The recent results of the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by polls were a big jolt for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party. It was a danger they didn’t see coming, especially at a time when the BJP was swinging its saffron magic across the consecutive assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
It’s surprising how such an unprecedented debacle came by in the hometown of the Hindutva cadre, that too when the party already won the assembly elections in the state with a clear mandate. Like a bolt from the blue, the by-elections in the Hindi heartland has left the BJP juggernaut clueless ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Even though the by-poll results do not point towards a pronounced trend but they can definitely gravitate towards a possible disaster for which steps need to be taken.
Most analysts had presumed SP-BSP fielding of a single candidate from Phulpur but they completely missed out on the game snatcher of Yogi’s Gorakhpur constituency.
Looking at Yogi Adityanath’s upswing trajectory since the last assembly elections, even the critics missed this snowball.
Yogi has always remained the party’s blue eyed boy, right from launching a tirade against CM Siddaramaiah in Karnataka to gearing up the election campaign in North East.
Yogi Adityanath’s loss is unfortunate as it surfaced at a time when he was building his base for the national politics. For the Gorakhpur seat, MP Upendra Dutt Shukla was not the first choice for Yogi Adityanath but he tried his best to rope in the leader but eventually lost it to SP’s Praveen Nishad.
The poll stats shows double whammy of BSP-SP alliance and disenchantment with the ruling regime sweeping off the over 3-lakh lead in both seats. In Gorakhpur, BJP’s vote share is down 5.3% and a whopping 13.6% in Phulpur.
Some elections strategists extrapolated the trends from these by polls and predicted BJP’s downslide by 45 in the 2019 elections automatically again for the SP-BSP combo.
However, these poll stats overlook one of the crucial factors-the turnouts of voters and the Modi’s charismatic prowess to pull votes in his favor.
Also there have been reports of anti-incumbency wave from the non-Yadav-OBC and non-Jatav Dalits against Yogi Adityanath which may have played foul in the poll results.
The rainbow coalition of the larger Hindu alliance which was forged by Amit Shah during the assembly elections collapsed in Phulpur and Gorakhpur. But as the elections approach an aggressive Hindu rhetoric and Modi’s ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat’ phenomenon can do the needful to swing the electorate towards BJP.
In Bihar’s Araria, RJD won in a seat by turning a sizeable Muslim population against BJP. The JD(U) failed to transfer its minority votes to BJP. Sushil Kumar Modi on Twitter hinted at a minority mobilization against the BJP, but there is no reason to believe that won’t happen a year later. BJP’s force in the Lok Sabha has slumped from 284 in 2014 to 272 in 2018, nut the polity of this country has blended its faith as BJP has given series of shots in assembly elections.
BJP can once again boast victory in the 2019 elections provided it oils it’s guns to the right extent. How well the opposition fields itself and how far the BJP can accomplish its self goals can only determine its emphatic victory in the 2019 elections.