×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
UP results show that BJP’s Hindutva card no longer gives desired dividends

UP results show that BJP’s Hindutva card no longer gives desired dividends

The message to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is clear: there must be a greater process of consultation within the party

Follow Us :

Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 14:39 IST
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 14:39 IST
Comments

The famed ‘Modi magic’ is no longer working; the magic that would paper over the grievances of the electorate, and convert losers into winners.

At the time of writing this article, the results of the general elections suggest that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), far from crossing the 400-mark, was ahead in just 240 seats — 40 short of the halfway mark of 273. With its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies, it was 295. This, when the Election Commission of India (ECI) was accused by the Opposition of playing an actively partisan role, in which the BJP had more resources than all other political parties combined, and in which it used several instruments of the State against the Opposition.

The Opposition’s I.N.D.I.A. bloc stood at about 231 seats, with the Congress virtually doubling its strength. In short, the battle in the next Parliament will be a far more equal one than it has been in the previous two Lok Sabhas, where the NDA had had an overwhelming majority. The BJP will find it much harder to push through any legislation or amendments to the Constitution that it may have had in the pipeline.

These results mean that Modi — who, in all likelihood will be Prime Minister again — can no longer ride roughshod over his Cabinet colleagues, chief ministers, party members, or, indeed, the Opposition. He will have to adopt a more consensual approach towards everyone — and he will no longer be able to browbeat the bureaucracy.

Modi will have to pay heed to the wishes of his allies from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party splinters now with the NDA, and the Janata Dal(United).

The biggest shock for the BJP has come, perhaps, in Uttar Pradesh where it had hoped to better its 2019 record of 62 out of 80 seats — at the time of writing, the party was leading in just 32 seats. The Congress-Samajwadi Party combine, which was leading in 44 seats, played their cards well: their narrative of unemployment, inflation, and the Constitution in danger, resonated on the ground, and they chose their candidates well: in the SP’s case, generally viewed as a Muslim-Yadav-centric outfit, party president Akhilesh Yadav fielded largely non-Yadav OBCs to give his party the inclusive look it needed.

The UP results also signalled that the BJP’s Hindutva card was no longer giving it similar dividends, even after the BJP leadership artfully chose January 2024 to inaugurate the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Instead, caste differences took precedence. Upper caste Rajputs upset with ticket distribution, revolted in western UP. The word was out: just as Modi had sidelined Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the BJP’s seniormost leaders in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, he planned to replace UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — a Rajput — with an OBC chief minister. This brought dormant upper caste/backward caste animosities to the fore. The message to Modi and Amit Shah is clear: there has to be a greater process of consultation within the party.

The Maharashtra results demonstrated, among other things that voters had not taken kindly to the manner in which the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government was toppled, and two of its constituents, the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party had been split by the BJP. This is an important lesson for the BJP whose skill in toppling elected governments in the states had become par for the course.

On the plus side, the BJP is set to form a government in Odisha, having defeated the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) that has been in power under Naveen Patnaik since 2000; in Andhra Pradesh, it will be the TDP’s junior partner in the new dispensation.

Finally, Modi will have to make peace with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and make amends for his party president J P Nadda saying in a recent interview: “In the beginning, we would have been less capable, smaller and needed the RSS. Today, we have grown and we are capable. The BJP runs itself.”

(Smita Gupta is a Delhi-based journalist. X: @g_smita.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author's own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.

Track Lok Sabha Election results live | Check all constituency results here

Track Odisha Assembly poll results live | Check constituency results here

Track Andhra Pradesh Assembly poll results live | Check constituency results here

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

Assembly Elections 2024 | Don't miss out on our detailed coverage of the polls in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. Subscribe and follow DH on Whatsapp, X, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to never miss out on anything.

ADVERTISEMENT

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT