KARNATAKA HAS A LESSON FOR BJP AS WELL AS CONGRESS

I feel sorry that we have lost in Karnataka. But I am not surprised. The surprise would have been if we had won.
As it is, I think the Karnataka results have a profound lesson for the BJP. In a way it has a lesson also for the Congress. The common lesson for both of us is: let’s not take the common man for granted. He himself may occasionally deviate from the norms of ethical conduct, but he does feel extremely angry when he sees those at the helm of national affairs behaving immorally. This is the principal reason why there is such intense allergy towards politicians generally nowadays.
If corruption provokes indignation in Bangalore, why would it not cause the same feeling in New Delhi?


Actually, I hold that it is the Karnataka results that have contributed to clinching action being taken even in the matter of Coalgate and Railgate! Before Karnataka results, the Congress Party seemed determined not to do anything about the two scams even if it meant a total washout of the second half of the Budget Session.
There have been press reports that we lost Karnataka because we threw out Yeddyurappa.  

I have seen comments by eminent pressmen taunting the BJP: See how Soniaji overlooked the shortcomings of Virbhadra Singh, and earned an advantage for the Congress. BJP prides itself on taking a principled stand in Karnataka. The consequence is that BJP has lost even “the toehold it had acquired in the south.”

Let me first point out that BJP did not throw out Yeddi; it is he who broke away from the BJP and decided to form a factional party of his own, the KJP. In fact, when it became apparent that he was unabashedly indulging in corruption, if the party had immediately taken firm action, the course of events would have been quite different.
But for several months, frantic efforts went on somehow to keep placating him by condoning his peccadilloes.  The justification given was that if the party did not adopt such a ‘pragmatic’ approach we would lose the only government that we had in the south.
During these months I often cited to colleagues the crisis the party had faced in its early years in Rajasthan. Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the BJP, was launched in 1951 by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerji just before the First General Elections of 1952. Dr. Mookerji was elected President of the Party.

As an office-bearer of the Rajasthan Jana Sangh during the first decade of independence (1947 -57), I was witness first to the remarkable success of the party in the 1952 polls, and then to the crisis it had to confront.
In 1952, the Jana Sangh won three seats in the Lok Sabha and 35 seats in all the State Assemblies. Of the 3 seats in the Lok Sabha, two were from West Bengal (Dr. S.P. Mookerji and Shri Durga Charan Banerjee) and one from Rajasthan (Barrister Uma Shankar Trivedi).
Of the total 35 seats Jana Sangh secured in the State Assemblies, 9 came from West Bengal and 8 from Rajasthan. The crisis faced in Rajasthan owed to the fact that the party, in its election manifesto, had committed itself to abolition of the Jagirdari system; but all the 8 MLAs elected in Rajasthan were themselves Jagirdars!
When the State Assembly met, the Congress Party elected its own Speaker and offered Deputy Speakership to the Jana Sangh. Shri Lal Singh Shaktawat was elected Deputy Speaker of the House.
One of the Bills the Congress Party introduced in this very first session was the Bill to abolish Jagirdari system. When we drew the attention of our party MLAs to our party manifesto and asked them to support this particular legislation, most of them flatly refused.
We rang up Dr. Mookerji in New Delhi, and apprised him of the problem. He said he would come to Jaipur personally and speak to the MLAs.
I can never forget those days and the kind of tension we all were under at the time. The tension only increased when Dr. Mookerji arrived. Six of our eight MLAs quietly went away to their respective constituencies. These included the newly elected Deputy Speaker also. The two MLAs who stayed on met Dr. Mookerji, and conveyed to him that while they would abide by the party’s decision the rest had made up their mind to oppose the proposed Bill.

Dr. Mookerji advised the party’s office bearers to make a last effort to persuade the dissidents, but if they persisted, not to hesitate taking disciplinary action against them.
It wasn’t an easy decision to take. We were constantly in touch with Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya also, who had been named General Secretary. I can never forget that out of the eight MLAs the party decided to expel six. And one of the two who remained was Late Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat,

who became Chief Minister of Rajasthan three times, and later on rose to become Vice President of the Indian Union. How many parties in the country would have the guts to take this kind of decision? And the Jana Sangh demonstrated such courage even in its infancy!

No wonder, while instances can be cited when other parties do get away with gross misdemeanors, we must realize that the yardstick by which the people judge the BJP is not the same as that by which they judge other parties! Because of the high expectations we have aroused in the people by our excellent track record in all these years, even minor indiscretions can prove costly for us. And our response to the Karnataka crisis was not at all a minor indiscretion.  I have consistently maintained that our handling of Karnataka has been absolutely opportunistic.

TAILPIECE
Today’s PIONEER carries on its front page a highlighted box item captioned: SNUB TO PM?  It goes on to say that Smt. Sonia Gandhi will be meeting senior party leaders soon to discuss the Cabinet reshuffle.
Has the Prime Minister abdicated his right even to decide about his own cabinet? Today’s news reports about the removal of two Union Ministers generally emphasise that it is Soniaji who has sacked ‘two PM’s men.’
Sheer self-respect demands that the PM calls it a day, and orders an early general election.

The BJP National President Shri Rajnath Singh has approved the recommendations of Uttar Pradesh's State Election Committee regarding the bye-election to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh.
The name of the candidate finalized for the Legislative Assembly Constituency are as under:-

Sl. No.
Constituency No. and Name
Name of the Candidate
1.
258-Handia
Sh. Vidhyakant Sanware Lal Tiwari

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