Tharali bypoll win: BJP deserves more credit than CM Rawat’s growth agenda, say experts
The BJP’s win in the Tharali assembly bypoll in Uttarakhand may have helped chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat rise in his bosses’ estimation, but that solo victory wouldn’t help him emerge as his party’s undisputed leader unless he speeds up development, say analystsUpdated: Jun 01, 2018 22:16 IST
The BJP’s win in the Tharali assembly bypoll in Uttarakhand may have helped chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat rise in his bosses’ estimation, but that solo victory wouldn’t help him emerge as his party’s undisputed leader unless he speeds up development, say analysts.
Rawat, they opined, will have to push for development and ensure more electoral successes to win the trust of his party workers. Analysts, however, are unanimous that the BJP’s victory in Tharali may have raised the chief minister’s stature before his bosses because it spared them the blushes considering the rout the ruling party suffered in nine other assembly bypolls across the country.
“A solo electoral win is not going to help him (Rawat) emerge as the undisputed leader of the BJP’s faction-ridden state unit, unless development gets a boost,” said retired professor JP Pachauri. Prof YP Sundriyal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University agreed. “One electoral win can’t give him a passport to lead the party owing to a variety of factors,” he said.
For one, the margin of the BJP’s win in Tharali was very narrow compared to the 2017 assembly elections. “Clearly, such a narrow margin has put a question mark on the Rawat government’s development agenda,” Sundriyal said.
According to him, the BJP’s Tharali bypoll win by 50% less margin of votes than that the party got in the assembly polls was due to the sympathy factor as it had fielded district panchayat chief Munni Devi, a widow of the late Magan Lal Shah. He won that seat by a margin of nearly 5000 votes.
“The BJP’s low victory margin shows that people are unhappy with the development policies being pursued by the (Rawat) government,” Sundriyal said.
Prof MC Joshi of Kumaon University opined that the sympathy factor, the entire Rawat cabinet, four of the five parliamentarians and several BJP leaders pitching in to campaign for the party won it the Tharali bypoll.
He, however, agreed that the BJP’s bypoll victory added to Rawat’s stature because the party retained Tharali. “The bypoll win has, no doubt, sent a positive message about his government. However, I don’t subscribe to the view that his (Rawat’s) acceptability within the party’s faction-ridden state unit has increased,” he said.
Joshi opined that the resentment among the chief minister’s rivals within the party and its rank and file will not subside because of its win in Tharali. The resentment against Rawat began after the BJP brass “picked” him for the top post following the party’s landslide win in 2017.
“It won’t subside because Rawat’s rivals within the party and its ordinary workers know that the Tharali bypoll win did not happen because of him,” Joshi said. “Their strength is so huge that even if he wants to pacify them by distributing minister-level responsibilities among them the latter will fall short.”
MM Semwal of HNB Garwal (Central) University agreed that Rawat lacks the charisma and drive a leader needs to push for development and win elections. “In fact, the credit for ensuring the BJP victory in the Tharali bypoll mainly goes to its organisational wing,” he said.
The BJP though sought to dispel this impression. “The people of Tharali voted the BJP on the basis of its government’s performance,” state BJP vice-president Jyoti Prasad Gairola said. “Therefore, the entire credit for our party’s win in Tharali goes to the chief minister who heads a government that has been proactively pushing for development in the hill state,” he claimed.