Jaiveer Shergill, a former Congressman, now in the BJP, writes: Why the BJP looks invincible

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When I was in Congress, the party that I served for nearly a decade, I used to often wonder: Why is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) invincible? Attending the National Executive meet of the BJP recently, which was the first such forum for me in the party, reminded me of what the American scholar in leadership studies, Warren Bennis had said: “Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination.” I was pleasantly surprised to see the thorough professionalism and commitment of the leaders and their desire to take everyone along, as they serve the people. This was just the opposite of the feudal, “high command” culture in the Congress party and the shield that surrounds its leaders.

The picture on the morning of January 16, 2023, at the NDMC Convention Centre in Delhi, the venue for the BJP National Executive meet (BJP meet), was different – this would surprise anyone new to the BJP. There was a complete absence of VIP culture, giving the sense that every person is important. It was a highly professional atmosphere in a setting of equality. For any sizable meeting in Congress, there are different categories of passes for different categories of leaders, segregating MPs/MLAs/CMs/Ex-CMs/CWC members from the rest of the leaders/workers. The hierarchical order is structurally reinforced in the Congress. At the meeting, a karyakarta has to look for a corner in which to sit, beyond the seating arrangements for the VIPs in the party. On the contrary, in the BJP meet, there is no separate seating arrangement for either a chief minister, cabinet minister or general secretary — all had to digitally register for their access pass, with no category-wise differentiation This sent out the clear message that everyone has equal respect within the party, irrespective of their political status.

The visible presence of security guards behind Rahul Gandhi and other members of the family seems intimidating. And there is one-way communication; you listen to the high command, which will be more about the BJP than Congress, more about negating reality than introspection. There is no way to reach out to the leadership and communicate. In comparison, at the BJP meet, no security person was seen standing behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which communicated clearly that he is one party member amongst several. PM Modi is a great simplifier who believes in team-building through motivation, communication and feedback, attributes which are invisible in the Congress party leadership. While raising the bar for himself, the PM inspires others through his ideas and actions, to raise the bar for themselves. This genuine open-door policy, along with intra-party democracy, makes mobility within the party easier. I found that the BJP is a party which nurtures the same principle as the “American Dream” — anything is possible — and the ideal that every person should have equal opportunity for success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.

In the past, I have attended several Congress party meetings where the agenda revolved around the party opponents, with the hope that some magic will turn the party in the direction of success and power. On the other hand, the agenda in the BJP National Executive revolved around party strategy, connecting with the people, understanding the ground reality, ensuring that PM Modi’s “vikas” model reaches every doorstep, including the border villages of our nation, and working for people’s welfare. And, this has always been the focus of the party. In 2017, while replying to the Motion Of Thanks on the President’s address in Lok Sabha, PM Modi said that there was a need to realise the inherent strength of Indians and create an atmosphere that takes the country to new heights. In Amrit Kaal, as India prepares itself to become a developed nation by 2047, the Prime Minister’s leadership is the decisive factor in India’s massive transformation, from health to infrastructure and from economy to foreign policy.

Clarity in agenda, focus on organisational strength, communication and awareness, along with the commitment to deliver, has undoubtedly made PM Modi the people’s No. 1 choice for good governance and the Bharatiya Janata Party an unassailable organisation. The Congress party, under the present leadership, is facing the worst existential crisis in its history and is struggling for survival. Neither a yatra which is devoid of intent, content and messaging nor any conglomerate of centrifugal political forces, with their cynicism and opportunism, will be able to match the charisma of the BJP leadership and the welfare orientation of the government in the times to come.

The writer is a Supreme Court lawyer and National Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party