A year of success throughout for BJP

A year of success throughout for BJP

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 2014 started and is ending with Narendra Modi. And that holds true for the nation too.

The BJP has become the fulcrum of the country’s politics, replacing the Congress through a string of electoral successes achieved through the “capture” of Haryana, the return to power through alliances in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, and holding the veto power in Jammu and Kashmir government formation.   

If 2014 made the BJP the principal political party, 2015 will test whether the right-wing outfit is able to hold on to its achievements.

 Much will depend on the performance of the Narendra Modi government and his willingness to rein in the saffron fringe elements flexing their muscle to increase communal heat in the country in the name of “correcting historical wrongs”.

The new electoral calendar will start with the Delhi polls—likely before February's budget session—where the BJP is being projected to do well. The shattered Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is regrouping, but still has to walk miles to gain the confidence of the middle and educated class, as it had done in one of the wonder stories of Indian polity.

The BJP will find itself on a different wicket during the Bihar Assembly elections, where the deep-rooted caste system queers the pitch.

The party will be pitted against the new Janata Parivar—a combination of the Janata Dal (United) or the JD(U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the Left which have come together to resist the saffron surge that is threatening their presence.

The two recent contests the BJP has had with this combined opposition has thrown up mixed results. In the August Bihar bypolls, the alliance of regional arch-rivals the RJD and the JD(U) had managed to checkmate a resurgent BJP, winning six of the 10 seats. The BJP bagged the rest.

Interestingly, the outcome was exactly opposite in the 2010 Assembly polls.

But, after the Jharkhand Assembly elections, BJP chief Amit Shah had said the results showed that Janata Parivar’s ability to arrest the saffron surge had failed, given that the alliance was reduced to a single digit in the state.

He added that it did not augur well for their Bihar dream, and expressed confidence that the party would win that state as well.

The BJP's biggest dream would be to completely capture the region by toppling the Samajwadi Party government in UP and emerging as an alternative to the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

The saffron party is also trying to make its presence felt in the southern part of the country, especially Tamil Nadu, which is ruled by the friendly AIADMK. The BJP has already started working on its plot of getting a face in the state since Brand Modi and a grand alliance with different smaller parties had failed to deliver, even when the country was swept in the general elections. 

The historic mandate the BJP got was due to the image of Modi projected by the party, selling the Gujarat success stories to promise a turnaround during Lok Sabha election campaigning.

He became the prime minister in May, symbolising hope and aspiration for people frustrated by policy paralysis, ailing fiscal health and scams. 

The trailer for the party’s 2014 success was cast in June 2013, when the then BJP president, Rajnath Singh, projected Modi as election campaign chief, which was a precursor to the latter being projected as the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Singh took the risk much to the disappointment of veterans and senior leaders such as L K Advani and M M Joshi. Since then, the party has remained triumphant, with Modi’s close aide Amit Shah, who took over the reins from Singh and has since helped the party do well in the four states that went to polls.

The BJP has harvested rich dividends from Brand Modi. The challenge before Shah now would be to identify new potential leaders for grooming and improving the organisational network, Modi has already inducted the talented lot in his Cabinet.
The talent crunch in states will hurt more if the effects Modi’s popularity wear off. For the BJP, the new year herald Plan B as well.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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