The BJP faced a drubbing, as the results of recently held state assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram were out on Tuesday. Early trends and results till late evening were against what the party’s strategy was and clearly favoured the Congress or the TRS.
The only shimmer of hope, till evening, was Madhya Pradesh where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was neck-and-neck with its arch rival Congress party. Otherwise, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh caused a rude shock to all hopes and months of poll campaigning under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Mizoram and Telangana were other bad news for the party just like it was an embarrassing news for the Congress party which was expecting a clean sweep everywhere.
Long being projected and perceived as the semi-final of the 2019 Parliamentary polls, the State assembly polls emerged as a setback for the BJP, a comeback for the Congress party and a big boost for Rahul Gandhi, the much lampooned Congress chief.
BJP — The Development Oriented Party With Little Luck
Despite having launched so many mega projects to facilitate governance and service delivery through digitisation and innovative technologies, the BJP perhaps failed to take it to the voters at the grassroots. It failed to showcase how much unprecedented work has been done to save common man’s future in the months to come and the country’s image internationally.
The BJP was in power in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In all the three states, the BJP has literally lost to the Congress.
What Made Modi’s BJP Lose in Polls?
The BJP was in power for the last 15 years in MP and Chhattisgarh. The Congress could not make a clean sweep in either. But it has won enough seats to form governments in both states. Anti-incumbency, fuel prices, farmer distress and upper caste resentment against the BJP’s decision to circumvent changes made by the Supreme Court to the SC/ST Act seem to have damaged the BJP.
One cannot forget that the Congress has resorted to all kinds of populism like pledging loan waivers to win this round. The BJP has been resisting all populist measures to save the States finances.
The BJP will be better off by reworking its strategy and compete with Congress on populism to win.
Has Narendra Modi’s BJP Drawn a blank?
Only a novice may say so. It needs to be viewed as defeat of State leadership and party units. Politics is always full of surprises with the old saying being there are no?, ‘permanent enemies’ in politics.
But it would be almost foolhardy to declare it is the end of the BJP or Narendra Modi’s charisma.
After all not all is lost for the party. The BJP, despite the results being not on its desired lines, has put up a strong fight and won seats and vote-share almost equal to the Congress.
Undoubtedly, it doesn’t take away any credit from the Congress. It has every reason to celebrate and a cause of concern for the BJP which has to do a lot of rethink.
Of course, no national party can ignore local factors that matter the most to any voter, be it any elections. The rethinking will have to be done on a large scale and that too very fast. The Lok Sabha or, the parliamentary elections may happen any time after the end of first quarter of 2019.
What BJP Needs to Rethink About?
Perhaps, the latest results are a strong message for the BJP, which has millions of members in the party. It’s time to rethink poll strategies for the BJP. what it should be exactly?
The brooding is required on various fronts, especially over the party’s basic strategies to win voters’ heart and confidence on development plank or the Hindutva or perhaps realising the significance of highlighting and reminding voters about numerous development projects in local languages instead of chaste Hindi.
Also important for the BJP is resurrecting its old development loving party’s image. The old plan of uniting Hindus, BJP’s core supporters, and taking along the Muslims existing in every State can be achieved only with action based on steps taken towards establishing secularism. It’s also the perfect time to realise significance of being media-friendly that may help the party, full of so many bigwigs and star-power.