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Assembly bypolls: Projecting Yogi Adityanath proved counter-productive for BJP

Tuesday’s bypoll results have thrown up more questions than answers. While many were quick to debunk Modi government’s achhe din claims, there was no easy answer to the question: was the SP’s success a verdict on Akhilesh's government’s performance? BJP jolted in all, except Bengal

india Updated: Sep 17, 2014 03:34 IST
DK Singh
DK Singh
Hindustan Times
bypolls,elections,Uttar Pradesh

Tuesday’s by-poll results have thrown up more questions than answers.

While many were quick to debunk Narendra Modi government’s achhe din claims, there was no easy answer to the ineluctable follow-up question: was the SP’s success a verdict on Akhilesh Yadav government’s performance? Not many would vouch for it though.

Similarly, there was no easy explanation for the ruling BJP’s dismal show in Rajasthan just over 100 days after it swept the Lok Sabha polls.

And that, too, when a pro-active Vasundhara Raje government, embarking on a spate of economic and labour reforms, looked well-ensconced as against the demoralised, faction-ridden Congress.

Read: Assembly bypolls: BJP jolted in all, except Bengal

Coming as they did after the BJP’s reverses in assembly by-polls in Uttarakhand in July and in Bihar last month, the latest by-poll results have rather come as a repudiation of BJP patriarch LK Advani’s and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s not-so-veiled assertions denying Modi credit for the party’s unprecedented success in the Lok Sabha polls.

As was evident from the results last May, the OBCs and Dalits had broken ranks with their political patrons -- be it the SP, the BSP, the RJD or the JD(U) -- to vote for the BJP.

The results indicated that this shift in their loyalty was swung by Modi in the limited context of his prime ministerial bid and was not a permanent one towards the BJP.

The BJP may now be compelled to re-visit its strategy in the Hindi heartland. Projecting aggressive Hindutva ideologues like Yogi Adityanath in the forefront and stoking political embers over the alleged ‘love jehad’ has proved to be counter-productive.

Having installed an OBC prime minister, the OBCs now seem to be looking back at their local patrons, be it the RJD in Bihar or the SP in UP. The BSP’s decision not to contest and rather back Independents also did not bring much dividend to the BJP.

A Bihar-like anti-BJP coalition, though not supported by the BSP for now, could put paid to the BJP’s hopes of replicating Lok Sabha results in 2017 assembly elections in UP.

In Gujarat also, the fact that the Congress managed to wrest 3 out of 9 assembly seats is set to raise questions about Modi’s successor Anandiben Patel’s acumen to carry his baton.

Reverses in these states may have spoilt the party for the BJP in West Bengal where the lotus “blossomed” vindicating Amit Shah’s focus on the state.

There was jubilation in the Congress camp on Tuesday over its performance in Gujarat and Rajasthan. After the rout in Lok Sabha elections, the party has been in disarray anticipating another drubbing in Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections.

These by-polls may have brought a glimmer of hope to the grand old party, which seemed to be suffering from policy paralysis with party leadership unable to chart out any future course of action. Only time will tell whether these results would change the leadership’s outlook.

Already, there were whispers about how the Nehru-Gandhi family was not much involved in these by-polls.

Read: Lesson for BJP from bypolls: think beyond 'Modi wave'

Read: Bypoll results- What it means for the Congress

Read: Gujarat bypolls: BJP retains 6 seats, loses 3 to Congress

Read: Oppn parties upbeat after bypoll results, slam Modi

First Published: Sep 16, 2014 18:26 IST