Insight Delhi

#BJP redraws Election Strategy

#BJP redraws Election Strategy

Faced with rural disquiet and lack of response from the farming community, the BJP looks like redrawing its #electoral strategy to attract voters in the on-going Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Polling is already over in Chhatisgarh.

BJP facing #anti-incumbency

In all the three Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh figuring in the current round of Assembly elections, the BJP is facing anti-incumbency as the party is in power in all three states. In the two other states going to the polls, Telangana in the South and Mizoram in the North-East, other parties are ruling.

In all these three states, the BJP had gone into the election, projecting the face of the respective Chief Ministers, not Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, which the party normally has been doing whenever faced with elections in any part of the country. The latest big example of this was seen in last year’s Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where Mr. Narendra Modi was the face of the electoral fight waged by the BJP. Yogi Adityanath was chosen as the Chief Minister only after the election results handed a resounding victory to the BJP.

In the current round of elections, the bill boards and election posters of the BJP have been dominated by the faces of the respective Chief Ministers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah occupying a less prominent place.

To fall back again on #Narendra Modi’s charisma

But with signs emerging that the BJP’s election campaign is not getting the traction the party expected, it appears that a change in plans is underway. An indication of this came this weekend with BJP President Amit Shah calling upon voters to exercise their franchise in a way to get a “double sarkar”, a BJP government in the state and a Narendra Modi government at the Centre for another five years after next year’s general elections. At a rally in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, Amit Shah said that when the people vote for a BJP government in the state, it will also automatically lead to the return to power of a Narendra Modi led government at the Centre next year.

Will the strategy work.

Of course, the change in strategy has a downside also. If the BJP fares badly in the Assembly elections, it would mean that the party concedes that it will have an adverse impact on next year’s general elections also. The decision to put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s prestige at stake in the Assembly elections at this stage also means that the party is getting adverse reports about its prospects from the grassroots.
#Rural Distress increasing.

The BJP governments, both at the Centre and in the states where the party is ruling, have been claiming that several farmer friendly steps have been taken. But independent observers say that rural distress has been increasing. In the last two or three years, farmers’ suicides have been going up in many states of the country including those ruled by the BJP and its allies. There have been reports of farmers resorting to distress sales of food grains, pulses and other agricultural produce.

Signs of the rural masses moving away from the BJP have been there for all to see. The party was able to come back to power in the last Assembly elections in Gujarat with a reduced majority but it fared poorly in the rural areas. Reports from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate that there is hardly any likelihood of the BJP improving its hold over the rural voters in these states in the current round of Assembly elections. Farmers are not able to get remunerative prices for farm produce. The rural economy has also been hit badly by the way in which the GST regime has been implemented.

Faced with the writing on the wall indicating the moving away of the farming community from the BJP, the party is now trying to get over the problem by again invoking the alleged continuing charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But it is uncertain if the change in plans will deliver the goods.

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