STATE ELECTIONS AND THE B J P : Shantonu Sen
Maharastra and Haryana go to the polls in the middle of October this year Thereafter either late this year or early next year Delhi will go to the polls. This will happen irrespective of the BJP forming a government in Delhi. No minority government will survive very long. BJP and the Lt Governor will possibly join hands to put BJP in the saddle and if they do, one cannot be yet very sure that they will, the BJP will be unsaddled before very long.
Three States are therefore due for fresh faces, hope fully. The Congress has received a drubbing in the General Elections 2014. So the general refrain is that its not a winner in the State elections that are in the offing . But the spanner in these calculation is the result of the by- polls that have since taken place. The BJP juggernaut has been jolted in a few states and has been halted in the others. In Uttarakhand and Bihar the BJP was halted and in Madhya Pradesh it was jolted. In the recent state polls BJP was wiped out in Rajasthan and UP and badly shaken in Gujerat. The saffron toe hold in Bashirhat , Bengal or its inroad in Assam are talking points only. ABVP victory in Delhi University is again negated as a substantial B J P gain following its total wash out in the JNU elections. The results did, however, still argued that the Congress alone or with partners did not have much muscle to defeat , with or without partners the BJP.
But BJP has been thwarted . As if all this was not bad enough the 25 year old relationship between Shiv Sena and the BJP in Maharastra first hit a road block over seat sharing and has now collapsed. Their twenty two days prolonged parleys took a heavy toll and the collapse has taken a heavier a toll for the BJP as far as the elections in Maharastra. That Congress- NCP combine was also in trouble and has also come apart but that they would not have come to power is no help to the BJP. They had , after all, 15 years of anti-incumbency to battle. But now they may, even after they have split , get many more seats than they could have hoped after the General Elections . In Haryana a cake walk victory for BJP was never a prospect and now it will be uncertain . In Delhi both AAP and Congress will emerge stronger whenever the election take place. AAP may even just pull it off. It will not surprise analysts if they do.
BJP has itself to blame for the state of uncertainty it is faced with.. The people of India as large as 33% of the voters banked on Narendra Modi in May 2014 and today possibly 50% of India still bank on the same Narendra Modi for a better life. But BJP rank and file , specially their vocal leaders are unimpressed with the Modi factor if their advocacy of the common civil code, Article 370. Ram Janambhoomi etc is any indication . Sooner they rid themselves of this belief it would help BJP to see the reality behind the BJP victory . It was the Modi factor . Not only has the party to focus on the Modi plank but also project leaders in all the three States who are in ways more than one Modi clones. Instead, as in UP choice of leaders is flawed. Aditya Yogi Nath is different to Modi as cheese is from chalk . Its Narendra Modi who has whipped up a desire among the people , the voters in the States to seek a presidential candidate as their Chief Minister. They now want strong leaders and in the BJP he must be Modi like, a task master who is also seen as clean. The BJP in the States of Maharastra Haryana and Delhi has no such leaders . Many of them parrot the rejected ideology of the party which Modi never did or does. The question that will remain is why Modi is not reigning in these leaders . As a tactician does he want these leaders to find answers and solutions on their own ? Does he believe the voters will be better teachers than he can ever be? He himself has just five years to deliver and does he feel he cannot take on the job of a pracharak any more? Be that as it may the voters of Maharastra have a choice to make from what could in market terms called from plenty. If they vote for leaders its Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Uddhav Thackeray, Ajit Pawar , whoever BJP chooses as its face and Raj Thackeray as the joker in the pack. All bets are off.