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

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

STILL RE­LUC­TANT

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

RE­GIONAL RADAR

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,

STRONG MOVE

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.

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