Rajasthan’s Elections Results Spell debacle of BJP?
Prof N.K. Singh
Former Chairman International Airports Authority of India
Deserts are known for mirages and travelers are misled by the imagesin the distance. Recent election results of the state appear eitherdelusions or real decline of the BJP. It will depend on what follows incoming months. There are scribes and media of all sorts who arealways looking around to see what are the signs of fall of Narendra Modi. Hundreds of watchful eyes are waiting for such a moment sincehis advent has plugged their source of privilege or profit.
Modi in his own inimical style has created an army of enemies in corruptionstained leaders and journalists and they are always out to malign him. His own party has many such smear black paint campaigners. Thegreatest foul mouthed persons include Shatrughan Sinha who thinks hedeserved a Cabinet berth. There are more like Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie. They are only sample gloom leaders. Modi who is daily attackedfor being dictator is not silencing these loud mouth name callers inthe party who are violating the party discipline. Is this dictatorshipor denial of freedom of expression? It is downright misuse of freedom of expression. But still charges of autocracy continue when the entire world including China is complementing Modi.
Rajasthan results are an eye opener to the party in power as both theseats are lost to its rival Congress. There have been elections earlier and even in bye-elections the Congress was trailing behind. But in this case Congress emerged full bloom like goddess Minerva. It is time to ponder on these meaning full results for both the party that won and the party that lost.
The BJP lost as after Gujarat it took it for granted that neighboring state will fall in line. Also traditionally it has Hindu base and Rajputs who dominate the discourse in the state are influential and respected all around. But siding withthem in the exhibition of movie Padmavat also did not go well with people.
It is also claimed that the movie itself was the conspiracy of Congress to place BJP in an awkward position to cause a major rift in Hindu vote bank. Many arguments have been advanced but there is no definite proof of such a move although the predicament of BJP in all its states is apparent. Nevertheless the loss of two seats on more than a lakh votes in two parliament constituencies is devastating for the party. From government side there was complete failure of managing agitation by Rajput Karni Sena.
Why it was not possible to convince the majority of community leaders to withdraw the protest after cuts have been made is not clear. This was done by Punjab and Haryana who were shown the movie and they withdrew the agitation having found nothing objectionable. In this electoral jigsaw, it was better for the government not to take risk or even to allow initially to spur the protest by convincing them and adapting to their reasonable points. This did harm BJP when Congress played an effective ambivalent part.
The Congress was led well by the young Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot. Unlike BJP who fought and internally sabotaged each other the Congress kept a smooth working relationship without declaring a leader. In the corridors of party office there is a whisper that both leaders do not see eye to eye with each other and were fighting over any issues but it did notsurface to harm it. Also perhaps the climate of anti-incumbency and mishandling by Vasundhra Raje came handy for them to score over the BJP. All said and done now both parties are standing at the edge of changein approaching 2019 that demands serious introspection by the BJP and eventhe winner.
This win of congress is not enough to assure it of victoryin next general election. The Congress has serious leadership issues whereas Modi must involve senior leaders of the party apart from Amit Shah to move forward. Budget this year will help him to survive the year with some bonanza for farmers and health insurance to common man. Still the party is jolted and it has created a climate of uncertainty amongst his staunch followers even unless tackled effectively by Modi himself.