The BJP in Chhattisgarh is set for introspection following a second consecutive defeat in civic polls within a year since coming to power in December 2013, with party insiders attributing the repeated poor performance to internal conflicts.
Rival Congress won eight out of 11 municipalities when results for the recent polls were declared on Thursday, marking a huge gain for the Opposition looking to revive its fortunes in urban areas.
The Congress capped its victory march with the mayoral post in the prestigious Bhilai Municipal Corporation where chief minister Raman Singh, in power for the third consecutive term since 2003, campaigned extensively along with senior cabinet ministers Prem Prakash Pandey and Rajesh Munat and party strategist Hemchand Yadav.
“Voters have given a befitting response to the BJP’s Congress Mukt Bharat (Congress-free India) campaign. The people have voted against corruption, nonfulfillment of promises and anarchy. The BJP is wiped out in the municipal polls,” state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said.
Besides Bhilai, the Congress won all four municipal councils in Jamul (Durg), Khairagarh (Rajnandgaon), Baikunthpur and Shivpur-Charcha, both in Koriya. In the six nagar panchayat seats where elections were held, the BJP and Congress won three each.
“We are concerned why the results didn’t come to our expectations. There may be various reasons. The organisation and the party will assess the performance and introspect why the party lost,” said Prem Prakash Pandey, the BJP election incharge for Bhilai.
Insiders said resentment was brewing within the party at various levels and workers were feeling ignored. “The BJP remembers its workers only during elections. Party leaders turn a blind eye to us thereafter,” alleged a party functionary at Ekatma Parisar, the BJP state headquarters in Raipur.
This could a major reason for the defeat but local leaders too were to be blamed for disregarding people’s aspirations, political expert Anirudh Sharma said.