oppn parties Found! The Formula to Beat the BJP

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
Found! The Formula to Beat the BJP

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-03-14 21:28:15

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The SP-BSP combine has given BJP a big shock ahead of 2019. It has won – and won big – in both Phulpur and Gorakhpur parliamentary by-elections in UP. The arrangement between the two avowed enemies, that was thought to be an experiment to see where the BJP stood when opposition votes were not divided, has struck gold. It will demoralize the BJP and redouble the efforts for meaningful opposition unity ahead of the 2019 general elections. For the record, the SP won the Phulpur seat by a margin of over 50000 votes while it won the Gorakhpur seat by 23000 votes.

The reaction of the SP-BSP combine was predictable. They said that the BJP lost because of its “arrogance” and misgovernance. But the BJP response was interesting. The party said that it had underestimated the SP-BSP alliance. It said that it did not think that almost all BSP votes would be transferred to SP. Obviously this is what happened as the SP had got 21.8% votes and the BSP 22.2% against the BJP’s 39.7% in the assembly elections just a year back. Hence their combined votes stood at 44% and were much more than the BJP’s tally. When Mayawati supported the SP, she made sure that her workers worked to transfer all the votes. The low turnout in the by-elections also meant that the BJP failed to bring its committed voters to the booth and that cost it dearly.

These results will have many repercussions. The first and foremost will be the immediate downgrading of Yogi Adityanath’s status within the party. He will now be seen as someone who could not even retain his home seat. All talk of using him as a star campaigner across India will now be put on hold. For, more than a loss for the BJP, Gorakhpur is a serious personal loss for Yogi. His image of being the Gorakhpur strong man who was invincible has been blown to smithereens. He will also be taken to task for not anticipating what a consolidation of Muslim-Dalit-backward class (MDB) votes could do to the party and not taking steps to prevent it.

Then, these results will send the BJP scurrying back to the drawing board to cook up a different strategy for the 2019 elections. For, the party cannot let go of UP. It will have to devise a counter to the consolidation of MDB votes, as having tasted huge success the opposition is more than likely to strike such alliances in most seats in the state. The BJP will now have to factor in off-beat opposition unity all over the country. Hence, it needs to create situations that prevent such unity from happening. In order to do so, it will itself have to strike new alliances and keep existing allies in good humour. It will also have to tweak its campaign strategy in order to bring committed voters to the booths.

On the other hand, the opposition will see these results as a clear indication that only the prevention of splitting of their votes will stop the BJP juggernaut. Hence, opposition leaders are likely to shed their egos and come together. After all, if Mayawati and Akhilesh can do it, why can’t the others? This will become the mantra. Obviously the regional parties can by themselves do only so much and no further. In large swathes of the country – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam - the Congress still remains the principal opposition party and it rules in Punjab and Karnataka. Together these states account for 193 Lok Sabha seats. Hence, any talk of opposition unity will have to factor in the Congress dominance and perhaps accept Rahul Gandhi as their leader. It remains to be seen whether the other opposition leaders accept this situation. It also remains to be seen whether the consolidation of the MBD vote works at the same level when Rahul Gandhi is projected as the prime ministerial candidate.

image courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com