For the reasons expressed below, I have decided that being a silent supporter (and voter) for a political party is not good enough. Hence, I have decided to publicly voice my support for the BJP for the general elections to be held in April-May. I am also working together with a group of like-minded professionals to create a “Friends of BJP” group. We are having a get-together today evening at 7:30 pm at NSCI, Worli. Anyone can come and brainstorm with us. Here’s the gist of what I will share in my remarks at the event.
I am Rajesh Jain, a serial technology entrepreneur and a citizen of India who has chosen to act.
I am one of us. Till some time ago, I assumed that my contribution to the 2009 elections and the future of India would be my one vote. But, somewhere along the line, things changed. Maybe it was 26/11 and seeing some of us out on the streets demanding action. Maybe it was seeing Obama become President, and see politics really change in America, bottom-up. Whatever it was, I have woken up to the fact that we have to do more – much more – if we are going to rewrite our future and rebuild our India into the glorious country that it once was.
We know we are on the wrong track when security warnings sent on September 24 for the event that happened on 26/11 are ignored and not acted on. We know we are on the wrong track when we cannot provide adequate electricity 24×7 in our homes and factories – and yet for the sake of votes our political parties offer free power to millions. We know we are on the wrong track when we have schemes like NREGS and bank loan write-offs which create wealth for the entire value chain – expect for the one it is supposed to help. We know we are on the wrong track when we can barely add to the highways in five years. We know we are on the wrong track when a mother says that her biggest challenge of parenting is finding a good school for her daughter.
We are on the wrong track. And it is WE who put us there. By our apathy, by not voting, by accepting mediocrity, by not being part of the political process. The best we do is show up at candle-light vigils when we are shocked from our smugness, but don’t we need something more concrete and impactful?
We are India’s educated civil society. If we cannot act individually and as a team, then we forfeit the right to complain. Democracy comes with responsibilities and duties. It also comes with a generation having to make some sacrifices so the Tomorrow for our children can be better than our Today.
We have 100 days only to the elections. India has 2 national parties and a multitude of regional parties. We have to make a choice about the party at the Centre. We can wait for a utopian world and the creation of the Perfect Political Party. Or, we can pick the party with the lighter shades of grey.
A week ago, when some of us got together to talk about the elections and the future, we also made our choice. We decided to support the BJP – and work towards ensuring LK Advani becomes Prime Minister. The BJP may not be the Whitest of the parties, but in our view, it is by far, the better, cleaner, more democratic, less feudal and more promising of the two national options. More importantly, we also realised that in the 2009 Elections, the way things stand, unless the BJP gets 50-75 more seats on its own above the 130 it got in the 2004 elections, there is little hope of the BJP forming a government at the centre.
Thus was formed Friends of BJP. We are neither all signed-up members nor agree with everything and everybody in the party has always said. But we firmly believe that, in 2009, the BJP and LK Advani are the best hopes for India. We have a clear short-term goal, and a grander long-term vision for Friends of BJP.
The 100-day goal is to get BJP to 200+ seats – in the 15th Lok Sabha. This will mean a massive outreach programme through all means at our disposal to get the silent supporters to be more vocal, and the undecideds to be swung the BJP way. Bringing about a BJP government at the centre with Advani at the helm will then bring into focus the longer-term vision. That is about a government that is two-way, that listens to us, that we can feel a part of. Technologies like the Internet and mobile give us the tools to self-organise and make our voices heard. The India of 2009 is very different from that of 2004. The 2009 Elections will be the first where urban India can actually make a difference.
And that is why we are gathered here today. As citizens of India, we have a duty to help build a Better India. The 20 of a week ago are now 200. We need to become 2000 in another week, and 20 million by the time the elections are here. We have to become the Voice of India. For 60 years, we have been Led. And for many of those years, Led down a wrong path. The time has now come for us to Lead.
The first step in that direction is Mission 200+ Seats for the BJP. Let’s get cracking!
PS: A vote at the ballot box is just a first step – and not the end goal. We need to – and have to – do more. I am not completely sure where this will lead to. It could fizzle out, or it could grow into something very big. I hope I can be a part of making a difference. The next 100 days will show us. This is a a journey we need to do together. As a first step, irrespective of which party you decide you support, you can start by being vocal – so we can start a dialogue. India needs millions of such conversations happening every day. Out of that will emerge a New, Better India whose citizens are equal stakeholders in its future.