How BJP may have to rely less on Modi to get votes
BJP (under Modi) is perhaps one of the very few large Indian political parties which wants to consider fielding the right candidates as a factor in elections, apart from winnability. It decides which of these two factors to give priority to, based on the situation.
BJP wants to choose the right candidates (i.e., candidates who are likely to be very competent and also committed to the party ideology) because it really has some ideologies, and genuinely wants to give good governance. It is able to select at least some right candidates because, at least in some states and some constituencies it has proved that by doing this, it has been able to win the elections mainly on the strength of the image of Modi and the party.
Winnability is often based on personal popularity (not necessarily based on perceived competence as a lawmaker, or social worker, and commitment to part ideology). For example, professional politicians who have a popular base for themselves locally but are often dons otherwise with loads of money (mostly in unaccounted cash) to win elections, celebrities, local businesspersons, and even underworld operators, would often be perceived as winnable.
Most of the other political parties won’t be willing to select the right candidates even if they were assured of success in elections, because their primary goal is lust for power and making the maximum possible money and not good governance. Good governance is often a small afterthought because, without at least a perception of it, the electorate won’t vote for them.
They have no use for candidates who can only give good governance because they are likely to be a nuisance to the parties and their leadership; they could turn against them any day due to the divergence of goals.
This is not to say that there is no corruption in BJP; far from it. Politics is such that it’s practically impossible to run a political party without big money, and the only way political parties can run the parties and earn big money to fight elections is by being corrupt. Unless, of course, there is a political reform addressing this issue, about which I have written an article previously.
Now and then, BJP has been experimenting with putting up a few new and better candidates instead of those who had successfully contested the previous time, in states and at the Centre, esp when the candidates were perceived to be facing anti-incumbency, not having performed well in their previous tenure. The change of candidates has worked for BJP many times mainly on account of the popularity of Modi, but it has also lost out times, to its own rebel candidates to who it had denied tickets.
Though other parties have also denied tickets to their previous candidates sometimes, the replacement candidates were almost always either more winnable candidates or those who paid the maximum amount of money to the party’s high command, almost never based on who would make good candidates.
I think based on its fairly high success rates while selecting the right candidates, BJP should now choose more and more of the right candidates. This will obviate the need for changing the candidates and CMs once or multiple times every election, which is a double-edged sword. There is no guarantee that the electorate will keep giving Modi the benefit of doubt and keep electing whoever it puts up, after having burnt its fingers with one or more wrong candidates who may have initially been perceived as winnable and won, but did nothing for the electorate during their previous tenure.
I’m not suggesting that the winnability of the candidates need not be considered; it can be, but the quality of the candidates with competence and commitment may be given increasing weightage over time.
This way, over time, BJP may have to rely less on Modi to get votes. This will fetch more votes and seats for BJP in the states and the Centre, and ensure the longevity of BJP governments in the states and the Centre.
This will pave the way for more clean and quality governance in India, at least over time.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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