The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had won 282 seats in the 2014 General Elections, now has 273 MP s in the Lok Sabha, which is just one more than the majority mark. In the past six months, the BJP has lost by polls in Gurdaspur (Punjab), Ajmer and Alwar (Rajasthan) and Phulpur and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh).
This is worrisome for the BJP especially with Lok Sabha elections slated to be held next year. The BJP, on its part, tried to play down its defeat saying that people tend to vote on local factors in these elections as their results have no bearing on the stability of either the central or state governments. But, the for sure knows that they are facing an uphill with the opposition now having smelled the blood.
The BJP had got its first jolt in November 2015 when it lost Ratlam in the by-election. It had lost the seat to Congress candidate Kantilal Bhuria. The party got the second shock in Punjab where the Congress leader Sunil Jakhar defeated its candidate by a huge margin in Gurdaspur. Earlier this year, BJP lost Alwar and Ajmer seats in Rajasthan. While the Congress was widely expected to win in Alwar, Ajmer was thought to be a close contest with a slight edge to the BJP.
The UP by-elections have underscored the BJP's vulnerability in Uttar Pradesh, where together with allies it had won 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. The Samajwadi Party had won five seats and BSP had failed to even open its account.
After yesterday's defeat of the BJP, a notion is now making rounds that astute regional alliances are the way forward to stop the BJP juggernaut. Even some party MPs from the state said an alliance between the SP and the BSP in the next Lok Sabha elections will pose a very serious challenge.
Ahead of the elections, a lot was spoken about this alliance between the BSP and SP. The understanding between the traditional rivals, SP-BSP appears to have done a world of good. Any win over the BJP these days is considered to be a morale booster for the opposition parties.