on dotted line

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Dec 2017 12:26:49

ELECTION results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have come on history’s dotted lines, in the sense these victories for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were ordained by the moment’s need. These victories also made it clear that at least at this juncture, the BJP has no alternative in electoral politics, no matter, then what Opposition parties, especially Congress, would say or dream about. The results in the two States show how well-oiled is the BJP’s organisational machinery and how smoothly its internal systems work -- in sync with the Governments it controls. 

Except for the pipe-dreamers of Congress party and its henchmen in the media, the whole nation believed that both the elections would tilt in BJP’s favour unabashedly. The reason was obvious: For years before its three years in power, the BJP had been working tirelessly to build its internal system to be geared fully to the electoral challenge. The three years in power at the Centre have the party a greater reason -- and popular respect -- to command a better control of the electoral method and manner. \


The ascendence of Mr. Rahul Gandhi as Congress President might have made a difference of a couple of seats to the party in Gujarat, but it seemed to cost the party quite many seats in Himachal Pradesh. Thus, what was touted as the biggest advantage of the Congress party eventually proved to be a non-starter. No matter the hype the Congress tried to build around Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s ascendence to the top post in the hope of a last-minute surge in electoral fortunes, the Modi magic continued to dominate the electoral scene. Notwithstanding the criticism many heap on him, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi symbolises the people’s electoral aspirations in an unequivocal manner.


True, there would be a lot of commentary on the reduced margin of the BJP in Gujarat. Yet, in electoral politics, such a shift has to be taken as integral to the process. However, by the same logic, when Congress party lost its power in Himachal Pradesh, more raucous criticism may come its way -- for its corrupt regime, for its absence of governance, for its inability to hold on to the mandate it got five years ago.


Elections in Gujarat were a matter of national concern. For better or for worse, the Congress party tried its level best to build a so-called anti-incumbency hype against the BJP. There were many among unsuspecting common people who believed that the BJP was going to lose the elections. They -- and some Congressmen -- were willing to believe that the outcome of the exit polls was misleading. All the doom-sayers, however, went belly-up, having failed to assess the actual popular mood.
This has been the nemesis of the Congress party in the past some years. Even when it ruled for ten years at the Centre, its leadership could never actually read popular mood correctly. Even when it enjoyed power in New Delhi for ten years,. its leaders failed to notice that they were moving invariably away from the people. It was exactly that point which Mr. Narendra Modi could identify and handle effectively. The Gujarat and Himachal elections have shown that he still continues to do so.
There were no reasons for anyone to believe that the BJP was losing ground in Gujarat. Everything seemed to favour its continuance there. Yet, fake hypes like the one by the Patel agitation kept adding some grist to the rumour mill that the BJP may not be the same which it used to be once. Now, after having ruled the State for 22 continuous years, the BJP has gained five more years to run the State, defying the so-called anti-incumbency factor. This is one phenomenon that the experts in electoral behaviour of people must consider as their next point of study. For, it is they who need to go back to school.