This is an English translation of the letter senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar wrote to BJP president Amit Shah on July 11, 2015.
Under your leadership, several new programmes are being initiated to give the party organisation a new direction and dimension. It is our good fortune that the BJP has become the largest political party in the world and that you are steering the efforts to make it the strongest and most influential party as well.
As a thinker has put it, it is good to be big. But it is better to be good, because all big things are not necessarily good.
I remember very well that following the birth of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951-52, the greatest emphasis was laid on value-based politics. It was singled out for mention in our five principles (panch nishtha). In their speeches at training camps, leaders of the time accorded primacy to these values in the lives of workers and the party. Gradually we came into power. Coming into power brought about many changes. Somewhere, the compulsions of power politics started compromising on value-based politics. While we still managed to seem a party with a difference in comparison with other political parties, it is a fact that the calculations of power politics gradually attempted to rub off the sheen of the party’s identity as a political party with a difference.
In the 10 years that the Congress ruled at the Centre, the extent of debasement of values fuelled great anger and anxiety among the people. Gradually, it led to the creation of an atmosphere of total disillusionment with politics. The common man started saying that all politicians were the same, the only difference being that some indulged in relatively less corruption than the others. Exactly at that juncture, the fragrance of good governance spread in all directions – the glow of the integrity that marked the personal life of Shri Narendra Modi as well as stories of the state’s development spread all over. When the Bharatiya Janata Party decided to contest the national elections under his leadership, a ray of hope was visible across the country. The endorsement of the people was historic and unparalleled.
The formation of our government was accomplished with great fanfare. The first year was one of achievements. We had barely started celebrating our grand achievements on the completion of one year in government when a dark shadow fell upon us. From Rajasthan to Maharashtra, fingers were pointed at us. The news about the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh has made us hang our heads in shame; moreover the kind of stories that the newspapers and channels are writing or showing, is bound to disillusion all Indians. As for the BJP functionaries or workers, they are unable to look anybody in the eye.
In order to run the party organisation in a proper manner, you have created several committees at the central and state level. I would like to make a suggestion that a new committee of conduct should be formed without fail. Experienced and committed functionaries who have never compromised on their efforts to defend our values should be appointed as members of this committee. These committees should essay the role of lokpal at the centre as well as state levels. At the appropriate moment they should also have the courage to point out the mistakes of leaders occupying positions of power.
The happenings about which accusations are being levelled at us today have not occurred overnight. It seems to have started a considerable time ago and definitely would have been noticed at some point. The issue may even have been discussed among some, but in the absence of a proper mechanism no timely action could be taken. Consequently, the entire party is being made to pay the price for that inadequacy.
Today Indian politics is nothing but a politics of deceit and vested interests, preoccupied with the calculations of vote banks and realpolitik. A sense of patriotism and service in politics is rarely visible. In this scenario, our party represents the only ray of hope. If we fail, history will never forgive us.