By saying BJP has been rejected by the people in a democratic set-up, West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said it all. The election result of the five states is being depicted by several experts as big jolt for the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and it is indeed one. But one thing that has been overlooked in hullabaloo is the graduation of a certain Rahul Gandhi, who was not taken seriously till date, has actually emerged as the Man of the Match.
If the state Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram are anything to go by, BJP has lost everywhere — and quite comprehensively. This is quite an indication that BJP’s popularity has receded drastically compared to 2014. This has another connotation too — the rise of Rahul Gandhi.
The day Rahul Gandhi hugged his bête noire Narendra Modi inside the Parliament — after a fiery speech — he launched himself on the Indian political scene. People (read BJP supporters) may have underestimated him based on his ‘immature’ deeds in formative years, were left stunned when he made a complete U-turn and started giving Modi a run for money. In fact, it was Modi and his few cronies who were instrumental in making Rahul Gandhi a stalwart from what they call ‘Pappu’.
However, Rahul Gandhi apart, there are many factors that contributed to BJP’s declining popularity. If demonetisation was the beginning of the process, then vilification in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ranks and the ongoing tussle with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have had a telling effect on the governance. This is the point Narendra Modi used to buttress four years ago, but now the words like “good governance” and “ache din” are hardly any slogan for the saffron brigade.
There have been many instances when BJP had to retract from its promise. The burning example of that is the demonetisation. Two years down the line after the draconian call, all in BJP are tight-lipped about the note ban and the positives of the move. Data and facts show that the note ban had no good effect on the economy but it had an adverse effect on the people instead. Lives were lost, jobs were shrunk and people were made to run from pillar to post for mere survival.
Also, the parties which were in the NDA fold even a couple of years ago are feeling cheated and are quitting the alliance one after another. It would affect these parties’ reputation if they again come back to the NDA fold before the General Elections 2019. The parties like Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead by Chandrababu Naidu and RLSP lead by Upendra Kushwaha are the recent ones which severed ties with the saffron fold.
Now, BJP has an uphill task to set the house in order and as its political mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and permanent sympathiser Shiv Sena are also exerting pressure on Narendra Modi-Amit Shah led outfit for the construction of the Ram temple. If BJP fails to upkeep its promise of building the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, it will be hard to garner support from Hindu voters too, which has been BJP major vote bank since it came into prominence.
Bringing the ordinance and build the temple at Ayodhya remains BJP’s last resort to satisfy the Hindu extremists of the country.
Statue of crores
Building statues worth thousands of crores at the expense of development work also backfired for the ruling party. The news that Britain government’s aid for development used up for building Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat put the BJP in a spot and may have had a repercussion on the poll result and will surely have a direct impact in 2019.
Next in line was the name changing spree of the places. An anti-Muslim stand could have still clinched the matter for BJP, but its obsession to change names ignoring history and culture may have already done the fatal damage. This proves one thing that India still has a secular culture which BJP failed to understand. Since it had the mandate in 2014, BJP thought it could get away with anything and everything.
Now after losing three states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh —to principal opposition Congress is good enough indication that the party and its poster boy has lost its charisma and there’s every possibility that he will go back to drawing board and analyse where he went wrong. In doing so, he can only blame himself and his battery of leaders who queered their own pitch.
Whatever the result may be in 2019, the palpitation has started in the saffron camp though they putting up a brave face. Now, can we expect Rahul Gandhi to do what his father Rajiv Gandhi managed in 1984? We will have to wait till May 2019 for the answer.