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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2903

Message From The Hustings

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Political parties and their faithful tend to be hyperbolic before the polls. And turn introspective after the results come in. But in the BJP today there appears a self-congratulatory mood with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the outcome in Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections as an extraordinary achievement of the saffron party and its allies.

Setting the tone for the new discourse, he said it is rare for a party to repeat its success in two consecutive polls.

In patting itself on the back for what must be judged as poor show, the BJP can be said to have shown shocking indifference to the voters and their multiplying travails. Significantly, even in the by-elections held along with the polls in the two states, the BJP failed to meet its expectation of massive wins across the country.

Prime Minister and his home minister Amit Shah, along with a battery of top BJP leaders had addressed hundreds of rallies against a handful by Opposition stalwarts like NCP’s Sharad Pawar. The Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made only a token presence while his mother and Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, did not enter the campaign fray on account of her ill-health; not that either of them could have really swung the outcome.

In most of the post-poll comments, a point that appears to be projected more often than the setback for the ruling dispensation is the state of the Opposition, especially the Congress. A hard look at the Opposition or the Congress may be important but shifting focus to the Opposition amounts to deflecting attention from the fault lines in the ruling dispensation.

It is the ruling party that has taken upon itself the task of always getting the better of the Opposition at the hustings. It can be said that a down and out Opposition has nothing to lose—except that if it fails to knock out an inefficient and incompetent ruling party it will be accused of letting down the suffering people whose voices are suppressed.

Had the Opposition been able to put its act together there is no doubt that the BJP’s performance could have been poorer. But if a depleted and ‘demoralised’ Opposition was in a position to give the ruling party more than a run for its money, imagine the chances against a well-oiled Opposition.

Many experts have said that the poll results from the two states show that the BJP is losing its grip over areas it had captured and also caste groups that had been drawn towards it. It must have shocked the BJP to find that many, if not the most, of the turn-coats from other parties as well as celebrities from the world of sport fell by the wayside. It is one thing to become the largest political party in the world and quite another to retain people’s trust.

Till almost the last day of the recently concluded polls, the BJP leaders--and many pollsters too--were making brash statements about winning 220-plus out of 288 seats in Maharashtra and 75-plus in the 90 member-Haryana assembly.

Barring one, all exit polls had predicted a landslide victory for the BJP in both the states and commentators and political analysis had vied with each other in predicting a complete saffron sweep.

And the refrain throughout the campaign period was about the dismal state of the Opposition, especially the ‘demoralised’, ‘leader-less’ and ‘rudderless’ Congress.

The obvious question that should bother BJP egg-heads now is why the party campaign made only a cursory reference to the problems people face?

Apparently, the party believed that the rising army of unemployed youth, climbing number of farmers’ suicide, the manifest economic slowdown, and social tensions will not affect its electoral fortunes.

The voter has proved them wrong. And has shown that these matters do concern them.

- Asian Tribune -

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