BJP must set its house in order

Halfway mark: Saffron party struggles, grand alliance pushes ahead

BJP must set its house in order

In the month of August this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew wide applause when he, at a function in Bihar’s Ara, announced Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package for the cash-strapped state.

Two months down the line, why is that neither Modi nor any of his ministers are raking up the issue of ‘unprecedented sop’ the state received on the eve of election.
As Bihar is headed for the third phase of poll, in which voting will also take place in the state capital on October 28, questions are being widely discussed as to why the BJP lost the steam midway? Why it deviated from its growth/development agenda and instead got involved in loose talks in which terms like Bimaru, chara chor, shaitan were used unabashedly by its top leaders.

Actually, the BJP’s poll campaign went for a toss with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comment on reservation issue in September and October where the Sangh pramukh twice reiterated his stand to review the existing quota system. This reportedly alienated a large section of Dalits and extremely backward class (EBCs), despite the fact that Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha were all sailing together in the same NDA boat.

It is worth mentioning here that EBCs, also called Pachpaniya (for the 55 castes and sub-castes it represents), comprise around 33 per cent votes. Combine it with Dalits/Mahadalits (who are numerically 16 per cent), this weaker section accounts for nearly half of the Bihar electorate.

It’s not only Bhagwat who has upset BJP’s poll calculations. Party MPs like Shatrughan Sinha and R K Singh (former home secretary-turned BJP MP), who do not owe their origin to the RSS, too have made things worse for the BJP. While one questioned the rationale behind not using the services of marg-darshak like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, the other charged state BJP leaders with ‘selling’ party tickets to candidates with criminal antecedents.

The list of ‘enemy within’ the BJP does not end here. Sources in the BJP admit privately that one of the top leaders, who is a front-runner for the chief minister’s post, has left no stone unturned in ensuring that his rival Ashwani Choubey suffers a loss of face if his son Arjit Shashwat loses from Bhagalpur (where voting took place on Oct 12). Another CM hopeful is hoping against hope that Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav loses from Patna Sahib (where voting will take place on October 28).

The RSS patriarch late Kailashapati Mishra’s family has vowed to ensure the defeat of BJP nominee from Brahmpur, Vivek Thakur, son of former Union health minister in Vajpayee Cabinet Dr CP Thakur. Reason: Dilmani Devi, the sitting BJP MLA from Brahmpur, who also happens to be the daughter-in-law of late Kailashpati Mishra, one of the founders of the BJP, was replaced by Vivek Thakur.

Incidentally, both belong to the Bhumihar community. Dilmani has since then quit the BJP and and vowed to teach Vivek a lesson. 

In a nutshell, the foot-in-mouth statements, besides issues like quota, beef, dal, onions have done the BJP more harm than good in the last fortnight. And this has changed the electoral dynamics in Bihar.
DH News Service

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