By far the costliest ever poll campaign in India’s political history conducted by Mr. Narendra Modi is over. Never anywhere in the whole wide world has such widespread use of telecom technology been deployed in a poll campaign. Never has such a media blitzkrieg focused on one candidate ever been witnessed. What should one expect on May 16, 2014 when results are declared?
Going by opinion polls, media analysts and statements by BJP leaders a comfortable majority awaits Mr. Modi. But the meetings between Mr. Narendra Modi as well as by Mr. Rajnath Singh with top RSS leadership, even before polling was over, suggests that there could be some doubts. There is a chink in the BJP’s armor. There is a hole in Mr. Modi’s bucket. These advise caution.
To obtain a single party majority it is imperative for BJP to perform exceptionally well in the crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. That is why Mr. Modi’s close and trusted confidante Mr. Amit Shah personally overlooked the campaign in these two states. However, there seem to be some problems in both these states that have not received sufficient media attention. The problems relate to the internal functioning of the BJP.
In Bihar the central poll panel did not take top BJP leaders in Bihar sufficiently in confidence before forging electoral alliances in the state. When Mr. Modi shared the stage with Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to welcome his party into the NDA, five senior BJP forward caste leaders of the state unit boycotted the function. With the resurgence of Mr. Laloo Yadav in this election this could have ominous implications for the polls.
However, the silent internal crisis of the BJP in UP could be even more serious. Ever since the poll campaign began there has been a serious rift between the state party president Mr. Lakshmikant Bajpai and the RSS organizing secretary deputed for UP, Mr. Rakesh Jain. Mr. Jain’s role is crucial for mobilization of party cadres on polling day. Both these leaders are not even on talking terms. A senior RSS leader was quoted by the media: “The daily functioning of the organization is being affected and decisions were getting delayed.” All efforts by Mr. Amit Shah and other central leaders to achieve reconciliation failed. Consequently a BJP leader from Punjab was transferred to assist Mr. Shah in the elections. Disciplinary action against the state’s top feuding BJP leaders could not be taken in the midst of the campaign for fear of the fallout.
How will these silent crises within the BJP affect poll results? Opinion polls paint a robust picture for May 16. Nevertheless corporate honchos who are desperately backing Mr. Modi are advised to be cautious. They had best open their Champaign bottles after May 16.