The BJP’s poor show in the recent by-elections — particularly in Bihar and in Uttarakhand — after a stellar performance in the Lok Sabha polls should have been a cause of worry. But, the party seems unfazed, or at least it is pretending to be.
BJP leaders close to party chief Amit Shah, who won Uttar Pradesh for the party in the parliamentary polls, claims he considers the forthcoming general elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and J&K as the real test of his organisational abilities.
“After taking over as party president, Shah hardly got time for the byelections. Questions will be asked if he fails to deliver in the poll-bound states,” a BJP leader said, on condition of anonymity.
Many upper caste leaders question the BJP’s outreach programme for the OBCs and the SCs in private, and any adverse results in the September 13 bypolls would only add to the murmurs in the party.
Incidentally, three out of the four winners of BJP belong to the backward castes in Bihar, while four out of the six winning candidates of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance are from upper castes.
Former Union minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, however, disputes it was a rout for the BJP in Bihar.
The former LS MP claims the party held six out of the 10 assembly seats that went for a bypoll and the BJP won four.
BJP spokesman GVL Narsimha Rao disagrees that BJP’s fortunes are heading southwards. “When the general elections to assemblies are held, say in Bihar, people will certainly consider whether to vote against BJP meant the return of Lalu Raj,” he said.