BJP ends it alliance with PDP in J&K. Mehbooba Mufti resigns. State set for governor's rule

News Snippets

  • Calcutta HC says govt must return all certificates of a candidate if he pays up the requisite amount to get released from the five-year service bond after completing his MD or MS from a state hospital
  • Interpol lets Nirav Modi travel frequently despite lookout notices, CBI angry
  • Delhi HC says it is illegal to hold a dharna inside someone's residence, pulling up Kejriwal and his ministers for squatting inside Delhi Lt. Governor's home
  • Even as Delhi IAS officers say they are ready to discuss matters with the AAP government, Kejriwal seeks the presence of the Lt. Gov at any such meeting
  • Thanga Tamilselvan says he will withdraw his petition challenging disqalification of 18 dissident MLAs fuelling talks of reconciliation between warring AIADMK factions
  • Surat farmers oppose bullet train project saying railways do not need to acquire land
  • India-Pak-China trilateral meet proposed by China
  • Govt plans to integrate 1000 hrs of skill training in undergraduate courses
  • WB finance minister Amit Mitra alleges that the Centre is holding on to Rs 25000cr refund to exporters after the GST regime came into force
  • Finance minister Arun Jaitley says excise on fuel will not be cut
  • Truckers to go on strike from Monday. Vegetables and milk, among other essentials, left out of the purview of the strike
  • Govt to go after companies selling drugs before clinical trials establish their efficacy
  • Ceasefire in J&K unlikely to be extended
  • Notice of evasion of service tax to the tune of Rs 2500cr sent to LIC
  • India hikes customs duty on several US products to counter its tariff hikes on Indian products
wilting lotus
Punjab, Gujarat and Now Rajasthan: Is the Lotus Wilting?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The scale on which the BJP has been decimated in the by-polls in Rajasthan is mindboggling and perhaps unprecedented. Consider the facts. The BJP won the Ajmer Lok Sabha seat in 2014 with a majority of 1.7 lakh votes. This time it lost by a margin of nearly 85000 votes. In Alwar, it had won by 2.83 lakh votes. The Congress won it this time by nearly 2 lakh votes. In Mandalgarh assembly, the Congress won by 13000 votes. In all three places, the swing in votes away from the BJP was over 15 percent. These figures cannot be put down to just plain anti-incumbency. These figures show that even the core voters – those who traditionally support the BJP, come what may – are also going against the party. A swing of 3 to 5 percent is often viewed as anti-incumbency vote as fence sitters not approving the ruling party’s record can go against it. But such huge swings are matters of concern and more than being negative voting against the BJP, it can be taken as positive voting for the Congress.

Although the Raje government has introduced many welfare schemes in Rajasthan, she tripped in the by polls due to many factors. First and foremost, the selection of candidates was faulty. Then, she underestimated the organizational strength of the Congress. She could not gauge the underlying anger in communities such as the Rajputs, the Brahmins and the Jats. She could not comprehend the distress over Pehlu Khan’s lynching and the general deterioration of law and order in the state. Despite being a pioneer in land law reform and introducing government-funded health insurance schemes for the poor, the Raje government could not tackle farmer distress and law and order. It also alienated powerful sections of the Hindu higher castes. That has become its undoing.

There must be deep worry lines on Amit Shah’s forehead after these results. Punjab and Gujarat have already shown that just trying to create divisions between communities will not help the party. People vote on hope for some time. After that they vote on performance. In state after state, the BJP governments are doing little to alleviate the sufferings of the people. Instead, cow vigilantes and other criminals are being given a free run to foment trouble. Religion can excite people only on full stomachs. When there is no job and the stomachs are empty, the ire is vented on the government through negative voting. The BJP has only one more year to reverse the situation. Otherwise, their footprint will start vanishing from large parts of the country.

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