A Mission for Friends of BJP: Reclaiming the Successful

Swapan Dasgupta had attended our Bangalore Friends of BJP event, and was also present in Ahmedabad. After the Bangalore event, he wrote a blog post that very much echoes some of the things we would like to accomplish via the Friends of BJP movement:

The phrase “secession of the successful” has often been used to describe the non-involvement of India’s professional classes–those who are the driving forces of a globalised economy–in politics. The reasons are well known and don’t need to be repeated.

This Lok Sabha election, a section of the media, has been attempting to change things by at least forcing the young, the upper middle classes and the cynical classes to at least go out and vote. The assumption is that a substantial turnout may prompt political parties to may more heed to those they had earlier brushed aside as the non-voting classes.

I spent Saturday in Bangalore (I still can’t get myself to writing or saying Bengaluru) with Arun Jaitley to see a group of young enthusiasts, who work under the banner of Friends of BJP, in action. A group from Mumbai, notably Rajesh Jain and Amit Malviya, had taken time off from work to help the BJP reach out to young PLUs–those who otherwise follow Barack Obama’s campaign more enthusiastically than Indian politics.


I see an initiative such as FOBJP in two ways. In this election season, it can play a role in bringing out the otherwise apathetic middle-class vote. The group can expose a small group of Indians to the delights of organising and interacting with other like-minded individuals. FOBJP, I feel, is not merely aimed at the young. It must target all those who feel for India but shy away from politics.

There is a second, post-election dimension to the FOBJP. If the initiative dies at the end of the campaign, only to be resurrected the next time a Lok Sabha is elected, it would be a lot of wasted energy.

I believe FOBJP should become a permanent forum for all those who see themselves as BJP voters. They should act as a permanent watchdog/pressure group to ensure that the party doesn’t forget its supporters.

Hitherto, the party has emphasised its karyakartas, i.e. the activists. It has not demonstrated a similar willingness to either hear or explain things to those who vote for the party and identify with it.

The FOBJP must remain a ready-made forum for party. It must alert the party to possibilities, warn against stupidities and debate the issues. The constant interaction between a party and its social base will enrich democracy.

I hope some of those who are in the FOBJP take up and improve on my suggestion. Among all the political parties, the BJP is the most democratic. We must now use democracy to improve the quality of the party.

Indian politics and political parties need to be modernised. That is what we in Middle India can help bring about. The key question is how will it actually happen, and how much time will it take? These are the questions I hope to answer in the coming weeks as I travel across India and see first-hand the reality of Indian politics and elections.

42 thoughts on “A Mission for Friends of BJP: Reclaiming the Successful

  1. Hi Rajesh,

    That is a nice thought. I am not sure how much would the parties appreciate the same. Was watching Arnab Goswami’s New Hour yesterday and both Congress and BJP wanted Election Commission to investigate and take action against individual politicians (who were reported on Camera doing ridiculous things for e.g. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jaswant Singh etc). Political parties should build inner discipline and be able to take action against it’s own members. But are they interested in improving the quality of the party? Do they understand that improving the quality would brings more votes?

    Gaurav Agarwal

  2. Hi Rajesh
    “Modernisation” is something that can be brought about the most by us youngsters…but its sad and appalling that most of the young people i’ve been meeting are most disillusioned by the voting process. moreover the fiery speeches doing the rounds scare me. The BJP doesnt seem to ring the right bells at all…they seem to be a party that has rather fixed ideas…somehow the “tech savy Advani” and “Advani the fitness friek” dont do much for the image of the party…what you need is an “image makeover” and a serious one!!!

  3. Hi Rajesh,

    This is a great initiative. I’m sure this will pay of very well in up coming general elections.


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  5. I am sorry it’s too late for the BJP now. The Mandir agenda of 1990s is hardly relevent for the new gen that has opened eyes in the post-globalisation age. For the rest of the India Hindu identity has little attraction as they are badly divided by caste divisions. Realistically speaking the BJP can’t overpower caste agenda. Then the question arises, how to create a new and winable caste combine. The BJP will have to invent or encourage a lower and middle caste leadership. Rajnath, Jetly or Sushma cannot ever do it as they have not grassroot support. The BJP should discover a whole new leadership of Dalit and backward ldeaders and create a new social unity plank – a new social engineering programme, with strong national Indian identiry, with an underlying Hindu stream. Hindu identity should be secondary rather than primary. The main plank should be social unity and coherance.

  6. Dear Rajesh,

    Are you serious about your affiliation with BJP?

    Building one temple at one place, instead of concentrating on burning issues, can only show the blankness of mind.

    And then, the promises, [assurances]
    I heard L K Advani stating, BJP would end terrorism once for all.
    Would he bother to outline the strategy?
    Many gentlemen, un-gentlemen and others are chasing this elusive dream “Ending terrorism”.

    I just fear, Sudhanshu Mittal-Arun Jaitley episode, Navin Patnaik episode, Varun Gandhi hate speech have all mired the confidence of BJP and it has succumbed to what it was once good at. Talk, nothing than that.

    Why aren’t they emphasizing their past record of building roads, doing something [yes, atleast something] on divestment, telecom deregulation, peace-initiatives with neighbours……..

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  8. India needs change. A political party which can touch all questions pertaining to development, social, scientific, with special attention to diversified interest irrespective of cast, creat, sex, and linguistic bar can be a good option for tommorrows super power India. Indians are looking for such a political group. Hope if u comes in power will meet the needs.

  9. i like your thinking, we just completed our election in SA, and have the same grouping “Friends of the ANC” I have been trying to see how we can move forward with such capacity.

  10. I am dazed to find the agenda of the cream-youth with highest education- of our society, which is devoid of any lesson from History-recent and ancient. Principal Sen at the Engg college, BHU, always addressed the freshers as the cream of society, telling them of the % of the educated and of those who reached the Engg college BHU-the best amongst the only 2-3 colleges in India upto 1950. None from the cream tries to analyse the effects, rather devastating effects of Gandhi Darshan, which talked of RAM rajya but his Ram did not have a bow and arrow and he also talked of GEETA (Priyanka advises to read it correctly, i.e. Krishna of GANDHI, who did not have SUDARSHAN CHAKRA) but Krishna without SC, nor it sees the folly of Nehruvian policy, both combined leading to ill fated partition having permanent fall out, the surrender of Kashmir turning it into a sour for all the times to come, the shameful debacle of 1962 after rape of Tibet by the CHINESE BHAI. The illegal influx from B’desh is also being neglected, rather being encouraged, which is consuming millions in the form of subsidy to BPL populace.
    Shall our development not shatter as it did in 47, when the flourishing population had to flee after facing bloodbath that brought misery to not only Advani but to Kuldip Nayar, Khushwant singh and to some extent to Manmohan also. Shall our policy of protecting the nation through fencing by barbed wire bring result? Can our thinking face the challenges of China, who is encircling us and the Taliban mentality, approaching us through the MADARSAS? Is there any solution to these problems in the agenda

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