By welcoming change, a party can bring in fresh ideas, fresh opportunities

Bhupender Yadav writes: In the BJP, change is a natural process, while in other parties it leads to confrontation.

Elections are important in the Indian political system to test the policies of parties that have won public mandates. The mandate allows opportunities for new possibilities and newer people. Change within governments is also affected by this electoral process. This is important so that public representatives maintain communication and contact with the public.

The important question that arises is: How to find newer people and new opportunities in a party that is chosen by the public over and over again? Can parties that win elections repeatedly find a way to give opportunities to new faces? The second important question is: Can political parties based on an idea draw a line that makes politics all-inclusive, fully participative and an ideological mission?

In this context, the Bharatiya Janata Party, since its inception, has been an organisation that has tried to test new possibilities in politics. The BJP, which started with the mission to ensure the welfare of the last man in the social hierarchy, has shown ideological commitment not just in words but also in its actions.

While party representatives exhibited unprecedented steadfastness in fighting the Emergency, they also participated in the struggle for greater transparency. The BJP, which was part of a great many movements, is today in power and working relentlessly for good governance.

The BJP has proven itself as being a “party with a difference” — distinct from other parties. Its fight against family-based politics is reflected in its party structure. At a time when other parties are faced with the challenge of maintaining inner-party democracy, the BJP has succeeded in making its organisation worker-oriented and based on ideology. The BJP has kept itself free of the dynastic politics that is the hallmark of all other parties.

When we assess the functioning of other parties, the question before the BJP is how should the party move ahead as a political entity. What is the way ahead for the BJP as an organisation working in coordination with the government? How do we build capabilities among workers? Umpteen questions like these are a part of our politics today. The answers to all these questions can be found in the BJP working under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The political leadership needs to have public communication, sensitivity, understanding of the ground situation in framing and executing policies and respecting the public mandate. New and practical policies can help establish coordination between the executive and bureaucracy. To bridge the gap between the two, it is important to have a clear policy and strong leadership. The BJP has worked towards these objectives to bring positive changes. It is natural for a party that has been earning the people’s trust for a long time to go for internal changes.

Similarly, if a party wants to build capacities among its workers it needs to build upon its leadership. This is because when a new person gets a responsibility, they tend to fulfil it with greater dedication and renewed energy. At the same time, when a person returns to power after staying out of it for a long time, he tends to bring fresh energy to his tasks. This is an experiment that needs to be accepted within politics on a wider scale. Since political parties are not the property of any individual or family, this is a people-friendly experiment. To ensure new ideas find acceptance in the times to come, we must welcome such experiments.

Another question that arises from this is about the difficulties that accompany change. These difficulties arise when the foundation of the organisation is not a commitment to an ideology but to a dynasty. Workers who are dedicated to an ideology easily adjust to changes and continue fulfilling their duties. In dynastic parties, organisational changes are accompanied by internal power struggles. This is a foundational difference that needs to be understood when it comes to change.

In the BJP, change is a natural process, while in other parties it leads to instances of confrontation. It is for this reason that analysts make mistakes while understanding changes within the BJP.

The BJP accepts changes based on new needs, new ideas, the requirement to give new people opportunities and to move ahead with greater energy while discharging duties both at the organisational and at the governmental levels. This is part of BJP’s positive work agenda, which is accepted by all party workers wholeheartedly.

This column first appeared in the print edition on September 21, 2021 under the title ‘A party of change’. The writer is Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change & Labour and Employment

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