New Delhi (24.06.2021): It's always too costly not to listen to voters. So many believe that the BJP may be experiencing an internal hemorrhage on account of this. It is said that the BJP failed to understand the choice of its voters when it appointed from nowhere Adityanath as its CM four years ago.
Since the Assembly elections are barely a year away, it is being asked again and again whether Adityanath was the right choice at all. Could there have been a better alternative?
Adityanath's detractors say that he is incapable of romping the BJP home in the 2022 Assembly elections. It is argued that his administrative and political performance isn't viewed favorably by the voters.
At the same time, though, he isn't short of fan following who truly believe that he has done a great job in regard to law and order.
Although his continuation as CM is attributed to the blessings of the Sangh which literally imposed him upon an unwilling BJP leadership and voters in 2017, he is stated to have consolidated his hold over the state party machinery and it's fraught with risks to destabilize him in the current situation.
Further, it is pointed out that it may be debatable whether he has done any damage to the BJP image and whether the skinny opposition is capable of exploiting it.
Nevertheless, it is recognized that it may turn out to be an uphill task for the BJP to maneuver its way through the thick cloud of disenchantment and voter fatigue with the failure of its much-trumpeted development agenda.
So how will the BJP mitigate the voters' crisis of confidence in its ability to deliver employment and growth?
To minimize the perceived damage to its image on account of the purported failure of the UP administration, the BJP high command has insisted that, as in the past, this time, too, no one will be projected as CM candidate and a call on the CM will be taken after the Assembly elections. This tactic is based on the assessment that voters are least interested in who would be the BJP’s CM candidate; rather they would like to know what's up for them if the BJP returns to power.
Readers may recall that UP was not won four years ago because of some charismatic qualities of Adityanath. In any case, Adityanath wasn't even projected as the next CM then. UP was won by the BJP because of the hugely negative activities of Akhilesh Yadav and his foul-mouthed and boorish SP cohorts. If Akhilesh alienated all the voters because of his discriminatory politics, such alienation is rather proving to be a dividend for Adityanath in the number game. Forget about the BJP voters, even the most bitter political enemy of the CM acknowledges that the law and order situation in the state is much better than his predecessors including from his own party with some aberrations.
IIn the given situation, PM Modi's image, the political skill of Home Minister Amit Shah, RSS leaders compulsion to make UP a success story for the forces of Hindutva, and BJP national president J P Nadda's organizational capability to win UP to salvage his post-Bengal battered image will be tested at the time of the election.
Of course, ardent Modi followers like newly-appointed UP BJP vice president AK Sharma (Rtd IAS) believe that the PM's unmatched credibility may ensure another victory for the BJP. He said it in so many words in a letter to UP BJP president Swatantra Dev Singh. His message was loud and clear: if the BJP manages to win and retain UP, it will be entirely due to the PM's image. The flip side of this message is also clear: if the BJP loses, it will be due to the damage to the PM's image by the current administration.
It will be interesting to see how the story pans out in 2022.
(By MK Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)