Message For BJP After Jharkhand Debacle: Make Popular Leader Party’s Face In Future Elections
Going by the latest trends in Jharkhand elections, BJP is on the verge of losing fifth state on the trot in last one year.
As per Election Commission of India website, the latest trend shows BJP getting 28 seats, while Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-RJD alliance is poised to cross majority mark of 41 seats.
Before Jharkhand, BJP had lost Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Though BJP-Shiv Sena alliance got a comfortable majority in Maharashtra Assembly poll, the Sena severed the ties with its old ally over power-sharing issue and joined hands with Congress and National Congress Party to form the government.
The BJP managed to save Haryana from slipping away from its hold after they forged a post-alliance with fledgling Jannayak Janata Party leader Dushyant Chautala and Independents.
The BJP leadership would brainstorm to find out the reasons for its debacle even after getting a massive mandate in 2019 general elections.
The reason, however, is not far fetched. The BJP leadership has been repeatedly doing mistake in its choice of its chief ministerial candidate.
Expectedly, the party should have realised this mistake after its debacle in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh were considered to be inaccessible chief ministers.
Raghubar Das, the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP in Jharkhand, also suffered from the same image, which alienated both allies and leaders within the party.
This was clear from the resignation of several leaders including Sarayu Rai, who is on the verge of defeating Das.
The party also suffered setback with chief whip Radhakrishna Kishore also switching sides to the AJSU and increasing its headache for Amit Shah and Narendra Modi.
Apart from the problems related to the functioning of Das, party cadres were unhappy with him for ignoring them when they approached him to meet their aspirations and ambitions.
Therefore, the cadres were indifferent and disinterested in coming out in support of the party.
This is the same situation in Bihar, where the state will face assembly election next year.
BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi, who also is Bihar’s deputy chief minister, is also ignoring the local leaders, Sanjay Paswan and CP Thakur.
Both leaders had asked BJP not to fight next year’s assembly election under Nitesh Kumar’s JDU leadershp, but Modi. However, Sushil Modi hit back at them suggesting Nitish Kumar should be given a lesser role.
Secondly, BJP leadership’s strategy of appointing chief ministers from non-dominant communities in states is not yielding results, though it is a good idea to do away with caste politics.
ML Khattar, who belongs to non-Jat community, did not fetch votes as expected, but managed to retain power in Haryana only by pacifying the Jat dominated JJP.
In Jharkhand, the grand alliance targeted Das for his non-tribal status. And, how did he administer? Just like a Congress chief minister, absorbed in rude egoism, alienating tribal population through his anti-tribal steps.
In fact, the state BJP wanted Arjun Munda to be the chief ministerial face, as he is the most important tribal leader in Jharkhand, but the central leadership blessed the inaccessible Das with second term.
They should brainstorm, what were the reasons that the same tribal areas which voted for Modi in Lok Sabha elections, it rejected in state election.
The answer is – Das factor, who also was not a favorable chief ministerial candidate for BJP’s ally AJSU. This also cost the BJP as it failed to form a pre-poll alliance with its allies – AJSU, LJP and JDU, both are NDA partners at the centre.
In 2014 Jharkhand elections, BJP had allied with the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and won 43 of 81 assembly seats, defeating the grand Congress-RJD-JDU-JMM alliance.
The message for the BJP central leadership is clear. It must field a popular leader as chief ministerial candidates, especially when the party faces assembly polls in Delhi, Bihar and West Bengal.
Wrong To Write Off Modi
However, victory and defeat are the demand of democracy, and to write off any political party is not feasible, because state and central elections have different criteria.
Many political analysts are wrong, however, to say that the BJP has lost because of anti-incumbency.
Still, people’s faith on Modi is still intact, which is quiet evident in his central policies, especially the support his government is getting for taking the bold step of passing Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Parliament mirrored in pro-CAA rallies across India, after the violent protests the country witnessed in Muslim-dominated areas.
However, BJP, under his leadership, should take the feedback from the local leadership. If not, the BJP will face the same fate in Delhi, West Bengal and Bihar elections as it did in Jharkhand and other four states, where they lost.