Acche Din article by Abheek Barman
The BJP’s politics in the Hindi heartland has increasingly centered on communalization, dividing Hindu against Muslim and pitting bulldogs like Gorakhpur MP Adityanath against all minorities. Well, the verdict is out: even in western UP, which has been the most communally polarized area, the BJP has drawn a blank. Indian voters are wiser than so-called leaders and will not be moved by fraudulent claims of some ‘love jihad’.
Elsewhere, the Congress has rubbed the BJP’s nose in the ground by winning three of four seats in Rajasthan and even winning a couple of seats in Modi’s Gujarat. These are states were the BJP was supposed to be invulnerable, with no other party able to wrest even a single seat from it. Well, so much for a Modi wave.
But the BJP has started winning in states where it had no toehold earlier. It won a seat in Bengal and one in Assam. This means that while it is losing out in the heartland, its traditional base, it could extend its reach to the east. This might not last: after all, Bengal and Assam politics are played very differently from the BJP-RSS playbook.
This verdict against the Modi-ruled BJP can create great changes. It could, for example, reset the equation with its ally, the Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra just before a crucial assembly election. The Sena has been smarting from insults from the BJP: apparently the new leadership under Amit Shah believes it is dispensible and the BJP can win in Maharashtra on its own.
After Modi’s Lok Sabha triumph, three rounds of by elections have taken place and the results for the BJP have been an unequivocal disaster in every phase. Acchhe din – better days were promised – but Indian voters have wisened up to the divergence between that and the reality of growing inflation, communal tension and loss of livelihoods that have happened in the last few months since Modi came to power.
The results – in stark electoral terms from Uttarakhand, Bihar, Karnataka, UP, Gujarat and Rajasthan – are there for all to see. more