The BJP’s drubbing in the Bihar assembly elections and the subsequent questioning of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine within the party, albeit in hushed tones, has sparked speculation on whether the polls’ outcome will force an overhaul in the party, and whether it will cover the powerful chief ministers of MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Political analyst Girija Shankar said that as of now there does not seem any apparent reason for the PM and the party president to carry out an overhaul in the party. He said status quo would most likely be maintained.
“There are two types of opponents of the PM and the party president within the BJP – the stated ones and the unstated ones. At present, the party leadership is likely to address the stated opponents like Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh, indications of which have already been given,” he said.
“The BJP contested the Bihar election on the lines suggested by the RSS. So the RSS has to decide what to do after the result,” he added.
However, since the Bihar election will be followed by polls in Punjab and West Bengal where the BJP may face a tough battle, the blame for the outcome, if adverse, may be at the PM and the party president’s doorstep again.
“In such a situation, there is a chance that the PM and the party president may want to check powerful chief ministers within the BJP, although doing an overhaul in such a scenario will not be easy,” said senior journalist Rashid Kidwai.
“The only window of carrying out any changes is through a cabinet reshuffle at the Centre in which the CMs can be accommodated,” he added.
Meanwhile, state BJP leaders were quick to point out that issues of MP, mainly Vyapam, were not an issue in the Bihar polls.
“The defeat is a cause for introspection but it will not have any impact on upcoming by-elections in Ratlam Lok Sabha and Dewas assembly segment,” said revenue minister Rampal Singh.
BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya was more circumspect. “We accept the mandate. We can feel the happiness on the faces of our political adversaries. The results also gave us an indication on who our adversaries are within,” he said.