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October 25, 2014 / subramanyam

BJP’s Rise and Regional Dynamics.

Last Sunday was indeed a super Sunday for BJP.  The party’s risks paid off, they are forming government in a state for the first time and they have changed the dynamics of another state forever.  With these results they have more or less established themselves in all the states to the west of Delhi.  They are in power in all the states except Karnataka and Kerala. They are the principal opposition in Karnataka (Post the Lok Sabha  election I would call them the principal opposition and rank them above JD(S)).  Now Kerala is the only state where they are yet to come into power or be the principal opposition.  Check the Indian map with BJP ruled states and  NDA ruled states.

India with BJP & NDA ruled states .

India with BJP & NDA ruled states .

Fortune Favors the Brave:

Let us look at Haryana first.  BJP never contested more than 26 seats in Haryana.  It has never won more than 16 seats in Haryana. It always went with  alliances. It went with the INLD and HJC before.  Even in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections we saw an alliance between HJC and BJP.  In most of these alliances BJP was a junior partner and was supporting the governments run by other parties in Haryana.   This time around BJP decided to go all alone. With just 4 seats in the outgoing assembly, with at least 45 seats needed for a simple majority, this must be considered as a bold move. Then they created magic by winning 47 out of the 90 seats.  4 to 47 is a giant leap isn’t it ?

Same is the case with Maharashtra, BJP was always the junior partner to Shiv Sena in this state.  Their best outing was in 1995 when they won 65 seats in the state Assembly.  In 2009 the party had just 46 seats in the assembly.  They were offered 117 to 119 seats by Shiv Sena this time.  BJP rejected the offer, decided to go alone and then  went on to win 123 seats.  Here again we see that BJP took the right risk and won the election.  Today they are calling shots in the alliance with Shiv Sena and have positioned themselves as the ones who control things in the state. It would interesting to note that this is the first time since 1990 that a single  party has got 100+ seats in Maharashtra.  Another great achievement by BJP,  isn’t it ?

How is BJP doing it ?

The Modi wave is very much alive and is sweeping across the length and breadth of this country.  Modi’s charisma and  his wave are the biggest reason as to why BJP took the risk of going alone in the key states.  Then,  under Amit Shah the party is doing an extensive survey of the ground realities and is creating a pitch that attracts the local populace.  We all know the way the Narendra Modi connects with masses, when you  add the excellent  homework that Amit Shah and the state leaders of the party are doing to this charisma of Modi, you are bound to view a phenomenal success.  The opposition (read Indian National Congress) is losing touch with ground realities and is making the job a little easy for the BJP.

Are Regional Satraps getting it wrong ? :

The focus however is not on Congress, we all know that the party is going through a lean phase and would lose the elections this time. The question is why are the regional satraps unable to benefit from the anti-incumbency against the Congress party ?  These parties which once dictated terms to the BJP are now losing political space and relevance. Why is this happening?

An objective analysis would tell us that most of this is the own doing of the Regional Satraps.  They have taken the people for granted as they felt that they are only alternative for the people.  They could not calculate, calibrate or comprehend the resentment that is brewing in the hearts of millions of Indians.  They could not change their pitch to attract the young and restless population of the country.  When in power they were arrogant, they indulged in corruption and created negative image for themselves.  Then,  most of these regional parties have political  dynasties in them and that again is a reason for resentment.  For example when we look at Haryana,  INLD’s supremo Shri  Om Prakash Chautala is facing huge charges of corruption, many complain that a lot of his relatives and family members control the party.  Then we have Kuldeep Bishnoi and the HJC  which was a part of NDA but still could not win even a single Lok Sabha seat in the Namo wave of 2014.  Similarly,  we have Shiv Sena where we are seeing a political dynasty that is  controlling the party .  Clearly Uddhav’s moves are not as shrewd as the one’s of his father and the party could not change its pitch with the changing times.  These parties are still trying to get the votes in the traditional ways and that strategy is clearly backfiring.  Shiv Sena’s “Marathi Manoos” centric ideology  paid them great dividends in the past but the new voter is wanting more opportunities than traditional sloganeering.

BJP was quick to catch-all this.  They chalked their strategy carefully, saw the opportunity in the Modi wave,  brushed aside the regional satraps,  took the calculated risks and expanded their presence in these areas.

What does this mean for India ?

A national party gaining more ground is always good for a nation.  We might see single national parties getting bigger mandates in Lok Sabha and that would reduce the influence of regional players in coalition governments.  This would definitely help India in the long run as it would embolden and empower the national parties in making tough decisions. Regional parties and regional interests might at times hurt the national interests.  We saw that happen before, now that regional parties and regional satraps are receiving body blows we might see more responsible regional players coming up.  The fear of a national party eating into their vote share and marginalizing them would also force the regional players to deliver on their promises and ensure that they would work for the growth of the state.  So all these are good signs for India.

What does this mean for BJP ?

An increased foot print is always good.  However, as they say getting to the top is tough but it is tougher to stay there.  BJP’s ascent this time is due to the combination of a lot of factors. Modi is the biggest factor and that is an undeniable fact.  Now there is a huge responsibility on the state level leaders to deliver.  The CM’s of Haryana and Maharashtra will have to emulate  Shri Modi or Shri Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan or Shri Raman Singh in delivering on the promises.  While Shri Narendra Modi scored a hatrick in Gujarat before making to New Delhi, Shri Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan and Shri Raman Singh  have helped the BJP come to power for the third consecutive time in their respective states.  Only when the new CM’s recreate this sort of magic , the gains made by BJP in this election would make sense for them and the party .

That is in the long run, as for now these results would definitely embolden the party and we would see that they would go with full force to the elections in Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand.  We would be seeing a more assertive and dynamic BJP in the days to come.


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