Insight Delhi

#Election Year Rumblings

#Election Year Rumblings

With setbacks in the Assembly elections at the yearend, there are rumblings in the ruling BJP as the clock moves inexorably towards general elections in the new year. There is silence in the top leadership of the party on the defeats suffered in three Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan. Prime Minister #Narendra Modi has not reacted at all to the election results except for a tweet – “We accept the people’s mandate with humility…..” on December 11 when the results were announced. The other top leader of the BJP, party chief #Amit Shah, after remaining silent for a week, played down the losses, saying that they would have no impact on the Lok Sabha elections to be held by May, 2019.

            But there are rumblings in the party even though nobody is coming out to criticize the duo of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who take all important decisions in the party and the government it runs. No important BJP leader has come on record to say anything about the defeat in the Assembly elections. But a couple of newspapers have been referring to off the  record statements by many BJP leaders that Narendra Modi and Amit Shah should take responsibility for the defeats. In this connection, they point out that both these leaders always take the credit when the party wins.

            Media has also noted Union Minister #Nitin Gadkari’s remarks in the last few days that the leadership should accept the blame when a particular organization meets with reverses. In remarks at an Intelligence Bureau endowment lecture, Nitin Gadkari, without referring to the BJP, said: “the loyalty of the leadership towards the organization will not be proved till the time it owns up responsibility for defeat.” In a particularly telling comment earlier, he said, “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. When there is success, there will be a race to take credit but in case of failure, everybody will start pointing fingers at each other.”

            Observers say that Gadkari’s comments are significant, in the light of his standing in the Sangh parivar. He is known to be close to the #RSS, the mother organization of the BJP and several other outfits. Many people believe that Gadkari appears to have had the RSS go ahead before he spoke on the issue.

            The rumblings in the BJP come at a time when it is increasingly becoming clear that there will be no cake walk for any political party in the general elections due in four or five months’ time. The battle is going to be tough for both the BJP and its main challenger, the Congress. Unless something happens which changes the political matrix drastically in the coming few months, there is going to be a three way fight in the Lok Sabha elections race. Apart from the BJP led National Democratic Alliance, #NDA, and the Congress led United Progressive Alliance, #UPA, major regional parties have also thrown their hats in the ring. They are working on building a federal or third front equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress.

            An #assessment of the likely outcome of the #Lok Sabha elections, if there is no drastic turn around in the next few months, is given below.

Total


State


BJP


NDA Allies



Congress



UPA All.


Reg.


Left
J&K
Pun.
Har.
HP
CDG.


1
0
3
2




2


2
10
4
2
1




3
1
3





6
13
10
4
1
UP
BIHAR
JHAR.
UKD.
20
6
3
3
2
6
3
3
4
4
2

24
4
55





80
40
14
5
MP
CHHA.
RAJ.
DELHI
12
1
10
1

1

15
9
15
1
2







5



29
11
25
7
MHA.
GUJ.
GOA
11
15
1

9



14
11
1
14





48
26
2
WB
ODI.
1
4

4
3

32
14
5
42
21
NE1237325


TN &
PUD.
AP
Tel.
Karn.
Ker.
Dadra
& NH.
D & D
Laksh.
4
3

9

1
6
4



4
2
3
13
8
2
24


6
4

2
16
14






8

40
25
17
28
20
3
123361447814813542

The assessment shows that both the BJP and the Congress will find it difficult to cross the 150 mark in the Lok Sabha elections. The prospective Federal Front constituents will most likely be just behind them or level with them.

            Prospects look bleak for the BJP in the North Western region of the country where the party may just have to remain satisfied with six seats out of the total thirty four. In the North-Central region of the country comprising Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, the BJP may just win 32 seats out of the total 139. With the #Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s #Bahujan Samaj Party coming together, the BJP would be hard put to win anything above 20 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. In neighbouring Bihar, the NDA alliance of BJP, Janata Dal United and Lok Janshakti Party will face a tough challenge from the RJD led #Mahagathbandhan, of which the Congress is also a constituent. In Jharkhand also, the NDA prospects are no brighter.

            In Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan, the BJP will not be able to repeat its clean sweep of 2014. The Congress, which has won the Assembly elections in these states, will be upbeat and try to win at least two thirds of the Lok Sabha seats from these states.

            In Maharashtra, the situation is no better for the BJP. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have almost finalized an alliance in the state. The seat sharing is being worked out. The Congress-NCP combine will pose a tough challenge to the BJP, especially if it is not able to work out an  alliance or seat sharing arrangement with the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray has already announced that his party will fight the Lok Sabha elections on its own and not in alliance with any other political party. In Gujarat also, the BJP can’t hope to sweep the 26 Lok Sabha seats as it did in 2014. From the fight put up by the Congress in the last Assembly elections, it is clear that the Congress cannot be written off in the state. It may win anywhere from 10 to 12 seats in Gujarat.

            In the eastern states of West Bengal and Orissa, the BJP is hoping to make substantial gains, but the situation on the ground does not support the aspiration. The bulk of the seats in these two states are going to be won by the major regional parties which are now ruling there. The BJP as well as the Congress may have to remain satisfied with small change in these two states.

            In the North-East, the BJP may make some gains but as the total number of seats is only 25, the gains may not be of much significance overall.

            In the southern states, which have 130 odd seats, the BJP would struggle to get even 20 seats. Its tally is going to be much less even if it is able to enter into alliances with the dominant regional parties in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

            The race for the Lok Sabha is wide open and no political party as of now can claim to be in an advantageous position.

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