New Delhi (04.12.2023): Election results of four states surprised political analysts, psephologists and soothsayers alike but not the BJP. They knew this and worked for it from Telangana to MP to Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. A certain defeat in all the three Hindi-speaking states for the BJP was changed into victory while the party was working to improve its performance in Telangana to emerge as king makers but that they did not succeed in the southern state.
The BJP was lagging far behind in all the three Hindi-speaking states. The assessment was exactly opposite what the results in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are today. With a close contest in Rajasthan, Gehlot was looking to change Riwaz (trend) by not letting the BJP to change the Raj while in Telangana the Congress was getting anti-incumbency votes. Besides anti-incumbency votes, the Congress managed to get minority votes on the pretext that only the Congress can take care of the interest of minorities at national level. Organisations like Jamiat Ulema e Hind played an important role in it by rallying Muslims behind the Congress. It was a redux of Karnataka performance in Telangana.
The era of coalition in the country seems to be almost over as all the four states where election results have been declared today gave decisive mandate to whatever party they decided to choose to govern the state. So much so that the BJP swept elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Voters did not make it even a close fight and hung assembly was out of question however a section of political analysts was expecting hung Assembly in Telangana and Chhattisgarh. Even some of the BJP leaders were saying so in the public rallies.
Women a new king maker:
Unlike in the past, women voters are not only becoming decisive but independent. They no longer go by the family preference as 60 per cent women voted for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh where there was a surge of 3 per cent more voter turnout of women in this election and around in 30 constituencies they outnumbered men voters. The situation has been more or less similar in Rajasthan where security was a big issue and Chhattisgarh where empowerment took the centre stage. Now, they are decisively with the BJP making it a pan-India phenomenon.
Freebies verses welfare measure:
The BJP has been able to send across the message to people that its schemes are empowerment not freebies. Ladli Behen Yojna of MP is actually Orunodoi Scheme of Assam for which the Assam government assisted Madhya Pradesh extensively. This kind of collaboration helps not only people but political parties as well. When you tell people that house, road and other infrastructure and free ration they rightfully deserve it instead of offers made by the Congress as freebies made the difference. The party that was promising to give OPS failed to give salary in Himachal Pradesh. The gap of promise and delivery made the difference for the BJP and the Congress in terms of governance. So, the Politics of Good Governance and welfare has won and politics of only freebies has been decisively rejected.
Pro-incumbency extended and anti-incumbency neutralised:
The BJP benefited itself with pro-incumbency in MP by counting its schemes and also central schemes. The promise of Shivraj Singh Chauhan to make Ladli Behens Lakhpati has done the trick for him. Housing, roads and many other such things too worked for it. Anti-incumbency in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan from corruption to law and order was highlighted by the BJP but the Congress failed to defend itself. The Congress' only win so far is anti-incumbency in Telangana where people wanted freedom from the BRS. Muslims are now of the view that state parties are not equipped enough to help them so they are coming back to the Congress. It had happened in Karnataka and now happened in Telangana. But opinion is that the BJP is emerging as the only party that can provide good governance.
Caste census failed to win elections:
Caste politics is a reality but Rahul Gandhi’s promise to conduct a caste survey failed to amuse OBCs in the three OBC chief minister-ruled states. What and who stopped the OBC Congress CMs to do anything for OBCs was the question posed before the leaders? The Congress lost 20 OBC MLAs to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and 19 in Rajasthan. The OBC politics of the Congress has been defeated. The BJP got votes from across sections.
Dismantling Sanatan boomeranged:
Dismantling Sanatan has not gone down well with people in the Hindi heartland as the BJP seems to have made a big chunk of OBC as custodian of Hindutva politics especially those belonging to EBCs and SCs. The Congress supporting eradication of Sanatan like disease was counter-productive. The Congress and dominant OBCs tried to pit upper caste against EBCs to do monkey justice but this has been foiled by the BJP very skilfully. Hindutva politics is now in the hands of non-Yadav OBCs and the dominant OBC will be alienated by the rest of the OBCs. The heartland of India will decimate those who talk of eliminating Sanatan Dharma.
Beginning of a new political era in Telangana:
The BJP has succeeded in improving not only seats but substantial vote percentage in Telangana. One must not forget that the same BJP which secured 8 per cent vote in 2018 Assembly in Telangana got 28 per cent in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The vote per cent of BJP in Karnataka has not gone down despite the fact that it lost the Assembly election. So, the claim made by the Congress that there is no North-South divide is hollow. The BJP has improved significantly in Telangana with the BRS almost collapsing. In all likelihood, the state too will become a BJP-Congress state sooner or later.
Spell of another Modi magic:
Narendra Modi is only the factor in the country to ride high tide to use it in its favour with Madhya Pradesh being case in point. The more opponents attack him bitterly and personally, the more strength he gains. ‘Chowkidar Chore Hai’ benefited in 2019 Lok Sabha, Sare Modi Chor Kyon Hai too benefited the BJP and now the Panauti jibe of the Congress cost them three crucial elections. If politics is made personal liking and disliking, sanity goes out of the play. Modi alone converted local anti-incumbency in MP into sweeping pro-incumbency and converted a seemingly lost state Chhattisgarh into a sweeping victory. Overwhelmed with the success of results in four states, his cabinet colleague has called Modi a once-in-a- multi-century leader. This can be true for the party. Such electoral success by a person who doesn’t have any political background is phenomenal. They further say that he is maybe not even half way into his work affecting the civilizational resurgence of India - economically, culturally, socially and strategically.
BJP gives a new target for 2024:
Buoyant BJP eyes 400 seats with allies in 2024 Lok Sabha which essentially means BJP working very hard, staying humble and having ambition alive. Just before the results of these four states, Union Home minister Amit Shah visited West Bengal and promised CAA to be implemented in the state. His deputy Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’ told the Matua community in the state just three days before HM’s visit to West Bengal that provisions of CAA will be notified by March 2023. So, its preparation for 2024 Lok Sabha started without waiting for these results. The loss doesn’t demoralise and victory doesn’t make the BJP complacent. This is what political analysts call the BJP and people in the party say in lighter note for the PM – Na Sounga, Na sone Doonga.
The BJP has set a new benchmark in Indian politics that his opponents are unable to scale. The 2024 hustings will be interesting and murky and wounded Congressmen may be fiercer. The BJP is already in the game.
(By Vinod Kumar Shukla)