Time to focus on core constituency
The results of the five Assembly elections show that the people seem to have lost faith in the BJP, as it failed to implement its election promises. The Congress has captured power in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, TRS in Telangana and MNF in Mizoram. For a party that had appeared to be lost in the political wilderness over the past few years, the Congress has plenty to cheer about following the results in the recent round of Assembly elections. In the three Hindi-speaking states, where it was locked in a direct contest with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress has performed more than creditably, raising hopes of a revival of fortunes, as the country gears up for the general elections in 2019.Two of the three states where the BJP failed were ruled by its chief ministers, who, despite having incumbency against them, were quite popular. This is manifest in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP scored only five seats less than their rivals. Yet, they could not save the states for their party. Now most political analysts feel they would play the Modi vs Rahul card in the coming general elections, although the recent losses were not due to the CMs but because of the imponderable fact that the Modi government lacked in retaining talented persons in the Cabinet. On the other hand, the Congress has every reason to feel elated, but should not become complacent as imponderable are many and success in Hindi heartland in state Assemblies is not a passport to success in Parliamentary elections. The stupendous work done in rural India needs to be continued, unmindful of the chill of the winter and warmth of summer. For, it is deed that matters and not promises. However, in these elections to the five states, neither the BJP really has not done as badly, nor the Congress has performed well, as expected. BJP won 109 seats in MP, 70 odd seats in Rajasthan, which shows that the elections verdict is really a credit, despite the incumbency factor ruling high. But it cannot be gainsaid that it is really a time to rejoice for the grand old party for recording a win in three states that went to polls and results declared recently. But it is a temporary solace for the Congress party. For, it could form governments in three states in the Hindi belt. In MP, it won with a slender margin. BJP lost to the Congress by a meagre 0.5% vote share. BJP got 109 seats, while the Congress got 114. The 15-year-old anti-incumbency and rebellion in the ticket allocations caused BJP dearly. So too in Chhattisgarh, the 15-year-old anti-incumbency played against the BJP. And in Rajasthan, it is the tradition of one time the Congress government and one time the BJP government. In spite of this, the BJP fared well.
Be that as it may, the 4.5 years of Modi government, entering the centre stage in the Hindi heartland and through brute majority entered Parliament in a big way, seemingly lost connect with the people. Some leaders, with Modi leading from the front, started imagining that they could get away with all sorts of meaningless ideas/ideologies and caring two hoots for the common man, forgetting their wants/needs. This is substantiated by the fact that attention was directed toward unscientific and irrelevant matters like SC/ST Act, ignoring Ram Mandir Temple’s re-construction, job creation, etc. For BJP it is natural to be demoralised. Yet all is not lost, as many a time one speech has turned election fortunes and brought laurels. The performance needs analysis and promises need considerable sharpening. Poverty alleviation and rural development is more paramount than urban modernisation through digital technology, which is the essence of election results. Having said this, it is worth mentioning that for the common man, Modi is the most popular and powerful leader in India today, winning elections of all varieties, one after another, after assuming office in 2014. However, for the so-called secular brigade, Rahul has emerged as the only ray of hope to fight against the evils associated with Modi. That this brigade, nurtured carefully by the Congress-led or -supported governments over 70 years, has never accepted Modi as the Prime Minister and always considered him to be an outsider is a different matter. Against this backdrop, I would like to emphasise that let Modi learn from his failings–he is still dreaming of taking shelter under the roof of the Ram Mandir, which the people have realised that such a promise is merely a cover for politicians to take refuge. So, he should materialise Ram Mandir into existence, keeping the faith of crores of Hindus in mind. Last but not least, the BJP has to seriously think about its core constituency, i.e. its own cadres, who are selflessly associated with the growth of the organisation. Many ministers in the Union government and senior leaders and party workers think themselves to be alienated from the party and they feel like they are just holding posts ornamentally, having no power for taking any decisions, and many non-entities are given importance in the organisation and the government. It is very difficult to take hard decisions to strengthen the party and inculcate faith into the cadres. Time is not out, but the way Modi-baiters are making all-out efforts to keep Modi out of power in 2019, it is high time to sense the concern of the common man, taking care of the cadres, and populist measures for 2019.
By Deepak Kumar Rath