BJP’S DEBACLE IN ITS BASTION: HOW WILL MODI REACT?

  • JAVAID MALIK
  • Publish Date: Dec 17 2018 1:59AM
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  • Updated Date: Dec 17 2018 1:59AM
BJP’S DEBACLE IN ITS BASTION: HOW WILL MODI REACT?File Photo

Five states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram - have thrown a surprise. BharatiyaJanata Party has not been able to win assembly election even in one state. It’s a big setback for the saffron party, which had claimed that it would emerge victorious in most of these states.  

Soon after the results were announced Union Finance Minister ArunJaitley said that the results of the assembly elections where the BJP lost three major states were unlikely to have a bearing on the 2019 LokSabha polls which would be fought on “Central government’s performance.”

In a way he blamed the poor performance of the BJP governments in the three states for party’s debacle. Congress wrested power from BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Together the three states account for 65 LokSabha constituencies. 

After the 2014 parliamentary elections, Congress had won only Punjab and Puducherry assembly elections. In Karnataka, it came second to BJP but managed to form the government through a post poll alliance with JD-S by giving up its claim for the Chief Minister’s seat. 

An analyst while talking to Kashmir Ink said that Jaitley has tried to play down the drubbing his party has suffered in these elections. “Otherwise Jaitley knows it very well that BJP has lost the semifinal ahead of the parliamentary polls which are slated for next year,” he added. 

Resurgence of Congress in Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is an indication that Modi wave has vanished and the BJP would have to look for some “other wave” to win the 2019 parliamentary polls. 

National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah while reacting to  the BJP’s loss said, “Using the name of “Bhagwan Ram” for winning elections has led to BJP’s collapse. “People have rejected Mandir-Masjid politics and upheld secular politics in the country. For four years they didn’t remember that they had to build a temple but in election time they have suddenly remembered Bhagwan Ram.”

Somewhat similar views were expressed by the former Chief Minister and President of Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti. She was of the opinion that the results in five states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram are outright rejection of Mandir-Masjid politics and shows that political awakening among the people in India is on rise. 

It’s in place to mention here that politics over building Ram temple in Ayodha has gained momentum during the past few months and the BJP leaders have been screaming at the top of their voice that they are going to build Ram temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has changed the names of the prominent cities in his state. “It’s unfortunate that gawrakshaks (cow vigilantes) are calling shots in UP and people, including police officers, are being lynched in broad daylight,” said a politician.            

Many people believe that environment across the country has been polarized to the hilt. And the forthcoming parliamentary polls would be fought on the religious lines.  

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the vice-president of National Conference Omar Abdullah however gave the credit of Congress’ resurgence to the AICC president Rahul Gandhi and patted his back. “Congratulations to the Congress & especially to its leader @RahulGandhi for the great success in these elections. He took the blame & the brickbats for all the setbacks & now deserves the credit for these victories. It was nice to have something to celebrate on a counting day. And for my friends in the BJP - you can’t blame @RahulGandhi for losing elections & not apply the same yardstick to Modiji. If those were Rahul’s losses then these 3 heartland state losses belong to the Prime Minister & his policies,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Senior Congress leader and former union minister Prof SaifuddinSoz congratulated Rahul Gandhi for the spectacular performance of the party in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. “The RSS-BJP combine was punished by common people for hate mongering and communalization in the country. All this augurs well for general elections in 2019. It won’t be any surprise for the people of India that Modi will not be the Prime Minister again,” Soz said.

It’s for the first time since 2014 that political opponents of BJP have got something to celebrate. These opponents believe that the verdict of people in the elections in five states is ‘good news’ for entire country including the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well.  They are trying to project BJP as a “communal party” which has got a “divisive agenda.” BJP in 2014 parliamentary polls had raked up many controversial issues like building Ram temple in Ayodha, waging a full-fledged war against Pakistan, scrapping Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir but after winning the elections BJP could not make headway towards fulfilling the promises it had made during its election campaign. The BJP leaders have been claiming that the “surgical strikes” carried out by the Indian Army in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) in 2016 “broke the back” of militants. But Pakistan has been rubbishing the claim of the BJP government that “surgical strikes” ever happened. Ram Mandir has not been built till date. The fate of Article 370, which provides special privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, is hanging in balance as the Supreme Court is all set to hear the petitions challenging the Article 35A. If this Article is scrapped it would shake the very foundations of the Article 370.

Political observers are of the opinion that results of assembly elections not going in favour of the BJP could lead to saffron party taking “big decisions” in coming days. There is a possibility about Army launching a major counter offensive against Pakistan or laying the foundation of the Ram temple or even raising the pitch to get the Article 370 scrapped.

CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami expressed happiness over BJP losing assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. He said, “The verdict given by the people in the elections signals the coming events and direction of the country’s politics. Now, it seems that people of India will make a better choice in the coming general elections, a new government which is inclusive and not divisive and it will provide a big relief for the sufferings of peasants, unemployed youth and toiling sections of the population.”