I have always maintainted that there is use for everything in this World. Purpose, Good, whatever you may want to call it. I have however been extremely hard pressed to see it with the lot this post is about.
I am of course not the first one to condemn them for their gadzillion faults. IHM recently did it, and rather eloquently too; Yaamyn's masterpiece cannot be forgotten even if one tried; & I've done it before, and on more than one ocassion (this one is power-packed with fact-filled links!).
I'm restricting the list of critics to unknown bloggers for now. If we go into the realm of well-known voices who have condemned , their actions or their ideology, this post will start to read like the Who's Who of India & the World! ;-)
So why not the bjp? The answers to that are simple. And many!
1st: Ideology. The bjp is the political front of the rss. All of them are essentially bound together, NOT by a love for the Indian Constitution, but by the ideology of hindutva propounded by savarkar, a little-known freedom-fighter of dubious renown; and therefore bound together by partisan respect for the underachieving savarkar, who's other claim to infamy is allegedly conspiring to kill the Father of the Nation, Gandhiji. This anti-national, contrary to our constitutional values ideology is what drives them. Surely they can't be considered candidates for governing a country as great as ours...?
2nd: They lack Foresight: When Dr. Manmohan Singh & PV Narsimha Rao were opening up India's economy, the perennially wet behind the ears bjp was yelling Swadeshi (a movement they ironically were not part of when it was first used against the British!). And when they came to power, eating humble pie, they simply carried on the implementation of Dr. Manmohan Singh's economic reforms. What does that make them...?
3rd: Hypocrites. As pointed out above. Also as was obvious to all discerning Indians, in the aftermath of the 26/11/2008 attaks on Bombay, despite their leader advani saying that they'd stand politically united against terror, they quickly did an about turn & happily went campaigning in the 5 states that were going to the Assembly polls. And of course, who can forget their soundbytes to the media? Thankfully an awakened Indian electorate & the indignant wife of martyred ATS chief Hemant Karkare, turned them down. What does that make them? Hypocrites AND Opportunistic!
4th: They breed, promote & defend marauders & murderers. A look at what their ideological allies have been up to in Khandmal & Karnataka in 2008, Gujarat in 2002, Ayodhya in 1992 will convince anyone not deliberately wearing blinkers.
They claim to be nationalists when the whole World recognizes them as facists, neo-zionists etc.
What nationalist, Constitutionally compliant, EC code compliant party would use temple building promises or distribute hate CD's(1) as part of their electoral strategy???
Yet another flagrant violation of the aforesaid code can be found here!
It's telling comment on how effete our Election Commission is. Or is our disinterested Judiciary/Executive to blame for not pulling the bjp up? But let me not shift the blame to our not so long an arm of the law, when in fact the real fault lies with these criminals!
5th: They're primarily anti-Congress. Also anti-secular. And anti-communist. Apart from THAT, they don't have any clear agenda for India's growth, development or place in the World order.
They're just blindly against anyone who denies them their Hindu-supremacist dream, and all their machinations & propaganda is targeted against them. So they & their followers have a limited number of hobbies: take open potshots at the so-called Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and poorly-disguised ones at the likes of Gandhiji & Ambedkar.
So that brings us back to the questions we began this post with? Are they good for anything at all?
Contrary to what most people will think, I believe they are.
They serve a variety of purposes, but chiefly two:
- They make us aware of what evil is.
- They, with their mostly uncalled for, mostly inaccurate, but persistent criticism, help the Congress iron out the few flaws it has & get it's act together vis a vis their communication.
And it helps the Congress emerge stronger & better equipped to govern India. A nation with a record for progressive, equitable thinking & living, demands that a party with similar people assist in governing it!
So there you have it. The bjp does serve an important two-fold purpose. It keeps us aware of the dangers of right-wing thinking, and it keeps India's sole hope for a sane mainstream political party, on it's toes. It's a job they do well (if we can call it that!) & they should be allowed to do that as long as they serve that purpose. Don't get me wrong! By no stretch of imagination are they a scrupulous bunch! They deserve to be hauled up everytime they break the law! But speaking strictly of politics, they enjoy opposing everything, and do so with single-minded dedication.
For those reasons & the ones mentioned above, they genuinely deserve to be in the opposition. They're apt for the job.
What would be interesting of course is to watch whether the other fringe/partisan/local players (like the sena) or other non-centred players (like the Left), take the battle to be the main opposition party, seriously enough or not.
You may have noted that I've softened my stance a little bit. I've gone from wishing the almost complete demise of the bjp to acknowledging that every voice in a democracy needs to be at least heard. And because of democratic considerations, I'm not only OK with the bjp's existence, I'm even glad! May they ALWAYS sit in the opposition!
There! That should make a few people happy! ;-)