One of the basic principles of modern management is incentivizing good performance while punishing lethargy. The capitalist system works on this basic principle where people compete with each other to get the incentives. BJP has worked on this principle as a party and Modi government also functions on the same. The performance linked bonus and promotion to bureaucrats under ministers like Piyush Goyal is a prime example that ‘perform or perish’ is the mantra of Modi government. BJP has been a ‘party with a difference’ and it had followed the same principle unlike semi-feudal/dynastic parties like Congress, RJD, TDP or many other regional parties.
According to an analysis by The Print, BJP has dropped 55 out of 158 first time MPs. The performance of these lawmakers was below average and they were elected in 2014 due to ‘Modi wave’. Jack Welch, one of the most successful executives gave 20/70/10 rule under where bottom 10 percent are fired by end of every, 70 percent are given average hike and 20 percent are top performers.
So, effectively BJP fired 35 percent of its first time MPs. Under the leadership of PM Modi, BJP drastically improved its tally from 116 in 2009 general elections to 282 in 2014. According to The Print, a top source in the party said that majority of these MPs were first-time lawmakers elected “riding on the Modi wave but anti-incumbency, their weak grip over their seats and less than satisfactory performance” could be a problem.
Most of the dropped MPs (17) were from the Uttar Pradesh where BJP won 71 seats out of 80. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Rajasthan, and Delhi where BJP lost the assembly elections to Congress and AAP were other states where party dropped many first time MPs. In Madhya Pradesh, where the party won 27 out of 29 seats, the party dropped 8 first time MPs, five in Chhattisgarh, four in Gujarat and Rajasthan, three each from Delhi, Maharashtra and Bihar, and two from Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The party has to bear the discontent of dropped MPs many of whom joined opposition parties and some protested against the decision. But it was necessary to defeat anti-incumbency.
Replacing sub-performing MLAs/ministers was one of the reasons why the Modi-Shah duo managed to win and defeat the anti-incumbency factor in Gujarat. Previously, months before the 2019 general election, BJP had already warned all the sitting MPs and MLAs that candidature would be subjected to performance review and those who fail to make the cut would be dropped irrespective of their stature in the party.
Modi government was at the forefront of bringing corporate work ethics in the government especially the Railways under Piyush Goyal. The officials in the Railway Ministry can now be demoted or denied promotion if s/he fails to perform. Their promotions can also be denied/delayed if they do not comply with orders postings in rural areas.
The Nehruvian culture of ‘Babudom’ was prevalent in Indian politics and government for long. Therefore all the regional parties got influenced by it. Modi government was first to dismantle the Nehruvian Babudom and tried to bring accountability and transparency in the system.