UNSTOPPABLE BJP

The results of the 1995 elections in Andhra, Karnataka, Bihar, Orissa, Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra were, if anything, even more remarkable. In Andhra,the main fight being between TDP and the Congress the BJP got squeezed to just 3 seats. But in Karnataka, BJP won 40 seats, pushing the Congress to the third position. In Goa, for the first time the BJP won 4 seats in a house of 60. In Orissa, BJP trebled its modest strength from 3 to 10. In Bihar, BJP pushed Congress to the third position and emerged as the official opposition. In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena and the BJP have formed a fine coalition government. And in Gujarat the BJP has won a two-thirds majority. It is trends like these that have convinced even the detractors of BJP that the party is now "unstoppable".

Conventional wisdom is that the BJP won 89 Lok Sabha seats in 1989 as a result of seat adjustments with JD and 119 seats in 1991 as a result of the Ayodhya issue. The fact is that these were only contributory factors. The BJP's historic performance in the recent assembly elections, when there was no seat adjustment with other parties and when the Ayodhya issue stood frozen, is confirmation of the fact that basically the BJP is forging ahead because of its excellent organisation, superb leadership and patriotic people's policies.

When, in 1991, the Congress formed the Government on its own, even though it did not have a majority of its own, the BJP acted very responsibly and helped it have a speaker of its choice, content with deputy speakership of the Lok Sabha. Having been all along opposed to a licence-permit-quota Raj it welcomed the policy of liberalization in principle. At long last New Delhi recognised Israel and South Africa, something the BJP had urged for long. BJP also took a far-sighted view of reservations - conceding the same to OBCs on the basis of an economic criterion, which translated itself in the Supreme Court judgement into the "creamy layer".

BJP state governments enunciated a new education policy; they made copying in exams a congnisable offence; they decentralized the administration; their Antyodaya took care of the poorest of the land; they waived the loans of poor farmers; and they made war on criminal elements and put them in jail.