BJP’s Lok Sabha majority is alienating the party from its Hindu base – R. Jagannathan

Narendra Modi & Amit Shah

R. JagannathanThe Modi government, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, has actually done little to push any Hindu agenda, leave alone a Ram temple. – R. Jagannathan

With the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backing the idea of promulgating a law to enable the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Narendra Modi government has been pushed into a corner. It will be damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t.

A law, of course, won’t get the temple. Even if the Centre promulgates an ordinance to enable a Ram temple to be constructed at the Ram Janmabhoomi site, it is by no means certain that the Rajya Sabha will pass it too when the ordinance comes up for legislation. Moreover, the law will be challenged in the Supreme Court, thus bringing us back to square one. At best, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can claim that it did the best, and that is the only purpose of making such a demand before the polls.

There is also another political reality. Any temple built against the wishes, or without at least the grudging acquiescence, of the Muslim parties involved in the court challenge, will become a permanent target for terrorists and spark more communal discord in its wake. Barring a few fringe elements, ordinary Hindus will not want this to happen.

A third reality: compromise solutions are less likely with the BJP in power, unless they are driven by unconnected third parties, since it will always be seen as Hindu bullying of the minorities. The Modi government, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, has actually done little to push any Hindu agenda, leave alone a Ram temple, but it is stuck with the perception that it is doing so. The more the BJP pushes for a Ram temple, the greater will be the opposition to it. So, Congress leader C.P. Joshi’s boast, that only a Congress prime minister can get the Ram temple built, is not far off the mark. If the Congress wants to, it will fit the role of honest broker between the two sides better than the BJP for the simple reason that it is not seen as trying to shove the idea down Muslim throats. When given a choice of deciding whether the Congress or the BJP should be given the credit for building the temple, Muslims inclined to accept a compromise will most probably plump for the Congress.

Branded as a Hindu party in terms of popular perceptions, the BJP has to prove itself to be more secular than the Congress in order to hold the broad middle ground in politics. This is probably one reason why, despite having a Lok Sabha majority, the BJP managed to do almost nothing for its core constituency.

Counter-intuitively, one can say that the broader the base of your party, the narrower your policy choices, for you have to keep the interests of your diverse voter bases in mind. Conversely, the narrower your voter base, the more likely are you to keep them happy – and exercise real power.

Consider the power and clout of the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala. With a Muslim population share of 27 per cent, the league wields more power than the Congress in the state, which is in the secular middle, and thus unable to take strong positions on any issue. The same applies to the Kerala Congress and Christian politicians in the Congress. They wield more power because they do not have to speak for the entire electorate.

When it comes to the BJP, its core Hindu vote is probably around 15-20 per cent, and it would be more powerful and truer to its base if it focused on keeping this group happy than trying to expand its base endlessly, which makes it increasingly irrelevant to its base. The BJP’s natural base, in terms of Lok Sabha seats, is in the range of 100-180 seats, and its power will increase if it can leverage this base in future parliaments. Future coalitions will be happy to have a party with this many seats backing it. It means the BJP can bargain hard for its key demands—whether it is a Ram temple or a ban on conversions or something else. Even if it does not get everything, it can get something, and its base will be happy.

At 282 seats, the BJP is forced to be all things to all people. Thus, it cannot deliver anything to its core voter base. At 100-180 seats, it will wield more power than almost any party in India in an era of coalitions. Even when out of power, its sheer size will force all other parties to agree to at least one part of the agenda.

Maybe, just maybe, the BJP should consider backing the idea of proportional representation in parliament. In the vote range of 20-30 per cent, depending on which way the wind is blowing, it will never get less than 110-170 seats, come what may. It will either be a powerful opposition voice, or a key player in government. – Swarajya Magazine, 10 December 2018

» R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya Magazine.

Ram Temple in Court


4 Responses

  1. So Mr. Jaggi is essentially making the point that as Hindus we should always be terrified of the Muslim minority and allow them a unchallenged veto on all matters as otherwise there might be an increase in terrorist activities or more communal discord. What makes Mr. Jaggi think that the muslims will acquiesce, grudgingly or otherwise, at any time in the future?


  2. Controversial tainted officer Shaktikanta Das appointed as RBI Governor – Sree Iyer – PGurus – 12 Dec 2018

    Selecting a History post-grad with a questionable track record as the RBI Governor is an extremely poor choice

    Hours after a massive electoral drubbing in several states, a Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed committee on Tuesday appointed controversial retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shaktikanta Das with a tainted past as the Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Why Modi would choose a post graduate in History and a career bureaucrat to be the Governor especially when India’s finances are in such a delicate shape is a million dollar question. Das is close to tainted, corrupt Finance Minister P. Chidambaram (PC) and sabotaged many PC probes while in the Modi Government and this “reward” therefore beggars belief.

    For the past three years PGurus has reported several frauds of Shaktikanta Das. Be it a land allotment scam in Tamil Nadu or attempts to scuttle Aircel-Maxis scam, or telling lies in the apex court to sabotage Aircel-Maxis scam, Das has been diligent in trying to save his old master Chidambaram. As Revenue Secretary, Das sabotaged Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)’s probe on Coal Import and Power plant import scam worth Rs.30,000 crores involving Adani, Essar, Reliance Power among others.

    At one point Modi shifted Das to Economic Affairs and it was during Demonetisation that we saw how Shaktikanta Das messed up with the implementation. He would come daily to hold press conferences and kept changing the rules. At one point, he announced putting ink mark on the persons exchanging old notes with the banks! The current Finance Minister’s knowledge of economics has been said to have been fittable on the back of a postage stamp. Perhaps the FM wanted a pinhead.

    Questionable acts

    It is an open secret that he is close with the scamsters in IL & FS.

    PGurus reported about the land allotment scam by Das when serving in Tamil Nadu during Karunanidhi regime. He allotted 100 acres to a US firm Sanmina SCI Corporation in 2007 at an old price fixed in 1970[1]. When PGurus published this report, Finance Ministry came with a wishy-washy statement to save Das to which we gave a fitting reply.

    As Revenue Secretary in October 2014, to save his old master Chidambaram, Das changed Enforcement Directorate’s Advocate K.K. Venugopal (now Attorney General) at midnight over the phone and appointed a new lawyer to tell a lie in the Supreme Court (SC). The Revenue Department told a blatant lie in the court that all the probes in Aircel-Maxis case are over and hence the Investigating Officer Rajeshwar Singh can be transferred. This lie was uttered on the petition filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. It is obvious that without Chidambaram’s buddy Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, pliable Das would not have gone to this extent. In this case, SC rejected all fake arguments of the Revenue Department and ordered for the permanent absorption of Rajeshwar Singh in ED’s service and also ordered for continuation as Investigating Officer till the end of the trial.

    In 2015, CBI asked Shaktikanta Das several times for cooperation in Aircel-Maxis and the cunning officer played all frauds to save Chidambaram[2].

    Even after Prime Minister’s Modi’s order, Das delayed for more than 10 months in DRI’s probe in Coal Import scam. DRI’s request to get the bank transaction details of coal importing firms were held up by this tainted officer till he quit the Revenue Department[3].

    Even after retirement, Arun Jaitley recommended him for the post of a Member in the Finance Commission. Being a person from Odisha, Shaktikanta Das is always supported and protected by P.K. Mishra, a senior colleague from Odisha, who is an Additional Principal Secretary to the PM. Mishra served seven years with Sharad Pawar during his tenure as Agricultural Minister and landed in Modi’s PMO too as a powerful officer.

    Poor management of the economy and the coterie of uncouth officers in PM’s secretariat are the main reasons for the electoral debacle of BJP in the Hindi heartland. But it seems that even after these setbacks, Modi appears to not want to read the writing on the wall. Appointment of a tainted administrative officer Shaktikanta Das, that too a History post-grad to head RBI shows that.


    [1] Shaktikanta Das involvement in a controversial land deal in Chennai, 100 acres allotted at a pittance – Jul 4, 2016,

    [2] Did Shaktikanta Das go slow in CBI’s probe against Chidambaram in Aircel-Maxis case? – Jul 7, 2016,

    [3] DRI show cause notices to Adani, Reliance Infra & Essar on coal import scams as PSU Banks hide details – Sep 15, 2016,


  3. BJP-Rahul-Modi

    BJP has lost the battle, but it can win the war – S Balakrishnan – PGurus – 11 Dec 2018

    Even now it’s not too late for the BJP to turn the tide. It needs to do a few things quickly. Here’s a to-do list:

    1. Sack Amit Shah and get a dynamic person with a clean image;

    2. Win back the confidence of the business community. Treat businessmen as partners in progress. Take whatever it needs to vagaries the economy quickly. Also, please note that there are businessmen other than the Ambanis and Adanis. Make GST more user-friendly. Stop treating businessmen as a bunch of chors;

    3. Address farmers’ issues on war-footing. Modi had time to attend Priyanka Chopra’s wedding reception but he did not meet leaders’ of farmers who had come in thousands to Delhi with their grievances. The agrarian crisis is very grim;

    4. Wage a war on corruption for real. Renegotiate the Rafale deal. Delete the need for prior sanction to prosecute babus. Scrap electoral bonds. Strengthen RTI. BJP is rightly perceived to be a corruption-friendly party. This perception has to be dispelled;

    5. Find a legal way to build the temple at Ayodhya. In fact, it should be possible to persuade the Sunnis to agree to the temple;

    6. Scrap Article 370. It just needs an ordinance;

    7. Get BJP workers to reach out to the masses at the booth level;

    8. Confer Bharat Ratna posthumously on Veer Savarkar and rename Ahmedabad and other cities and railway stations reeking of Moghul or British hangover;

    9. Finally, Modi should stop his foreign travels and focus on fast-tracking the economy.
    The BJP CAN win 2019 if it carries out these course corrections in right earnest. It has a historic duty to perform towards the nation.


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