After the pandemic, the BJP’s vision for new India

ByBhupender Yadav
Apr 06, 2020 09:06 AM IST

Unsustainable development has hit its limits. India will have to return to gram swaraj and integral humanism

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turns 40 today. It was founded on April 6, 1980, at an all-India convention at Delhi Ferozeshah Kotla Maidan, now Arun Jaitley Stadium. The party has come to be identified with the masses, having won two back-to-back comfortable majorities in the Lok Sabha, the only non-Congress party to have done so.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turns 40 today. It was founded on April 6, 1980, at an all-India convention at Delhi Ferozeshah Kotla Maidan, now Arun Jaitley Stadium(Samir Jana/HTPhoto)
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turns 40 today. It was founded on April 6, 1980, at an all-India convention at Delhi Ferozeshah Kotla Maidan, now Arun Jaitley Stadium(Samir Jana/HTPhoto)

For the BJP, political power is only a means to serve the nation — the party’s core ideology puts the nation first. The “nation first” ideology is based on the principles laid down by Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. The Jana Sangh, the political predecessor of the BJP, adhered to this throughout the Emergency. Jana Sangh members not only went to jail, but also agreed to merge the organisation with the Janata Party to fight the forces which were trying to subvert the Constitution.

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This ideology is what drove Atal Bihari Vajpayee to represent the country on a national issue internationally, even when PV Narasimha Rao-led Congress government was in office. Additionally, in July 1991, when Manmohan Singh presented his liberalisation Budget, the Left parties made it difficult for the then finance minister (FM) to complete his speech. LK Advani asked then Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil to allow the FM to complete his speech.

The BJP abides by the politics of consensus even now. In the past two months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the world to stop and reflect on where we are headed and make course corrections. We need to rewind to the past to look at important lessons we might have missed.

The genesis of the new world order can be traced to the French Revolution. The revolution tore the old regime to pieces and from this rubble, modern France emerged. The printing press had made it possible for ideas to spread and a culture of dialogue and debate took deeper roots in the West. The Industrial Revolution and the development of information technology that followed set the world on the path of rapid growth. With the growth of manufacturing and debate and discussion, the world began to democratise at an unprecedented pace. India, which has always believed in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is but one family)”, was also part of this project.

Despite the challenges of global warming and the climate crisis, the world refused to reflect on its development model. It was not sustainable given the wanton exploitation of precious natural resources. The Covid-19 pandemic has alerted us to the perils of unsustainable development. The strongest economies have been brought to their knees and the best medical equipment has failed to bring down the number of fatalities from the virus.

Scientists are racing to find a vaccine to deal with the greatest threat since World War II. But our pursuit of development stripped science of its human aspect. Scientific advancements cannot be sustainable unless balanced with human concerns.

What should be the road ahead for us at the individual, organisational and community levels. The BJP has to think of how to rebuild the country and its relations with the global community.

Mahatma Gandhi provided the answer when he propounded the concept of Gram Swaraj. Gram Swaraj, coupled with integral humanism, is the only way to counter the setbacks that we will face due to the virus. While Gram Swaraj is the model for sustainable development, integral humanism puts the individual at the centre of development and in consonance with the environment.

The BJP, in its first budget presented in 2014, put forward a development model based on Gram Swaraj and integral humanism. The government has been working on implementing that model. The government is utilising panchayat raj institutions to develop governance capabilities to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. It has launched several schemes to strengthen villages as units of sustainable development. The Jana Dhan accounts, the Ujjwala Yojana, among others, are aimed at meeting the target of antyodaya (prosperity for the last person) enunciated by Jana Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

After the nationwide lockdown, as migrant labourers and daily wagers began to head towards villages, the government announced a ~1.74 lakh crore relief package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. The scheme will ensure that about 800 million people get free food grains, apart from cash through direct transfers for the April-June quarter. PM Narendra Modi has reached out to leaders not just in India’s neighbourhood, but also the G-20 nations, advocating a global response to the challenge. The BJP continues to believe the world is one community and a pandemic cannot be fought without everyone coming together. The PM has displayed great calm in handling the crisis and reassured the nation during these trying times.

On its 40th Foundation Day, the BJP remains committed to working on rebuilding the nation with greater resolve. With reckless development having brought the world to a standstill, our salvation lies in our villages that produce enough for people’s needs, and not for people’s greed.

Bhupender Yadav is BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP

The views expressed are personal

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