BJP’s forgotten truth: Perception trumps reality

BJP’s forgotten truth: Perception trumps reality

By M.D. Nalapat | 23 January, 2016
It is a wonder that Bollywood has yet to wake up to the star in its midst. The Hyderabad University ABVP student, who initiated a series of complaints which finally claimed the life of Rohith Vemula spoke about a gang of thirty students from a rival student body “assaulting” him. Only in the movies can an individual escape with so little visible damage from an attack by such a number. He further claims that the five students whom an obliging Vice-Chancellor expelled from the university also “attacked” him mercilessly. Looking at this physically unimpressive but apparent superman in our midst, it is a bit difficult to believe that both attacks — assuming they took place — were anything other than verbal. In common with other parts of India, Hyderabad too has bigots who look with unease at the way in which Dalit students have broken through scholarly and occupational barriers, and it is a fact that several from the “backward” communities resent having to compete in the job market with highly trained Dalits. Hence, to lump (economically prosperous and politically powerful) Kammas and Kapus with still disadvantaged Dalits, as apologists for the Vice-Chancellor have repeatedly done on national television, is to be frugal with the facts. It is hard to accept that the intervention of a Union Minister or repeated missives from the HRD Ministry to the university constitute anything other than an unusual interest in the campus politics of an institution autonomous only in name. Those who believe that universities in India are “independent” are ignorant of the reality of the control exercised by the MHRD and bodies such as the UGC on universities in India, a primary reason why they fare so poorly in international rankings. 
To quote an example, a university in the South two years ago entered into routine MoUs with four universities in China, each of which incidentally has already more than one partner universities from India. However, in the case of this university, the MHRD — then under the control of globalised liberals such as Shashi Tharoor — ordered through its agencies that the MoUs be scrapped. Soon afterwards, the same authorities who have made it their business to stifle the autonomy of centres of higher education in India, declined to give permission to the same university (which is among the best in Asia in global rankings) to act as the mentor university of the proposed University of Afghanistan. Surely, having an Indian rather than a US or Pakistani university as mentor would significantly boost ties between Afghanistan and India, something which apparently escaped the minds of those in government who killed this proposal through refusal to give permission. Incidentally, in most other democracies, universities have genuine autonomy, and do not need such nods from government in their routine work. Since the Narendra Modi government took charge on 26 May 2014, educational institutions across the country have been waiting for a departure from Kapil Sibal’s chokehold over universities by the MHRD and its affiliates. Twenty months after the swearing in of the new government, they are still waiting for such a change. The same Stalinist attitudes prevail, as do the same bureaucrats who were in control of the levers of decision-making then and now. Prime Minister Modi is nearing the close of his second year of governance, and this columnist still believes that before the close of this period, he will liberate his government from the Nehruvian coils of a 19th century colonial system of rules and procedures designed to kill initiative and convert citizens into chattels of the state. 
If Prime Minister Modi is facing headwinds in his efforts at crafting a 21st-century system to replace the British-Mughal era construct that has kept India in a state of poverty when other Asian powers have made rapid progress, much of the reason vests within his own party, which has been in a tearing hurry to ensure Modi does not get a second term. Had the Land Bill and the GST Bill got passed, especially in the first or second parliamentary session after the Modi sweep of the Lok Sabha polls, across the world confidence in the capacity of the NDA government to effect reforms would have shot up. Even in the case of the Land Bill, it was surely not impossible to reach out to opposition parties and get a modified version passed, while the Congress Party has several times assured the public that it would help pass the GST Bill if the three conditions set by it were accepted. For a starving man, half a loaf is better than nothing and ours is an economy which has within itself hundreds of millions of the destitute. However, the BJP adopted a stance that closes the door to such accommodation, as in its view, “no bill is better than a flawed” bill, i.e. a bill that incorporates the opposition’s suggestions. This is a wrong approach.
Even if both bills got passed with modifications, that would nevertheless have given a signal of pragmatism to the rest of the globe, and encouraged investment into India. Waiting indefinitely for Rahul Gandhi to change his mind and accept the BJP version or holding back on vital bills till the NDA secured a majority in the Rajya Sabha means that key reforms will get rolled out too late — if at all — to have an effect on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. 
Along with choosing a more effective team in the next reshuffle, Prime Minister Modi needs to pay attention to perception, for this affects voter behaviour even more than reality, especially if the real benefits of policy have yet to reach a level which would make an impact on voters. Looking at their arguments, BJP spokespersons seem to believe that they are arguing in a courtroom before a judge. Unfortunately for their party, the chemistry of the public is a tad different from that of a trained jurist, and arguments which work with the latter may fall flat with the former. Whether it be over the Hyderabad incident or elsewhere, the BJP seems to be disconnected from the voter in the fashioning of explanations meant to blunt criticism of its moves. The loss of the “independent” vote explains the BJP’s serial defeats in the year just past.

There are 17 Comments

Have you watched the fighting happened between two groups of students from Madras Law College 5 years back. ? Then you will agree that a person can survive even if 30 people assaulted an Individual. In Madras, they beat with iron rodes and logs. You can still watch in You tube. So it is possible. Congress says in Public they will support GST Bill but they are not allowing the Parliament to function at the same time, this is what is actually happening. Secondly, they start discussing about 3 conditions very recently, I believe after the conclusion of the recent session.

Madhav Nalapat has made a valid point regarding BJP's long standing perception problem. However in my view the Congress will not move an inch for a deal on GST etc till Swamy withdraws the NH case. How much leverage has anybody got on Swamy? The guy is a fiercely independent minded. Will BJP ask the RSS's top leadership to plead with Swamy to back off in the "national interest"? The BJP has already given a quiet burial to the black money issue, perhaps in the interest of striking a deal. Swamy should be given a powerful post in the cabinet, ignoring the Congress's Trojan horses in the BJP. So far Modi has been more talk than substance.

Hats off to whvoeer wrote this up and posted it.

It's better journalists & sundry intellectuals, consult Criminal-investigation experts & forensic medico experts before flauntimg their opinions. Motive of the Lynch mob was to inject mortal fear in the victim to sign apology & delete his facebook post. For this victim's body was not to be disabled. These ASA goons did claim apology, then recoiled into shell, with due (deliberate) consent of Media. Assault stood proved. Appendicitis, which got aggravated due to thrashing was remedied by Hospital. Yes, the perception & truth are at diametrically opposite variance because "journalists" & "self-anointed INTELLECTUALS" sermonise on issues, they've zero competence to understand: Now, will you apologise for this silly Opinion! WILL YOU PUBLISH APOLOGY, HERE AS WELL AS ON "newsX". You don't have the guts to acknowledge the truth.

I for one firmly believe that PM has woefully failed in collecting proper talent in implementing his agenda and his excessive reliance on bureaucrats is contrary to all empirical evaluations. He may have already lost or at best has a very small window to pull up his shocks and get going. Firstly he must immediately identify and collect independent talent, may be thru NITI AYOG our specific task forces to design , monitor and evaluate new and strategic policies over the heads of IAS lobby. Secondly, ineffective and wrong ministerial choices have to be gotten rid off or sidelined to bring and install go getters. If BJP or RSS do not have inhouse talent so be it and outside professionals like Rajan, Arvind subramanyam, etc have be made available. Ministries like health, education, law, police reforms etc are as important if not more than Finance, petroleum, industries etc. Smriti Irani's and JP Nadda's must go immediately. May be Jaitely should go too. I still believe in Narendra Modi but strongly feel his talent management and consequently the kind of advise he is getting, is seriously impaired and needs correction without loosing a day. Some of the Modi government choices are awe ful even to a layman. Choices like Nihlani, Chauhan have emanated from dubious quarters and doubtful competencies. They and their mentors must be removed forthwith.

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Ha. Good ones, Dino and Sekret. Don't know why but this story has been playing on my mind. Richard snouds like an utter twat, and I felt for the poor journalist. Just shows how careful you have to be not to offend people online. I agree with you, w: even an offhand comment sticks to a person's reputation. I is no longer disposable, like fish n chips butcher paper. Sometimes people get it wrong, but others don't know that. They accept a person's reputation based on another's online remarks. Anyway, Richard is a dick, but so what? Most people are, at some points or times in their lives. I accept though, that he should have let Edward's comment pass. Take it on the chin.Is it right for such a little incident' to garner the publicity it has? We live in a world of sharks. Every little mistake becomes a feeding frenzy. Unfortunately, I tend to act rashly at times. I'm not tactful by nature. I have offended many online, I'm sure, unintentionally, or sometimes in a moment of spite or rage. You can delete comments, but you cannot delete the harm they cause.JG :) [url=]umjtfkr[/url] [link=]oluvxsthjgs[/link]

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