Everything’s completely different, and it’s been hard. Fortunately, I have a lot of wonderful people around me, and I think I’m handling things pretty well.
- Carrie Underwood
Popular electoral verdict of the recent assembly elections in five state turned out to be mixed blessings for both the national parties as regional parties gained ground in Mizoram and Telangana while three Hindi heartland states have neither fully endorsed the Congress nor completely rejected the ruling BJP. Electoral results have leveled the ground for both the ruling combine as well as for the Congress-led opposition for the coming general elections making the contest wide open. For the Bharatiya Janata Party’s supporters, the growing belief that the party is no longer as favourably placed as before must be both bewildering and disheartening. The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party (SP-BSP) electoral pact is certainly going to dramatically impact the outcome of the 2019 elections. Under the announced deal, the two parties will fight 38 seats each in Uttar Pradesh, leaving the other four to the Congress and another regional party (presumably Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal or RLD).Its alliance will ensure that the NDA’s 73-seat tally of 2014 cannot be repeated; on the contrary, assuming Yadav and Dalit voters transfer their votes seamlessly to each other’s candidates, the alliance could win 50-plus seats. The new scenario has now led to conjectures about a fall in the BJP’s number of Lok Sabha seats to 200/220 from the present 282 in a House of 545. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the aggressive leader of the BJP, Amit Shah, too understand this fact well. That’s why they have opted for a different strategy this time.
So, if any one ask what has gone wrong for a party which was riding high during the first three years of its tenure? The answer is simple — its failure to usher in the promised “achhe din” or better days because of a sluggish economy. Modi and Shah duo has realized that it is necessary to create something new constantly to engage the masses to garner their support. This is why, after the success of Ujjwala, welfare schemes such as health insurance were implemented. Reservation for the economically weaker section of upper castes was the next step. Some more announcements are possible before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force. The question is will these sops convert the prevailing disillusionment into support and will these support convert into votes?
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre may fall nearly 15 seats short of the magic mark of 272 in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, if elections are held now, predicts India TV-CNX opinion poll. According to the survey, conducted between December 15-25 at the fag end of last year in all 543 parliamentary constituencies, the NDA may get 257 seats and the Congress-led UPA (minus SP and BSP) may get 146 seats, far off the magic mark. The scenario is not encouraging for BJP. Lok Sabha elections this time will extend beyond a mere BJP-Congress battle as regional stakeholders are demanding greater relevance in national policymaking. Since a BJP victory ruled out, a hung parliament scenario starts to haunt. And in that case the regional stakeholders will become king-maker.