Saturday, January 2, 2010
I must admit that for a few days after the announcement that BJP and JMM are getting together to form a government, I was pretty confused on how to react.
The very first reaction was of opposition to any such idea. How can BJP which had raised a bugle against Shibu Soren shake hands with him? Why can't BJP senior leaders let go of this short term gain over a long term vision? And many other questions which were certainly the first rise of thought when the name of Shibu Soren got attached with the name of Bharatiya Janata Party.
I did have the impulse to write a piece of my mind and circulate it to whoever cares to read. But somehow that didn't seem to be a good decision so it never happened. I gave myself some more time to figure out the logic for a call like this.
As I see more and more of this issue, I realise that it was not BJP's choice, it was the compulsion that the voters have created.
Out of 81 seats BJP and allies have 20 seats only, Shibu Soren's JMM comes second with 18 seats, Congress stood at 14 seats and, their pre-poll ally, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha at 11 seats. The polls had thrown a wierd statistics at these parties. India Today has reviewed this situation very well and the link to their article is attached to this post.
Politicial parties had little choice. Congress tried partnering with Shibu Soren but couldn't go ahead because Soren wanted to lead the front. BJP, through their decision, has made it clear that they respect the mandate of the people and if the circumstances do not allow for a BJP Chief Minister, then so be it. At least stay in the govt. and do some good things so that next election brings in better results.
I think if BJP wants to come to power in Delhi, it has to allow more and more of its party members to learn the habits of being in power and acting responsibly when they get it. This strategy looks more consistent with its objective of coming to power and govern this nation on the basis of its vision for India. BJP needs to start ignoring suggestion of sitting on the opposition benches. If it is targetting Treasury benches then that's what it must head for.
People will always point fingers and raise debates on BJP's moral standing. But the debate is wrong to start with. If people of Jharkhand didn't want to see Soren, then they shouldn't have brought in JMM into the Legislative Assembly with 18 MLAs. Nobody could have formed a government without Soren anyway.
I like to think that BJP has done a smart thing. It has avoided wasting time on unnecessary discussion and debate on morality of such a decision. Its moral enough for it to have respected the democratic traditions and in spite of openly criticising and attacking Soren in public, they have set those differences aside and allowed the formation of the new government. I will be happy to see someone place arguments in opposition to this logic.
No doubt that by supporting JMM govt. and partnering Soren, BJP has put itself in a challenging position. Critics and Congress may have a field day, every day that this government survives. So its up to BJP to decide what's negotiable and what's not, in the governance of Jharkhand. BJP cannot idle its time away while in this govt. Soren may be the Chief Minister, but BJP is the backbone of this government. It is certainly a senior partner of sorts. It has ruled Jharkhand for 6 out of 9 years of it's existence whereas JMM and Shibu Soren have done it for a mere 10 days.
If I may take the opportunity to list out what I think should be BJP priority while they share power with JMM in Jharkhand, it should be following.
1. Make the governance of Jharkhand the most transparent thing in this country. People believe that Soren is out to rape the state by indulging in rampant corruption. BJP has to ensure that no such nonsense is possible if they want BJP's support. Every contract, order, administrative work should become transparent enough for a common man to have the faith that BJP can safeguard the interest of the state. BJP's allegiance is to the people and not JMM.
2. Push for major initiatives of infrastructure and other initiatives. May be take a leaf or two from Mr. Modi's book, as BJP President Mr. Gadkari suggests.
3. Ensure proper implementation of initiatives instead of behaving like Pt. Nehru, who was known to just delegate the job and forget about it. NDA's habit of advertising progress of Golden Quadrilateral and other projects of national interest was a good one. Not only does that keep all stakeholders informed, it charges the atmosphere. People always know that things are happening.
4. Do something about the Naxaliites. At least modrnize the Jharkhand Police through more recruitment, better training, sophisticated weapons and surveillance devices and high morale.
5. Use this position for only the long term gains. If visible changes are made and people are informed well about BJP's role, and this good work is coordinated well with the Jharkhand BJP's recruitment drive, then who can stop BJP from becoming the strongest political organization.
Away from all this, the Party needs to create a mechanism to stem the growth of dissatisfied party men. Mr. Babulal Marandi's party winning 11 seats is a very good example of what dissatisfied partymen and internal "dirty" politics can do to BJP.
All the above is of course easier said then done. But let's at least start in that direction.
Best of luck to Jharkhand BJP.