BJP No Threat
The Times of India, July 12, 1989
Sir, - Professor Rajni Kothari’s argument regarding the BJP
stance (June 26) requires detailed examination.
Electoral arrangements between opposition parties have to be
largely based on trust if we are looking for an alternative
at the national level. Negotiations can be more productive
if the stereotyped “enemy image” of the BJP was not unduly
stressed or academic credibility selectively given to the
political cause of the CPM.
Mr. E.M.S. Namboodiripad has obvious compulsions in engaging
in anti-BJP propaganda and exaggerating the “BJP threat”.
He is trying to legitimise the CPM’s Stalinist mentality.
There is a strong case for doubting the CPM’s understanding
of the character of democratic politics when one takes into
account its views on the Tiananmen Square incident.
On the one hand, Professor Kothari conceals the implications
of the CPM’s support to Chinese actions against democracy.
On the other, he wishes to jeopardise opposition
confidence-building by excluding the BJP from meaningful
participation in the political process. Why should a
favourable electoral opportunity be sacrificed because of
prejudice against the BJP?
Terms like “the Hindu card” tell us very little unless we
frame the issues within the current national political
context. For this, we have to identify the forces which are
challenging the stability of the Indian political system. It cannot also be overlooked that the threat of an emergency
is still very much there. To balance and check centralised
coercive power, the prime task is to strengthen the position
of democratic institutions and check the hegemony of the
The ruling party at the Centre continues to pursue a one
party dominance system, and is opposed to an evolutionary
path through which alternatives in the development of
political order could materialise.
It is well-known that the BJP is opposed to communism and
is, therefore, the chief target of the CPM’s disinformation
campaign. The BJP is indeed concerned with increasing its
influence among the voters, and this should come as no
surprise to anyone. The BJP opposes violence and does not
seek any political or strategic interests at the cost of
As a participant in the recent national executive meeting of
the BJP, I can flatly deny Professor Kothari’s thesis that
there has been a build-up of “the reckless communalism of
the BJP”. Such speculations come easily to those who are in
the habit of adopting double standards.
There are favourable opportunities for the democratic
opposition which can be used to contribute to a stable
political evolution. As far as some controversial issues
are concerned, statesmanship of a high order can change
frozen situations, and joint participation in the policy
formation process can itself reinforce the concert of
interests, provided there is a clear commitment to the
democratic way of life.
Prof. M.L. Sondhi