The Congress Working Committee’s meeting in October this year signalled that the party is yet to come to terms with its continued defeat, depletion and its inability to put in place a counter-narrative to the BJP’s political narrative and action. Desperation yields irrationality, political desperation yields crassness.
Sonia Gandhi’s terming the BJP and the RSS “diabolical” displayed her desperation and her realisation that the Congress, under her, has become an interim party that indulges in part-time politics. Her obsession with the “Devil” is understandable given the cultural and religious milieu in which she must have spent her formative years.
Contrast the Congress’ lost soul meeting in October to that of the BJP’s national executive committee (NEC) meet in November and one realises why people continue to trust the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with India’s governance and have invested hope in them for transforming the country’s fundamentals. For decades the BJP’s national executive committee has been meeting at regular intervals regardless of whether the party has been in or out of power.
To those who have studied the BJP’s trajectory, the party has always adhered to organisational regularity and systems. Over decades of its struggle to evolve a new political narrative, the party continued to persist with its organisational norms, structures and activities. That it has also re-invented its political action as a party in power, that it has expanded and initiated a continuous cycle of political outreach and also undertaken an intensive social outreach and service throughout the Covid onslaught demonstrates its capacity to self-renew.
BJP’s workers were the only ones visible on the ground reaching out to the people across states, through its historic ‘Seva hi Sanghatan’ outreach, with rations, medicines, medical aid, treatment and testing facilitation and more. This was, as Prime Minister Modi observed, the party’s best time since in extreme adversity and challenge, facing an unknown adversary it stood by the people and served them. He also pointed out, in his concluding address, how the BJP had successfully evolved a constructive and dynamic role for itself as a party in power and did not succumb to complacency.
Unlike the ad-hocism of the CWC meets, the BJP’s NEC meets have always seen major deliberations, discussions and have often been the venue or platform for imparting historic turns to the party. Order, decorum, system and organised engagement were evident in the manner in which the proceedings took place.
Prime Minister Modi stayed throughout the deliberations, deeply engaged in it, often intervening and sharing his thoughts and making a point. He stayed put till the end without a break delivering his valedictory address and laying the direction of future actions, indicating the dimensions and elements that require continuous nurturing for the party to remain a vibrant and self-renewing entity. This was the high-water mark of the meet.
Prime Minister Modi’s address was not an exclusively political one; it was directional, inspirational and thought-provoking. His exhortation for each one to evolve into “Bridges of Faith” for the people, reflected his own approach and philosophy. He called on all gathered to dynamically and creatively replicate that approach.
The Congress’ political resolution passed in its CWC meeting, came across as ironic since the ‘mess’ it blames BJP for pushing India into, is in reality and historically, a mess created by it which the BJP has been trying to rectify. A number of achievements of the Modi government listed by BJP national president JP Nadda in his inaugural address in fact also contain the list of those problems which were left festering for decades by successive Congress governments for political consideration or because of a lack of political will and vision and which have been now systematically addressed and solved by the Modi dispensation.
The various imbroglios in the Northeast, the Kashmir tangle, the passing of the CAA, all left unattended for decades, are some of them. The will to take on and address challenges, to resolve permanently historic wrongs and to rectify them in the interest and in favour of India and for the benefit of the people of the particular region which has been afflicted by these, has been a consistent hallmark of the Modi dispensation.
The political resolution discussed and passed by the NEC looked at a wide gamut of achievements of the Modi government, especially the epic mission, unprecedented in the annals of the healthcare history of the world, of administering vaccines and reaching the hundred crore mark. It also spoke in detail on the growing livelihood opportunities, the giant strides made by India to put in place an affordable and extended national healthcare infrastructure among other things.
The resolution strongly spoke of the retributive, state-engineered, democracy-defying political violence unleashed by the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in West Bengal after the Assembly polls. Yogi Adityanath, while proposing the resolution, spoke of the inhuman violence perpetrated by the TMC dispensation and strongly condemned it, and also spoke of how BJP karyakartas across the country stood in solidarity with BJP workers, supporters of West Bengal. Tamil Nadu BJP state president K Annamalai, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, Manipur chief minister Biren Singh, Manipur BJP state president Sharada Devi all spoke of the revenge violence that Mamata had allowed to be unleashed on BJP workers and spoke of working to end such anti-democratic, anti-constitutional acts of political terror.
The TMC’s violence is not an episode that the BJP will forget, the struggle for West Bengal will continue, despite extreme challenges and uncertainties. The NEC’s unequivocal message of solidarity was vocal and evident.
The writer is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.