Does the BJP truly have the disposition to give Dr. Swamy due consideration when he warns that re-election will become increasingly more difficult if the BJP only focuses on economic development?
Sound public policy recommendations always come with critical riders; riders which should not be overlooked or discarded, especially if the public policy in question seeks to achieve revolutionary consequences. Only individuals with a balanced, broad, and perceptive mindset tend to appreciate the seriousness and gravity of riders. As senior BJP leader and world-renowned economist Dr. Subramanian Swamy (Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha) has pointed out on numerous occasions – when it comes to matters pertaining to macroeconomics, one must showcase a thorough understanding of its fundamental substratum that the general equilibrium system is. So the question is, does the BJP truly have the disposition to give him due consideration?
Amongst many, two of the most staggering examples in recent past where the BJP (read ‘the Finance Ministry’) accepted Dr. Swamy’s policy recommendations but overlooked his riders came during the infamous Demonetization of Nov 08, 2016.
Example one: Being the head of BJP’s Strategic Action Committee in 2013-14, it was Dr. Swamy’s team who had proposed the idea of Demonetization. But he had two important riders which the government overlooked – increase the circulation of INR 100 notes by six times and abolish individual income tax at least for a year. The government did neither.
Dr. Swamy has had to wait for years for others to acquire belated wisdom in order for them to comprehend his preaching.
Example two: When the government was under intense pressure due to poor implementation of Demonetization, Dr. Swamy had recommended allowing for a balanced yet punitive one-time compliance window – Let individuals declare and deposit 100% of their unaccounted old currency. The government must take 25% of it as a tax penalty, 50% should be locked in a 5-year bond at 2% interest rate, and the remaining 25% should be allowed to be withdrawn. Instead, the Finance Ministry chose to impose a 50% tax penalty, 25% of the amount in a 4-year lock-in period, and 25% withdrawal limit. The result? Enough has been said about the poor execution of Demonetization.
Time and again, the current government, to its own peril, have cherry-picked Dr. Swamy’s ideas instead of implementing them in totality. From his cautions to the BJP on office-bearing bureaucrats sympathetic to the Indian National Congress, to his ideas on how to boost the morale of right-wing cadre, Dr. Swamy has had to wait for years for others to acquire belated wisdom in order for them to comprehend his preaching. Dr. Swamy stood vindicated for his stance against former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan after the recent Nirav Modi led PNB Bank – Geetanjali Jewellers scandal; when late Jayalalitha was ultimately found guilty of misappropriation of assets; when the Gandhi’s were found prima facie guilty in National Herald case; when Karti Chidambaram was finally arrested for the INX Media case; and the list goes on.
You cannot pick and choose your Krishna. You must either accept him as is or not at all.
So, the question remains – does the BJP truly have the disposition to give him due consideration when he warns that re-election will become increasingly more difficult if the BJP only focuses on economic development? Given BJPs lack of intent / failures in bringing back black money, putting influential people behind bars, finding a resolution for article 370, implementing reforms in the quota system and education curricula, paying heed to the plight of Hindus in regions where they are in a minority, etc. in the last 4 years, they will only be judged by their economic performance during their term. Since their economic performance, to say the least, is debatable on both sides, one cannot be sure if this is a favorable or a detrimental situation for them to be in. Hence, it is fair to ascertain that Dr. Swamy’s unrelenting single-handed efforts will end up being a saving grace for the BJP, especially since we can expect to witness a logical end to some of his high profile court cases in 2018. Will the BJP again just pick and choose those aspects of Dr. Swamy that suit their agenda for the 2019 general election?
More than of political and electoral, Dr. Swamy’s pursuits are of moral importance. As is evident from the last 4 years, he seems to be the only leader of the BJP who has selflessly and resolutely adhered to NDA’s election manifesto. For matters related to the economy, he regularly provides inputs to the Prime Minister, despite being unfairly kept away from important positions in the government. For matters related to corruption and crime, he has high profile cases against the tallest opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor, etc. For matters related to Hindutva, he is in the forefront in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case. For matters related to technology and innovation, he is one of the most sought-after intellectuals who frequently addresses prestigious educational institutes in the country. Only time will tell who ends up receiving the most political benefits as a result of his victories.
One of the first lessons that one draws from reading the works of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is that you cannot pick and choose your Krishna. You must either accept him as is or not at all. There is an inherent danger of falling into an abyss of delusion and blunder if you end up picking and choosing only those aspects of Krishna which serve you and make you comfortable, and discarding those which challenge you. This invaluable lesson can doubtless be applied also while electing and judging our contemporary leaders. One must either accept them in their entirety or not at all.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.