2014 would be a watershed year for the BJP. Not for the RSS. Rival Congress may also escape unaffected by any outcome of 2014 elections too, as it has had a long tryst with India. If BJP wins 2014 national elections it may turn to hardcore Hindutva agenda and shower its proud parents with many gifts including a Grand Temple at Babri Mosque site. But if it loses the election then it may disintegrate before emerging into a new avatar.
India has definitely changed since 2009, but is it any different now than what it was in 2009? Though some vehemently would like us to believe that, but the facts need examination. According to the BJP, & opposition camp political parties, the UPA2 has failed to manage India completely. BJP want everyone to agree & approve their thesis that India is poor & faltering whereas Gujarat is rich and exponentially growing. Well a part of body can’t be declared healthy if the heart & brains stop functioning. The heart & brains of an economy lie with the union government in Delhi. Few strings pulled wrongly in Delhi could ruin any or all states’ economies.
BJP has to carry the load of its founding ideology, unlike Congress which has no such burden. BJP is an ideological party that exists to promote Hindutva agenda of RSS. Its core values of Hindutva simultaneously propel it forward and also obstruct its way to make an acceptable set of appeals to all sections of society in India. But the BJP hasn’t changed much over the years. BJP don’t have the freedom to micromanage & customize its core appeal at constituency level. Wise ABV knew the solution so he ruled India for a longtime by customizing the core ideology of RSS.
BJP steadfastly believe in strong leaders & leadership style. BJP behaves like a right wing masculine outfit and such behavior satisfies the emotional need of its loyal cadres. But such an appeal has limited scope only. Some believe that passing on the baton from LK Advani to N Modi is a distinct change. But actually there is not real difference between LKA & NM, except the age gap. Ask any political marketing analyst to know that majority India feels threatened by Strong leaders & would like to avoid them.
INC, on the other hand, does not carry any burden to promote one ideology over the other. Congress is free to leverage even the Hindutva agenda, if it suits a situation in some constituencies. Actually Congress uses many different appeals in various constituencies spread over length & breadth of India to enhance its prospects of grabbing power in each particular constituency. Congress under Sonia Gandhi is a different party than what it was under previous leaders. Moreover Sonia Gandhi cautiously avoids projecting Congress as a dominating & strong political force, which the INC actually is.
A political party with market orientation has greater chance of success in a democracy. Selling and product oriented parties find it difficult to adjust their ‘offer’ to the dynamic needs of the citizen voters as they have to carry the burden of ideology & fixed image. If BJP could rebrand itself like Tony Blair's rebrand of Britain's Labour Party then it can reap the benefits.