ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deflation of the BJP’s Confidence

Election results bring people back to the centre stage of political concerns.

 

Along with a clear rejection of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led governments in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Rajasthan, the results of assembly elections are a vivid expression of the growing mass discontent against anti-people policies pursued by the union government. However much the BJP spin-doctors and apologists try to argue that the electoral reverses are due to state-level factors, its implications for the national politics are evident. This is so as the issues that had bearing on the election results, such as agrarian distress, unemployment and loss of livelihoods, have their roots in the erroneous policies of the ­union government such as demonetisation, the goods and services tax (GST) and gross neglect of agriculture. While there is no denying that the continuous misrule of the BJP governments in these states has proved to be their undoing, it has been further exacerbated by these policies. Sensing this unrest and their inability to provide relief to the masses, the BJP and Sangh Parivar stepped up their stock agenda of hatred and polarisation during the campaign. Extensive campaign by Yogi Adityanath taking recourse to vile and divisive rhetoric was an important component of these intri­gues, however, it could not capture the imagination of the people who voted with a singular purpose. The BJP’s performance seems to have been woeful in large number of constituencies where ­Adityanath had held rallies. In the Alwar region in Rajasthan, where mobs of gau rakshak goons had been let loose during the last four years, the BJP has been resoundingly defeated. Even in Telangana, where Adityanath had campaigned on brazenly com­munal lines, it has faced drastic reduction in seats. Even the ­debased rhetoric employed by Narendra Modi could not find ­favour with the electorate, and that is a definite sign of growing desperation.

In their characteristic tactic of obfuscation, the Sangh Parivar and the BJP have sought to underplay these losses by harping on the close contest in MP and Rajasthan. However, it has been pointed out that in terms of vote share, elections in MP were as closely contested as earlier elections and considering the gap between the Congress and the BJP in Rajasthan in previous election, the extent of the loss is significant for the BJP. For all such facile non-explanations, including the mystified notion of anti-incumbency, the fact remains that the Congress has dislodged the BJP government’s 15-year rule in both MP and Chhattisgarh, and overcome huge difference in Rajasthan. The Congress government, even if with a majority of one, entails a major shift in balance of forces and creates a formidable challenge to the BJP in regions where it had won 62 of the 65 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. The BJP has also suffered major erosion in urban constituencies; in fact, its decline in urban constituencies has been more pronounced than in the rural. It is a clear sign of disquiet over unemployment and ­adverse impact of the GST on small businesses. It is believed that Modi and the BJP’s appeal in urban India is significant, but these elections have shaken this perception as well.

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Updated On : 11th Jan, 2019

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