The Surge of BJP and the Slide of Congress : The Saga Continues

Written by: Pathikrit Payne
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Only a month back by-elections for 11 assembly seats had taken place in Uttar Pradesh and for a few seats in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Many political analysts were gleefully writing obituaries of Modi-led BJP after it did not fare all too well in those by-elections with the party barely winning 3 out of the 11 assembly seats in UP.

It was a stark contrast to the spectacular performance of the party in the Lok Sabha Elections when in UP alone it had won 72 of the 80 parliamentary seats.

Yet, what went unnoticed in those inconsequential by-elections in UP, and Bihar before that was how little interest the Central Leadership of BJP took in them and how BJP becomes an altogether different entity when the combined power of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah get involved in the business.

The results of the Maharashtra and the Haryana assembly elections have vindicated again that the Modi magic is here to stay and that much in contrast to what many Modi critic had thought, it is only getting stronger.

The dynamics of a Lok Sabha election and that of Assembly elections are always different and one has to give credit to a party and its top leadership if it manages to more or less maintain the same euphoria around state elections on the same line it had five months back for Lok Sabha Elections.

The Epic Rise in Haryana...

The euphoric surge of BJP in Haryan to 47 seats from a barely 4 seats in the 2009 assembly elections there, speaks volume about the incredible effort put in by the party and its combined strength of state and central leadership. Agreed that Haryana being in close proximity to Delhi did help BJP but even then the humongous effort and achievement of the Amit Shah and Narendra Modi has to be given its due share of credit.

From a Junior Partner to Becoming the Largest Party in Maharashtra

In case of Maharashtra, the political acumen of the BJP leadership and its bold decision to go solo after parting with Shiv Sena over a seat sharing tussle, has paid off reasonably well. From being a junior partner in the saffron alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP, the party has now emerged not just as the single largest party in Maharashtra but also one which has successfully breached the 100 seat mark on its own in a state where no other party in the last two decades or so have on its own won that many seats. Not only BJP is the single largest party in Maharashtra but has now almost tripled the seats that each of NCP and Congress has and almost double of what the second placed Shiv Sena got.

Forming the Government- Just a Matter of Time....

While BJP with a tally of 123 seats (122 on its own) is short of around 22 seats from attaining a simple majority, it has nevertheless vindicated its stand as to who is the bigger party in Maharashtra. In spite of the bitter separation before election which ended a 25 year old relation, Modi's stoic like composure and carefully avoiding making any comment against Shiv Sena was invariably calculative and with post poll scenario in mind. In all probability, even though Shiv Sena is likely to bargain for its share of the pie, it is certain that the old allies would come together once again and form the new government.

NCP's Surprise Support to BJP and that too Unconditional..

Yet the bigger surprise of the lot was the alacrity with which Sharad Pawar's NCP offered unconditional support to BJP in forming the new Government. While it is most unlikely that BJP would take that support, the possibility of BJP using that as a counter bargaining chip with Shiv Sena seems high.

With massive scams in the realm of irrigation and aviation (pertaining to Air India) having links with NCP ministers, both in the erstwhile UPA at centre and the Maharashtra government, the offer of unconditional support by NCP was perhaps an attempt to save its own skin and to entrap BJP so that it does not go further with the investigations on the scam.

Assembly Results Vindicate Lok Sabha Win was not a Fluke...

The impressive results in the Haryana and Maharashtra election strengthen further the position of Narendra Modi and vindicates that the Lok Sabha victory was not a fluke. With elections in Jharkhand and J&K following soon, and several major elections including that in UP and Bengal to happen in the next couple of years, BJP's march towards becoming the numero-uno party of India and a truly national party continues unchallenged for the time being.

Where is Congress Heading For?

Last but not the least is the condition of Congress whose decay continues unabated and with its top leadership remaining utterly clueless as to what can be done to contain this downfall. The surprising thing was the manner in which Rahul Gandhi preferred to suddenly remember about HudHud cyclone victims in Vizag and keeping himself busy there, thereby avoiding uncomfortable questions around the debacle in Maharashtra and Congress. It seems that Congress is not being able to come out of the quagmire it has entrenched itself into and its inability to question its faltering leadership is sinking it further.

What Next from Modi?

With state elections over, the possibility of the Modi Government going in for further economic reforms and taking tougher decisions to bring the economy back on track remains highly likely. With economy showing gradual signs of recovery, with the markets cheering the bold steps taken by the Modi Government in terms of deregularizing diesel price and ushering in a new era of labor reforms, one can safely say with impunity that the honeymoon period of Modi led BJP continues while the nightmare of Congress seems to have no end in sight. Further, it is for sure that the back room boys of Amit Shah team has aready started working for the next round of assembly elections. That is where lies the edge of BJP.

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