11th April 2018
The case for Swarna Bharat Party as India’s national liberal party
I took life membership of Sharad Joshi’s Swatantra Bharat Party in January 2004 and became member of its National Executive.
But around 18 months later, in mid-2005, I resigned after I found significant organisational issues with the party. Sharad Joshi, an excellent liberal and leader, was not internet savvy and therefore unable to effectively communicate about the party. There seemed to be no obvious process to audit accounts and I was unable to get any understanding about how the party actually worked.
I still have the record of the hundreds of emails I exchanged with national executive members of the party (I had started a mailing group) – and how difficult it was to get any response from Sharad Joshi. Sometimes for months on end.
That’s not the kind of liberal party I had wanted to be part of, when I started this project in February 1998.
But there was another thing as well. Sharad Joshi gave us his manifesto to accept “as is”. There was no opportunity to review and improve it. Unfortunately, while Swatantra Bharat Party’s manifesto (drafted by Sharad Joshi) was very good, it failed to detail the governance reforms that are essential to good governance.
Sharad Joshi was an excellent thinker but did not have Lee Kuan Yew’s intuitive understanding of governance.
I kept in touch with Sharad Joshi – whom I greatly admired – over the years, and in 2014 when I was launching the Sone Ki Chidiya movement (as a preparatory process for launching a liberal political party), I obtained from him the copy of the 2014 Swatantra Bharat Party’s manifesto.
I used many chunks from this manifesto without any change in preparing the draft reform agenda (which later became Swarna Bharat Party’s manifesto).
However, the Swatantra Bharat Party manifesto continued to be weak in many areas and required strengthening. I spent many weeks in doing so, in the process digging deep into my studies and work in this area since 1998.
The current version of Swarna Bharat Party’s manifesto is close to the best it can be (although there around 10 areas that I’ve identified for improvement in the coming months/years).
In the end, an ideological political party (as all liberal parties are) is nothing but its manifesto. Its name is irrelevant, its leadership is irrelevant. What is relevant is its manifesto, i.e. what it intends to deliver, and how it intends to do so.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m prepared to stand behind anyone who will take the SBP manifesto to the people and get it implemented.
Over the years I tried influencing Lok Satta Party, Jago Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Navbharat Party, Liberal Democratic Party and others to consider these reforms. They did not adopt these reforms.
Therefore, in July 2014, a small team of liberal leaders decided to go it alone with newly registered Swarna Bharat Party – with the manifesto as the masthead.
Swarna Bharat Party is nothing but its manifesto. The manifesto is the reason for its existence, and the manifesto is open to improvement.
There is no point even in remotely considering any sub-standard “common minimum program” document as part of any coalition. Why settle for anything but the best?
Our manifesto is the best not only in India but in the world. This manifesto is the only way to liberate India and ensure the prosperity of its people. Why should anyone settle for less?
I invite all persons associated with Swatantra Bharat Party to join Swarna Bharat Party without any hesitation – and to take on senior roles in the party immediately.
Over the past twenty years, I have finally managed to build the only party in India that issues its annual report and publishes all its audited accounts. We have to improve the party’s constitution but we are compliant with Election Commission’s requirements.
I’m satisfied that Swarna Bharat Party is the national liberal party of India in every sense that I intended when I started this project 20 years ago.
Yes, it is small, but that’s the way everything begins.
If liberals want to achieve results in their lifetime, they must unite.