The BJP needs to start winning the intellectual game once again. It was the party of big, bold ideas for India. It must reclaim the centre-right space in Indian politics. We need to shift from the politics of identity to the politics of aspiration, recognising that the (urban) Indian voter has changed and moved ahead. The ideas have to also instill a sense of confidence and pride in people about their country and culture, and at the same time be socially inclusive. Rebuilding this intellectual foundation will require a concerted effort along multiple activity streams:
- Create a Policy Foundation: Create a Think Tank for new ideas with a right-of-centre thrust, on a range of economic and social issues in the country. The Foundation will propose, educate and engage with policy makers (elected representatives and members of bureaucracy) with the objective of guiding public policy, legislation and delivery, and influencing public opinion. Its support in matters of policy and governance will be driven by India’s long-term requirement and not short-term opportunism. The Foundation will be guided by the principles of liberal democracy, free enterprise (keeping in mind the interests of wider sections of society), social inclusion, robust defence policy and nationalism and will deliver India-oriented research. The Foundation will have a physical presence in Delhi and a virtual presence for wider dissemination and ongoing engagement. It can also encompass a “political research and analysis wing” which will do a psephological study of historical voting trends (and more). This Think Tank will also host seminars every six month on contemporary issues facing the Nation and invite subject matter experts, members from the Government and beauracracy to come and participate in order to find India centric solutions. This will help create influence and allow the right wing movement to regain the intellectual space besides influencing policy.
- Create Policy Teams: The Think tank with inputs from members of the civil society and right leaning intellectuals can provide distill inputs to the party leadership and its Cells on various issues of governance.
- Build Strong Bridges: There needs to be formalised bi-annual interactions for key members across various groups with the BJP leadership. This will help ensure ideological bonding and check deviations.