Is BJP gambling in Meghalaya?


By Aristotle Lyngdoh

In many states of the country the BJP is circumspectly making relentless efforts to maximize vote banks and strengthen its support base in order to dominate the political arena for as long as it can sustain itself. By common sense, this is obvious for the party that was overwhelmingly voted to power and got maximum numbers of seats in parliament. It is important for them to sustain and maintain this level for at least two terms or one decade. Anything short of this will further push this party to its lowest ebb in the years ahead.

Therefore, what is in the mind of the party leadership in order to achieve this objective is to strengthen the party’s support base at the grass roots level which it has been doing in most of the strategic states of the country. Amongst the steps taken by the Modi government in the economic front, on environmental issues and against corruption, is to project leaders with good reputation at the state level to draw people’s faith and confidence. Besides, the party should also ensure its secular image at any cost. But in Meghalaya as we have seen, the party is devoid of any such efforts and strategies and the scope of the saffron party is left to fate of chance and the luck of the caretakers who have been chosen to represent the brigade. The primary reason for this statement is in how this sinking ship has attracted all the failed aspirants to try their luck once again from this party. If this is the situation then one can imagine the rush to become the blue eyed boy of someone from Delhi.

The attitude and the intention of the top leadership with respect to this small Christian state is unclear and indifferent as if the scope of the saffron party to win over the Christian vote bank is very bleak. Perhaps because of this kind of assessment and assumption, the central leadership of the party is reluctant to build its support base or to appoint the right persons at the helm of leadership. That is why, any Tom, Dick and Harry can become the cards at the hands of those who have been entrusted from Delhi to shuffle the cards.

The central leadership has failed to understand that politics in Meghalaya does not depend on party’s policies and propaganda alone. Politics depends on the charisma and personality of the person. This charisma and personality of a person contains many aspects relevant to the situation and the socio-political environment of that region or community. In some community or constituency, the charisma of a person or candidate is defined by his ability to spend and feed the electorates; in others this charisma is defined by the ability of the candidate to emotionally motivate the people on certain issues. Yet there are situations where a person can retain his seat for many years and none of the two aforesaid characteristics can have any impact or effect because of the bond and relationship that the person has built and developed with the electorate over the years. In all of the above, the integrity of the person towards his electorate is paramount and undisputed irrespective of any party he is contesting from.

Another factor that should be noted is that our people are antagonistic to change. They apparently prefer to wear the same garment rather than purchase a new one. This is true of the older generation. In the same way it is difficult for them to cast their vote for a party other than they are habituated to do especially in the absence  of a desired alternative.

The poor performance of the BJP in the recent MDC bye-elections reflects that people have not reposed their faith on the State BJP leadership. Shibun Lyngdoh, the Party President has, instead of defending the NDA Government’s demonetization policy, instead blamed it for the failure of the BJP to get a single seat out of the seven contested. This shows that the BJP in Meghalaya too is depending on money power to win elections, but the fact is that in Meghalaya there are no negative consequences from this demonetization scheme. People are not bothered or panicking. Everything is normal despite shortage of cash. But as gamblers do and murmur against the fellow gambler who shuffles the cards when they lost the lot, so did the BJP president of Meghalaya blame his own master for this blunder.

A point to be noted here: if demonetization of 500 & 1000 notes is the only factor in the entire election process, then it is also correct to state that these people are gambling in the game of chance where every decision taken by the NDA government is like a lottery result for them at the state. The state unit of the party is functioning like other local pressure groups in demanding this and that but lacking in concrete policy framework for the state.

No doubt there are commendable initiatives steps taken by the NDA government under Narendra Modi’s leadership, but how far can the state unit under the present leadership disseminate the advantages of these initiatives to the general public? I believe none of them can do so. On the contrary friends and relatives will be forced to join the party for membership sake.

This writer does not intend to condemn one political party and endorse another, but to simply convey the ground reality of the situation that prevails. The need of the hour is not a party but the people who comprise that party. The cry and anxiety of the masses to see how development plans and objectives are translated into  prosperity and liberty where opportunities and avenues are abundant and accessible are yet to be realized. This can only be achieved if decisive, selfless and visionary leaders emerge in the political party that truly understands democracy as an attribute of people’s desire to build a better society through good governance. But when it comes to stability in leadership, national parties have more advantage in the state compared to regional parties. The general preference of people towards regional parties here in our state is now being shattered by the continuing conflict of leadership within the party itself. Therefore, the scope of national parties is high and imminent.

One reality that must be understood by everyone is that Christian voters are not communal or disturbed by the ideology of any political party. But as of now nothing will change in the political spectrum unless drastic changes take place within the political party itself. Regardless of any political ideology, the general feeling is that development and justice should prevail in every area of governance and where sectarian and childish aspirations and ideologies should not dominate the proceedings.

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