civil Code is a matter of when rather than if.
Post Independence, with the mammoth and dominant Congress Party acquiring a left of centre, social democratic space, there was always a space for more right wing parties, be it of liberal social and economically libertarian hues, or one with a greater cultural and religious grounding, with a pragmatic socialist welfare mindset in economics. Quite clearly the latter, the BJP was born after the failure of the Jana Sangh, and the fall of the first non-Congress alliance government post Emergency.
Since it was essentially birthed in a political context of opposing the Congress, but unwilling to sacrifice the membership of the RSS, the BJP was essentially always going to be a Hindutva party, unwilling to let go of its nationalistic and cultural worldview, and instead, be patiently willing to transform the people to accept its ideology.
The long game of patience has paid off. The party and its parent RSS’s esemplastic integration of a cultural nationalism, clean politics sans nepotism and corruption, and an undercurrent of continually boiling the communal cauldron has put it in prime position.
The rise of the BJP, coinciding with the rapid decline of the Grand Old Party, has once again created the pre-Emergency like political situation, when India was described as a single party dominated, multi-party democracy.
The success or failure of any political party, and its ideology, depends on the people and, therefore, should only be celebrated. The rise of the BJP has left ample anxiety and problematic flux in the country, going beyond management of economy or growth or loss of jobs, which trace back to the questions that defined the Partition and the Constitutional birth of modern India.
The right to diversity of political views ends at the doorstep of the defining values of the Republic; and trying to create a society with a tangentially different mindset and values should be beyond the scope of politics.
The BJP must rededicate itself to India, allowing for every hue and variant worldview, every form of diversity to peacefully exist and thrive; now, that would be a wonderful gift to give to itself on its anniversary.