Debating India


BJP should carry along Sangh parivar: Advani

Wednesday 23 June 2004

In a hint that BJP might take up Hindutva aggressively following its shocking Lok Sabha debacle, former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani today said the party has to carry along the Sangh Parivar and rededicate itself to "our ideology and idealism".


In his address to the BJP National Executive here, he said the party should get back to the ideology that had appealed to the middle classes and the common man.

Advani said good governance could not win elections for the party as it should be coupled with prudent politics. "Prudent politics for BJP would be to carry along its cadres the Sangh Parivar and its ideology alongwith it," he said.

He maintained there was a neglect of two types of constituencies by the BJP — geographical and ideological that played a role in the electoral outcome.

While the geographical constituency meant the MPs did not nurse their constituencies well and work with local party units and workers, Advani said there was another critical constituency that generally lacked enthusiasm and common resolve to get our candidate and party reelected. "It is our ideological constituency".

He said like any other political party that wants to grow in democratic space, the BJP too had consciously endeavoured to expand its base over the decades.

"But expansion is possible only if we are able to retain what we have — and not at the expense of what we have," he said adding the ideological constituency had three segments — BJP workers, its ideological family and its social support base. Advani recalled that BJP, an ideological party, has a definite and a steadily growing section that had been supporting it because of "our beliefs and the cause of Hindutva that we espouse".

"We have reached where we have reached because of the dedicated efforts of lakhs of workers and well wishers of our ideological parivar. They have laboured hard to put us in our present position. They have done so with a certain emotional attachment to the BJP," he said.

Advani lamented that somehow BJP’s political strategy and conduct during the past six years was not oriented to strengthening and enthusing "our workers, ideological family or our social base".

"Indeed, there was a sense of alienation in our parivar and weakening of the emotional bond with our core constituency".

"This does not mean that the BJP should not — or cannot — look beyond our core constituency. No. as a political party that has a national outlook, we are duty bound to care for one and all. Our ideology does not bar us from so expanding our care and concern, because it is not a narrow and exclusivist ideology," he said. Advani said in the given situation, however, BJP should have balanced its focus on governance and development with an equally sustained political focus on its core constituency through constant dialogue at various levels.

"Individually, and collectively we did not pay as much attention to our core supporters as we should have. We were somewhat confused as to how to relate to our own ideological family," he said.

As a result, he felt a strange irony emerged with the opponents in the country calling us a Hindutva government and the rest of the world recognising as such.

"However, the only two entities that did not so recognise this government were our own ideological parivar and ourselves," Advani said.

Noting that the Mumbai National Executive has put a lot of emphasis on rededicating "ourselves to ideology and idealism," Advani said there was also a great deal of emphasis on overcoming our organisational weaknesses and shortcomings.

At the outset he said the BJP always emphasised that only collective efforts achieved success. Similarly, in case of failure it believed in collective responsibility.

"Collective responsibility, however, does not absolve any of us of our individual accountablity. As far as I am concerned, I accept that I too am responsible in some ways to the outcome of the elections," he said adding he had already pointed to the shortcomings in the ’Bharat Uday Yatra’ he had undertaken.


in Outlook India, Wednesday, June 23, 2004.

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