A national executive meeting of the BJP was once a platform for problems to be thrashed out, for divergent views to be expressed, and critiques to be made. It was following a national executive meeting held in Goa after the 2002 Gujarat riots that then chief minister Narendra Modi's destiny was in a sense determined. At that meeting the prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee expected seniors to stand by him and push for the removal of the CM who had presided over a blood-bath. What happened instead is that the party rallied behind the man they saw as the Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hindu hearts) and the PM of India returned to Delhi weakened in his own party.
Narendra Modi himself pre-empted the Vajpayee move by offering to resign before the PM arrived. But the resignation was not accepted by the attendees and the RSS did the behind-the-scenes management to put forth the argument that the people must decide the future of the Gujarat CM as at that point Narendra Modi was a selected CM and not yet elected (he would months later go on to win a landslide). But as a former organization secretary of the BJP, he was skilled at using the national executive platform to make his point in the party, critiquing for instance the 2014 national campaign of the Vajpayee establishment and asking why certain things were done.
But as PM, Narendra Modi has reduced the national executive to a meaningless platform whose only relevance is to Hail the Great Leader. On November 7, the BJP's national executive met after a gap of three years instead of the three months that it is supposed to meet according to the party's own constitution. And this meeting took place the day before the fifth anniversary of demonetization, an utter disaster initiated by the Leader himself, but naturally there was no discussion. In fact, there was not even a separate economic resolution passed by the executive that used to be the norm in the pre-Modi age when policies too were debated.
There was, however, a political resolution that skipped all contentious issues including the farm laws and the year-long protests, although the PM in his speech referred to them in a round-about way when he said that the by-election result from Ellenabad in Haryana, that the BJP lost narrowly, was a sign that there was support for the farm laws. That was a positive spin on a loss. The PM apparently only likes "positivity" and does not appreciate "negativity", which the party platform described as the Opposition's "extreme hate" and "opportunism". On the positivity front praises were showered on the PM. He was felicitated for his recent outing at the climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland and the party forum said "he showed the way to the world". He also was hailed for the country crossing the mark of one billion vaccines and basically everything was great because the nation was being ruled by Narendra Modi. That was the gist of the national executive meeting in Delhi.
Quite clearly, the cult of leadership had effectively destroyed whatever remained of inner democracy in a party that is not run by one family. That the party prefers to debate life in its bubble of utter devotion to PM became even more starkly evident when it was revealed that there was no discussion on the debacle faced in some of the recent by-elections, particularly in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. The latter is ruled by the BJP and is the home state of party president J.P. Nadda. Instead, in a press briefing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would say that the party was hailed for an admirable performance in the assembly polls over the past year in Bihar, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal. It was really strange for the party to be discussing older elections and not the recent by-elections, given that they were really nowhere in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and were defeated in Bengal.
The post-truth nature of the BJP's narratives is quite blatant and frustrating for those looking for factual analysis from the ruling party. Nothing, for instance, was said about the Chinese encroachment into Indian territory either, but the PM was off course hailed for improving the image of the country in the world. Really? To those not enamored of the ideology or the Leader, it may appear outrageous that three terrible years have passed since the nation's pre-eminent party's national executive met, but there was no discussion on hunger and unemployment and the gaps in healthcare during the second wave of COVID. For what, the entire exercise was designed to state is that all is apparently well as long as Narendra Modi is in the chair and makes speeches.
The BJP's political resolution took note of the violence against them in West Bengal but nothing naturally about violence elsewhere. Missing entirely from the narrative was Tripura where there has been terrible violence against minorities. Indeed, as far as targeted acts of violence and hate speech against the country's largest minority community goes, the BJP's approach is to either ignore or deny that it happened or to punish the victims and try and criminalise and intimidate those who report these events. Note the filing of charges under UAPA - designed to fight against terrorists - against lawyers, journalists and social media users who documented, reported or spoke out against the anti-Muslim violence in Tripura now ruled by the BJP. This is all part of the determination to insist that only things that reflect well on the leadership have happened. If something is ugly and nasty, it either did not happen and those who insist it did are enemies of the nation!