After Rajasthan rout, will BJP advance LS polls?

Recently, both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for simultaneous national and state elections.

Shocking byelection defeats for the BJP at the hands of its arch-rival Congress in Rajasthan, two of them for Lok Sabha seats and one for the state Assembly, on the same day that the Union Budget was being rolled out, were of such a magnitude as to cause the saffron party disquiet, taking away any feelgood element the Budget may have inspired in the party’s ranks. The political situation in Rajasthan is particularly important as the state is due to hold Assembly polls towards the end of the year, one among seven forthcoming state polls leading up to the Lok Sabha election in 2019. The states going to the polls include BJP-held Madhya Pradesh, contiguous to Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, which was carved out of MP. Gujarat, where the BJP just scraped through, also sits nearby, making a clutch of four BJP-run states together.

Such was the scale of the BJP defeat on Thursday, in the backdrop of the party having won three-fourths of the Assembly seats in 2013 and all Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014, that questions are apt to arise over not only the Chief Minister’s leadership but also the combined organisational effectiveness of the BJP and RSS and the Hindutva ploys they have adopted to keep the flock together. The ruling party lost all 16 Assembly segments that comprise the two Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer, which are in two different regions of the state. A more comprehensive defeat is hard to visualise. Alwar was lost by nearly two lakh votes. The Congress also won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat by a very comfortable margin despite the presence of a party rebel in the fray. The compliment was returned in full measure and more for the Congress’ trouncing in 2014.

In West Bengal, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress held complete sway in the bypolls for a Lok Sabha and an Assembly seat, the BJP came second, pushing the CPI(M) to third spot and relegating the Congress to the status of an also-ran. But is this sufficient to cut the sting of the reverse in Rajasthan? It would be self-delusionary to answer the question in the affirmative. The BJP’s vote is so far behind the TMC’s that to call it a challenger to Ms Banerjee’s party will be a severe distortion of reality. The message from West Bengal is really for the Communists, whose fortunes have dived so low as to invite ridicule, specially when former revolutionaries hold intra-party debates on matters of little interest to the people. Recently, both President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for simultaneous national and state elections. After the recent Rajasthan rout, and uncertain prospects in other states where elections are due, will the BJP advance the Lok Sabha polls?

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story