Sadanand Dhume is among the few journalists who actually makes a point when he writes something. Indian media overall doesn’t really write about BJP and if it ever writes something it seems as if congress paid them to write it.
In his recent article of WSJ he makes some astute observations about India’s so-called right.
As long as it continues to be limited by a narrow focus on identity politics, and as long as it pursues policies based on opportunism rather than on principle, the BJP will fail both India and itself. [Source]
I think this description of BJP is spot on. BJP’s stand on most of the issues does not reflect their ideological position but clearly reflects their sense of opportunism.
As Dhume explain BJP is probably the only party on horizon that can stand for economic freedom, strong and assertive defense strategy, strong counter terrorism strategy and so on. But party risks this status by supporting Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev and their bizarre ideas.
Probably the BJP leadership thinks that they should not lose an opportunity to build a negative image of congress party in the mind of people. It probably thinks that it should ride the “popular” wave in order to win elections and that is where the line between BJP and Congress begins to get blurred.
As Dhume continues:
In recent months, for instance, the BJP has attacked the government’s tawdry record on corruption not by demanding less government and fewer cumbersome regulations, but by backing assorted crackpots and activists: from lawyer Prashant Bhushan, to yoga guru Baba Ramdev, to ardent alcohol-prohibitionist Anna Hazare. Mr. Bhushan believes that corruption in India has soared on account of too much liberalization rather than too little. The less said about Mr. Ramdev’s bizarre views on currency valuations and punishment for tax offenders, the better.
BJP in that sense has been behaving like a Kati Patang. I feel the party only reflects the character of its leaders. People like L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley are currently sitting on top. Problem with these people is that they dont stand for anything. Advani made some insane attempts to build his image and in the end made a fool of himself. It is a big question why he is still sticking to his chair.
Arun Jaitley’s case is a bit different. Outside politics he is a very successful lawyer. His political image perhaps only helps him in the private business. He is capable of arguing for a point and two days later he can perhaps put up even more splendid opposition.
Nation expects a lot from BJP. Whatever Vajpeyi started they need to take it forward. The party needs to clearly state that they are FOR more economic freedom, more individual freedom, less and less government interference, more aggressive foreign and defense policy.
In the end, it is not enough just to claim that you believe in something, your belief gets tested only when you are ready to take something on it. In BJP’s case the stake is probably electoral success in short run but it will surely rip good results in long term.