Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 6)

Organisation: Efficient and National

With clarity of Ideology and a decisive Leader in place, half the battle will have been won for the BJP. The next step has to be start rebuilding the party organisation based on merit and morality. It also needs to expand its footprint nationally, especially in the four states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal.

If there are three values that need to permeate the organisation, they are these:

  • Integrity: there must be no compromise on honesty
  • Courage:  so one can make bold decisions without fear
  • Nation First: this is easier said than done

 There needs to be a radically different outlook to rebuilding the organisation, because the current system is broken.

A fundamental rethink needs to be done on how political parties fight elections. Let us first understand what the issues are, and then we can discuss solutions. There are three key problems that afflict political parties as they go into the elections:

  • Selection of Candidates: It seems silly but parties just cannot seem to be able to get good enough candidates to fight in most constituencies! So, they are either transplanted from other areas or taken from the opposition. In some cases, there is so much legacy that people well past retirement age continue to fight. (A related issue even for sitting MPs is that most haven’t done any real work at the constituency level and so face a tough time getting re-elected.)
  • Outreach to Voters: This comes down to actual communications and interaction with voters. To start with, a “3D map” of the constituency needs to created (location, profile, contact information) along with a feedback system to initiate and continue the conversation with the constituents. There is a message that needs to be communicated. Everyone seems to wake up only towards election time. What if this was not the case? What if this was a continuous engagement process? Parties and voters would both benefit.

Of course, there are various other factors which affect a candidate’s prospects – the opposition, caste/community issues, national perceptions (“waves”), etc. What is increasingly clear is that Indians can reward good governance least at the state level as has been seen in recent state elections. So, development can trump caste equations – at least in an increasingly larger part of India.

In a nutshell, in urbanising India, a combination of a good candidate affiliated with the right party with a deep outreach programme to voters, and complemented by adequate funding and continuing engagement through the years can create a foundation for victory. A win will not be guaranteed of course, but without these factors, one has to start relying on all kinds of other things (vote cutting candidates, caste calculations, etc.)

Tomorrow: Organisation (continued)

9 thoughts on “Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 6)

  1. Rajesh,

    There was never a opposition party which survived the turmoil for more than a 15 years (except the local party DMK which survived and came back… because of its hard-core cadre support).

    For BJP the next five-years is going to be NOW-or-NEVER. Hope the high commands understand that.

    I believe it is going to be very tough for Cong to do good in the next five-years considering the global crisis which of course will take its hit on India little late.

    There is a very good chance for BJP to emerge if and only if they work with die-hard attitude and commitment towards the next election….or it is never.

    Sorry for posting a fearful thought… but fear can do good many a times.


  2. On Dec 6 1992, BJP got a cadre who still believes in them, I was just 7 yrs old at that time. I’m a HARDCORE supporter of BJP. ‘Jai ho’ of Slumdog was my favorite song but after Cong. used it in their election campaign, I never listen to it.

    I strongly believe that even if BJP will build 1000 mosques they are not going to get 1% vote of so called minority group (around 154 million as per 2008 estimate).

    It really hurts when I see articles of BJP leaders, who blame Hinduism for their defeat in recent polls. The true reason is that they were inactive till the declaration of polls, they were not aware of ground realities, sitting MPs and MLAs were not active and RAM Mandir was on last page (a signal that they are not serious about it).

    Rajesh please forward this message (if you can) to BJP leaders.

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