Assembly elections: Results suggest the BJP has brought in achhe din only for Rahul Gandhi

Voters seem fed up of all communal politics and no vikas.

 |  4-minute read |   13-12-2018
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Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the recent Assembly polls have handed the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) an embarrassing 5-0 defeat. From Rajasthan to Mizoram, the party which is ruling the county couldn’t bag a majority in any state.

The biggest jolt, however, came from the Hindi heartland.

The three key states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh voted against Hindutva politics, by throwing the right wing party out of power. If this is any bellwether of voting behaviour for the upcoming Parliamentary elections, the BJP is already out of its three strongholds. In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the party had enjoyed power for three successive terms. 

The PM and Amit Shah have much to ponder over. The PM and Amit Shah have much to ponder over. (Photo: PTI/file)

But then, what went wrong with Hindutva politics, which had given BJP a landslide win in the previous Lok Sabha elections?

Well, the BJP had essentially promised ‘vikas’, a popular Hindi word for development. ‘Vikas’, however, couldn’t progress much beyond the record-breaking heights of new, and upcoming, statues.

The Statue of Unity, a colossal statue of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was recently unveiled as the world’s tallest statue at a height of 182 metres. In a county where thousands of debt-stricken farmers commit suicide annually, a whopping Rs 3,000 crore was spent on the bronze marvel. A part of this money went to China, as a Chinese firm helped build the statue.

Even on the Hindutva front, the BJP’s ‘success’ is debatable.

The party has for long championed the communal cause centered around the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, where a mosque constructed by Mughal emperor Babar was demolished by right wing forces in 1992.

Years on, the dispute is yet to find a solution. Despite enjoying a clear majority, the BJP government at the Centre made no effort to pass a law to get the temple built.

While the temple remains an unfulfilled agenda, the BJP has now come up with a Ram statue.

In November, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh announced the construction of a 221-metre tall statue of Lord Ram. As per the UP government, while the height of the statue would be 151 metres, its overhead umbrella would be 20 metres while the pedestal would be 50 metres.

After Sardar Patel, we are set to get a statue of Lord Ram. After Sardar Patel, we are set to get a statue of Lord Ram. (Photo: Business Today)

Elementary mathematical calculation of these figures suggests that in short, Lord Ram’s actual statue will be shorter than that of Sardar Patel.

As for the Prime Minister, who swears by his now-iconic slogan ‘Na khaunga, na khane dunga’, Narendra Modi has been mysteriously silent on allegations of a ‘Rafale scam’.

For the BJP, the Modi wave and his electoral charisma seem to be almost over.

Otherwise, why would Yogi Adityanath, a first-time chief minister, be the co-star campaigner in the recent Assembly elections? After all, except for changing names of Muslim places, the monk-neta has not achieved much to his credit yet.

When a police inspector lost his life to a violent mob in UP’s Bulandshar, Yogi Adityanath was campaigning in Telangana — there announcing that BJP would rename Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if voted to power. But the name-changing politics couldn’t prove a game-changer in Telangana, where the Telangana Rashtra Samithi retained its hold.

Even politics over cow-vigilantism could not help the BJP in the Hindi heartland.

In 2017, when Yogi Adityanath started a crackdown on illegal cow slaughtering and cattle smuggling, his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh went further to say that anyone found killing cows in the state would be hanged.

While there is so much talk around gau mata, Ganga maiyya chokes neglected. While there is so much talk around gau mata, Ganga maiyya chokes neglected. (Photo: Reuters)

But then, while our leaders play politics over Gau Mata, the revered river Ganga Maiyya is dying unheard. Though the BJP government initiated some projects to clean up the Ganga, pollution has increased at several sites, where the water has been found unfit for human consumption.

Rising unemployment couldn’t see acche din either.

As per a report compiled by the Centre for Sustainable Employment of the Azim Premji University in September 2018, the biggest new challenge facing India’s policymakers and administrators is the rapidly rising unemployment. “Unemployment levels have been steadily rising, and after several years of staying around 2-3%, the headline rate of unemployment reached 5% in 2015, with youth unemployment being a very high 16%... This rate of unemployment is the highest seen in India in at least the last 20 years,” the report said.

Thus, the BJP’s politics has benefitted neither itself nor its voters — it instead seems to have benefitted Congress president Rahul Gandhi the most.

Rahul Gandhi is suddenly looking much better in comparison. Rahul Gandhi is suddenly looking much better in comparison. (Photo: PTI/file)

While addressing the media to announce his victory in the Hindi heartland, Rahul said a resurgent Congress would make it difficult for Modi to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Nehru-Gandhi family scion said he finds a teacher in Modi. “I was telling my mother that the absolute best thing for me was the 2014 election. I learnt a lot from that election. I learnt that the most important thing is humility… Frankly, Narendra Modi taught me the lesson — what not to do,” Rahul, who has faced a lot of flak for the party’s earlier election defeats, said.

But then, no matter how powerful politicians or political parties may be, the semi-finals to Lok Sabha elections have a simple message: Never underestimate the power of Indian voters. Jai Ho!

Also read: The Modi-Shah combine has tasted its first major defeat. But what they could do to counter this is truly scary

Writer

Majid Hyderi Majid Hyderi @majidhyderi

The writer is a journalist based in Kashmir.

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