Building the party is the most important step in making the party an effective instrument of using power in the Indian democratic setup. With the changing landscape in Indian politics leaves many to wonder what would Kanshi Ram Saheb have done in the present context.
A strong party structure is an important step towards not only getting power but holding the power. Power is exercised through the party in power, an individual cannot exercise power. They can only do so during the elections, but the individual powers must be added together in the party so that the party represents the common will of the people.
The BSP was founded with a will to create “Bahujan Samaj”. Every political party has to take an ideological position and it has its interest groups. It is not necessary that the party must be in power to reflect the interests of its interest group. The interest can be reflected in the parliament and also in the opposition of the policies that are opposed to the interest of a particular group. The conclusion is this: in power or not-in-power, a strong political party of a certain interest group can keep interests bold and marked. So the interest and the goal of the BSP is “Bahujan Samaj” and this Samaj is in majority though divided into thousands of castes and hence devoid of the power to self-govern itself.
While the upper castes in India are the fragment in comparison with the Bahujan Samaj but are better organized and hence it has the power to rule over the rest of the majority Samaj.
Kanshi Ram Saheb had a vision of changing the political power structure in India.
Borrowing an analogy from his mentor, Babasaheb Ambedkar, he often demonstrated it using the pen as to how the vertical pen of the caste system should be leveled and made horizontal. This simple analogy of transforming Indian society from vertically arranged society to equal and horizontal society is the basic vision and hence the overall strategy of the BSP: the party that came into being after thousands of people sacrificed their time, talent, and resources.
The Bahujan Samaj Party is the outcome of the people’s movement and it must be driven people’s interests who have sacrificed so much to bring it where it is today.
Kanshi Ram Saheb always had an all India vision. He wanted to concentrate on smaller states first to gain resources for larger national battle, but success in UP had other stories to offer.
Even the bigger states can be politically changed and perhaps that was the greatest demonstration of the strength of the mobilization of the fractions among the Bahujan Samaj. Winning UP is the means and not the end of the BSP. But the BSP seems to be only focused on UP and this is not healthy for the BSP itself and the people’s movement.
Mayavati is putting some efforts to save whatever she can, but she must realize that she alone, and her cronies, have no strength to create an all-India political party. The Ambedkarite movement has become strong everywhere and it will continue to become stronger.
Modi would not visit Deekshabhoomi on 14th April for fun and inspiration. The opponents know that the era of Ambedkarite movement has arrived and they would like to co-opt it. Without this co-option, they will not survive. The natural political beneficiary of this awakening will be BSP, if, and this is a big if, it really widens its attention and net to capture national power. If we have some hindrances in one area, it is wise to widen the catchment area. The catchment area of the BSP is much bigger than the UP.
The BSP must change its approach if it is to realise the dream of Babasaheb Ambedkar. What would Kanshi Ram Saheb do?
- He will be mindful of holding UP political base, but he won’t restructure drastically and will be wary of giving major control to the Brahmins. The way Mayavati has elected two city Presidents of Kanpur and Lucknow eying on city elections. Kanshi Ram Saheb will not disband “Bhaichara Committee”, the way it is done now in UP. There is no basis to alienate people, but rather more dialogues should be created with people of all backgrounds.
- He will make ideology lead the party and not otherwise. This means he will make the party an instrument of spreading and enforcing ideology. He will not let tinkering or dilution of ideology. He will be firm on the evolutionary trajectory of the party from Dalit Soshit to Bahujan and from Bahujan to Indians.
- He will create strong regional bases in many states and even get representatives elected from these states. He will create a real “national party” that he indeed created. The BSP was the third largest party in India at one time.
- He will launch the Cultural Revolution by embracing the Buddhism en masse. His plan could not come into being due to his death.
- He will create a strong social movement that will cut across caste lines without blunting the ideological edge against Brahmanism.
- If he sees that it is not possible with the current structure and current people, he will open up a new front to accommodate youths and diverse castes.
BSP needs to learn fast from what Kanshi Ram Saheb would have done and implement those ideas to tackle the present political situation.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist