As the Opposition struggles, the BJP leverages its win
The BJP’s claims of democracy here however can be questioned - most office bearers from the national level to the district level are selected by consensus rather than internal polls. But nonetheless, this will create a pool of new leaders, create political opportunities for many, and culminate in the election of a new party president by early next year.Updated: Jul 08, 2019 08:15 IST
It has just been six weeks since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power for a second time. It would have been understandable if the party, flush with victory, decided to step back. Leaders and the cadre could have easily slid into complacency, enjoying the privileges of power and rested easy till the next round of the elections. It was the Opposition which, one assumed, would be driven to action — introspecting, understanding reasons for their failure, going back to the ground, strengthening their organisation, reaching out to social groups and individuals, and selecting new leaders. What is happening in Indian politics is, however, just the reverse.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a fresh membership drive for the BJP in Varanasi. In 2014, soon after Amit Shah took over as the party president, the BJP embarked on a similar exercise. What could have just turned out to be a customary process ended up as a mega campaign. That led to the formal enrolment in the party hitting close to 100 million members — prompting Mr Shah to claim that the BJP was the world’s largest party. Many doubted the veracity of the figure, but there was little doubt that the campaign kept the party machine active, swelled its ranks, and gave it access to formidable data — mobile numbers, addresses, and demographic profile of its entire structure. This data was then used for the various campaigns the party did over the past five years and in elections. After the 2019 victory, the party has started another similar drive. The moment is ripe, for given, Mr Modi’s popularity and the sheer dominance it enjoys in Indian politics at the moment, many are sure to gravitate towards the party.
This will then be followed by a process of internal elections. The BJP’s claims of democracy here however can be questioned — most office bearers from the national level to the district level are selected by consensus rather than internal polls. But nonetheless, this will create a pool of new leaders, generate political opportunities for many, and culminate in the election of a new party president by early next year. Working president JP Nadda is most likely to succeed Mr Shah. The BJP clearly has its eyes set on both strengthening the organisation, and preparing for upcoming polls. The Opposition would do well to learn.