Has BJP’s Failure To Realise The Limit Of ‘Modi Wave’ Cost Them The Bypoll Election?

Posted on September 19, 2014 in Politics

By Krishangi Singh:

The common man might not understand the complexities of the latest foreign policy or the economic reforms, but what he does understand is the motto of ‘Acche Din’ and ‘Make In India’. For most of us, these slogans of development hold an appeal, which makes us believe that these ideas might become a reality if the party is given a chance. As fate would have it, the entire country gave BJP a chance. When the saffron wave washed over India’s political scenario, the public was charmed by the vigour and vision of pro-active BJP faces like Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh. The public believed it was time for a leadership change, and a new, promise-delivering government, and thus BJP won gloriously in the general elections.

BJP MP Yogi Adityanath
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath

After gaining a whopping majority in Lok Sabha elections, the result of recent bypoll election come as a major blow to the right wing party. After losing bypolls in Uttarakhand and Bihar, the party has now lost in UP and Rajasthan, and is losing seats in Gujarat too. BJP lost 8 seats to Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, managing to hold only 3 seats out of the contested 11. In Gujarat, where Modi wave is the strongest, BJP won 6 seats out of 9. It is a commendable achievement for Indian National Congress to get hold of 3 seats in Modi’s home state. In Rajasthan, which is currently under BJP government, the party managed to retain just 1 seat out of the contested 4, and lost 3 seats to the Indian National Congress.

The BJP has always propagated its ‘Hindutva’ ideology, and perhaps believed that the same agenda will win them support, just like it did in Lok Sabha elections. Yet, the party’s electoral pitch in UP, which largely focused on the communal issue of love jihad‘, did not go down well with the public. The already riot-hit state, which witnessed major communal violence last year in Muzaffarnagar area, was obviously reluctant to support Aditya Yoginath’s pitch on the sensitive issue. This made the Samajwadi Party’s work a lot easier, as their electoral agenda was to counter BJP’s stand on the communal allegations regarding this sensitive issue. Furthermore, the side-lining of important leaders like Varun Gandhi and Murli Manohar Joshi had ended up annoying the supporters of these leaders which decreased the party’s support.

In Gujarat, BJP’s loss of seats to Congress has been interpreted as a result of local politics. Congress, after seeing a devastating defeat in general elections, made the smart move of popularising local leaders in the state instead of bringing focus on the Nehru-Gandhi name. BJP, on the other hand, was over-confident about the bypoll, merrily assuming that Modi’s name will win them seats. The local public, of course, realised that if voting for Congress’ big name is illogical, then the same goes for BJP. This ended up swaying the public opinion in favour of Congress on 3 seats.

In Rajasthan, BJP lost 3 seats to Indian National Congress even as it formed the state government with vast majority 3 months back. This setback has resulted from Congress’ better projection of charismatic leaders like Sachin Pilot. However, the leadership of state Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje is also being held accountable for the decline in the party’s popularity.

Pressure has built up on Amit Shah to lead BJP to success in the upcoming elections in Maharashtra and Haryana after these continuous failures. The recent bypoll has not revealed the receding of Modi wave, but rather, showed the BJP its limitation. The public is intelligent enough to realise that charisma of one leader alone cannot help the development of their area.

Furthermore, by shunning Aditya Yoginath’s communal ideology, public has sent a clear message — Promoting Hinduism is only acceptable till it does not overpower party’s development policies.