Tough battle ahead for BJP in 2019

LALIT SETHI

In the December of defeats, including in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Narendra bhai Damodarbhai Modi faces a dillemma: how to acknowledge that more electoral defeats stare him in the face and that he should make a start by accepting that he had failed to win three Hindi heartland States. The pendulum has started swaying vigorously, with no signs of recovery from the worst heart attacks in the political spectrum. In Telengana and Mizoram the BJP has found that it played a zero sum game, with nothing at all to show.

 

Modi might have made a small start by saying that Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a political career mainly in the Opposition, but Vajpayee had the grace to accept defeats without batting an eyelid. Modi has yet to accept the first big downturn. He has been advised to do so by Mr. Nitin Gadkari, who has gone on record to say that he accepts that Modiji should continue to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP, but he may be doing so because he feels that it is a losing game to be in oneupmanship.

 

Mr. Modi has been ignoring the old timers in the party and fellow men in his government and the party, which Vajpayee never did. The latter’s quality was that he acknowledged the good work of most of his party men and Ministers and gave them a pat on the back.He did not even hesitate when in Opposition to praise the government of the day, if it needed approbation, as in the case of liberation of Bangladesh. He could always balance his criticism of the opponents with praise. Does Mr. Modi ever do that? One cannot recall he ever does that. 

Mr. Modi has been asking himself how he came to make the blunder of demonetizing the high currency notes. No Prime Minister had ever done that except Mr. Morarji Desai who demonetized 10,000-rupee note, which would be like  5-lakh rupee notes with today’s inflation. Mr. Modi would have had first to issue a 25,000-rupee note to trap the black money-wallahs, but they would have seen through the game. 

 

Who advised Modi to demonetize money? Was it Subramanian Swamy or Gurumurthy? Swamy has been dumped for good; Gurumurthy has been rewarded with a seat on the RBI Board of Directors. But the RBI Governor has quit because such intrusions into the Board and by the Board are unforgivable.

 

The GST has not been a double whammy, it has been a double loot by the States and Centre at 28 per cent or even 18 per cent, now being scaled down and likely to be brought down to the lowest levels by Budget time of February 1. But the damage to public confidence and welfare has been done; there is no forgiveness or apology any more and voters will take their revenge when the time comes.

In view of failures in performance on most fronts, Mr. Modi would need to replace a large number of his Ministers, but new guys are unlikely to deliver on any count. But he also faces desertions from Shiv Sena and some other allies in the New Year, Besdies, hardcore friends like Mulayam Singh Yadav, who helped BJP win U.P. and even deserted his own son, is also nursing wounds of becoming a man of no consequence by helping his stupid brother, Shivpal Singh Yadav, and BJP in the Assembly elections.

Mulayam will now surely back Akhilesh and Mayawati alliance in the Lok Sabha elections as he has made his intentions already known. 

 

Will Nitish Kumar keep the alliance going in Bihar? In February he could go to the Governor and request dissolution of the Assembly as Nitish would not like to be part of a sinking boat and a loser in Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the anti-BJP mood all over the country. How many of the 20 so-called BJP or alliance ruled States will remain with the Saffron group? Perhaps, it may not be even one of them, especially in the North-East.

 

The Second Opposition alliance is already  in the making, with equal distance from the BJP and Congress; it will give Mr. Modi no comfort.It has titans like Mamta Bannerjee and Naveen Patnaik and K.C.Chandrasekhara Rao in it. It may be small distance from the Congress in the end, but a complete one from the rocked out BJP in the chess games being played now.

Lalit Sethi is a Journalist of long standing and a commentator on Political and Social Issues.

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