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Modi, BJP, Both Losers?
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share

Predicting poll trends on the eve of an election is always a very hazardous exercise. But on present reckoning one may venture to opine that the recent creation of a new Telangana State could prove a lethal blow to the prime ministerial ambitions of Mr. Narendra Modi. The horrendous manner in which the Bill was passed in both the Houses of Parliament, the indecent haste to create the State against the wishes of the majority opinion in the Andhra assembly, and the government’s half-baked decision simply for electoral advantage just before a general election, gave every opportunity to the BJP to stall the Bill even though in principle it is committed to support the creation of the new Telangana State. A calibrated move in the context of a new States Reorganization Commission encompassing an all India view would have allowed the BJP to achieve a delayed result without causing so much heartburn. Consequently the BJP has scored a self goal. The main sufferer most likely will be Mr. Modi.

Mr. Modi’s ambition to become the Prime Minister rests on his party’s ability to get either a clear majority or achieve a figure near the half-way mark. The general political trends seem to make that possibility increasingly remote. The BJP role in creating the new Telangana State has further damaged that possibility. Within Andhra the BJP would be virtually wiped out. It has lost all credibility in Seemandhra without gaining in Telangana. In Seemandhra the Jaganmohan Reddy Congress might sweep. In Telangana the TRS will gain. Even the Congress will gain very little because the overall anti-incumbency wave across the country will infect its erstwhile supporters within Telangana. After having created Telangana the Congress will have nothing more to offer in the future. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi might soon learn to her grief how cynical voters can be. Every regional party outside Andhra has vehemently opposed the bifurcation of Andhra. The BJP role in advancing that decision will be looked askance by each potential post-poll ally.

Why did BJP score this self goal?

Well informed analysts suggest that the non-Modi camp within parliament might have deliberately scuttled prospects in order to replace Modi as PM by one of their own. That might well have been the calculation. But it might have missed its mark. If this interpretation by analysts is correct the BJP might have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. The inevitability of a BJP PM would occur only if the earlier NDA syndrome were to replicate. That might not happen this time around. The four BJP ruled states and the five where BJP is main opposition account for 169 Lok Sabha seats. In the last election the BJP won 117 seats from this account. Does it hope to do better this time? The mega rallies by Mr. Modi may have induced the party to think so. But consider the reality.

The BJP is relying heavily on UP, Bihar and Karnataka to increase its tally. It hopes to repeat or increase its tally from the ten states where it has a strong presence. Neither calculation might fructify. The reason is that unprecedented number of entrants into the fray might badly fracture votes to deny BJP any advantage from the anti-Congress wave. The BSP has announced it will contest all seats across the country. AAP will also dabble in all states. Miss Mamata Banerjee in alliance with Anna Hazare intends to contest over 100 seats. Miss Jayalalithaa will also try her luck outside Tamil Nadu to increase her tally.

There is silence after the first categorical statement by BAMCEF that it will contest over 400 seats in alliance with Muslim organizations. The silence thereafter need not imply that the enterprise has been abandoned. Both the Muslims and BAMCEF are very well organized on the ground. If they enter the fray they do not need to rely overmuch on media hype. It remains to be seen whether their silent efforts are under way. They might well emerge as the silent dark horse in 2014. From all this the distinct possibility emerges that the next parliament may not only provide a very modest number of BJP MPs but also a never before seen fractured mandate precluding any stable government from being formed.

If this happens all prevalent calculations could go for a six. The BJP might well rue the day that it hastily supported a new Telangana State and succeeded in alienating most regional parties as post-poll allies. Not only Mr. Modi but the entire party could lose heavily.

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Comments on this Article

Comment Even if BJP comes a cropper in Andhra it will hope to have an ally in Jagmohan Reddy and the TDP. How far this will help it form a government, let alone keeping it stable, is a matter of guesswork. A weakened NDA government obviously will be not effective. Also in north east it has tied up with AGP in Assam but whether anti-incumbency wave there, if there is any, will add to its numbers is not known. Yes, BJP's calculations are taking a beating.

02/28/2014 11:10 AM

Comment Whatever ...

If BJP does not come to power in next Loksbha elections, then it will be a tragedy (for us, not for BJP), since it will mean continuation of ongoing misrule in absence of clear direction in foreign policies, long term infrastructure projects, economic overhaul and many more policy related factors.

The UPA did not do anything positive significantly so the nation now suffers, they blame it on 'global slowdown' for poor GDP growth, however it is not. It is the in-house policies or lakc of it, which are responsible for decline in growth. the same will repeat if third front govt comes.

So, let's not take discomfort in getting a PM (Mr. Modi) which will make may others uncomfortable. It is the need of the moment to get BJP to power, because there is no better alternative.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
02/25/2014 04:54 AM

Comment I don't think Puri has understood BJP's stand correctly in Telangana formation.The party has steadfastly took the stand that it is in favour of smaller states.The camps that exist within BJP too seems to be in agreement.They quietly went along with cong(i ) because they want this to be away from public gaze once they come to power.I don't think Telangana formation in any way affects the party's total seats position in the new Loksabha.When they are in power, they can easily lower the temper ,, who knows,, there may be a grandiose announcement to build a state of the art new capital on the banks of river Krishna likes of which India has never seen before which the Seemandra people will be proud enough to call it their own. Andrapradesh had been poorly governed since independence,,good riddance.Similar divisions are neccessary especially in UP and maharastra and even Karnataka where the northern state have been poorly governed.

02/24/2014 11:24 AM

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