With the bypoll results out, will it be safe to assume that the voters are in a mood to have a change in power if BJP doesn’t come around to work for the people of the country?
With the results of bypolls that were held on 28th May out, it was visible that the national ruling party had lost the seats by a huge margin. The bypolls were to be held for 10 assembly seats and 4 Lok Sabha seats in 10 states. BJP won just 3 out of the 14 seats it contested on and the opposition, that had recently joined hands found the ball in their court with 11 seats. This win, for the opposition, was a huge success considering BJP has enjoyed a stronghold in most states in the country. The BJP lost its crucial seat in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh but somehow managed to retain its Palghar seat in Maharashtra. The third seat was won for BJP led NDA’s ally, NDPP in Nagaland.
This tremendous loss for BJP in the bypolls is a cause of concern for the ruling party since it is very evident after Karnataka elections that the opposition is all set and in the mood to defeat BJP, even if it means that they would form unimaginable alliances. Since Karnataka elections, it was pretty evident that Congress would go to every possible door and knock if it meant they could defeat BJP in an election. This time around, this theory of theirs worked in the bypolls, too.
It is interesting to witness this turn of events and see what has changed the wave in the last four years that parties that were almost abandoned by the people have their trust again.
Key issues raised by BJP before every election
A country stands on the pillars of development and the need of the hour is to have a party in power that talks about and works on the growth of the country- the development of infrastructure, the upliftment of people and not just raise eyebrows on various communities.
BJP has in the past, right before the elections got the convention of raising issues as means of polarising people of the country. Ahead of Karnataka elections also, BJP resorted to delving back in history as a means to polarise the state. Tipu Sultan, who is fondly known as the Tiger of Mysore was labelled as “anti-Karnataka” and “anti-Hindu”. Tipu Sultan, in the past, had very graciously held the strong image of a “brave freedom fighter”, as called by Congress. This step by BJP was seen as a means to raise communal questions in the state and shift the tide of the votes towards the party that was looking to have the 21st state under their control.
This is not the only time BJP resorted to raising a communal question in an election. Recently, a whole debate was stirred up on the portrait of Muhammed Ali Jinnah which adorns the walls of Aligarh Muslim University. BJP asserted that since Jinnah isn’t an Indian, his portrait should be taken down. Replying to this baseless argument, Aligarh Muslim University said: “Jinnah was one of the founding members of the university, hence he has been given a lifetime membership of the university’s student union in 1938.” People believed that Jinnah’s portrait has got nothing to do with the community as a whole but was seen as a way to raise communal disharmony right before the elections.
The key issues that were raised by BJP were never on the basis of how the people will benefit from the government but were always religion-based. The opposition very diligently took advantage of the fact and RDL went on to campaign against Narendra Modi’s failure to deliver his promises.
Why didn’t the campaign work?
People, the last four years saw BJP and its work in the whole nation. The nation is faced with a ditch in front of it that is all set to divide the whole country. The rise in the communal tensions from both ends, the Hindus, and the Muslims was an evidence of the kind of toxicity the people in the country have gathered in the last four years. Not just that, but people did, in fact, pay attention to the lack of delivery of promises made by the party.
The continuous domino effect in which one policy after the other crumbled in front of the nation was enough proof for people to read right through Modi’s agenda. The sheer failure of schemes like beti padhao, beti bachao which could have given BJP an edge over the previous parties goes on to say a lot about the foundation stones on which BJP rests right now. The failure of the campaign to reach the grass-root level says a lot about how the whole campaign was chalked out. Similarly, the grand launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was further endorsed by celebrities came crashing to the ground after the government spent Rs. 530 crores, just on advertising. The campaign that was to raise awareness of cleanliness in the country and the importance of sanitation just curtailed to being the poster-boy for tweets and likes.
Likewise, the government’s inability to provide relief to farmers across the country and the resulting deaths in the nation is also what must have hit home with people and they had the urge to change the government, even if it was at a smaller front level. Just from 2014 to 2015 alone 536 farmers in Telangana had committed suicide. The government in the last 4 years failed to give farmers the relief they promised, of MSP cost+ 50%. Not just that, but, the increasing prices of basic commodities and items of luxury stung the voters. The constantly rising price of petrol that has a ripple effect on the price of every commodity had the voter demanding a change. At the time when BJP came to power in 2014, the price of petrol was Rs 71.91 but now, just in 4 years, it has reached Rs. 86.23 at its peak. The government who contested on the pegs of the price hike, when does the same, the people tend to lose faith in them.
What BJP needs right now is an ambassador, a face that would exemplify its growth and developmental strategies.
The need for an ambassador of growth and development
In order to change its image in the country, the Modi government has to get down from the pedestal of polarisation and saddle the horses of growth and development.
Yogi Adityanath, since he came to power in 2017 has been the perpetrator of Hindutva in the country. However, a country where its people are reading right through the well thought out words the government has to move beyond just religious polarisation and move towards actual development of the country. Even the mention of Jinnah at the Kairana poll speeches has given rise to the need for BJP to have an ambassador of growth. The way in which Yogi Adityanath has spread the message of Hindutva, the party needs someone who will talk about their growth and developmental policies to the people.
The way in which these bypolls were lost by BJP says a lot about people growing away from the need of religious propaganda to the need and implementation of growth in the country.
Gujarat election model is old news now
BJP, for so long has boasted about the Gujarat model and preached how they would develop India on the same model. But with the world become more equipped every day, BJP has to match up to the progress.
Gujarat model focused on a quantum jump in infrastructure to enable inflow of corporate investment; quantum jump in governance to address the requirements of corporate units; and unprecedented rise in incentives and subsidies on investments to the corporate sector to attract investments. Infrastructure development focused on roads, airports and power – and through reforms, 24-hour availability of power.
The country as of now just doesn’t need this. It needs a more elaborate and articulate plan so that everyone, from the lower-middle class and upper-middle class benefit from the policies and the infrastructural growth and not just the rich industrialists and tycoons. India needs to do away with the Gujarat model of growth. It needs to have a look at the South Korean model of growth and welcome relationships, both political and economical to a greater extent. More companies like Hyundai and Samsung should invest in the country which could lead to the generation of more jobs.
The bypolls, the voters have shown, is just the beginning, but if the current government doesn’t straighten its act, it will be faced with a topple and there would be no going back from the damage that it’ll do.
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