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 Congress.

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 India’s democracy.

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
New Delhi

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