Why BJP Is Failing

May 28, 2009

First Person

Why BJP Is Failing

After the BJP lost the general election in 2004 this first person
account of interaction with the BJP was published in a magazine now
defunct to explain why the BJP lost. It predicted that in its present
shape the BJP will never return to power. The article is reproduced
without any change.


After six years in office the BJP launched the costliest election
campaign in India ’s history and was badly trounced. The Congress,
which itself had dwindled into irrelevance, succeeded in becoming the
single largest party. The fractured election result did not signify a
revival of the Congress. It signified the irrelevance of all existing

The BJP itself lacks ideology, procedure and principle. It has an
attitude. It is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian. These prejudices are
its driving force. My views are derived from personal interaction with
the BJP and its erstwhile avatar, the Jan Sangh. I present, by your
leave, a first person account of that interaction, for whatever it is

I was working, in 1970, for The Statesman, and was among the country’s
best-paid journalists. My cartoons had been very critical of the
Congress and of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In those days of one-
party rule all opposition parties stood up for me. Indeed, during
those days when Indira was splitting the Congress, opposition party
leaders from all the leading parties held a function in Vithalbhai
Patel House to air support for me. On behalf of all the leaders
present, Atal Behari Vajpayee even garlanded me!

The Jan Sangh (the BJP of those days) decided to start a daily
newspaper, Motherland. I was invited to be the editor. Having my own
ideas of how to run a newspaper, and believing that in a city largely
sympathetic to the Jan Sangh I could effectively challenge Delhi ’s
premier newspaper, the Hindustan Times, I accepted the offer. I more
than halved my own salary and set the same salary ceiling for the top
five members of the editorial team. I created a salary structure in
which junior staff would have salaries equivalent to the highest
paying competitors, the Times of India and The Statesman. The Sangh
leaders watched me uneasily but said nothing.

The resident editor of the Indian Express, DR Mankekar, had just
retired. I approached him to become Editor of News. Mankekar was very
much my senior in years. He appeared to respond favourably. On this
matter I consulted KR Malkani, editor of the Jan Sangh’s journal,
Organiser. The next thing I knew, I was told by Madhav Rao Mule,
number two in the RSS that Mankekar would be the managing editor. I
was told that Hansraj Gupta had a hand in this decision.
Mule, Malkani and I held a meeting to discuss the issue. The only
known managing editor till then had been Devdas Gandhi in HT. Devdas
was the boss of the show. So I asked Mule, “What does a managing
editor do?”

Mule looked uncomfortable. Malkani replied, “Rajinderji, here we
function like a family, we work together.”

I bluntly told him: “I don’t think we can function like a family. If
we want to become number one in the city we must function like an
army. We must have a chain of command. If there is a difference of
opinion, who prevails, Mankekar or I?”

Malkani mumbled, “Mankekar.”

“Have you discussed salary with him? How much will you pay him?”

“The same that he gets.” That was around Rs 3,500 per month. I had
sacrificed a Rs 4,000 plus salary to voluntarily set for myself a
salary of Rs 2,000 per month!

I bid Motherland goodbye. I had a letter of appointment from the
Motherland Board unambiguously appointing me as number one. “Don’t
worry,” I told Malkani. “I won’t sue you for breach of trust.”

Later, Advani and Kedarnath Sahni approached me together and requested
me to return. “I thought I was entering a mandir (temple),” I told
them wryly. “But I found myself in a mandi (marketplace)!”

Sahni looked at me mournfully.”Puriji,” he said earnestly. “Believe
me, we are not a marketplace!” That was the end of the Motherland
chapter. The paper never took off. It was closed during the Emergency.
After Emergency was lifted it did not revive. I think the Sangh
leaders had learnt the hard way that they were out of their depth when
it came to daily journalism.

After my brush with Motherland I had returned to The Statesman. Just
before Emergency was imposed, I had stopped drawing cartoons for it
because its editor, NJ Nanporia, didn’t publish my cartoons critical
of Indira. Those days CR Irani had little say in editorial matters.
Nevertheless, after Emergency was imposed, a warrant for my arrest was
issued. I went underground. When arrest warrants against all
journalists were withdrawn upon the advice of Chalapathi Rau, I
surfaced to resume my unemployed existence.

After Emergency was lifted, having had close relations with all anti-
Indira forces, I found myself in the Janata Party. I was the only non-
party general secretary of the party. My appointment had to be
approved by all the constituents of the original Janata Party, which
did not include Jagjivan Ram at that stage. I was entrusted with
looking after the campaign publicity.

After the Janata Party won the election despite initial private
pessimism among most of its leaders, especially George Fernandes,
aspirants from all factions got together and conspired to throw me out
from my post. Explaining to reporters my removal from the post, Advani
and Surendra Mohan, who, along with me, were original general
secretaries, said that my appointment had been “temporary”. That was
not true. The conspiracy had been so complete that I learnt of my
removal only from the newspapers the next day! But that is another

I grew closer to Charan Singh and Raj Narain because of my previous
personal rapport with Ram Manohar Lohia. I wrote columns for Blitz
Weekly and the Illustrated Weekly of India. In Blitz I broke the story
of the RSS having given a sworn affidavit to the authorities stating
it was a political organization in order to evade a tax of Rs 1 crore.
That laid the foundation of the dual membership controversy that
provided the excuse for the party to split. Eventually, Raj Narain was
unconstitutionally expelled from the national executive for what he
allegedly said about Morarji Desai in Shimla. Years later, Shanta
Kumar of Himachal Pradesh admitted in a book he wrote that he had
falsely implicated Raj Narain at the behest of Nanaji Deshmukh.
Anyway, Raj Narain and I formulated the strategy to topple the Desai
government, which I had concluded was incorrigible. A fortnight before
the Janata government fell, I wrote in my Blitz column precisely how
and when it would fall.

In the 1979-80 election, I contested against Vajpayee and CM Stephen
from the New Delhi constituency. I was then, along with Madhu Limaye
and Narendra Singh, general secretary of the Lok Dal. It was a
foolhardy enterprise. Charan Singh had announced his intention to
apply the Mandal formula in government service. All the central
secretariat employees who were voters in my constituency were at my
throat. Delhi ’s urban voters passionately hated the Chaudhry. Being
general secretary of the party and residing in New Delhi , I thought
it a matter of honour that I contest from my own turf instead of
contesting from Meerut where, with the Chaudhry’s blessings, I might
have easily won. Raj Narain allowed me to keep for use in my own
election the Rs 50,000 that I had collected for the party. I didn’t
receive a single extra rupee from the party. During most of the
campaign I had to seek small donations from friends.

I won few votes but they were crucial.In the extremely close contest
my votes cut into the Congress tally to allow a victory for Vajpayee.
After its defeat, the Janata Party split again into Janata Party and
Bharatiya Janata Party. Meanwhile, because Charan Singh and Raj Narain
also parted company, I quit the Lok Dal, not joining any faction. It
was then that Vajpayee and Advani personally approached me to join the
BJP. Advani said: “Let us forget the past. Let there be no
reservations on either side.” Okay, I said, and joined the BJP. I
asked for no post or status but joined as an ordinary member. It was a
foolish decision. As John F Kennedy once said: “If someone deceives
you once, it is his fault. If he deceives you twice, it is your
fault.” The BJP leaders had already deceived me twice.

In the BJP I quickly became Vajpayee’s presidential speechwriter and
unofficial think-tank. At the same time I got together likeminded
Delhi leaders, Arif Baig, Mewa Ram Arya and others, to start the Jan
Ekta Manch to work among jhuggi settlements where the BJP was
particularly weak. We made quick progress. By that time Indira had
launched the bank loans scheme for the poor. The party decided to stop
the scheme’s misuse in enabling only Congress sympathizers to get bank
loans. The Jan Ekta Manch had become strong enough to overshadow the
party in organizing demonstrations and getting hundreds, sometimes
thousands, to court arrest. Vajpayee was delighted. The Delhi leaders
were uneasy although the Jan Ekta Manch was located in the premises of
the party office and no non-BJP member was made an office-bearer of
the Manch.

While Delhi leaders became uneasy at one level, the national leaders
became uneasy at another. To give substance to the BJP’s empty slogan
of ushering in Gandhian Socialism, I tried giving it content by
creating the Workers’ Sector concept. Inspired by Gandhi’s concept of
trusteeship I prepared an approach paper outlining the Workers’ Sector
concept in which workers would become owners, share in the profits and
participate in the management of those companies where public
financial institutions held a majority share. The body to propagate
this concept was named Ekatrit Kamgar Tabdili Andolan, EKTA. I lobbied
hard and created the Ekta committee with Vajpayee, Chandra Shekhar,
George Fernandes, Karpoori Thakur, Madhu Dandavate, Devraj Urs, Advani
and Bhai Mahavir as members while I was convener. For the formal
approval of the approach paper and its release to the Press, I got all
the leaders to Vajpayee’s house. The next day the Indian Express
carried a banner headline with a photograph of all the leaders
flanking Vajpayee. This created shock waves among the BJP leaders,
minus Vajpayee.

It seemed that opposition unity was being recreated in a new guise.
Advani quickly swung into action and derailed the specific
significance of the move by summoning the same leaders for routine
consideration of electoral reforms and other humdrum subjects. The
Workers’ Sector concept died a quiet death.


After Indira’s assassination, when the nation stood on the threshold
of a general election, I had realised that I didn’t fit in with the
BJP. I told Vajpayee he was losing his own election because the RSS
was backing Scindia in Gwalior and the Congress in the rest of the
country. I wrote my resignation letter and requested him to release it
only after the poll. Vajpayee read the letter and threw it aside. He
said emotionally, “Rajinderji, if we quit we’ll quit together! Just
wait till after the poll. Things will change!” He stuck out his hand
for me to shake. We shook hands and my resignation was spiked. This is
the unedited text of the letter I had written then:

December 10, 1984
Dear Atal Ji,

After our meeting last evening I have had an opportunity to reflect on
my position and role in the party.I realise how busy you must be at
this time while electioneering is in full swing. Therefore I shall
start with the operative part of the letter which you may read now,
followed by an explanation which you may read at leisure.

I hereby resign from the National Executive, the Delhi Pradesh
Executive, and the primary membership of the Bharatiya Janata Party
effective from today. However, I would not like my resignation to be
made public till the election is over on December 27th, and shall be
grateful if the party does likewise, in order that nothing is said or
done which may aid the Congress (I) in the poll.

There are several reasons which had led me to resign. First, I
disagree with the strategy of the party. Secondly, I deplore the
party’s style of functioning. Thirdly, I question the basic integrity
of some leaders of the party who put personal advantage above the
party’s interest, and have come to acquire collectively the character
and outlook of a caucus. And lastly, there is the personal factor
which emerged in our conversation yesterday.

First, the strategy. For more than two years the debate has continued
whether the party should go it alone, merge with other parties to
create a national alternative, or seek cooperation through seat
adjustments with other parties. My own views on this fundamental
question have been clear and consistent throughout this period, and
were expressed vigorously and repeatedly during discussions in the
National Executive. I had always maintained that seat adjustments for
any ambitious and growing party could never be made into a declared
policy unless the party intended to merge with its partners
ultimately. Therefore, as far as I was concerned, the third option
never existed, and if persisted with, was sure to cause confusion and
demoralisation with the party ranks and stunt its organisational
growth. The continued effort for seat adjustments was a pathetic half-
measure which betrayed the party’s lack of confidence and commitment.

The final straw fell in the most recent meeting of the National
Executive on November 14th, after Mrs Gandhi’s death, and after the
elections had been announced. You may recall that I again argued
strongly that the death of Mrs Gandhi had brought about a fundamental
change in the situation, which made the earlier resolution in favour
of seat adjustments outlined in the Pune session irrelevant. I
advocated that after the party’s frustrating experience during the
past two years, it was time now for the party to go it alone. I urged
that the party should put up 400 candidates, come to terms with Telugu
Desam and DMK, and boldly put forward its claim of being able to form
the next government. To achieve this, I advocated a crash effort of
roping in strong independents and assimilating entire groups where

My rationale was simple. During Mrs Gandhi’s time the party’s
requirement was mainly to consolidate a negative Congress (I) vote
through seat adjustments with other parties. But after Mrs Gandhi’s
death the overwhelming feeling in the country was one of vacuum with
no credible Congress (I) leader at the helm. I pointed out that above
all the people sought a credible Prime Minister, and every single
opinion poll in the country during the past year had put your name as
a desired Prime Minister second only to Mrs Gandhi’s, much above every
other name, including that of Rajiv Gandhi. That was our main asset.

The other asset was that the BJP enjoyed the reputation of a
disciplined party unlikely to break up after the poll. Therefore we
required at least 400 candidates to be able to put up the claim with
some conviction that we would be in a position to make you Prime
Minister. The voters are going to vote for a prospective government,
not for pious platitudes, which are all that a party putting up 225
candidates can offer.Our chance lay in creating a wave, and we failed
to seize a historic opportunity due to the total lack of confidence in
the leadership, I ended my remarks in the National Executive with the
words: “If we persist with the futile bid for seat adjustments even at
this hour, we will invite political suicide.”

A vast majority of those who spoke in the National Executive agreed
with my views. Despite that the contrary policy was adopted because it
seemed that those who mattered had already made up their minds. What
happens now in the elections is irrelevant. The entire atmosphere in
the crucial fortnight preceding the nominations was muddied by the
arid attempt for seat adjustments, which totally blurred the BJP’s
identity and the image of its leader. Ultimately, we are contesting
225 seats, more than 30 short of a simple majority, still confused in
most constituencies about whether we have adjusted with other parties
or not. With what conviction can we ask the voter to vote out the
government when we cannot even provide him with an alternative
government? We will not be in a position to do that because in the
last analysis we were neither large-hearted enough to assimilate other
parties, nor bold-hearted enough to go it alone. Victims of half-
measures and confusion, we fell between two stools. Which brings me to
our style of functioning.

The party’s style of functioning suggests a caucus, not a collective
democratic leadership. The two fundamental principles of a healthy
organisation are lacking: we neither believe in clear demarcation of
responsibility, nor in accountability of performance. As a result,
there is no meritocracy prevalent in the party, sapping initiative
among the workers. I had repeatedly demanded in the meetings of then
National Executive in Jaipur, Patna and elsewhere that we must have
clear demarcation of responsibility among the office-bearers, as well
as accountability, instead of behaving like a joint family in which
some are favoured regardless of performance and others are treated
like poor relatives. We have fifteen office-bearers of the party’s
central secretariat. It is a mystery what each of them is supposed to
look after. One office-bearer alone was supposed to look after Punjab,
Himachal, Jammu, and Delhi, collect funds for the party, as well as
look after the secretariat of the National Democratic Alliance while
it lasted. How could one person discharge all these duties
effectively? How often could this office-bearer visit the areas under
his care during the past one year? I prepared a note suggesting how
the central secretariat could be streamlined to function effectively.
I put the note up twice, to you and the General Secretary of the
party, Mr LK Advani, for circulation among members of the National
Executive. It was never circulated. It seemed that the National
Executive was a mere showpiece, with little relevance to real policy-
making, which was decided elsewhere. Let me further illustrate this

In the Bhubaneswar session of the National Executive it was resolved
that the party would favour a Workers’ Sector of industry in which
workers would obtain participation in ownership, profits and
management of industry. This became a resolution of the party. It was
also resolved that the party would set up an Ekta Labour Cell which
would cater to the needs of the weaker sections and unorganised labour
on behalf of the party. You thought it fit to appoint me all-India
convener of the Ekta Labour Cell.

However, in practice both resolutions were ignored. After the Bombay
Textile workers’ strike when the Government took over certain sick
mills, we did not press for handing over the mills to the control of
the workers themselves in light of the party’s declared policy
resolution.Instead we supported the Government’s decision to hand over
the mills to the public sector Textile Corporation of India that was
already mismanaging a hundred textile mills running at a loss. The
Ekta Labour Cell was also not allowed to operate because the Delhi
Pradesh leadership sabotaged the plan and the central leadership
acquiesced. Of what value, then, are decisions taken by the National
Executive of the party?

Which brings me to the third point. This regards the lack of integrity
of the BJP leadership. When individuals are appointed to an office
they are expected to discharge their duties for the benefit of the
entire organisation, not concern themselves with personal advantage
alone. But in the BJP it so happens that the organisation continues to
suffer while individual office bearers responsible for poor
performance continue to thrive. For instance, the very individuals who
sabotaged the Ekta Labour Cell were the ones who did not hesitate to
seek the help of the Jan Ekta Manch, a similar organisation privately
set up by me and like minded colleagues of the BJP with our own
resources, for work in their own individual constituencies. If such an
organisation could do useful work in one constituency, why could it
not do useful work everywhere in the country for the whole party?

Most surprisingly, those leaders who took a hard line against seat
adjustments in the Delhi Metropolitan poll, promptly somersaulted and
sacrificed two parliamentary seats in Delhi in order to better their
own chances in the parliamentary seats they were contesting. Now the
East Delhi District workers of the party are in a quandary, thoroughly
demoralised. If the leaders of the party betray such a selfish
attitude, how can workers have any morale? Is this the kind of
leadership which can hope to create a national alternative that will
usher in a new society in India/ Our assertions ring hollow when
matched against our actions.

Finally, there is the personal factor which emerged during our
conversation yesterday. You will now deny, I trust, that I never
shirked any responsibility given to me during the past four years when
I worked for the party. I never approached you for any office. I never
approached you for a parliamentary ticket. You broached the subject of
a parliamentary ticket with me yourself. I indicated the possible
choices. Eventually you could not give me a ticket. I neither
complained, nor referred to the subject with anyone in the party. You
yourself obviously felt embarrassed yesterday during the meeting which
you had sought, and urged me to work harder during the campaign. I do
not know how you got the impression that I was not doing what I was
asked to do to the best of my ability. When the subject of ticket
distribution arose, I did remark that surrendering two seats in Delhi
appeared irrational and against the party interest. It was at this
stage that you remarked, as you had earlier done in different
contexts, that some people in the party had “reservations” about me
and therefore I could not be given a ticket. How could those
reservations be dispelled, I asked. You advised that time alone could
improve matters.

I regret to say that I find this position unacceptable. Honestly, I do
not mind not being given a ticket, which I never asked for in the
first place. But I cannot countenance being refused a ticket for the
reasons that you stated, particularly since you did not seem to
question that my merit as a candidate in certain constituencies was
not in doubt. I have committed no indiscipline in the party, and
helped the party in every way to the best of my ability. I cannot help
it if certain people have “reservations” about me and you are
compelled to act by their advice. When you, and other senior
colleagues in the party ask me to help in party work, which is not
infrequent you will admit, are you not then inhibited by

When I was invited to join the party by Mr LK Advani four years ago,
he expressed the hope that there would be no reservations on either
side. Let him reflect on my performance during the past four years and
judge whether there were any reservations on my side. Let him also
indicate whether I ever set any preconditions for joining the party or
working for it, or whether I made a single personal demand for office
or position in the party. I did advocate the creation of a labour cell
in the party catering to unorganised labour, but I never sought to be
its convener. That decision was yours. Despite this I continue to hear
from time to time that certain people have “reservations” about me.
This is a matter about which I can do nothing. It is obvious that a
section of the party (which has never been named till now, and which
has obviously no connections with the RSS lest there be any
misunderstanding, because I have never had problems with either RSS or
BMS, rather cooperation and encouragement) finds itself incompatible
with me.

Personally I have no rancour against any individual in the party and
hope to continue enjoying the best of relations with all members of
the party. However, you will appreciate that I am left with no choice
but to resign from the party, in the light of growing dissatisfaction
with the party’s functioning, as well as of the “reservations’ about
me that are entertained by unnamed colleagues in the party.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely
Rajinder Puri


The election results were as bad as they could be. True, the vote
percentage declined by just about 2.5 per cent, but the BJP won only
two Lok Sabha seats.

As I had warned Vajpayee, Scindia, with solid RSS support, defeated
him. Despite the crushing defeat, nothing changed in the party’s
Advani had described the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of the Akalis as a
“charter of national disintegration”. Despite that, Rajiv Gandhi
described the BJP as an “anti-national party” because it had not
distanced itself sufficiently from Prakash Singh Badal. The national
executive of the party resolved to have no talks on Punjab with the PM
unless he apologised for that remark. A few days after the resolution,
Rajiv invited Advani, then secretary-general of the party, for a
discussion on Punjab and Advani met him.

I issued a press statement criticising Advani for breaking party
discipline by ignoring the national executive resolution. Vajpayee
wrote to me saying I should not have gone to the press. I said I would
not do that as long as Advani did not flout national executive

A short while later Advani flouted another national executive
resolution. Ram Jethmalani had argued all day persuading the party to
have no truck with the Shiv Sena in Mumbai. But almost immediately
after that the Mumbai unit of the BJP, blessed by Advani, teamed up
with the Shiv Sena to contest the Mayor’s election.

I again went to the press and criticised the party for flouting
discipline. Thereupon, Vajpayee wrote a letter asking me to resign
from the national executive for breaching discipline. I replied by
resigning from the primary membership of the party. Ironically, later
Jethmalani had no compunction in seeking Shiv Sena support for
becoming an MP! Vajpayee’s letter and my reply are reproduced without
editing. The correspondence is self-explanatory:

Atal Behari Vajpayee
Bharatiya Janata Party
May 12, 1985

Dear Shri Puri Ji,

I am sorry to see in this morning’s Statesman a statement of yours
criticising the Bombay BJP.

During the last two months this is the third time you have chosen the
forum of the press to voice criticism of the party.On March 31, you
wrote to me a letter taking exception to the meeting on Punjab, which
I, along with Advani Ji, had with the Prime Minister. You certainly
had a right to hold that opinion, but as I pointed out to you
immediately thereafter, it was improper on part of a member of the
National Executive to release such a letter to the press. You had
assured me in your letter dated April 2 that you will in the future
“take extra care’ about your utterances.

I am sorry to note that you have failed to act up to your utterances.
Two days back you have publicly criticised Shri Advani for his meeting
with the Prime Minister, And today there is this statement accusing
the Bombay BJP of indiscipline.

Obviously, you are unable to abide by the discipline imposed by
membership of the National Executive. I feel constrained, therefore,
to ask you to resign from the Executive.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,
Atal Behari Vajpayee

I sent my reply to Vajpayee the next day:

May 13, 1995

Dear Shri Vajpayee Ji,

Thank you for your letter of May 12th.

I must say that I was surprised by your request that I resign from the
National Executive for my “inability to abide by the discipline
imposed by its membership”.

You deem me undisciplined for informing the press that the General
Secretary of the party. Shri Lal Krishna Advani, and the Bombay unit
of the party, were undisciplined for brazenly violating the
resolutions of the National Executive. You consider me undisciplined
for exposing the indiscipline of others, but have no word of reprimand
for those who oppose your own formal policy statements as well as
resolutions of the National Executive. Discipline, let me remind you,
enjoins a code of conduct on all members of the party, including its
President and General Secretary.

If I was impelled to take matters to the press it was due to my
repeated failure in obtaining redressal for the acts of indiscipline
by the General Secretary pointed out by me to you privately. After my
letter of April 2nd, you conceded that the General Secretary was wrong
in not briefing the press after his meeting with the Prime Minister in
order to allay misunderstanding about the party’s attitude on the
Punjab issue. In my letter of April 2nd I had urged you to ensure that
the party secretariat does not bungle in future and thereby project a
false and distorted image of the party’s stand to the public. Orally,
you had assured me that such a mistake would not be repeated.
Subsequently, you made a formal policy statement in your own name
declaring that the BJP would not participate in parleys with either
the Government or the Akalis for achieving a solution in Punjab. Yet,
twice after that, Shri Advani, in contemptuous disregard of your
statement, conferred with the Prime Minister along with other
opposition leaders in defiance of your declared policy.

Later, the Bombay unit of the party supported the Shiv Sena candidate
for Mayor in total defiance of the central party. Privately you may
deplore this fact, but what good is private anguish? The party’s image
and credibility are totally tarnished by the wide divergence between
its precept and practice, and by your pathetic inability to impose
your will.

Upon receiving your letter my instinct was to refuse to resign and
demand a full discussion on the matter in the National Executive. But
on reflection I have decided otherwise. As per the party constitution
all the members of the National Executive are nominated by you. You
alone, as President, are elected by the National Council. The National
Executive therefore is the reflection of the President’s will. As you
know, we do not vote in the National Executive.We decide by consensus.
But when even resolutions arrived at after consensus are violated and
ignored at will by a handful of senior members of the party, it is
clear that it is not even consensus which rules the party. The party
is being ruled by a caucus, and you have become its creature. This is
not a new development. May I remind you that I had resigned on
December 10th 1984, when you had advised me that I was not trusted by
the section of the party to which I refer as the caucus? I had of
course decided not to make public the resignation in order not to
embarrass the party during elections, even though the election results
were a foregone conclusion to me. I withdrew the resignation upon
receiving your solemn assurance that after the elections the party’s
style of functioning would change.

Five months have passed since then, and nothing of the sort has
happened. Instead, matters have become worse, with members of the
caucus brazenly flouting policy resolutions of the party while you
remain a helpless spectator. I can understand a stray violation, but
not the kind of arbitrary conduct, involving no accountability, which
has become the party’s style of functioning. I enclose my letter of
December 10th to refresh your memory. For reasons contained in that
letter, and for the added reasons of policy mentioned above, I am left
with no choice but to resign from the primary membership of the party.

I resign with regret, and in spite of the warm personal relationship I
have with you, Shri Advani, and others in the party. However political
association should not be based only on personal relationship but also
on fundamental factors like policy and style of functioning. It is my
humble submission that you should adopt a similar approach while
charting the BJP’s future. Given the political instincts of your most
influential colleagues in the party, would it not be better for the
BJP to dissolve its identity and merge with the Congress(I)? It would
clear much confusion in the country. This is, of course, just a
suggestion for your serious consideration.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,
Rajinder Puri

Enclosure: Letter of December 10th


It may be seen from the correspondence that the BJP is neither
democratic nor disciplined. It seeks blind obedience in the name of
discipline. Upon reflection, I am inclined to think the BJP leaders
were never really against the goals I had set for the party to
achieve. They were deeply disturbed only because I did not, at each
step, take permission from some appropriate leader. With their RSS
culture, BJP leaders are unused to individual initiative. Individual
initiative frightens them.

Inevitably, in these circumstances, the question arises: Does the
party have a future? I don’t think so — unless it changes
miraculously. If I am wrong and the party in its present shape and
form does have a future, I would then be forced to conclude that India

I sent the correspondence I have reproduced to all members of the
national executive. After my resignation party functionaries
approached me to rejoin the party. “We will welcome you back with
honour,” one of them said. I declined. I continue to have good
personal relations with all of them. They are in most cases nice
people. It is just that they belong to a different planet. 



About janamejayan

A Viraat Hindu dedicated to spread the message of Paramacharya of Kanchi
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