As a tactic, the politics of overkill may be a good one; but drawing out a strategic formulation from this tactic is always disastrous. This proven dictum retains its crown position in the electoral battle of Bihar.
Deviating from their strategic thrust point on development, BJP’s chief election campaigners in the state Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah shifted the campaign focus on Lalu and his scandalous 15 years tenure. For what reasons they did it is best known to them as most of the BJP workers remained in the dark. By beating the dead horse Lalu, they put in motion the law of unintended consequences: for right or wrong, the Yadav pride in their lost leader was kicked back into life. It wasn’t that these two leaders were not advised by local Yadav and other leaders not to desist from their act, but the two, possessed by the passion of a gambler, went on playing the same stake in speeches after speeches. In the process, the two have knocked the bottom out of their state Yadav leadership that will take time now to recover its standing among the community.
Even before the election campaign kicked off, the BJP’s selection of candidates aroused deep suspicion among its rank and file. Warning shots were fired by no less a person than former Home Secretary Raj Kumar Singh, who was completely bypassed in the selection of candidates in his Parliamentary constituency. Hurt and wounded by the behaviour of party leadership, he publicly stated that tickets were being sold. He was supported by a number of others including MP Shatrughana Sinha. However, their views were contemptuously dismissed as ‘personal opinion.’
As the election unfolded, it seemed that both NaMo and Shah were competing with each other in making absurd points. NaMo went on emphasizing on Nitish’s arrogance and Lalu’s jungle raj. Not to be left behind, Shah said if the BJP lost the election, crackers would be burst in Pakistan.
In the process, both were carried away by their own propaganda and lost the theme of the development story that they had so successfully sold to the electorate in the 2014 Parliamentary election.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Report: M K Shukla (Editor)