Monday, December 09, 2013

Lessons from AAP for BJP

It is interesting that AAP, a political outfit created in the space of one year has captured the imagination of Delhi. This is an outfit with no prior governing experience and comes without the backing of any political family.

Of course, AAP is not the only one, there are others, but many of them formed as breakaway factions of other political parties or came from political families.

But it brings me to think - how come the BJP never could establish itself in other parts of India. Especially the South of India. If the AAP could do it, why not BJP? Perhaps the BJP did not want to? Perhaps, just perhaps, they thought that the way forward was the Congress way with a party winning a few seats and a grand alliance? What if, by doing so, as recent events have shown, they were playing into Congress hands? What if, there was a chance to do something different? To emerge as Indias only pan-national party. With a truly centre right secular (not as per the Congress definition) agenda. Why not establish a foothold in the East/North East? So, unless willpower is an issue, there is no reason this cannot be done, as AAP - a party of rank novices has shown.

Here is how the BJP could do it. The recent elections have shown that the BJP headed by Narendra Modi is at the forefront of receiving the benefit of an anti-Congress vote. (So much so that BSP which had vote share in Delhi last elections, is nowhere to be seen). From what I have read, urban and semi urban centres across Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh are all rooting for BJP - partly due to good governance and partly due to Narendra Modis appeal and of course, the resentment against Congress and its disappearing leaders.

The BJP can capitalize on it, by getting into select urban centers with known faces. For example, if they could convince someone like Sourav Ganguly to stand in Kolkata and use that appeal to create a few more candidates in seats around. Or with somebody likewise in Andhra and a similar satellite approach. Or in the North East. Perhaps, ignore the cities and go for more semi-urban centers. This is a great way to get the cadres energized and create the infrastructure required to run the party. I am sure this is one way - perhaps there are other ways as well, but the point is, that the BJP can do it. If the AAP can, surely the BJP can.

The mission to 272+  is not a smooth road. But it can be done. Needs some creativity and some organizing powers to think beyond the obvious seats!

Question is, will it pick up the gauntlet?