BJP needs to introspect, adjust

Ab ki baar, soch vichar: Why BJP needs to introspect, adjust – Copy

Opposition has now doubled its strength, NDA allies who felt humiliated earlier will be far more assertive this time, and Modi will have to venture into uncharted territory and play a new role as negotiator

How fabulous is democracy! How it can bring in fresh air!
Opinion polls just before campaigning predicted the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance would increase seats though it could fall short of its 400-paar target. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an approval rating of 74%. Exit polls, taken after polling, also gave NDA up to 400 seats. How then did BJP end up with just 240 seats, with its coalition scraping through to a small majority on two crutches called Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu?

Let BJP reflect and adjust. Above all, let it learn how counter-productive is the curbing of dissent in the media. Media criticism is never pleasant to swallow, but it reveals realities that ‘godi media’ will hide. Fear prompts bogus praise and the illusion of universal support, while dissenters and critics keep silent, believing that discretion is the better part of valour. The greater the fear, the more misleading are opinion and popularity polls. The truth comes out only in a secret ballot. mediumElections have a habit of taking the sheen off even the most seasoned of politicians. Recently, Modi said in a TV interview: “I am convinced that ‘Parmatma’ (God) sent me for a purpose… He does not reveal his cards, just keeps making me do things.” These results have shown Modi as just one more mortal politician, undoubtedly a very talented and successful one, but a mortal, nevertheless.
Despite liberal rejoicing, the bottom line is that BJP is here for five years, with a chance to win another five years in 2029. But we will not get simultaneous elections for the Centre and states. We will not get removal of references to secularism from the Constitution. We will not get a Hindu state. Gone are the days when govt could rush through Bills in Parliament with minimum or no debate. Opposition has now doubled its strength. NDA allies who felt humiliated earlier will be far more assertive this time, and Modi will have to venture into uncharted territory and play a new role as negotiator.
Both Nitish Kumar and Naidu have ditched BJP in the past. They are opportunists, not loyal friends. But neither has any incentive to ditch Modi in the foreseeable future.medium110708410Voters did not vote for communal polarisation or an ‘autocratic’ Modi. But what exactly did they vote against? Some analysts call it a protest against unemployment, farm distress, rising inequality (the supposed K-shaped recovery), and Hindutva. Such all-India explanations fail scrutiny because the trend varied so widely in different states.BJP made a clean sweep in MP, Himachal, Uttarakhand, and almost a clean sweep in Chhattisgarh, Assam, and Odisha, ending the 25-year-old rule of Naveen Patnaik in the last case. Yet it fared disastrously in UP, and suffered serious setbacks in Rajasthan, Haryana and West Bengal. The building of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was the biggest media event of the year, with record audiences. But it seems like the millions who rejoiced did not see this as an election issue. The mandir attracted tourists, but not voters. BJP even lost the Faizabad seat, in which Ayodhya lies.medium110797082Can anyone claim that employment and a K-shaped recovery were not problems in MP, Chhattisgarh, Himachal or Uttarakhand, but were serious problems in UP, Haryana and Rajasthan? BJP’s gains and losses in different states were clearly due to very local issues, not all-India ones.
In UP, reporters claim SP and Congress managed to stitch up a good caste combination. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC was able to triumph despite allegations of corruption and the Sandeshkhali controversy. In Andhra Pradesh, the landslide win was due to BJP’s allies, Naidu and Pawan Kalyan, with BJP playing a peripheral role. In Tamil Nadu, BJP failed to translate a concerted push into electoral success, but the silver lining came in the form of a vote share of 11.3% on its own. In Haryana, the BJP-led govt had already lost its majority thanks to defections, and its poor Lok Sabha showing was predictable.
This article was originally published by The Times of India on June, 8 2024.

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