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BJP is no election machine, it’s out to win hearts and ensure real antyoday

The dates for elections to five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa have been declared and all parties are now campaigning with all their strength. The BJP, however, enjoys an edge. The party’s opponents, not just in other political parties, but also those who identify themselves as the independent intelligentsia, dub this edge as the BJP being an election-winning machine.In 2020, when Bihar went to the polls amid the Covid-19 pandemic, opposition parties refused to agree to an online campaign saying the BJP has a mammoth social media following and would thus be at an “unfair” advantage. If inner party democracy had prevailed in these parties, they might have tried to dig in for answers on why they didn’t enjoy the same following – online and offline. The secret of the BJP’s edge was revealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he said that the party is not an election-winning machine but is on a continuous and relentless campaign to win hearts.That campaign to win people’s hearts began well in 1950 with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. The Jana Sangh was a party that espoused cultural nationalism, with its president Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya putting forth the idea of Antyoday (the rise of the last man) and Ekatma Manavvad (integral humanism). Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee had believed that power was nothing but a means to serve – a principle that BJP never forgot.

In states where the Jana Sangh formed its government, it worked on the same principles. Even as part of the Janata Party government, the Jana Sangh constituents in the government remained committed to these principles. When the Janata Party disintegrated and the Jana Sangh constituents regrouped as the BJP, under its president Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani as general secretary, the new organisation committed itself to Panch Nishtha (five commitments) as its road map. These were nationalism and national integration, commitment to democracy and fundamental rights, Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava, the idea of positive secularism, Gandhian socialism and value-based politics. Unlike numerous parties that were formed in the name of different ideas and ideologies, but degenerated into family-run enterprises and corruption-ridden enterprises, the BJP stuck to its ideological commitments. The idea of the BJP was to not use ideology as a crutch to win support but to gather all the support possible in support of what the party stood for.The Vajpayee government served the country in accordance with Panch Nishtha. When the party occupied opposition benches it never let the search for power override national interest. From Mookerjee to Vajpayee, sitting in the opposition, the only strategy to reach power was unbridled commitment to national interest. When the BJP came to power crossing past the full majority mark in 2014, assuming power, Narendra Modi said, “The government will be for the poor.” In saying so, the PM underlined that the time to fulfil Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s pursuit of Antyodaya had come. The BJP government has since worked relentlessly and round the clock with this agenda, promising Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.The party’s internal assessment of the loss of 2004 had indicated that when senior leaders got busy running the government, the party organisation failed to communicate the work being done to take the same message to those the schemes were targeted at. Since 2014, the BJP has been working, at the organisational level, to ensure that people not just know what the government is doing for them but also be participants in their own governance. The Prime Minister, through Mann Ki Baat and NaMo app, not only expresses himself but also listens to what people have to say about the governance they are receiving. Governments often make the mistake of discounting people’s voice. They make policies, implement them and miss out on the work of taking feedback.The BJP’s hardworking, dedicated and motivated karyakartas form its biggest strength in this area. They take the message of the government to the people and get back the feedback from the ground to the top leadership. The party’s karyakartas work at the booth level with the same zeal as the top leadership of the party. Those trying to rubbish this as the BJP being an election machine devoid of the spirit to serve are just people shying away from hard work and those whose heart aches when it comes to giving the BJP its due credit for its work.Since 2014, the government has introduced key reforms that had been long-pending in the country. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Jan Dhan accounts, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Goods and Services Tax, Swachh Bharat Mission and electricity for all were among the schemes of the government that people benefited from. For the first time, benefits of government schemes started reaching the intended beneficiaries without delay and without the involvement of middlemen.The successful implementation of policies, backed by a robust communication strategy and ground-level mobilisation, ensured the BJP’s return to power in 2019 with 303 Lok Sabha seats. This time, apart from implementing schemes centred on the poor, the BJP also fulfilled many political promises such as the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, construction of Ram Temple and outlawing of instant Triple Talaq.BJP karyakartas once again ensured people on the ground are kept in the loop over what their government was doing. So while the government worked, making and implementing policies, the karyakartas kept in touch with people, to assess and ensure the benefits were trickling down.Is this how a machine works? No. The machine is devoid of emotions. It doesn’t care how its work impacts people. The BJP cares. It works relentlessly like a machine but remains a sensitive and result-oriented government that is out to win hearts and ensure real Antyoday.

Source: Economic Times