What the BJP can learn from the Australian Invincibles
The 2019 General Election results on May 23 came as a surprise for many, those who were expecting an NDA victory were enraptured by the scale of it and those who didn’t see it coming are still in disbelief of what struck them on May 23 – it was a TSUNAMO.
But this colossal success of the ruling party must not be only seen as the inability of their challengers to put their message effectively across the electorate. Contrary to what meets the eye, this triumph has many fathers, from the energetic and visionary leadership to the obedient and pertinacious second-in-commands and from simple yet situation specific strategy to the near perfect execution. The formidable unit that the opposition was up against could’ve given us only one result and that’s what the world witnessed on May 23.
But how to keep this juggernaut rolling? The saffron brigade is currently at the peak of its prowess, but how to prolong the stay there, as they say, it’s easier to reach the top than to remain there for a sustained period. Here, the party currently at the helm can learn few lessons of how to prolong superiority, from the Australian cricketing side which ruled the roost for close to decade and a half.
It might appear otherwise but it’s the team that succeeds
During their glory years the Australians were led by cricketing greats first in Steve Waugh and then in Ricky Ponting, their exemplary leadership skills and keen eye for the upcoming talent were largely instrumental in Australia’s domination. But as it’s said; a captain is as good as his team, it was actually the bouquet of absolute champions the two captains had at their disposal that made Australia the world beaters.
Similarly, for the BJP, the duo of Modi-Shah is providing an able leadership but it’s the work of the regional powers like Sarbananda Sonowal in the East, Mukul Roy in Bengal, CMs of BJP ruled states who are creating the double engine effect. Politically smart local leaders and a sea of dedicated and selfless workers have built BJP into a behemoth that none in the rival camp presently, can match up to.
Don’t let the complacency creep in
Complacency is the true enemy of any champion, one thing that stood Australia apart from their opponents was their approach of becoming even more ruthless when the opposition teams used to be down and trailing in the contest. On any rare occasion when they got under the pump, any slightest opportunity to get their foot in the door meant they broke open the door and barged in to seize the opportunity.
Now, the BJP is riding high on success but amid all this rejoicing, the good processes, the methods and meticulous planning which lead to this historic performance must not be given a back seat instead they should be refined and made more potent.
This was the election where most of the party’s opponents hit their political nadir and are ever so likely to bounce back with renewed vigour and better strategy and this calls for the BJP to be even more alert and don’t let their guard down.
Now is the time to venture into unchartered territories
Aussies have always been invincible down under also they have been better performers in other countries except Indian sub-continent. Touring India had always been difficult- a tough nut to crack for the men in yellow. In 2001 when the all-conquering Waugh’s team came to Indian shores the suave captain termed it as their final frontier and the victory in the inaugural test at Mumbai only firmed that belief. But arguably the greatest test match in the cricket history, the famed 2001 Kolkata Test took the winds out of their campaign and they left the final frontier unconquered. But relentless as they are, they returned in 2004 albeit under Ponting and finally tamed the Indians in their own den.
Similarly, the BJP has long ruled the Hindi-heartland and the western part of India, their surge in the north-east India can now be seen as one that will stay. But south of Vidhya’s barring Karnataka BJP seems to be at sea. Tamil Nadu and Kerala have long been the saffron cadres’ waterloo.
2019 elections have slightly dented this norm, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala still remain a mystery, the performances in Bengal and Telangana would have certainly soothed the BJP honchos. But it’s not the time to sit on the laurels, while Bengal was indeed a silver lining but the task onwards in the land of Tagore won’t be easy. A long-term strategy with extensive outreach program to connect with the masses can better party’s prospects.
The party must now see Kerala and Tamil Nadu as a challenge, while their vote share increased in Kerala but certainly it was not enough to open their account. BJP should relinquish this theory of aligning with the local parties and play second fiddle to them, they must now take it upon itself to chart their own path and make a vote base for itself.
The responsibility lies with the incumbent to identify and groom possible successors
When Steve was in command, he made sure that when he leaves, he passes the baton to someone who is ready to captain the set of champions and thus Ponting was groomed for the top job. Again, when Ponting decided to hang his boots, he had an able reliever in Michael Clarke.
BJP has always had the privilege of having top notch leadership, a leader who those at the lower rungs look up to for inspiration and guidance. The current leadership now has this onus upon them to look for eligible and worthy successors and groom them to take the mantle forward.
Another task is to raise a set of people to take the message and ideology of the party to different corners of the country, each person one whom the local population could identify with. Several regional strong heads in addition to visionary central leadership has the capacity to fuel the party’s march to a pan-India party in true sense.
This article I’ve written in response to Shashi Tharoor’s article- “England Cricket Team’s Gyan For Congress: No Ditching The Captain” published on TheQuint.