Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Friends of BJP: The Road Ahead: 1. Ideas

January 26th, 2010 · 10 Comments

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.

Tomorrow: Communication

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 KRK Mohan // Jan 26, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Mate, Very well put. In fact the content closely resembles your earlier posts on FriendsOfBJP which looks like its shelved after lots of mudslinging due to lack of moderation. I just hope that we stick to these kinds of efforts/initiatives and persevere until there’s some traction.

  • 2 Ashish // Jan 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Rajesh,
    Your arguments are persuasive. we need policy think-tank that BJP can harness its ideas from (and contribute to). The current cook-as-we-go attitude to policy making (be it “social entrepreneurship” or whatever) will not do in the long term.
    We need to get to law and order, education, innovation, and development very methodically (and fast, therefore the need to prepare through a think tank).
    Regards.

  • 3 MrDalal // Jan 26, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    who will be your leader? Rahul vs Who?

  • 4 WindyCity // Jan 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I am blown away with your ideas. Personally I think, your idea about policy foundation is a way how any democracy needs to run, not alone a political party or movement. Policy teams and Strong Bridges seems like follow up ideas.
    I am really curious to see if any party really will implement these ideas though. Any political party will put the benefit of winning an election (no matter how) over long term overhaul of doing the right thing. That’s the tragedy of current state of democracy.
    Great ideas Rajesh and hope your ideas really influence the concerned people.

  • 5 mockingbuddha // Jan 27, 2010 at 12:22 am

    “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”

    Rightly said, but I guess Rajesh gets his timing and impulses wrong, and again. TMTCTMTRTS!

    His latest impulse may have derived from the leadership change within the BJP, but then this ‘L’ change was precisely driven by the need to move away from the intellectual coterie that made an ass of Advaniji, not that it needed any special effort.

    And FOBJP was considered part of the disease…. Need I say more?

    So reviving the FOBJP or the renamed FBJP, (either way the abbreviations promise to work ;) ) is like waving red before a youknowwhat. One thing is guaranteed, the FBJP will get the boot, even if it be the royal boot.

    When one gets the onions, the tears come free, Rajesh is trying to smile through the tears. One cannot fault him with not trying… enough!

    The primary impulse for the nation’s good that drives Rajesh is in any case tempered by fear or perhaps laziness, one reason why he feels that he has to co-opt a national party to drum up his agenda.

    Rest assured that only a party (or a leader) whose intellectual cupboards are bare enough will be willing to borrow an outsider’s agenda.

    Advani, for all his presumed stature was….w.d.r.t.h was bare brained, as recent events have shown. No new BJP leader can aspire to those depths.

    The party has woken up to the real truth, or so its new leaders and cadres think. And as far as I can see outfits like the FOBJP and its ilk have little place in its immediate future, thinking tank or fishtank.

    And if the new leaders think that the future of the party rests in fish (sorry!) tanks, be sure that they will also get the boot and in public; from the Real boSSes.

    I guess the best advice for Rajesh would be to lie low. And stay that way for some more time. At least as regards the F(of)BJP.

    He should remember that, at least for now, the BJP is looking into itself rather than to its friends; so the best it can say when it meets the FBJP is “you, again”, like the headmasters of old. The cane is till outside.

    As I have pointed out in this blog before, Rajesh’s approach to a political platform is not daring enough, he fears his own and other’s shadows. The meek may inherit the earth, but not political power. And sans power there is no directing the ship of state. Either take it or leave it.

    In a sense Rajesh is like Bucelphalus, Alexander’s steed who was afraid of his own shadows. When Alexander tamed the horse Bucephalus, legend has it that his father Philip told him,

    “Look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee”

    Need I say more?

  • 6 Girish // Jan 27, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Hi Rajesh,

    have been following your blog for a while, and i am truly impressed by your thoughts on what BJP or rather any political party should be doing. I have a fundamental question regarding policy decisions or standpoint development – does any political party have domain specific knowledge base which is continuously worked/improved upon? Does it have eminent thought leaders in those fields who guide its policy decisions? If not, probably that is where political parties should start – rather being in politics to begin with..your views pls

  • 7 rone // Jan 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    -having a new engine to win the ideological battle is fine but this policy foundation should not just be an exercise on the internet and seminar circuit.
    This think tank should come up with game changing ideas in areas like economy,agriculture,education,health,anti terrorism etc and help the governments in BJP ruled states to implement it in a time bound manner.Instead of waiting for power in Delhi , BJP should first prove by good governance at states and then seek votes for the center.
    -lack of west minister type shadow cabinet is making BJP ineffective as an opposition.so policy teams on different areas with subject experts and select senior- junior MP s should be created to take on the government both inside and outside the parliament with real domain knowledge.
    -This Policy foundation should coordinate with umbrella organizations like vidyarthi parishad,yuva morcha and Kisan morcha and help them train cadre and modernize.
    Imagine instead of doing the usual dharnas and strikes ABVP with the help of this foundation starts free tutions for backward students, training for various entrances – IAS exams etc,start running counseling centres on different courses and help secure student low interest educational loans.
    Imagine Yuva morcha running counseling centres,employment agencies and job training.
    Kisan morcha running advisory counsels for helping restructuring loans ,guide to value added farming methods etc.
    Can this foundation help transform these organizations in to service mode and make them of real value to the segment they cater?

  • 8 mockingbuddha // Feb 18, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Rajesh writes as if he were planning the effective governance for a small community, say the residents association of a housing complex. and the more i read him the more i am convinced that he resides in 16th century north america where the seeds of real self government were sown… than in the real world of indian politics. no wonder then that with such advisers, the bjp lost the last elections

    politics rarely works the way rajesh imagines it to be, the first thing to do is to capture the mind with ideas, even if they arent that worthwhile, like the BJP did with Hindutva and Obama with ….when Hindutva failed, the BJP too did, so will Obama if his sold out dreams fail.

    Many politicians have found that but at the local level, good work is rarely rewarded, at least it is not more than what rhetoric gets them at the elections.

    What Rajesh is doing is good, his feelings are good, but to translate that into political votes seems a trifle difficult.

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