By Neelakantha Achary: Indian political scenario has been changing significantly since general elections in 2014. The general elections resulted in favor of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which led government the centre with its allies under the name of National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Not only that, the BJP emerged as single largest party in the elections getting clear mandate of two-third majority.
The party, which won the election over development as top agenda, has seen major setback assembly elections – Delhi and Bihar. The party had to pay high price for using – beef politics, controversial statements, communal cards and many more in Bihar assembly elections.
However, the Delhi election results shattered the pride of the party, which emerged as singles largest party in general elections, has lost drastically reducing to only three assembly seats – rest was a clear sweep by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal. The debacle in Delhi assembly polls is not a small thing for the party; it could have revived its policies before pitching for Bihar polls.
It was clear from the Delhi assembly polls that so called ‘Modi Wave’ is no longer going to sprinkle its magic on voters in the regional politics. For the second time, the party had to witness huge embarrassment in Bihar after defeat in Delhi.
There are few factors those cause defeat in Bihar elections viz., reservation politics, beef politics, no project of chief ministerial candidate, regional politics and seat sharing.
Reservation politics: The party suffered defeat in Bihar polls due its unclear stand on reservations. The fist damage was caused by a statement from RSS chief over reservations. The BJP did not put its version to the statement immediately. Prime Minister made statement over the reservation after a week or so, by then it was too late for the party – damage already done. A fear of the ‘end of reservations’ if BJP comes to power might have caused the damage.
In an interview to Barkha Dutt on NDTV, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief challenged the BJP leaders to tear the book of RSS, where the ideology of Sangh over reservations is mentioned.
Beef Politics: The party went an extra mile over the issue in the Bihar elections. Advertisements, statements and repeating of beef issues time and again caused a big dent to party’s image. Some incidents related to beef, however triggered massive protest in India against the party and government. In such scenario, the party could have stopped its leaders from raising such sensitive issues during the elections.
CM Candidate: The party did not project chief ministerial candidate in Bihar elections which could be the biggest mistake that caused a big defeat. It was sure that projection of leader could give some mileage to the party in the elections. However, the party has received high voter percentage in the election than any other party in Bihar elections. And, it would get more by project a face that voters wanted to see as chief minister giving a tough fight to Nitish Kumar, a JD-U leader from Bihar and currently become chief minister of Bihar for fifth time.
Regional Politics: The party has failed to read the regional politics in these elections – Delhi and Bihar, where regional issues and faces are deciding factors. However, it was clear from the coalition of RJD and JDU that these two major regional parties are going to retain their vote banks in their respective areas. And, in the regional politics, the role of communities is decisive factor. These two parties have managed to get support from the communities in Bihar. Case system has left its impression the recently election giving clear majority to Grand Alliance.
Seat Sharing: This was another biggest factor that cause debacle for the party in the elections. A close study over the seat sharing of BJP and JD-U shows that the Nitish’s party has contested in fifty out of 101 with BJP. And, the rest were witnessed direct contest between BJP – RJD, BJP-Congress. This was the biggest factor that managed the Grand Alliance to get maximum seats. It was just like the two parties – JD-U and RJD dominated in all the constituencies they contested. A tweak in the seat sharing could have major impact on the results.
However, at the end it was the day of Nitish Kumar, who emerged as leader of Bihar. He recently took oath as chief minister of Bihar for the fifth time. The BJP leaders need to introspect about the policies and causes of the defeat. It was evident from the senior BJP leaders like Advani, Joshi and other raised their concerns over the defeat and asked the party leadership for introspection.