I was just thinking the other day about the original three promises of governance made in India, i.e. Roti, Kapada aur Makaan (loved the movie by Manoj Kumar on this also) but it was more to show broken promises, than promises kept. The governance deficit in India goes back a long way, and is not something new that cropped up during the regime of UPA2 (as Chidambaram disingenuously informed recently).
I also thought about the “new” 3-promises made by the BJP (Bijli, Sadak, Paani) – something on which we saw major initiatives towards delivery, during the reign of NDA1, but unfortunately, UPA1 happened and things slowed down again. UPA2 was also lucky that a lot of the work done by NDA1, actually got delivered during the time of UPA1 (say in the area of telecom growth). W Edwards Deming, one of the greatest management gurus ever, had written with pathos on this, how the good work done by one leader (CEO of a company) only sees fruition during the tenure of the next, and systems don’t have performance indicators in place to correctly allocate credit for this (likewise in political leadership too – the results of the revolutionary ideas of Vajpayee couldn’t be seen during NDA1).
Which is when I thought of a “new strategy” that the BJP needs to follow, to differentiate itself from the Congress, and legitimately grab the governance mind-space. The BJP needs to make a public “song-and-dance” routine and then declare that all it’s governments (in all BJP/NDA-ruled states and also when they come to power in the Centre) will take an oath to deliver on what will be called the “ BJP’s Dashapratigyam”!
The BJP promises to deliver the following for “all” the people of India:
- Roti (Food)
- Kapada (Clothing)
- Makaan (Shelter)
- Bijli (Electricity)
- Sadak (Roads)
- Paani (Water)
- Mobile / Internet (Broadband)
- Suraksha (Security)
- Shiksha (Education)
- Swasthya (Health)
In any case, in different BJP-ruled states, different parts of the above list are being implemented well (like Roti in Chhattisgarh and Bijli in Gujarat). Let the BJP define metrics for each of the above measures (it’s actually very easy – “e.g. KMs of double-laned highways per capita”), set state-specific targets and start working towards achieving those targets.
Let there be a quarterly review meeting of the following people to review progress and share ideas:
- All BJP / NDA Chief Ministers
- Declared “Shadow CMs / Dy CMs” from each state where BJP/NDA is not in power (to be identified for all states)
- BJP Party President, LOP from LS & RS
- Designated BJP Vice President who will be the Co-ordinator of this programme (I nominate Manohar Parrikar)
- 10-member advisory council for this initiative consisting of – 1 industrialist, 1 farmer, 1 Civil society (Middle Class) representative, 1 retired soldier, 1 retired civil servant, 1 Industrial worker, 1 “youth member”, 1 “women’s group member”, 1 “minorities” representative, and 1 NRI/PIO
This group will discuss issues, highlight achievements, share best practices, make plans, review them, etc. The BJP needs to show that it is serious about solving the day-to-day issues facing the Indian people.
For too long India has really been behaving like what the International media has dubbed, the “Idiot Savant”, i.e. a country that will not / cannot / does not address its most obvious basic problems. This has to change to change and BJP has to realize its own importance, that it is the chosen vehicle of bringing about that change. A Congress that has a one-point agenda of serving and protecting its ruling dynasty, will always compromise on the nation’s and the people’s interests, and therefore cannot be that change agent (as long as the dynasty is in control).
BJP, are you listening? You are very important to the people of India!