The right turn for BJP
- Earthquake of magnitude 6.0 hits Afghanistan, tremors felt in north india
- Modi sarkar on right track to bring 'achche din': LK Advani
- Army officer injured in encounter with militants in J&K's Kupwara district
- Modi in Malaysia: Religion should be delinked from terror, says PM
- US 'will not relent' in Islamic State campaign, says Barack Obama
Its electoral chances will depend on how it re-imagines its ideology
The BJP is yet again faced with an enduring question, which it has never fully answered. Would it like to be a modern centre-right party, or continue to be tethered to an anti-Muslim, Hindu majoritarian ideological platform? The former can potentially trigger the BJP's electoral revival; the latter is virtually certain to lead to stagnation, even decline. Yet the BJP is not headed in the former direction.
What does a modern right-of-centre political party look like? How does the BJP compare?
Consider the two best known centre-right parties of contemporary times: the Republican Party in the US and the Conservative Party in the UK. There are undoubtedly some differences between the two, but four common features define their ideological stance: muscular national defence, social conservatism, fiscal conservatism and a reliance on markets for economic growth.
The old saying — laaton ke bhoot baaton se nahin maante (some people only respond to a show of force, not to dialogue) — captures the essence of why modern conservatism subscribes to muscular defence. Conservatives believe in the obduracy of evil, something that cannot be forestalled by persuasion. Military strength is viewed as a guarantor of national survival and political order. Such strength must precede a dialogue with the adversary, if a dialogue must take place at all. More than the Congress, the BJP has followed this principle in politics. Its decision to go nuclear in 1998 was a case in point.
Social conservatism has typically meant an advocacy of traditional social order, a defence of family values and a belief in gradual, as opposed to radical, change. British conservatives defend the monarchy more vigorously than the leftists do, and US Republicans focus a lot on the sanctity of traditional marriage, opposing vigorously the idea of same-sex marriage.
- Open channels of communication are vital for democracy and governance
- Slogans should be backed with appropriate strategies, else they remain showbiz
- Ideas seem to be the BJP’s enemy, whether from within or from without
- No country is ready to send boots on the ground, thus ensuring the survival of the IS
- Bad monsoon memories
- Across the aisle: A flat growth rate indicates India's economy is in poor shape