BJP’s “Audacity of Hope”: Gadkari’s Maharashtra manifesto

An article in the April issue of Caravan Magazine drew my attention to the writings of Nitin Gadkari, the newly elected President of the BJP.  Caravan mentioned a short 90-page book titled “Politics for Development” which was written by Gadkari.   This post summarises my impressions of his book.

One of the first things that struck me (it also struck the author of the article in Caravan magazine) is that his book seems to be devoid of any criticism of opposition political parties.  In fact, he explicitly states that opposition should not be merely for the sake of opposition.  The other fact I felt was significant is his emphasis on discourse, dissent and deliberation within our democratic framework.

The other interesting factor is his argument that while elected representatives have a responsibility to work towards development, electors also have a responsibility to be pragmatic and vote for those who push a development agenda.  He states clearly that electors should not hesitate to vote for candidates of other parties than their preferred choice for the sake of ensuring development.  He signs off on this particular issue by highlighting the election of American presidents and how their governing philosophies and their agendas are scrutinised exhaustively by the public before the election.

The other portions in his book (the majority in fact) are devoted to discussions on how to reforms various sectors of Maharashtra’s government.  He lays down very simply argued ideas on sectors such as irrigation, power, fuel consumption etc.

These points seemed interesting mainly because of conventional political and journalistic wisdom proclaiming the BJP’s crisis of faith.  And to be honest, while his writings seem to be a clear departure from the majority of the views expressed by the BJP, so far his contribution to the party’s progress is hard to judge.

Though I consider myself ambiguous in terms of political affiliation to political parties (no doubt many of the urban educated electorate do), I found his book illuminating if only for getting an insight into a politician’s stated thought process.  It would no doubt be interesting to understand how political leaders in other parties view their roles in politics and governance.  I hope over time that we will be able to hold our representatives accountable not only on the basis of their party agenda, but also their individual opinions and governing ideologies.  That at least, is what Gadkari seems to want the electorate to do!!

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