This may be a million-dollar question after we have heard and read literature and content on liberalism, populism and minority rights via the international diaspora a lot. Questions may be certainly raised that after COVID19, what possibly could be the future of the BJP, especially — PM Narendra Modi. Are we going to see the rise of the Center-Left in India, like the Congress and the gambit of coalition politics, or there still can be a Center coalition consisting of non-identity and non-wing parties as an alternative to the BJP? Although past trends show that people vote differently in parliamentary and assembly elections (the best example was the State Election in Odisha, 2019 where Biju Janata Dal won against the Bhartiya Janata Party while the BJP earned some significant gains in the Lok Sabha Elections), I would disagree that the trends would go the same. Let me summarize some reasons as to why is it necessary:
- State Federalism, the political and legal idea of the Indian Constitution, has been visible and in line with the people, but could not become too strong as a unifiable idea for politicians to win elections. Therefore, due to effective policy work with flaws based on reasonable cooperation between States and the Central Government, I hope that maybe Modi, since 2007, whenever has tried to imbibe that nationalistic spirit among the people as a united India, will now be able to spread and exercise his rapport in states. The only problem the BJP has is that its 3-tier leadership structure does not soak and amplify that political legitimation they essentially require in order to combat the regional parties;
- Despite India’s tormenting history of appeasement politics, and utter disrespect of the honest values that the Constituent Assembly could hope from what Indian Secularism could be — if not as a word in the Preamble but as a political fabric, which is not inspired or dictated by the Western civilization, we still can hope that Modi has got his moment of rejuvenation and will surely succeed to redistribute and reconstitute the idea of secularism in the Indic way necessary;
- In the International Arena, there have been few privileged political parties, whose leaders have changed the rubric of international politics in general, like the Republican-Democrat duo in the US, the Labour-Conservative duo (more of Conservative, I must admit) in the UK, the Christian Democratic Union in Germany (we have von der Leyen in the European Commission as the most prolific example), the United Russia-Pre-Communist Party duo in Russian Federation and the BJP-INC duo from India, where the Nehru family, Mr Vajpayee and even other stalwarts have represented India at the international sphere. Ironically, to add in the Indian case, both Dr Jaishankar and Mr Hardeep Singh Puri, who were ambassadors and diplomats under the UPA regime, are now ministers in the Modi Government. Therefore, taking the Indian fora for a while, we must understand that while China is gaining economically, it is sure to lose ethical legitimacy among the West and certainly certain pro-West countries such as in the ASEAN and Australasia, if Africa does not resort to resistance against the Chinese Government due to their own reason. India, while taking a middle and okayish stance, had signalled to WHO and other leaders of the global fora that we must be cautious of how the WHO is playing its part in the global crises. Additionally, India is earning credibility for its lockdown strategy and its HCQ supply to 20–30 countries, which will obviously endorse the BJP to expand their options and visions;
As I remember, Mr Fareed Zakaria told India Today in his interview at WEF Davos in early 2020 that Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party is yet to affirm a wider canvas of vision for a New India, in both the arenas, Foreign Policy and Public Development. Despite the national and international media’s biased and pro-negative rhetoric on the Indian Government, there is no growth or birth of a new era of identity politics and the vote-bank capitalization politics, to be precise. One of the most important aspects of identity politics is its micro-divisibility. The more identities are revealed and segregated, multi-party politics would obviously get some boosts. However, it would certainly defy the Ambedkar vision because, in a parliamentary democracy, it is very important that stability is assured. India — needs stability, and does not endorse violence anymore.
Economic issues and their measurements are integral to the national order — but India’s case is a bit fortunate and reasonable.
In these hard times, while India still has not become competitive enough to rise in the economic diaspora, as it was clearly visible in India’s last-minute exit from the RCEP, the current Central Government has got a miraculous chance to purify and recreate a status quo that India is dying and vying to earn, which is embracing a more open liberal marketeering and a more open democracy. In the democratic dimensions, estimates by NGOs and think-tanks, in general, are based on criteria which are equitable and permissible in Western democracies and West-like democracies to some extent, because the egalitarian notions of the West are different to those of the East and those parameters, therefore, can cut out their outcomes reasonably. In the Indian case, if we just do not quote the word ‘liberalism’, India’s liberal values are never lost.
I propose that Indian Liberalism is a cultural rejuvenation earned by the Indic culture, where we may not adopt the Church-State disambiguation complex of the Westerns to reform what Secularism should be, we have instead secularised our normal life. Thanks to the Indian Culture as our sociological and multi-lithic model embraces cultural pluralism, which is not exact as what a secular society would imagine of in Europe or the US, but it is coherent, uniting and beautiful.
In the economic dimensions, India can explore strong alternatives to the People’s Republic of China in order to create a more honest, democratic and flexible set of global supply chains, by fixing its costs, internalizing more productive operations by State-State competitive federalism and State-Center cooperative federalism. The suggestions may seem obvious, but perhaps this is the best time when India can empower itself anyways.
So Why Can the BJP be equitable to the Christian Democratic Union in Germany?
The CDU, to be honest, is a completely different political party in comparison to those in India. However, the CDU’s political benefits and featurettes maybe can be applied in India as a cross-developmental model for political parties in India. Here are certain reasons why:
- The CDU endorses coalition politics by normalizing and internalizing three political attributions, which it did since the end of Nazi Germany and the division of the German State after the Second World War, i.e., Liberalism, Socialism and Conservatism. The BJP, fortunately, has those attributes too. Since its novel formation, leaders have encouraged three interesting ideas which seem similar to the Indian National Congress, but yet cross-over efficiently, which are — Gandhian Socialism (by values and not as an ideological dogma), Neoliberal Economics and Cultural Pluralism, a newer and nuanced way of looking at Indian Secularism. This is a reason why Jyotiraditya Scindia, Arif Mohammad Khan and even Congress leader Dr Tharoor embrace some of Modi’s ideas. The BJP — being economically strong, and vast has a canvas to extend its reach and can try to normalize itself. Thus, maybe after COVID19 ends and things get back to a new normal, there is a lot of room for Modi to think about the party in those lines;
- Anyone could also say that why should the BJP not be compared to the Alternative for Germany, a far-right party. I have a simple answer: they do not much clearly. Funnily, I believe that AfD is nothing but the German version of Nigel Farage’s two failed political parties in the UK, the UKIP and the Brexit Party. Also — taking the last point discussed, the BJP has a far-right section, which is neither at the top, nor at the middle, but on the ground, where they may or may not affiliate themselves directly to the party at the national canvas, but are still fringe groups. However, fringe groups, regardless of their political likes and hates, do the micro-management or micro-democratization of the political scope of the leaders who strive for their own ideologies accordingly. So — nope;
- A National-level Political Party must be estimated by a proper hierarchical structure they assume to exercise. The BJP, like the Congress, has 3 basic sections — the Top Cadre at the National and Global Level combines, the Middle one which draws narrative and drives it forward, and the Grassroot level, where fringe groups, NGOs and other organizations have a bigger role to maintain the ideology of the whole party. Except for the middle one, which consists of State-level conglomerates of the party, which has to have the regionalist sentiment and agenda to gain electoral benefits still, and ripen, the Top and the Grassroot sections of the Party are working fabulous, and can make their presence relevant. In the case, adopting a CDU model would legitimize the BJP and enable itself to battle regional parties easily;
Times are yet to reveal how India would see its fate. But it is quite certain that a CDU Model can be beneficial for a New India.