Photograph of Anil Chawla

Author - Anil Chawla

This gives the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats faced by Bharatiya Janata Party. The analysis is in the form of points and is without any comments.


  1. A strong support base with an all-India presence
  2. Active support from a large worldwide base of supporters and sympathizers who have no political ambitions or desires (except an ideological wish-list)
  3. 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.
  4. Support of the vast network of RSS and related organizations (Sangh Parivar)
  5. Absence of any credible national political alternative except Congress
  6. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 outfits.
  6. Top leadership is increasingly seen to be old and weak, physically as well as politically
  7. Growing Infighting and Factionalism


  1. The party is in power in three states and in Centre.
  2. The party is the main opposition party in a large number of states.
  3. There have been no major charges of corruption against any minister of Central Government.
  4. Party has substantial financial resources at its command.
  5. The number of people who are inclined to be pro-Hindutva is increasing almost everyday.
  6. Sonia Gandhi's Italian descent makes her unacceptable to many Indians.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The image of Sonia Gandhi has been improving. She is often seen as better, younger and more dynamic alternative.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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