WeakOppn,TINAMake BJP Formidable for 2019
OTHER POSITIVES A host of schemes launched by PM Modi-led NDA govt; Amit Shah always looking for ways to increase BJP’s tally Fragmented Oppn — especially after Nitish walked into NDA camp — has made Shah’s work easier
New Delhi: After wresting the top four constitutional posts — President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker — and vanquishing Congress and regional parties suchasSPandBSP,BJPisfocusing on the upcoming assembly polls and 2019 general elections.
Congress, which is in power in just five states, has every reason to worry as its political footprint may see further erosion in the forthcoming elections to Himachal Pradesh and Kar nataka where the party is in power. The disar ray in Gujarat Congress is in full display with Shankersinh Vaghela quitting the party and party veteran Ahmed Patel fighting a tough battle to get another Rajya Sabha ter m. In Himachal
Pradesh, the other state where assembly polls will be held in December, the party is facing huge anti-incumbency due to graft cases against chief minister Virbhadra Singh. Even the Siddaramaiahled Congress government in Karnataka may find it tough to win assembly polls due in April next year. While Congress vice-presidentRahulGandhistillshows all signs of being a reluctant politician and has kept everybody guessing about his promotion,BJPpresidentAmitShahis looking for ways to increase party’s tally in various states. Shah is also working on an antiincumbency back-up plan on many seats for the 2019 polls. A f t e r “C o n g r e s s - Muk t Bharat”, BJP now seems to have got the heft to take on regional parties such as RJD, BJD and TMC. A fragmented opposition — especially after Nitish Kumar-led JDU walked into the NDA camp — has made Shah’s work a lot easier. He has also followed the policy of poaching leaders from Congress as well as regional parties in states where BJP is weak. He has courted regional parties to the NDA fold in states where BJP has little political presence, like in Tamil Nadu. Shah has also followed the practice of denying ticket to sitting lawmakers to beat anti-incumbency against them.
BJP is aware that many of its Lok Sabha MPs, who are political lightweights, may not win in 2019. Moreover, BJP reached near saturation point in states like UP (71/80 seats), Rajasthan (25/25), Gujarat (26/26) and Bihar (31/40) and may lose some seats in 2019. The party would also face some anti-incumbency in states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where it has been in power for 15 years. Shah, who has undertaken an all-India tour to reach out to prospective voters in untapped territories, has not shied away from visiting the stronghold of o p p o nent s o f BJP, b e it Telangana, Bengal or Odisha. The party is hopeful that these states will bring more seats to the BJP kitty in 2019.
However, the party will have to guard against some pressing issues, especially those relating to farmers. Farmers across the country are u n h a p p y, w i t h Madhya Pradesh being the latest example. They have agitated against BJP-led Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra governments. Also, the NDA government at the Centre will have to keep a close watch on the employment level. The perfor mance of the Narendra Modi government on the good governance front will also be a factor. The success of a host of schemes,
launched by the NDA dispensation, would play a major role in influencing the electorate, who cutting across caste lines voted for Modi in 2014.
As things stand today, a weak opposition is Modi’s biggest strength and he is likely to benefit from the TINA (there is no alternative) factor the most, with other positives contributing towards making him virtually unassailable.