BJP has momentum but may need to change strategy: Analysts

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New Delhi, Dec 23: The BJP's good showing in the Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls is likely to maintain its political momentum but it would need some changes and course corrections as it seeks to deepen and expand its base nationally, political analysts say.

According to analysts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to set the political agenda but Bharatiya Janata Party's good performance in successive assembly polls is also attributable to the lack of a coherent and united opposition.

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The results of the Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand assembly elections Tuesday brought evident cheer to the BJP though the outcome was not as spectacular as many BJP leaders had hoped.

The party is poised to form government in Jharkhand along with its ally, All Jharkhand Students Union, and could be part of the next government in Jammu and Kashmir. The party registered its best-ever performance in the two states.

However, in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP won all its 25 seats from the Jammu region, where only six Congress candidates won. Though the BJP polled the highest percentage of votes, it got only two percent of votes in the Kashmir Valley.

Subrata Mukherjee, a political analyst who has taught at Delhi University, said that BJP should be happy that voter fatiuge has not set in.

"The Lok Sabha election was a grand success for the BJP. The assembly polls to Maharashtra and Haryana were also a reasonably good success. This result is mixed this time but it is the best the BJP could get," Mukherjee told IANS.

He said that "Modi magic was continuing," but the BJP may need a course correction in its efforts to expand and to win assembly elections next year in Delhi and Bihar.

Referring to West Bengal, where BJP is making forays to improve its base, Mukherjee said that the party needs strong local leaders.

"Trinamool Congress is declining and the Left is not in position to mount an attack. BJP can fill the vacuum," he said.

A.S. Narang, who teaches political science at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, also said that there was some degree of political vacuum in states such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu and the BJP can fill it.

"In Tamil Nadu both DMK and AIADMK are facing problems and there is vacuum which BJP can fill. In West Bengal, credibility of Tinamool Congress is on decline and the CPI-M-led front has been tried earlier. The space is being filled by BJP," he said.

However, he said the BJP will have to keep a check controversies such as religious conversions by right-wing groups.

BJP sources said that the results in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand will improve party's political profie and help expand in states where it does not have strong footprint. They said the results also signified that combination of Modi and party president Amit Shah can effectively deliver for the party.

Senior journalist and political commentator S. Nihal Singh said that the results in the two states were more or less on the expected lines.

"BJP is on the move alright. It has political momentum but how far it will go (that remains to be seen)," he said.

He said the "so-called Modi wave" did not work in Kashmir Valley where the BJP made a "rather faint foray", and the results in Jammu and Kashmir reflected "polarisation" between the Jammu region and the valley.

The showing in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand will aid BJP's efforts to improve its tally in Rajya Sabha where it is critically dependent on the opposition for passage of legislation.

BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha claimed the results were a continuation of the Lok Sabha election verdict.

"It is vote for progress, it is vote for development. We have doubled our tally in the two states. It is a huge boost for the party," he said.

IANS

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