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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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The BJP will hold its National Executive next weekend in Madhya Pradesh. The suspense is over and nobody can complain the BJP has not got its priorities right . We now know, courtesy The Telegraph, what menu will be on the table.

Well what of the political agenda ?

Not much in the media on the goings and comings of the three-day review meeting of top RSS and BJP leaders held at Uttan near Bhayander in Thane district. However the broad contours of a likely strategy are beginning to emerge. While it is still early days one can see the first signs of a strategy starting with mending of fences with the Shiv Sena and off the record confabulations with Jayalalitha’s AIADMK. The Pioneer in its lead editorial today emphasizes how important it was for the BJP to stitch up a String of Pearls coalition strategy with Mr. Advani emerging once again as the party’s strategist in chief.

Mr. Advani’s efforts to shape the strategy have not been without roadbumps. Starting with the rather unecessary clarifications from some of his colleagues on the Nuclear Deal to the somewhat amusing claims to a potential Premiership. The reality however is few in the BJP but for Mr. Advani can legitimately claim nationwide mass support and success in electoral politics to be considered seriously as a contender for Premiership unless of course they view themselves in the Manmohan mould as appointee’s convenience.

The Prime Ministerial sweepstakes can however wait, the more urgent topic for the BJP to discuss is the agenda with which it intends to approach the electorate.

The Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi lead UPA Government has handed them quite a few issues on a platter. The delinquency with which the UPA has been dealing with Terrorism coupled with its unapologetic pursuit of Muslim Appeasement tops the list. The gutless wonder of a Home Minister in Shivraj Patil with his mishandling of internal security and Sonia Gandhi’s deafening silence on Terrorism should make for a great electoral subject. The new brand of Communal Socialism advocated by the Manmohan Singh Government highlighted by the Sachar fishing expedition and the myth of Muslim Discrimination should come right next. While the constitutional transgressions of the Congress in Bihar, Jharkhand and most recently in Goa may not make for a hot electoral issue they should be leveraged to keep the flock of regional allies together while forcing other fence sitters to take a stance. The Congress should also be cornered for having condoned the many sins of the CPI-M while looking the other way on the rape murder case in Singur.

However the most important area for the BJP to focus on is how to reclaim the space it has ceded to the CPI-M with its me-too position on key issues. While secular activism offers a window of opportunity to bring closure to unresolved issues of the past decade, the BJP must not lose sight of the future.

There are great expectations of the future from the next generation of India epitomized by this blog and others. The BJP and its well-wishers made a beginning by listening to the voices of the future and the high expectations of this generation during the recent Presidential election. If the BJP expects to be taken seriously in the next elections it must present a coherent forward looking Right of Center Vision for the Future.

Offstumped has over the last 3 years on many an occasion proposed elements of such a Right of Center Vision. The BJP would do well to consider how Hindutva needs to reinvent itself to be relevant in a Flat World by attempting to bridge the gap with those to the Right of Center on economic issues.

We have seen glimpses of such a reinvention in Gujarat with Mr. Modi’s focus on economic liberalism and sound governance but we have also seen glaring contradictions from some of his peers.

Offstumped Bottomline: This blog and others will be keeping a close watch on the confabulations in Madhya Pradesh next week. This is a defining moment for the BJP and its National Executive next week should be a starting point for evolving such a vision for the future.

Postscript.

Has C. Dorjee, director (monuments), ASI, unwittingly set the agenda for the next elections whenever they are held, Offstumped hopes not.

The Telegraph seems to believe the document filed by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI), in the Supreme Court in the context of the Sethusamudram Project and the Ram Setu (the partly submerged Adam’s Bridge), is in line with the scientific temperament of a self-styled secular administration. Offstumped begs to differ. The ASI’s submission is beginning to look more like a case sabotage to queer the pitch ahead of the next elections. Mr. Advani did well to urge the PM to nip this controversy in the bud by withdrawing this submission without delay, unless of course the Congress wants to fight the next election on the issue of Rama’s existence.

On a lighter note there ought to be no debate on the question of Ram Sethu being man made for it was not a “Naara Sena” but a “Vaanara Sena” that built it 🙂

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/09/13/many-who-can-be-prime-minister/#comments

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