Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 7)

Organisation (continued)

With this background, how is it that the BJP can create a process by which it can keep winning – and winning. Here are the elements that it needs to create:

  • On-Ground Presence: BJP needs to create Constituency-level teams that keeps working through the years, builds database of people (supporters, undecideds, etc.), and has constant visibility through the years. This helps in creating and protecting ‘market share’ for the party. Voters must be able to interact, get problems solved, etc. The team must include 1-2 ‘leaders’ with a clean, professional background who could even contest the election if needed.
  • Funding: There needs to be a way by which the BJP can collect micropayments. Currently, the party relies on a few large donors. This needs to be complemented by millions of people giving Rs 100-1000 per year. This money pool is not being tapped into. By getting people to make small contributions, the party will also get their implicit commitment and votes.

Taken together, these two components can create a strong foundation. The Funding must take care of the On-Ground Presence, and that presence will in turn provide the Funding – creating a model that can be scaled up across India.  This needs to create a presence at all 3 levels – corporation (or panchayat in rural areas), state, Lok Sabha.

In addition, the party needs to activate its sources of youth leadership (BJYM, ABVP) to expand the base to attract those in sync with the party’s ideology, work closely with the RSS through the latter’s social programmes, and create new channels like the Friends of BJP which can connect with urbanising Middle India. The party needs to start appealing to the new, younger India with a contemporary message – thus expanding its base.

The party also needs to encourage and enable lateral entry of youth and professionals into it – they will bring freshness and enthusiasm along with their own networks which can help diversify the party’s base.

The party must start ensuring that it is present in every one of the 543 constituencies of India. States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala account for about 150 seats – and the party has barely a presence there. This needs to change.

The old way of fighting and winning elections has to change. Through these initiatives, the party can create something new and modern, and something even more powerful because this will create a market share (in votes) which no other party will be easily able to break into.

Tomorrow: Opposition Party Role, Conclusion

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

33 thoughts on “Elections 2009: What Next for the BJP? (Part 7)”

  1. Funding:
    Like any business … it finally boils down to funding and revenue generation.

    Micro-funding is a wrong quote… because Micro-lending is what runs the party (during election and after election)…

    Sitting in opposition dries up the funding and the bidders turn reluctant after few bids… or reduce their bids.

    Like I said earlier that is why it is hard to run a party after 2-defeats. My gut feel is BJP is at the point of breaking up unless the top reacts faster
    and fasten their seat belt.

    Presence in TamilNadu:

    Forget it. Even Congress cannot make their presence independently after 50-years… It is
    hard to break the DK culture there. If at all BJP wants to have some presence it has to be with alliance with one of the DK parties (DMK OR AIADMK).

  2. Looks like you have been supporting a bunch of losers. The BJP can’t be what you ve been dreaming of.

  3. Dear Rajesh Jain,

    You have pinpointed the real issues here. The basic issues for the BJP or for that matter for any political outfit.

    I have been working in my constituency at the grassroots as an office bearer of the party. I find a few inconsistencies the way the party and cadres conduct themselves.

    Even though the party has office bearers at the Mandal level, they are all paper tigers. Over the years the party workers have added to their bio-data, boasting of the positions held. What have they done over the years? Practically nothing. They cannot even win an election of a Gram Panchayat President, not even a Ward Member of the Panchayat. They do not know even the names of polling booths in their constituency! Yet they carry clout as seniors, ‘who have devoted 20 to 30 years in the service of the party and the people’!? This is their bread and butter.

    In contrast what we need is what you say – not only office bearers on paper, but real ‘workers’ who work 24×7. This is the only way to connect with the party workers, supporters and party voters on the one hand and with the general public on the other hand. This pays dividents. Believe me. People appreciate this kind of hard work. I know this from my personal experience.

    One of the most important issues involved is the database you talk of. I have tried this and tried to motivate the cadres towards this end. The lack of this ‘dedicated 24×7’ breed is coming in the way of creating and maintaining this data base. I have even done power point presentations in BJYM meetings. This is ‘THE BASIC ACTIVITY’ that has to be embarked upon.

    Two, FUNDS
    Again we enter the no-man’s land. There is no system in place as far as the funds go. This is one reason why the above mentioned activity, of 24×7 workers and creating and maintaining data bases, cannot be embarked upon. Will you believe that all the activities from day to day work, to big rallies and functions, to office work, to press management, to the election itself is financed from our own pockets. This was the case when we were in the opposition (in our state of HP) and this is the case now, when we are in power! Finding a way to finance the party activities at the grassroots, will go a long way in building up both the 24×7 dedicated cadres and building the databases required.

    Till this is not done the elections will be fought on ‘Tukka’ basis, this is the order of the day today. It is the Candidate’s personality or the lack of it and the Waves and Anti-incumbencies and the like which affect the outcomes. The election controls us, we do not control the elections! And all this while the office bearers are sleeping and adding to their bio-data! Not a happy situation this.

    Thanks, Rajesh, for raising these core issues. You are doing your bit.

  4. An interesting point on databases, which I left out in the above comment.

    How many constituencies and the party workers and the office bearers can boast of having the electoral rolls of their constituency atleast six months in advance, ever? How many can boast of working on this basic database, ever? Do the workers know what can be done with such a powerful database in hand? Where is BJYM and ABVP on this issue? I have not seen this in BJP, in BJYM, in ABVP, in other frontal organisations. No wonder BJP cannot come to power!

  5. CHINTAN & MANTHAN r not going to help. The selfless dedicated workers were not only neglected but discarded also. The stuff that had worked in 1947 under the banner of HINDU SAHAYTA SAMITI, fought for protection of Kashmir from the invading army of Pak in the guise of tribals, had participated in Kashmir, Berubari & Kuchh agitations without any selfish motive or expectation. The same stuff gave a gigantic dimension to COW PROTECTION agitation, anti emergency SATYAGRAH and the JP movement. Recently, the upsurge for RAM MANDIR was also their KARISHMA.They only financed the BJS/BJP from their small earnings. They not only worked for & financed the party but being guided by selfless ideology attracted the youth also. However, they were taken for granted and the party distanced itself from them treating them as out of date by giving preference to others, who were attracted with the pelf and power of the party. It was seen that the real grass root workers were left in the hour of need and they had to cut a sorry figure, when they had to request leaders of other parties for solution of their problems in day to day life, specially in Govt offices etc. Even RSS clout failed to work. Over and above the party lost its credibility by side tracking its fundamentals that was the magnetic force between the party and a section of society. It was a folly of the RSS & VHP who thought that the nationalists had been awakened and they had come out of their deep slumber, while the awakening was miles away.
    Shall BJP think over these points and ensure regeneration of tht stuff, shall ensure that no Balraj Madhok or Kalyan Singh, or Uma Bharti or Madan Lal Khurana episodes recurr?

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