BJP suffers humiliating defeat in bypolls: Has over reliance on divisive politics took the toll?

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BJP suffers humiliating defeat in by polls
It seems, Modi magic has started fizzling out. Barely four months after recording resounding victory in Lok Sabha election, the formidable force of BJP had to swallow its pride. Reports says, that the party has suffered a humiliating loss as the by-poll results on 33 Assembly seats and 3 Lok Sabha seats were declared on Tuesday. The saffron party even failed to retain most of the seats where it was infallible some times back.

The results nothing but disappointing for the BJP which had swept the general elections just four months back. The party had won almost every major seat in the Lok Sabha polls but in by polls the same BJP has lost almost every seat vacated by its sitting MLAs. This proves that something terribly went wrong with the party that has forced the people to change their mandate.

The party suffered a humiliating defeat in Rajasthan, which was considered its stronghold, as it had made a clean sweep in the LS polls here. The BJP has lost three of the four by-poll seats to the Congress in Rajasthan while in Gujarat, another BJP bastion, it lost two assembly seats to the Congress.

Overconfidence, divisive politics leads BJP to face by-poll rout

Results from another BJP stronghold Uttar Pradesh are even more disheartening for the party had won 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats from the state. In the Hindi heartland the party seems to be losing on seven of the 11 assembly seats, vacated by its MLAs.

The party even lost the prestigious Charkhari assembly seat, which was left vacant after Uma Bharti, won from Jhansi Lok Sabha seat. Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh are the most popular political faces in this region still the BJP lost here. Names of these two popular leaders too not coming to any help for the BJP's candidate in winning this seat is shocking. This clearly hints that party is no longer favourite among people.

BSP's absence too didn't help the BJP in UP

The BJP was counting heavily on the Dalit voters who preferred Narendra Modi over their traditional leader Mayawati in the Lok Sabha polls. This time again the party was hoping to get Dalit votes in its favour as BSP pulled out of the by-poll race. But, that too didn't help the BJP as the party still could not decimate rivals SP and Congress in the triangular fight.

Today's by-poll results show the BJP's honeymoon days are over and the party needs to face the reality. Now, lets talk about what all went against the BJP in the by polls and how is it going to impact party's performance in the upcoming assembly elections.

Divisive and farcical campaigns like love jihad took toll?

Ignoring its development agenda, the BJP had supported its firebrand leaders who are staunch supporters of the Hindutva ideology. The party gave the strings of its Uttar Pradesh state unit to Yogi Adityanath, who made vitriolic speeches on controversial subject of 'love jihad' and Hindutva. Adityanath leaved no stones unturned to polarise the UP by-polls with his divisive speeches. Even the central leadership of the BJP remained mute spectator to Adityanath's speeches and allowed the Gorakhpur MP to polarise the votes. But, seems the UP voters rejected the BJP and chose ruling Samajwadi Party.

Government's failed performance

The Narendra Modi-led BJP was voted into power mainly for two reasons:

  • First, Modi's promise to curb rising inflation and rampant corruption
  • Second, Modi promise of jobs and development

But, things have not changed much on the ground level in the four months. Though, four months are too short a time for bringing a drastic change but the kind of expectation people had on Modi were hoping his government would at least bring the prices of essential commodities down. There is no denying the fact that the new dispensation is working very hard in this regard but the expectations of the people are too high from the Prime Minister. People voted for a 'chaiwala' hoping that he'll immediately bring 'Achchhe Din' by checking high inflation but government has not yet achieved it in first 100 days.

The government's bold moves to strengthen its bilateral relations will definitely prove beneficial for the people in the long term but such moves are not directly associated with the lay man, who is fighting hard to earn a daily square meal. Perhaps this too might have been a reason for the BJP's poor show.

Overconfidence of party cadre

After, BJP's historic victory in Lok Sabha polls, the party cadre became complacent and hardly worked in keeping its grass roots intact. This alienation (from people) and overconfidence of the BJP workers is also responsible for the party's by-poll loss.

The party's state units, especially in UP, stopped projecting party's development, good governance agenda and excessively banked on the communal issues like 'love jihad' and Hindutva agenda. This eventually alienated the other section of the society distance itself from the party and forced them to think that BJP's is no different than SP or Congress. Hence, they went with the ruling SP instead of the BJP.

Impact on upcoming assembly polls

Now, a pertinent question arises whether the by-poll results will affect BJP's prospects in the upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana or not? Experts feel that by-poll results will definitely put an impact over BJP's performance in the state elections. The party will also feel the heat of its ally Shiv Sena in Maharashtra where there is already a tussle going on between the two over seat sharing. Shiv Sena would now strengthen its demand for having a higher number of seats.

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