If you find the above question quite odd, I can’t blame you. After all the Congress has been the virtually unchallenged party to be in power as a default set by Indian voters and this has been so until the beginning 2014. Even during early 2014, not many thought that NDA would come in power, leave alone the possibility of BJP getting absolute majority.
Therefore even I never had imagined BJP to be a natural party of governance.
I am among those who think that the BJP has made a poor job of as an opposition party. Look at the last the decade of UPA’s scams and loot. It was the CAG and private complaints which brought most of the scams out in the open. BJP did force issue for JPC on Coalgate, but it left many a battles to others including SC. It was BJP’s inaction that led to Anna Hazare movement and the Kejriwal antics. Indeed many people came to think that there wasn’t much to choose between Congress and BJP.
The indefatigable Modiji, RSS, BJP’s core supporters and an angry electorate saved the day for itself and for the BJP through the Parliament elections in 2014. I believe it was a once in century event as epochal as the Independence. BJP should know better than expecting such epochal events happen regularly.
I believe that the generations of BJP leaders , despite being in opposition for ever, were never comfortable in ‘opposing’. Their RSS sanskar had always taught them to do something useful, build character, create useful institutions. For those used to such work opposing things, staging protests, dharanas. morchas, and abusing others can feel wrong and unnatural. Barring Advaniji’s Ayodhya movement the BJP rarely took to streets unless it involved abnormal situations like the emergency and many decades before that the Article 370 issue against which Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee led a movement and died under detention.
BJP’s then leadership didn’t believe that things were very abnormal for Indian voters even until late 2013 until Modiji forced the issue. I think they seriously underestimated voters’ anger.
The DNA of BJP seem evident in Maharashtra BJP -many good capable leaders but they remained content in press releases during Congress-NCP’s rapacious rule of fifteen years. They didn’t vigorously take up people’s problems. Even MNS could capture people’s imagination for a while but not the BJP.
Now look at this: BJP governments whether at the Center or in the states have done well. It is unfortunate that BJP doesn’t get credit that it deserves from people.
Blame it on the media. Media needs exciting news which MNS or a Lalu or Mayawati or Mamata can provide. Good governance is boring, it is work. BJP does it well but it isn’t enough in this age. That’s why I am beginning to think that BJP is a natural party of governance and development.
That most of media and (pseudo) intellectual eco-system is owned by congress system of throwing crumbs, makes it really difficult for BJP.
It looks like this: most BJP leaders feel -give us a chance because we are good. But we will not do anything to stay in your mind. I believe this is the main reason for it falling short of majority. It didn’t do enough at local level and relied excessively on the Modiji’s wave.
BJP shouldn’t copy Congress, but it should use its years in opposition to set agenda through vigorous opposition and taking up people’s issue and stay in news.
Modiji and Shahji can build well and can vigorously oppose too. They can find solutions to media problems, they can bypass media and connect with people. They use criticism in media to their advantage much like batsman using bowler’s pace to hit boundaries and sixes. This itself a fantastic occurrence.
I hope many BJP leaders emulate them.