New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is calling a meeting of chief ministers and senior ministers from states controlled by it, seeking to improve their functioning and refurbish the party’s image.
The ministers will meet next month to share notes on good governance, said former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who heads the party’s so-called good governance cell.
The BJP is the country’s second largest political party and heads the National Democratic Alliance of parties opposed to the United Progressive Alliance, led by the Congress, which runs the Union government. The good governance cell was recently revived as part of a range of reforms the BJP has been ushering in since losing last year’s general election—its second consecutive defeat in the five-yearly polls.
The BJP rules Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka on its own. It is part of the ruling alliance in Bihar, Punjab and Jharkhand.
The cell used to be headed by Vijay Kapoor, a former lieutenant governor of Delhi, but became dormant after his spat with then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti.
Parrikar said its revival will help BJP state governments learn from each other. “It is certainly not a move to deliberate on Centre-state relations but all things that influence good governance would be discussed, which also includes better conduct.”
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the June meeting will also help BJP state governments take a coordinated stand on issues to be raised with the Centre. “On issues like GST (goods and services tax) and others, there is a need to fine-tune our stand so that none of our states are singled out.” GST may take effect from 1 April 2011 across India.
Jyotirmaya Sharma, professor of political science at Hyderabad University, said the BJP, which has been racked by internal squabbles, needs to improve intra-party governance before expecting its state governments to perform better.
“The idea of good governance could turn out to be an oxymoron if you try and inculcate good conduct in government without having a proper and strong centre for the organization,” he said.