LS polls, BJP and Hindutva

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Fed up with sustained pressure from the allies in UP, the BJP may look for other alliance partners for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Significantly both the allies – Suhaildev Bhartiya Samaj Party and Apna Dal – are accusing the BJP central leadership of their genuine demands. And to the shock of BJP the allies stayed away from various functions organised during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi and Ghazipur. As opinion poll suggested, Prime Minister Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could be crushed by an Opposition alliance in the country’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh in a general election, which is due by May. From Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat, the entire Hindi heartland has 273 Lok Sabha seats. Out of this, the BJP and its allies at present have a whopping share of 226 seats. If the verdict in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh is to be taken in account along with the likelihood of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party coming together, there is a real possibility of the BJP losing anything from 80 to 100 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Hindutva politics suffered a sizeable defeat in elections to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, as people voted out Modi’s BJP. Coming just months before the 2019 national elections, the vote was a massive embarrassment for Modi. The BJP has been defeated when it was the strongest, both in the terms of electoral successes and organisational network. The BJP had resorted to a strident Hindutva stance in the run up to elections to five states. Ram Mandir was front and center of the BJP campaign. So much so that even some top-ranking BJP leaders wanted the case about the mandir in the Supreme Court to be expedited. Also, they were not ready to accept any other ruling except a permission to construct the mandir. Hindutva could appeal to the faithful, the constituencies baying for the Ram temple and moved by communal rhetoric, but it cannot draw in the diverse coalition of voters that the BJP cobbled together in 2014. State elections, however, have not always been a reliable trend indicator for national elections.

And though Hindutva failed to pay any dividend in the state assembly polls in five states, the BJP is still at it and is unlikely to give up on the stance in the run up to the general election due shortly. Having miserably failed on economic and governance front, the party will return to its time-tested Hindutva agenda to fire up its support base. The BJP as a party is sustained by the promotion of Hindutva politics and ideologies. Without it, the BJP barely has anything to bring itself to power in 2019. All of this makes it clear that Hindutva is likely to stay in India.


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