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  • Tuesday, July, 2019| Today's Market | Current Time: 03:33:32
  • by Suresh Unnithan

     

    New Delhi: The defeat in the recent by-polls was a rude shock to the ruling BJP.  A party that came to power at the Center with an astounding mandate followed equally resounding success in a few state assembly elections is forced to bite the dust in the latest by-polls. The BJP was humbled even at its bastions like Kairana in Western Uttar Pradesh. The saffron party was trounced in Kairana by a little known rival from the minority community, fielded by a united opposition.  This seat the BJP had won in 2014 with an amazing margin of over 2.4 lakh votes.

     

    It seems, the BJP miscalculated the poll prospects of a united opposition. While the BJP was busy targeting opposition at every given opportunity and vigorously campaigning for a “Congress Mukth Bharat”, the rivals of the ruling party were silently mending ways to contain the saffron surge.  In the latest by-poll, despite employing all its might the BJP tasted the strength of a united opposition. The saffron party lost two of the four Lok Sabha and 10 out of 11 assembly seats it contested.

    The by-poll victory has infused and extra vigor into the opposition to taken on the hitherto invincible “Modi Magic.  The opposition unity is getting further firmed up to taken on the saffron juggernaut head on in the 2019 general election.

    After its pathetic rout in the just concluded by-polls that held for four Lok Sabha and 11 Assembly seats, the saffron party could manage to retain just one Lok Sabha and Assembly seat each.  In Palghra, the only LS seat BJP won, the party could manage less than half of the total votes polled to the Opposition. The three major opposition parties had fielded their candidates separately and the BJP could get through.

    In fact the ruling party has been haunted by a severe electoral drought in the by-polls since came to power at the Centre.  Under Yogi Adityanath, the party’s star campaigner next to PM Modi, the BJP lost 4 out of 5 by-elections in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh… Party lost Karana, Gorakhpur, Phulpur Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly seats in the last five by-polls. The lone exception is Sikandara Assembly seat in Kanpur Dehat area.

    The party that managed to win absolute majority on its own in the Lok Sabha in 2014 with 283 seats has been losing its strength after every by-poll and as of now the BJP strength has dwindled down to 270 and has lost its majority in Parliament.

    But the by-poll drubbing could hardly impede the ‘overconfidence’ of the saffron brigade. Highlighting the “popularity” survey of a media group (the survey said PM Modi’s popularity is over 71. %, well ahead of all other political leaders within the country) the brigade expresses confidence to grab over 300 seats in the next general election.

    It’s a paradox; the party leadership is trying to project the by-poll defeat a political advantage.   A former party president and Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh commented about the drubbing, “to take a giant leap, you will have to take two steps back. We will take a giant leap in future.”  Dr. Sambit Patra, the arrogantly aggressive spokesperson of the party feels “by-polls are contested on local issues, because the people don’t have to elect a chief minister or a prime minister.”

    Party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP G V L Narasimha Rao trivialized the ignominious electoral defeats saying “the BJP has secured unusual and extraordinary mandate in four years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. While Modi continues to swing election after election by his ever-growing popularity… in by-polls local issues, castes and candidates take precedence over national leadership.”

    During TV debates with certain “nationalist” anchors who “speak for the nation” and the BJP spokespersons try to overpower their critics saying the saffron party is ruling in 21 out of the total 29 states and the “opposition has been decimated in the country, so the by-poll victories will not affect the prospect of BJP”.

    But the fact is, BJP has Majority on its own only in 10 state assemblies out of 29.  BJP has zero seats in Sikkim, Mizoram and Tamilnadu.

    In 11 states the party is a minor partner. Out of total 4139 Assembly Seats all over the country, BJP have 1516 of which 950 are from 6 states- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP, MP, and Rajasthan.

    In fact, BJP did not expect BSP chief Mayavati to support her arch rival Malayam Singh’s SP to fight the saffron party. The alliance successfully proved its might defeating the saffron party in the two Lok Sabha by-polls held in March this year and now in Kairana  and  Noorpur, in UP.

    Instead of introspecting own electoral defeats the “over confident” party leadership seems to quickly disregard the by-poll triumph of a united opposition as “illegitimate victory of an illicit alliance”. Amit Shah said his party will work to get 50 per cent vote share in 2019 to quell the challenge from opposition parties if they unite.” In April this year Shah had ostensibly predicted that the BJP would “return to power in 2019 with an absolute majority under Narendra Modi.”

    In March the party had lost Lok Sabha by-elections held in UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home turf of Gorakhpur and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s constituency of Phulpur in Allahabad. Yogi Adityanath himself had described the Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-polls a battle of prestige for his government. The Chief Minister had also declared that the by-poll results would set the tone for the 2019 general elections.

    After the ignominious defeat in March Yogi had conceded “overconfidence led to the BJP’s defeat.” Yogi had further warned “Instead of living in overconfidence, we must accept this result (the Phulpur and Gorakhpur defeat) as a lesson for us.”  But in May this year a united opposition defeated the BJP again; in Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly seats in UP making the massage louder that all is not well for the ruling party.

    A political analyst pointed out that the BJP needed to worry more of the belligerent motor mouths within the party, the host of “over benevolent” and “extra national”  TV anchors, and  the sickeningly abusive social media soldiers.  “The high-decibel campaign of these ‘Bhakths’ creates a kind of scare among other parties and force them fight united,” he rightly observed.

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