A SWOT ANALYSIS OF BJP
Author - Anil Chawla
- A strong support base with an all-India presence
- Active support from a large worldwide base of supporters and sympathizers
who have no political ambitions or desires (except an ideological wish-list)
- A large number of fulltime workers spread across the country and coming
from all regions and linguistic groups. For these fulltimers, well-being of the party is a matter of life and death.
- Support of the vast network of RSS and related organizations (Sangh Parivar)
- Absence of any credible national political alternative except Congress
- BJP is the only all-India level political formation in the ideological
segment, which can be loosely described as "Hindu Nationalist Political
Stream". All other parties share their political space while BJP has
virtually no competition in its ideological space. For example, there
are many parties fighting for the label of being secular. But the only
parties that share the Hindu ideological space are BJP and Shiv Sena.
- Poorly defined ideological position. The party seems to stand for everything
and nothing. This has thoroughly confused the cadre. Swadeshi vs. Globalization,
Cultural Nationalism vs. Nehruvian secularism, Militant Hinduism vs. Tolerant
Submissiveness, Gandhian Socialism vs. Global Capitalism - these are some
issues where party seems to be standing neither here nor there. In the
process, the ideological cadre has been getting disillusioned with the
party and has been falling out.
- Inability to promote talent internally. Internal democracy has meant
promoting the most acceptable, which means the one who is least threatening
to the mediocre majority. In most states, the party faces a crisis due to
non-availability of dynamic leaders at top.
- Lack of creativity and intellectual depth in the organization. This has
meant that the party has not been able to break any new ground in either
governance or in tackling any crisis.
- Absence of internal systems that work in coordination with ministers to
ensure that Government posts and appointments are given to people who have
the potential of becoming pillars of strength for the party. At the moment,
the party seems to be distributing largesse in an ad-hoc and haphazard
manner. This is causing serious heartburn in the cadre and is in the long
run weakening the party.
- Internal contradictions and conflict of interests within Sangh Parivar.
There are no ground rules to determine right and wrong. This means a
free-for-all. Undue delays and pressures in making any decisions have
also been a result of the balancing act between various Sangh Parivar
- Top leadership is increasingly seen to be old and weak, physically as well
- Growing Infighting and Factionalism
- The party is in power in three states and in Centre.
- The party is the main opposition party in a large number of states.
- There have been no major charges of corruption against any minister of
- Party has substantial financial resources at its command.
- The number of people who are inclined to be pro-Hindutva is increasing
- Sonia Gandhi's Italian descent makes her unacceptable to many Indians.
- After the debacle in four states and Delhi municipal elections, there is
an impression among general public as well as among cadre that BJP is a
sinking ship. This perception is the greatest possible threat.
- A new generation of Congress leaders in the age group of 40 -55 is in
control in many states. This leadership is dynamic, innovative and sharp.
- The image of Sonia Gandhi has been improving. She is often seen as better,
younger and more dynamic alternative.
- In the past few years, BJP has attracted people from different political
camps. A number of retired officials (IAS, IPS, Military etc.) also joined
the party. Many of such people have been well-rewarded. In the absence of
any fair transparent criterion of judgment and evaluation, it has caused
strong resentment and dissatisfaction among old loyalists. This has
distanced loyalists who may have been otherwise expected to remain with
the party in its hour of crisis. The recent entrants have no emotional
involvement with the party and are likely to be like rats running away
from a sinking ship. In the process, the party runs the risk of being
deserted by all.
- Rising unemployment is leading to frustration among youth. Party is being
seen as pro-rich, pro-multinational, anti-small-business, anti-small-industry.
This image combined with large unemployment can wreak havoc.
11 April 2002
Please write to me your comments about the above article.
ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer by qualification but
a philosopher by vocation and a management consultant by profession.
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