Home Dehradun BJP believes in Vimarsh, not Sangharsh, to resolve issues: Bhupender Yadav

BJP believes in Vimarsh, not Sangharsh, to resolve issues: Bhupender Yadav


VoW Café holds discssion on Union Minister’s book, ‘The Rise of BJP’

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 20 May: Senior Union Cabinet Minister Bhupender Yadav has written a very interesting book on the rise of BJP since its inception along with co-author Ila Patnaik, who is a leading economist and has in the past also served as Principal Economic Advisor to Government of India (2014-15). The book has been published by Penguin Viking.

VoW Cafe-Gallery-Library-Studio, located at Sahastradhara Road, hosted a very absorbing discussion on the book, yesterday, in the presence of the author, Cabinet Minister Bhupender Yadav. The discussion was moderated by retired senior IAS officer and Curator of Valley of Words Literate Festival, Dr Sanjeev Chopra, while Vice Chancellor of the Doon University, Prof Dr Surekha Dangwal was the lead discussant. Most of those present were regular visitors of VoW Café, which is known for holding such intellectual discussions on a regular basis.

To begin the discussion, Chopra gave a formal introduction of author Bhupender Yadav to the audience. Besides introducing the author, Chopra described the book as having been written in a very lucid manner which is not a book just on the rise of the BJP as the largest political party of the world but as one which traces the history of the freedom movement and the political movements and events after independence. He also noted that the book traces not only the background of the BJP’s formation but also delves into the coalition politics era that preceded the unprecedented rise of the BJP. Chopra said that the BJP’s rise has been phenomenal from 3 Lok Sabha seats (at the time of the Jan Sangh) to 303 seats in 2019. He said the book also mentions the Coalition dharma.

Chopra further stated that BJP is different also in one respect from most other parties, which carry the name India or Indian in their names, and cited the examples of the Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist). The BJP, instead, carries the name of Bharat and Bharatiya instead of India and Indian. It does reflect crucial differences between it and other parties on the Idea of India that they have.

In his response, Bhupender Yadav appreciated the gathering and the informal atmosphere at the VoW Café. He stressed that he had wanted a small gathering of intellectuals and avid readers for the discussion on the book and was happy to be present. He highlighted that the book is not historical in nature but is a narrative of the events that have led to the formation and growth of BJP as the top political organisation of the present times. It is an account of the journey of democracy. He highlighted that the book also mentions the Gandhi led movement for independence. Gandhi did not fight or struggle merely for independence of India. He was basically a reformist who recognised the importance of indigenous wisdom and diversity. That was the reason why many people who had a very diverse range of political ideologies were also brought under the single umbrella of Congress. These included Basavraj, a nationalist like Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, even a socialist like Ram Manohar Lohia and a capitalist like C Rajagopalachari. Congress was also a reform movement and it was for this reason that after gaining independence, Gandhi wanted it to be dissolved.

Yadav emphasised that, as a Hindutva party, BJP believes in discussion (Vimarsh) to resolve issues and not in conflict (Sangharsh). The Ram Temple dispute was also resolved through a judicial process.

The Minister also stressed that, unlike democracies in the Western world where one sees a bipolar or two party political arrangement, India has over a hundred political parties, which is justified considering that India has a population of 1.4 billion people and just two or three political organisations couldn’t have been a just representation of such a diverse people.

He claimed that BJP has always kept national interests above self-interest and that was the reason, when it was felt in the seventies that all political parties should join hands to fight Congress which had imposed emergency and taken away fundamental rights of the people, the party, then called Jan Sangh, agreed to merge with the Janata Party. However, when the experiment failed – and not because of the Jan Sangh – a new party was formed with the name BJP. It could just win 2 seats in 1984 but, by 1989, had grown into a significant organisation and, by 1996, was even able to come to power at the Centre in coalition with other parties.  Later, when Congress came to power leading the UPA, there was rampant corruption and a continuous policy paralysis. The people chose BJP in 2014 and, solely on the basis of its good governance BJP managed even more seats in 2019 winning 303 seats by itself. Yadav also reminded that Congress could not even manage its own MNREGA scheme but, now, all beneficiaries are genuinely getting its benefits.

Lead discussant Prof Dr Surekha Dangwal, who is also part of the VoW jury, reminded the author that leaders like LK Advani had withdrawn from public life after being named in the alleged Hawala scam till his name was cleared. Similarly, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had not compromised on principles when his government had fallen by one vote in parliament, which was also cast through manipulation. She asked if, with changing times, there had been a bit of lowering of the moral high ground that BJP has held over other parties.

In response, Yadav strongly disagreed and said that there had been no such dilution. In defence, he cited the fact that despite all the so-called socialist parties, or the so-called national parties like Congress having turned into family controlled organisations, BJP has not become a family controlled enterprise. It still follows the one family one ticket policy, it has not compromised on its ideology and therefore when the time came, as had been promised, Articles 370 and 35A were removed, the Ram Temple is being constructed, while through the digital revolution, all the schemes like MNREGA and other public welfare initiatives like Kisan Nidhi are working well and in transparent manner. Jan Dhan Bank Accounts, Aadhaar and Direct Beneficiary Transfers are ensuring that targeted delivery of schemes is being achieved. The BJP Government achieved targeted deliveries of the deliverables and this has contributed to its rise.

Prof Dangwal also felt that one reason behind the phenomenal growth of BJP has been unequivocal support of women to the party. She said that she belongs to the hills and is still in touch with the women there and in the rural areas and has been witness to this support for the BJP. She asked if BJP depended on this ‘vote bank’ for its success. In response, Yadav stated that he too has a rural background though not a Pahari one. The Indian women are the most resilient section of society and the rural economy is largely dependent on women who work hard. He added that, unlike in the West, the movements led by women in India are not typical feminist one but are in the interest of the whole of society, whether it has been Gaura Devi in Uttarakhand or Kinkri Devi in Himachal Pradesh. He stated that the women led movements in India have unfortunately not got due global recognition. However, the BJP Government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked to bring women to the forefront of development. Over sixty percent of beneficiaries in the Mudra Loan scheme for small entrepreneurs have been women. Most of the successful Self Help Groups (SHGs) are led by women. Women representation even in rural industry is very high and they are the major beneficiaries of labour welfare schemes initiated by the Modi Government. Even in field posts in the forest departments and armed forces, women are now in leading positions.

In response to a question posed by Garhwal Post, Yadav asserted that the rise of the BJP has not peaked as yet. The rise of BJP is synonymous with the rise of India. India is currently in its Amrit Kaal, which is yet to find fulfillment, hence, there is no question of BJP having peaked. It will continue to grow. In response to a supplementary question, Yadav conceded that it had lost in Karnataka and also admitted that BJP has not done as well in the South as it has done in the rest of the country. The party is working hard he said to make inroads in the South. The Southern states have a different kind of political coalition culture, but the BJP is sure to gain ground in the future. The party is sincerely working on the issue.

In response to a question that, as the leading partner in the NDA, BJP has lost support of many of the allies, Yadav said that the party has never been responsible for affiliated parties leaving the NDA. He reminded that, despite the fact that BJP had won a clear majority in 2014 as well as 2019, it never formed a single party government at the Centre. The Shiromani Akali Dal left on its own, the Shiv Sena left on its own despite the fact that it had won the elections in coalition with the BJP In Bihar, despite winning considerably more seats than its alliance partner, JDU, it made Nitish Kumar the CM. Kumar has himself parted ways with NDA.

In response to a question, Yadav said that unlike Abrahamic religions, Hinduism does not believe in only one way to emancipation and spiritual attainment. It believes in multiple paths to reach spiritual goals and, therefore, it is the most inclusive and open religion. It would lose its unique identity if it tried to do what other religions attempt to do through conversions. That BJP believes in discussion and not conflict is evident from the fact that, despite bringing bills like the farm laws, it agreed to take them back because it respected the public sentiment. He also added that CAA is certain to be brought back soon. Work on it is in an advanced stage.

While concluding the discussion and summing up the debate, Dr Chopra said that the discussion was engrossing and the key takeaway was Discussion and not Conflict is the way to resolve issues.