In the history of Indian Political Parties after independence, there are certain historical blunders which these political parties have committed. For Communists, the split of the party; for Socialists never able to stand firmly behind one single leader and host of mistakes for Dramuk and other regional outfits. But for all these mistakes there are FOUR mother of all blunders by the main players. Those are:
For Congress – Emergency and complete over throwing of Democracy and Democratic principles in 1977 by Indira Government and Delhi riots in 1984 after the death of Indira Gandhi. The culpability of Congress in both these incidents will never go away. As these events start receding more into History; one stands to understand more the deeply divisive and immoral nature of Congress roles in these incidences.
For BJP – December 6 1992 Babari Masjidd mayhem and Gujarat riots in 2002. Again thoroughly unjust and wrong role played by BJP in these incidents will only get highlighted more as History continues it’s march.
Basic maturity of any institution and especially of a political party is demonstrated by its ability to own its mistakes. I guess humanity has come to realization that mistakes are part of the game and part of Politics too. The only question is how do you learn from that. It is the holy grail of an ability to make the call where to be steadfast to continue a particular agenda to get the results and where to adopt the radical change or admit the mistakes. It is not sufficient for us to know how political parties all over the world learn and admit the mistakes. Some would be doing right, some many not.
What is important is what do Indian Political Parties do. Do they admit their mistakes and move on after learning the right lessons? The record here is not good. With Congress, the case is hopeless. I doubt fundamentally, the party has the DNA to admit what is wrong with it. Just because they are ruling now and it may be a right and moral thing for India in the present circumstances; does not mean that Congress can be forgiven for their lack of admitting these two grave mistakes. It is just that there is no hope that Congress will ever do that. As long as Congress leadership revolves around Gandhi- Nehru family; there is less likelihood of admission of these mistakes. It is not that some one from that family can be enlightened enough to undertake that. Remember Rajiv Gandhi’s speech in Mumbai in 1985 at Congress 100 years Anniversary Plenary Session. That was when he was almost there for that “Midas touch”. Well, alas Indian Politics again missed the opportunity.
This is where BJP has the golden opportunity to differentiate itself from Congress. How do we tell to our leaders that it is not that when you are ruling then only you are doing good for your country. Atalji is and should be a great leader in the opposition too. His role might have changed, but not the function. Here is the chance for BJP to discuss Gujarat riots in Mumbai session, remove Modi Government and make a run at learning the lessons. This could be one of the biggest services to the nation – that a mature political party does analyzes it’s problems and learns from those.
June 22, 2004.