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We are secular because India is a majority Hindu nation: Bhupender Yadav-Politics News, Firstpost


Union Minister Bhupender Yadav and Economist Ila Patnaik talk about their new book which charts the evolution of the BJP, its historic victory in Uttar Pradesh and of course the party’s connection to Hindutva

Today, Bhupender Yadav is Minister of Environment, Forests, Climate Change and Labor in the Narendra Modi government. But in political circles, he is well known for his organizing skills and sharp political-electoral mind during his time as general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the role of the latter, he played an important role in transforming the BJP into a formidable electoral machine that won two consecutive Lok Sabha elections and several Assembly polls.

As Yadav proposes The rise of the BJP: the creation of the largest political party in the world, co-authored with economist Ila Patnaik, First post contact them to find out more about the book, which charts the transformation of the BJP from a party of 2 MPs to 303 today. They also talk about the party’s historic victory in Uttar Pradesh, its defeat in West Bengal and, of course, the BJP’s Hindutva politics. Excerpts from a conversation with the authors:

This question is for both of you: how did the idea of ​​writing and collaborating for this book come about?

Bhupender Yadav (BY): The idea of ​​writing is like the idea of ​​India: two perspectives come together, discuss and come to an amicable conclusion. After the 2019 elections in Lok Sabha, Ila i inspired and also persuaded me to write a book about the polls that just ended. I prepared some notes and after a few rounds of discussion we came to the conclusion that we should write a book about the BJP instead that will help the reader understand the context of the victory. I decided to write the history of BJP, while Ila i wrote the section on governance and economics. With an economist of her renown at my side, it helped me to understand the other point of view as well, which I think improved the book in terms of content.

Ila Patnaik (IP): I was quite curious about the BJP and how it worked, especially after the 2019 elections. Most observers like me expected the party to get fewer seats, but that proved us all wrong. This made me realize the need to explore and examine the party, and so we decided to broaden the horizon of the book, and include the history of the BJP on which we could not find books written by people who were inside the party and understood the party as well as Bhupender i did.

He has i just mentioned how most observers were wrong in predicting fewer seats for the BJP in 2019. How did the party manage to do what then seemed impossible?

BY: As I wrote in the book, 2014-19 was a period of expansion for the BJP. Not only did we increase our executive base, but we also grew stronger in states where we had an inconsequential presence. For example, in Maharashtra, where we were a junior alliance partner, we became the largest party; in Haryana, where we had little presence, we formed our own government; in Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, we formed BJP governments.

We analyze in the book how Amit Shah singled out 120 seats where the BJP had never won in the past; we won 51 such seats in 2019. We not only won prestigious seats like Amethi, where we had never won, but we also made significant inroads in states like West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana where we had a negligible presence. So in 2019 we limited our losses and made bigger and more recent gains. When we complimented the expansion of the party both at the cadre and state level, with the performance of the central government since 2014 and the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we were expected to exceed our performance of 2014. And we did just that in 2019.

Image courtesy of Amazon.in

Critics say that after 2019 the BJP grew the most, now it can only shrink. What is your point of view ?

BY: I think that is the language of political opponents and not of political observers. Political opponents will say such things; we shouldn’t give much credence to what they say. The BJP will do well because it is the only party that the new India can identify with – a party that is non-dynastic in nature, works for everyone, pursues democratic values ​​and has embraced a model of good governance .

We have seen the BJP perform well in the recent assembly elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh. You talk in detail in the book about how the party under Amit Shah put on an amazing show in UP in 2014, 2017 and 2019. How did the BJP achieve this feat in a complex state like Uttar Pradesh ?

BY: There are several reasons for the success of the BJP. For example, the BJP is not a people-centered party, unlike most opposition parties. In our party, there is no room or scope for the personal aspirations and ambitions of a leader. But that was not the case with the other parties that had ruled the state in the past. No wonder the issue of governance in UP has been sidetracked.

For the past five years, we have been working on a mission mode to improve law and order in the state; we provided fair representation to marginalized people; and, development again became the buzzword during the reign of Yogi Adityanath. The BJP has brought these three issues to the fore and helped the party create history in Uttar Pradesh.

He has i, BJP governments are said to be more successful in implementing social policies like Ujjwala, employment program, Jan Dhan, etc. What do you think about this ? Do you think such schemes have helped change the political discourse?

IP: I think the BJP, from its inception, has pursued the goal of reaching the poorest and raising the standard of living of the masses. The Modi dispensation, for example, has worked in a coordinated way to ensure that the poor receive the benefits due to them – we see this high priority as early as 2014. Jan Dhan accounts have been set up so that money can be directly transferred to beneficiaries, instead of 85 percent leakage. Then, programs like housing for all, clean kitchen with LPG, toilets helped to change the narrative of development and governance in the country.

There has been much criticism of the Modi government over its management of the economy? As a leading economist, how do you view this?

IP: I think any responsible government has to find a balance between growth and redistribution. In UPA-I, we saw so many social programs being implemented and when we thought that during the second term we would finally see growth-related initiatives, the government was hit with political paralysis. Since 2014, what I see is that social protection schemes are followed by a series of economic reforms such as privatization, improving productivity through various mechanisms and improving labor codes. I believe that despite the pandemic, if these reforms materialize, growth will automatically resume in the Indian economy.

What is your opinion on the GST? Do you think it was not well implemented?

IP: We have to understand that implementing the GST was a difficult task. In fact, many opponents have warned the BJP against adopting the GST scheme, saying that the government that did it could never return to power. For me, I think the GST is a work in progress.

We are secular because India is a majority Hindu nation: Bhupender Yadav-Politics News, Firstpost

Economist Ila Patnaik. PTI

bhupender i, tell us about the evolution of the BJP from a party of two MPs to one of 303 MPs. What differentiates Modi’s BJP from that of Advani and Vajpayee?

BY: The party remains the same. There is no fundamental change here in regards to its ethics and ideology. But as the party evolves, it raises a new leadership every 15 years or so. The BJP retained its core ideology while nurturing a new leadership. The party has also moved with the times, updating its technology and strengthening its cadres and party base. He has ensured that his programs remain relevant and not out of step with the masses. After all, we had to make the transition from a slogan party in the 1980s to the ruling party today.

If we look at the performance of the Modi government, we realize that he has worked hard for “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas”, and yet he is considered a right-wing majority dispensation. How do you see this? Isn’t it the failure of the party and the government to fight and win the battle of perception?

BY: Deendayal Upadhyaya i wrote in the 1960s that social stigma was gone but political untouchability remained in the country. The attempt to paint us under common colors is nothing but the political untouchability at stake. What needs to be seen is the BJP’s record. Coming to power with a clear majority, the Modi government launched the slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”. The BJP, at the same time, has been quite adamant that the party believes in the long tradition and cultural and civilizational identity of Bharat. We call it cultural nationalism and we believe in it shamelessly. It should be understood that we are secular today because of Bharat’s core civilizational ethics and values. We are a secular nation because it is a majority Hindu nation. If you don’t believe it, you can look at the fate of the countries that emerged from India; today they are nations based on religion.

The central leadership of the BJP has come under heavy criticism after the way the party left its Bengal cadres to fend for themselves after the Assembly poll results in that state. Do you think the party could have acted differently?

BY: It is wrong to say that we have left our Bengal cadres at the mercy of the TMC cretins. We have tried to remedy their plight through democratic means and processes. In fact, it was the massive failure of the Mamata Banerjee government that enabled violence of this magnitude after the results. Our Bengal unit is very active and works tirelessly against the mismanagement of TMC in the state. Although I do not make such political statements, I will tell you that in the coming years, the BJP will form its government in Bengal.

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