BJP Has Shown Its Strength
In the just-concluded election, the BJP not only consolidated its gains in all the states, but also showed a spectacular grit and strength—it defeated the so-called ‘undefeatable’ factor of anti-incumbency in Punjab and also in Uttarakhand (the efforts to form government are still on at the time of writing these lines), snatched Goa from Congress and ensured BSP defeat, pushing Congress to irrelevance in UP. Our main aim is to see Congress’s divisive, corrupt and anti-national policies are defeated and rejected by the people and BJP’s acceptance is increased amongst the hitherto hesitant groups. We successfully achieved these aims under the well-crafted strategies of party president Nitin Gadkari, in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa, where Catholic Christians voted us in large numbers and seven of BJP’s victorious candidates are in fact from this minority community. BJP and its ally SAD campaigned on the issues of development and economic progress of the common people, while Congress played filthy communal card in Punjab, by trying to rope in a Dera on Panthic grounds, and also in Goa instigating Christians. But people supported our development plank rejecting communal agenda.
It’s a clear message to Congress, which was rejected with contempt. The arrogance, anti-development policies topped with corruption of the super rich leaders of the Congress were appropriately replied by the common voters. Congress played every card it had—the divisive issue of the Muslim reservations, caste appeal, ‘jiyarats’ (pilgrimage) to Azamgarh extremists’ homes, show of dramatic anger from the dioceses, threat of imposing President’s rule and getting into direct conflict with Election Commission—challenging in a Sholay language—you can hang me but I will continue speaking for Muslim reservations—and that was the Law Minister of the land. But every trick fell flat. People won and Congress secured the fourth place, simply because there was no fifth one!
Of course, the BJP has not done well in UP, but we put our best foot forward. Our meetings were well attended, the leadership showed an exemplary solidarity, and senior leaders like Shri Kalraj Mishra and Sadhvi Uma Bharati fought elections and won. The seats we got are definitely not up to the expected number, and we shall do a thorough analysis to prepare ourselves for the necessary corrections and improvements. Certainly weaknesses due to various challenges need to be addressed. But I must tell you about one important factor in UP, people saw in Samajwadi Party a viable and strong alternative of BSP. Hence, there was a certain polarisation in favour of the winnable party. We congratulate Shri Mulayam Singh and specially Shri Akhilesh Yadav for their victory and I must say, Akhilesh’s rise as a cultured, humble and soft-spoken man next door has won many a heart and he may prove to be a better leader than his stalwart father.
Some argue that the absence of Narendra Modi had a positive or negative impact in UP elections. Even Mr Advani was not seen actively participated in this election, in compare to last elections. But then Shri Narendra Modi is a highly respected icon for the millions in India cutting across party lines. However, genuinely Sadbhavna Yatras in his state kept him too busy and in spite of the party central leadership’s requests he couldn’t find time. We all missed his magical presence , but his good wishes were always with us. And Advaniji definitely found time and toured extensively.
KALYAN SINGH EFFECT
Now that the votes have been counted and it’s time probably to take stock, someone in the BJP offices, unfazed by the disappointment over the poor show in UP assembly polls, it is hoped is, still labouring over the numbers. One of the foremost things which should strike BJP is the Kalyan effect which has damaged BJP chances seriously in Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Etah, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad and Badaun districts.
On its own Kalyan Singh’s Jan Kranti Party (Rashtrawadi) might have just five runners up places in the tally to show up. Kalyan’s son Rajveer has lost Debai to Shri Bhagwan Sharma of Samajwadi Party by a mere 3000 votes. Premlata Devi lost Atrauli, Kalyan’s hometown, to VireshwarYadav of Samajwadi Party by 9000 votes and Mukesh Rajput lost Bhojpur constituency in Farrukhabad District to Jamaluddin Qureshi of SP once again by 17,000 votes. But these figures in isolation make an incomplete reading of the picture. What is important is that the 3,500 votes in Debai, 22,000 votes in Atrauli and 28,000 votes in Bhojpur which BJP candidates polled there would have helped these candidates sail through the posts. The story was repeated in Amritpur constituency of Farrukhabad District, where Dr JitendraYadav lost to Narendra Singh Yadav of SP by 18,000 votes. Here too the winning margin was less than the 29,000 votes polled by Sushil Kumar Shakya of BJP.
Debai, Atrauli, Bhojpur and Amritpur aren’t the only seats where Kalyan Singh’s Jan Kranti Party and BJP’s votes put together add up to beat the winner. The story is repeated in Anupshahar, Bulandshahar, Kasganj, Amanpur, Kaimganj, and Farrukhabad assembly constituencies. Major Suneel Dutt Dwivedi, BJP candidate from Farrukhabad who lost to independent Vijay Singh by a mere 147 votes will certainly be ruing the 9,405 votes polled by Mohan Agarwal of JKP. So would Virendra Singh Sirohi, BJP candidate from Bulandshahar who lost to Mohd Aleem Khan of BSP by 7000 votes. JKP’s Sanjeev Rama got more than 20000 votes in this constituency.
The division of votes brought in by Kalyan Singh isn’t a one way loss for BJP. It affects Kalyan more than the BJP, for out of the 10 seats where BJP’s votes added to those of Kalyan’s JKP are more than that of the winning candidate, in 7 seats it is Kalyan Singh’s candidates who fared better than BJP candidates.
Elections, however, as they say, are not merely about numbers adding up. They are also about the chemistry brought about by alignment of forces. In Kalyan’s case, with an ideologically similar electorate, coming together with BJP would have certainly given an impetus, more than a lazy psephologist’s academic exercise in addition begged for. In constituencies like Marhara (40,000 plus and a runner-up position), Barauli (30,000 plus), Chharra (20,000 plus), Aliganj (25,000 plus,) Bilsi (17,000 plus), Badaun (11,000 plus), Agra Rural (10,000 plus), Mainpuri (15,000 plus) and Jalesar (13,000 plus), where the numbers even after adding to the BJP’s do not add up to be consequential, the proverbial chemistry could have still affected the outcome. A case in point is Chhibramau constituency in Kasganj district. SP, BSP and BJP candidates polled between 60,000 and 70,000 votes. Kalyan’s 5000 plus votes could had the potential of changing the electoral dynamics.
Among the other constituencies where JKP polled 3,000 to 5,000 plus votes are Kannauj and Tirwa both Kannauj District, Hasanpur (Jyotiba Phule Nagar), and Bhogaon in Mainpuri District and Jasrana in Firozabad.
By Vikas Saraswat
Our core constituency is the ideologically Hindutva-inspired common worker who has been deeply influenced and rejuvenated by the dynamic leadership of Shri Nitin Gadkari, who, for the first time after a gap of decades introduced workers’ training in party’s ideological contours, institutionalised the training programme, gave every worker a responsibility to work for the party, warned the undisciplined elements, put more emphasis on good governance roping in thinkers like Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, Nirmala Sitharaman, encouraged works on Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya under the leadership of octogenarian scholar Bal Apte, strengthened various cells to work for the North-East, investors, cow protection, Information Technology, bio-technology, etc, which were renovated and got digitally connected all offices up to district levels and he keeps a constant watch on the BJP-led or coalition governments, often guiding Chief Ministers and their cabinet. He has a meticulous system of working through brilliant analysts who keep him abreast of the latest happenings.
This time, I must admit people voted beyond the boundaries of caste and parochialism. They wanted to get rid of a thoroughly corrupt BSP governance in UP and as SP emerged as the major vehicle of change, they voted for it. The emergence of the regional parties is now a fact we have to live with and at the same time national parties will have to rethink, reframe their policies and programmes to address regional aspirations and demands, so that they may not become totally irrelevant in provinces. Personally I think it’s better to have national parties with a pan-Indian outlook stronger in the states.
It is true that national parties like the BJP and the Congress failed to repose their faith among masses. We will have to address this question in a different way. In major states like Bihar, Gujarat, MP, Karnataka, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, the people’s aspirations and dreams have been shared and their trust won by us, so wherever national parties are able to make local people believe that they can deliver, people opt more for the national parties than the regional ones. Congress too has major presence in Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Andhra, Assam and Delhi. So regional parties are stronger where the national parties’ organisational structure is not strong enough so as to respond to the new regional expectations.
Coming to Uttarakhand, bringing back BC Khanduri three months before the election was a correct decision. What we have achieved in Uttarakhand is nothing short of a miracle and all party workers’ solidarity, combined efforts, works done in the last five years topped with an exemplary leadership under Khanduri got us to a level none had imagined. We really did well in Uttarakhand and if some unfortunate factors had not contributed in the loss of two, three seats, we would have enjoyed the absolute majority.
In Punjab, the BJP may have reduced its number to 12 from 19. But the important point is that we have won and returned to rule the state. Seats reduction or increase in vote percentage is important but in Indian system of electoral politics, often a party with more vote percentage ends up winning fewer seats too. But we must definitely look into the fact as to why we lost some precious seats in Punjab and take corrective measures.
By Tarun Vijay
(The writer is MP, Rajya Sabha)