Sunday, December 11, 2011

The BJP's Curse of being the Opposition

Or better still, the BJP’s Crime of being the BJP.
Ever since the disgrace called UPA-2 came into being, as monumental crisis after monumental crisis emerged, one thing was consistent – while criticism of the sham-doers existed for the duration for which the crisis was in public memory, all the intermittent gaps were filled with tirades against the BJP for being an irresponsible opposition.
The Congress seems to have a special-ops team in place for everything else except Governance – be it tackling the Anna Hazare movement or a special team dedicated to dissing the BJP for all its (i.e. the Congress’) scams or guiding the CBI along its investigations.
This noise more-or-less reached a crescendo during the FDI debate. Two points to keep in mind -
  1. I am not against FDI. For that matter I am not pro-FDI either. But over many readings of articles on this topic, despite a surprisingly socialistic leaning towards this issue, I find the arguments in favour of FDI a tad more sensible and practical.
  2. Neither am I saying that the BJP has got a firm grasp on the issue and its stance is absolutely vindicated and perfectly reasoned out. As a matter of fact, as far as explanations go, the BJP’s reasoning seemed quite inadequate. As expected, Arun Jaitley’s piece comes close, but leaves a lot to be desired.

Motive & Timing

It is no secret that our despicably dishonest Prime Minister desires to go down in History books as a reformer more than anything else. However, try as I might, I can just not see FDI as a “reform”. Especially when there are a zillion other more urgent things at hand. Still, even considering FDI as a reform (comparing with LPG, computers, etc), it is important to note two things -
  • That it is the Congress that is doing this.
  • That the Congress is doing it now.
I, for one, have absolutely no confidence in the present government to carry out a policy move as big as FDI.
There are far too many bureaucratic procedures involved and these, in turn, entail too much interference by the government. Plus, most importantly, this single decision will most certainly have a cascading effect on a plethora of other domestic issues finally watering down to the common man as well as the poor landless farmer. At a financially critical time like this, it is extremely ill-advised to go ahead with such a move, WITH SUCH A GOVERNMENT, especially considering the wimp(s) did not even allow for a debate in the Parliament.
There is too much money involved.
Whether this is the common man’s money or not is secondary. Fact remains that there is a humongous amount of money up there and MANMOHAN SINGH CANNOT BE TRUSTED with handling (his ministers, if you believe the hogwash about him still being clean) such cash.

Realpolitik anyone?

So the BJP proposed 26% FDI in its 2004 manifesto and backtracked on the same issue in 2009 (Indian Express says: “The BJP manifesto for 2009, however, had skipped any reference to the issue” while ToI says: “Meanwhile, BJP also changed its position & categorically said in its 2009 manifesto that it wont allow foreign investment in retail“. Take your pick).

Every non-pro-BJP’ian immediately jumped at this in a superbly brilliant manner accusing the BJP of hypocrisy. Their beautiful minds couldnt even grasp the fact that the BJP was merely sticking to its most recent stance.
There are many other things that stand out here -
  • What irks me most is folks reacting as if the BJP supported FDI in its last known stance and is now opposing it simply because it is in the Opposition (that it might actually be doing it is another issue altogether). If at all anyone came close to criticizing the BJP *correctly* & *sensibly* for its stance on FDI, it was its own Internet supporters themselves (Offstumpedand Ashok Malik to name two) apart from a few genuinely centrist/non-aligned folks here and there.
  • Forget ruling party/opposition, politics – are you as an individual bound by ALL decisions you took at some point of time in the past and not allowed to change them at all?
  • Being a responsible opposition does NOT mean you will be a responsible government. So how do people decide the effectiveness of a BJP government simply by saying that they are an irresponsible opposition?
  • All political/policy discussions today follow a standard path – Congress screws up something -> #whatisbjpviewonthis -> Irresponsible Opposition -> not fit to form the next Government.
  • Why does the opposition need to behave responsibly when the Government is painstakingly spreading s**t all over the country? Do you have any idea what (if at all, that is) UPA-II is doing to defuse the financial or security situation? Food & shelter – there, your two basic needs – a big question mark hangs over that.
  • Is it the responsibility of the Opposition to help the Government of the Day *run* the Government? Especially at a time when the ruling party is in absolute tatters and absolutely -cannotdoes not want to get its act together? Why in God’s name does the BJP need to push the bus which broke down from outside when the driver himself isn’t interested in driving it?

The Imbecility of the UPA

The present UPA government is absolutely incapable of providing governance, let alone good governance. Again, and again, and again – it has just been re-emphasizing this fact. There have not been any clear-cut movements forward at all. There has not even been any halt in the backward progress.
It is becoming increasingly evident that this Government just does not deserve to survive.

The BJP as an Opposition

After seemingly supporting the BJP’s performance as an Opposition, it might appear contradictory to you when I say that the BJP has failed as an Opposition on many fronts. First of all, I’m not sure what benchmark you have for a “Good” Opposition, doubly so at a critically (politically/governmentally)-paralyzed scenario like this. Does anyone know? The closest I can think of is – Bring down the Government.
If any, the opposition’s responsibility, in such a situation, I guess, would be to bring down the Government. Which, of course, our dear BJP is so spectacularly *not* doing.
However, at the end of the day, the current-day government is in a state of such anarchy that it is impossible to even imagine what an opposition could be doing perfectly.
As for the BJP, I just hope it doesn’t tie itself up in knots, just to get a good name from all those dissing it for being a useless opposition. I only hope it knows what it’s doing and does enough to come to power next time around, whenever that happens…and the sooner it happens, the better.