BJP candidates in the two Lok Sabha by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh were defeated in March this year at the hands of the Samajwadi candidates supported by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was a challenge to the invincibility of the Modi-Shah duo.
It is worth recalling here that Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies were vacated by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya after the BJP won assembly elections in 2017. The BJP had won 73 Lok Sabha seats from UP in 2014 general elections along with its allies.
Opposition unity is going from strength to strength as is evident in one-to-one fight between the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Tabassum Begum who is being supported by the SP, BSP and the Congress and BJP candidate Mriganka Singh in Kairana Lok Sabha by-election in western UP. Media reports and experts are predicting a tough election for the BJP because of the opposition uniting to defeat the saffron party.
Multi-cornered contests in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and in subsequent assembly elections in UP, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Haryana in the last four years helped the BJP to win and to take the tally of the party rules states to 21.
While the Modi-Shah duo was sure of winning Karnataka assembly elections and to take the tally the BJP ruled states to 22 but the Congress-JD (S) swift move and intervention of the Supreme Court stopped the BJP half way.However, they are very confident of winning the next general elections in their belief and conviction in the invincibility of the Modi-Shah duo.
Electoral performance of the BJP, since it won 2014 general elections, has been spectacular. Even a defeat like in Bihar, Delhi or Punjab, has not either undermined or dampened the morale and spirits of BJP chief Amit Shah. He, learning from mistakes, charts out a new strategy and make his party win the next electoral battle. The BJP, under his command, does not leave anything to chance.
The BJP, being the richest among the seven national parties. According to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the BJP had an income of Rs 1034 crores in 2016-17 while the Congress stood a distant second with an income of Rs 225.36 crores. Thus, the saffron party has no dearth of resources in beating its political rivals in advertisements, travels, bribing voters, purchasing opponents, fielding independent candidates and financing smaller parties to cut into the votes of its opponents.
The BJP proposes to wreck and undermine the emerging opposition unity by first highlighting the contradictions among the opposition parties. Party spokespersons are going to launch a counter attack on the opposition parties calling them corrupt, incompetent and opportunists. BJP ministers, party president and spokespersons have already dubbed coming together of the opposition parties as an “unholy alliance” People are going to be reminded of Janata Party and Janata Dal government stoking fears of instability.
The RSS and its outfits will work overtime to polarize the electorate on communal lines stoking fear of Islam, Muslims and Christians. The Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues will also participate actively in furthering the communal agenda. Print and audio-visual media, owned by business houses, will help the BJP in building up the narrative that opposition parties are coming together because the Modi government has exposed them for their past acts of corruption and loot. Social media campaigns are in pipelines to highlight that the fight between the honest and corrupt.
In coming weeks and months, opposition leaders are going to face the wrath of agencies like the Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and CBI. These agencies will target not only the leaders but also even their family members as it is being done and was done with RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his family.
Insinuations, innuendos, wild allegations and falsehoods are going to be the tool with which the RSS-BJP will try to malign the public image of opposition leaders in coming days and weeks. In this dirty game, state agencies will play a vital role by leaking half-truths, lies and wild allegations to media.
Biggest worry of the BJP is UP where Maywati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav have developed a chemistry sinking past differences and forgetting the animosity. Central agencies are going to aim at Akhilesh and Mayawati. Mayawati’s brother Anand, who has big investments in hotels, hospitals and other industries, is the most likely target.
Issue of construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, if a Supreme Court verdict comes by the time of general elections are held, will prove to be a boon for the Modi government and government managers are working feverishly to ensure a timely verdict.
If despite best efforts and deployment of dirty tricks, opposition unity persists, the PM will not hesitate to national frenzy around Pakistan so that the BJP could win the electoral battle on the issue of nationalism or to target the hindu populations.