Under the magnificent duo of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and BJP National President Amit Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party has come out with flying colours in the just concluded five state assemblies elections. Out of the five, BJP ruled in one State (Goa), in Punjab, it was an alliance partner, Uttarakhand and Manipur had Congress governments and UP was ruled by Samajwadi Party (SP). The biggest catch is UP followed by Uttarakhand. In Goa and Manipur, BJP is going to form its government in alliance with local parties. By count of the states the success may be 80 per cent yet in measure the pleasure is hundred percent.
This victory has created history, a revolution that has changed the political scenario in the country. It has stunned into silence BJP opponents who prophesied a Doomsday for the NDA government led by Modi in these elections. BJP detractors had branded the elections as a referendum on demonetisation and what Modi had done or not done during the last about 3 years of his rule. If it was, as they said, the people in these states have given a lie to the false propaganda let loose by these leaders. It only showed how cut off were they from the pulse of the people. The voter has firmly put his seal of approval for Modi’s courageous and historic step.
It is for the first time in the history of independent India that a Prime Minister and his government have maintained their rapport with the people even after about three years in office. BJP has now won almost the same number of assembly constituencies and the same percentage of votes when it recorded win in 73 Lok Sabha seats in UP in May 2014.
In 1980 Congress had won 309 seats in a 425-member undivided UP house. It fell short of three-fourth majority. BJP has smashed this 37 year old record by winning 312 out of 403 seats recording three-fourth majority. BJP alliance partner Apna Dal won 9 seats. Interestingly, the national party Congress which fought the election as an ally of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) was squeezed to just 7. In 2012, Congress had won 28 seats fighting against SP and gave the credit squarely to present Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. But this time no one in Congress is willing to give the credit for 7 seats to him despite the fact that he had all alone campaigned tirelessly and extensively alongside Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The present elections have been very harsh on the dynastic politics. Dynastic campaign by the Congress trio of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has received a severe drubbing. All the four constituencies falling in Rahul’s Amethi parliamentary constituency and the two in Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituency, where Congress contested were lost to BJP.
The worst has been the Akhilesh clan. None of his family members who contested on SP ticket were elected. His estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav did win.
Prior to the close of campaigning for the last and 7th phase of UP poll, PM campaigned in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi for three consecutive days but not as PM but its representative. As a common leader he undertook road shows to mix with his constituents caring a fig for his personal security. This paid dividends. BJP won all the eight seats, including one by its ally. The results have put a question mark on SP’s UP CM Akhilesh Yadav future. Mayawati’s re-election to the Rajya Sabha next year has been doomed.
PM Narendra Modi has emerged as the tallest leader of the country since independence. No leader in the past enjoyed that much clout in so short a time. It is the result of the way Modi has conducted himself in running the affairs of the nation and ushered in all round progress in the country touching and benefitting every section of society, particularly the poor and the neglected sections irrespective of their caste, creed, sex and region.
PM Modi has lifted the level of his performance and campaigning so high that he has made appeals by certain political parties to caste and community irrelevant. He has earned universal appreciation and support from all. He has now become the doyen of every section’s eye in society. BJP victory in constituencies overwhelmed by certain castes and communities, like Deoband, could not have been possible, had the dominant castes and communities not voted for it.
For 2014 Lok Sabha win, PM Modi had described the then BJP national president Rajnath Singh as the captain with Amit Shah as the Man of the (election) Match. This time it was the collective team of Modi and Shah that has worked the wonder of catapulting the BJP to a pan-India party ruling in almost every region of the country.
Prime Minister Modi has hailed Amit Shah as the most successful BJP chief who has turned the party as the largest political organisation in the world with a membership of about 11 crores. This was following by winning state after state in successive elections. It is during his stewardship that BJP, for the first time, extended its hold in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Assam and Manipur. The organisational part of marshalling the party machinery for realizing the objective in view and putting the strategy in operation was looked after by national general secretary organization Shri Ramlal.
In fact, PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have now come to be hailed as Jodi No. 1 by the media. Both seem to be made for each other for strengthening the party and ushering in development and good governance in the country.
The people have put breaks on the inflated ego and high aspirations of Delhi CM Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. His boast to form governments in Punjab and Goa has proved a damp squib. Party failed to open its account in Goa. It contested 39 seats and 38 of its candidates, including the chief ministerial candidate, lost their security deposit.
Rahul on road but not out
If BJP leaders or political pundits think Rahul Gandhi is out of the race, they might be proved wrong. India without Congress might look a good slogan for the BJP, but there is hardly any chance of fulfilling this dream. The disappearance of Congress from political scenario neither looks possible nor good for the interest of the nation. A viable opposition is backbone of the democracy and no other party than Congress can do it better in the existing federal system.
BJP’s victory all over is very good in one sense that this would set a new trend in crushing the regional parties. The emergence of powerful regional parties and their remaining in power for several years in states disturbs the unique feature of our national political structure. Being a large country, India has diversities of culture, customs, languages, religions and geographical structures. Therefore, the Congress could play a role of good Opposition but Third Front would prove disastrous. And BJP can fulfill its dream of making a strong united India.
Modi-led BJP has got a grand success in the recent elections. It would definitely stop the rise of regional parties in the large states such as Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, SP and BSP in Uttar Pradesh, AIDMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu, etc. In Odisha, BJD is already reducing as the Odias have shown their interest in BJP in the recently concluded local body elections. BJP’s entry in the North-East is equally important in this way. The first time BJP governments in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, getting a good share of votes in Tripura, and now the formation of government in Manipur will bring North-East States in the national stream which the Congress failed to do so.
In spite of all these facts, it is not easy to ignore Rahul Gandhi only because of he is Nehru’s grandson. Furthermore, the Congress has a glorious history of making India free from British rule. So, it does exist in some or the other corner of the hearts of the Indian people. Rahul Gandhi does not match Narendra Modi as a leader and rather being graded much below but Nehru-Gandhis in the past have got a history of bouncing back after many grand defeats. Wrong or right, Pandit Nehru, the first prime minister if independent India, still commands respect being a freedom fighter and a blue-eyed boy of Mahatma Gandhiji.
If one looks at the past, Nehru-led Congress remained in power until 1967, even after losing China war on 1962. When Indira Gandhi was thrown out of power in 1977 particularly for the proclamation of the Emergency, Janata party came in power with a thumping majority. It was thought then that Indira would never come back to power again, apparently the Congress too. But when the general elections were held in 1980, she retained power unexpectedly. The reason was people were not inclined to punish a Nehru-Gandhi clan for a longer time.
It is a fact that Rahul could not do anything good in UP and Uttarakhnad assembly elections, although he did his best and putting all of his energy. His leadership is shrinking in the party itself because his experiments — earlier to revamp Youth Congress and other parallel Congress organisations and later joining hands with Samajwadi party failed miserably. But BJP should not forget that the Congress has come back in Punjab with a thumping majority and emerged as largest party in Goa and Manipur assembly elections.
PM Modi becomes a very popular leader and his acceptability is being seen in every section of society. Modi magically focused only on Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh elections and this kept minorities in the doubt till the end over who really was in the race — weather SP or BSP. This confusion divided minority votes all over UP. It seems Modi magic will certainly continue even in the 2019 general elections after two year. A little mistake of Modi might give a chance to Rahul Gandhi to fight back, but the probability of such a scenario in upcoming days looks bleak. In Uttar Pradesh, which plays a major role in the Indian politics, Samajwadi party is going to be wipe out completely in the next general elections. Its vote-bank might be shifted to Congress because of the history of Mandal commission. If other political leaders like Nitish Kumar, Lalu Yadav, Ajit Singh and Communist leaders back the Rahul-led Congress, he may emerge as a potential danger to BJP. Because of the fading leadership of Mayawati, dalits vote deviated from BSP to others. The large chunk dalit votes today has shifted to BJP, but it won’t be easy for BJP to keep this votes intact. Dalit will keep a watch on the political journey of BJP-led UP government in the next two years.
The heavy margin victories of BJP candidates (in many thousands and even in lacs of votes) are a clear indication that some minority votes have come in favour of BJP. Now, it is for the BJP to keep them in its bag. If dalits are well taken care of in UP, that would send a message all over the country to vote BJP again in 2019 general elections and Mayawati’s political career will end.
By Dr. Vijay Khaira
In Punjab, it was reduced to a distant second with just 20 seats in a 117 house and a vote percentage of 23.7. SAD was a close third with 18 seats but with a higher percentage of votes (25.2). In alliance BJP had contested just 23 seats, winning 3 with vote percentage of 5.4. If the alliance votes are counted together, its vote percentage swells up to 30.6, about 7 per cent more than AAP.
In the electoral mathematics practiced in India 2+2 is not always 4; it could be 5 or 3 also. That is why in Goa while BJP scored a higher percentage (32.5) of votes it could win only 13 seats while Congress with just 28.4 percent got 17 seats.
This election will go down in the electoral history of India as the worst one in which the opposition debased the election campaign to the lowest level bordering on calling names and hitting below the belt. The results have given a befitting reply to the opposition by rejecting their no-holds-barred campaign. Perhaps the opposition will take the results as a lesson.
Irom Sharmila, who made headlines in the country and abroad for her relentless fast for over 16 years demanding withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), terminated her fast a few months back and decided to enter electoral politics. She waited upon Delhi CM Kejriwal who promised her every help though he fell short of adopting her as AAP candidate. She contested against Manipur CM Ibobi Singh and ended up getting just 90 votes. Perhaps anti-AFSPA activists in J&K will draw a lesson.
In Manipur, it is for the first time that BJP has been able to form its government in alliance with other partners. In the past it had no representation at all in the assembly. Earlier, BJP formed its own government in Assam. It is already in alliance with the ruling parties in Arunachal and Nagaland. Manipur has extended party’s presence in the north-east. It is expected to go a long way in ushering in an era of development, good governance and justice in the region.
The success of BJP strategy not to project a chief ministerial candidate while going to the elections had paid rich dividends in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. It proved a success in the current elections in UP and Uttarakhand too.
Modi has taken the BJP to such a great height that it now looks unstoppable. The future elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in the last quarter of the current year, in Karnataka early in 2018 and in the later half in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan quite appear to be a foregone conclusion of a big win for BJP.
It is because of this reality that one of the anchors during the ongoing debate on election results put a very cogent question to the panelists: Who is going to challenge Modi and BJP in 2019? Nobody was prepared to hazard a guess.
The results have also given a spurt to BJP’s strength and confidence. It can now have a President of its own choice in July this year when the tenure of the present incumbent Pranab Mukherjee expires.
By Amba Charan Vashishth