Bypoll lesson: A united Oppn only way to defeat PM Modi’s BJPindia Updated: Apr 16, 2017 01:55 IST
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and former CM Hemant Soren celebrates with party workers after party’s victory in Littipara bypoll, in Ranchi.(PTI)
The outcome of by-elections on two seats in Karnataka and one in Jharkhand this week contains an important political message – that the BJP can be triumphed only if Opposition votes do not get scattered.
In Karnataka, chief minister Siddaramaiah worked out a deal with the Janata Dal (Secular) to ensure that his former party did not field candidates against the Congress on Gundlupet and Nanjangud constituencies. The BJP lost both the seats.
Siddaramaiah had learnt his lessons from the defeat in the previous by-poll held in February last year when the Congress lost two of the three seats to the BJP, mainly due to the division of votes. While the Congress managed to win Bidar, the BJP won Hebbal and Deodurg seats. The JD(S) of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda had stood third on all the seats.
The by-poll victory is a big morale booster for Siddaramaiah who had been under fire in the past months from the opposition as well as his own party over his “authoritarian style of functioning” ahead of state elections next year.
Similarly in Jharkhand, the Congress decided to not to put up a candidate at Littipara and extended its support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). The ruling BJP faced defeat.
In its bid to avenge the debacle in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) pledged its support to the Congress against the ruling BJP from Ater seat in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress won, though by a thin margin.
Sensing an opportunity, non-BJP parties have now stepped up efforts to firm up pre-poll alliances ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“It is clear that the BJP has registered electoral gains because of the scattering of secular votes. We have initiated talks to bring together an alliance of like-minded and secular parties,” Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar said.
In the recent assembly elections in UP, the combined vote share of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was 4% higher than that of the BJP.
Following the UP debacle, realisation appears to be dawning on satraps of regional parties that they need to unite and join forces with the Congress to fight the common threat from the BJP.
At the launch of the Hindi version of his autobiography this week, NCP leader Sharad Pawar said the Congress was left with “no option but to stitch alliances with regional forces to halt the BJP’s electoral juggernaut. Earlier, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav had not ruled out the possibility of a tie-up with the BSP sometime in future. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has spoken about the possibility of an understanding with the Left parties on issues of common concern.
Ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections later this year, Patidar leader Hardik Patel has joined the Shiv Sena, while the NCP has firmed a tie-up with the Janata Dal (United).
“The country’s political forces are being reconfigured. The process is expected to gain pace in coming months,” a senior JD (U) leader said.