By-poll results shock BJP
TRS, TDP retain Medak, Nandigama in style
BJP shown its place
Ache Din for Congress, SP
By-poll verdict not a reflection of Modi’s popularity
New Delhi: The by-election results have caused an acute embarrassment to the BJP’s top honchos. Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor BJP chief Amit Shah were mentally prepared for the rude shock. Modi had a jolt on his birthday and on the eve of his important visit to his native State after taking over as PM. It was also a few hours before the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Gujarat. The result is sure to dent Modi’s and Shah’s larger than life image. It will also give a much needed boost to the opposition. The by-election results could be described as a call to the non-BJP opposition parties to unite if they have to contain the saffron party.
BJP was beaten in the three states that it swept in the Lok Sabha polls just four months ago. The ruling party lost 13 of the 23 Assembly seats it held before resignations of MLAs on getting elected to parliament. It received a sharp blow in 8 states across the country. The only result which can be of solace to the BJP is its maiden win in West Bengal on its own. Earlier a BJP candidate, one Bhattacharya, had won in 1999 in league with the Trinamool Congress Party. The results of the by-elections to five Assembly constituencies in North-East, however, have delivered a blow to the Congress which is in power in Assam, and a boost to the BJP. BJP wrested a seat from the Congress in Assam. Two other seats in Assam were shared by the Congress and AIUDF. While a seat in Sikkim was won by an independent the one in Tripura was retained by the CPM.
The loss in Uttar Pradesh, where Amit Shah as worked his magic during the general elections to get 71 out of 80 LS seats for his party, is truly devastating for the BJP. Samajwadi Party (SP) which won 8 out of the 11 BJP held seats may have to thank Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for not contesting the by-polls. Had BSP fielded its candidates, the results would have been different bringing cheer to the BJP face. Though Mulayam Singh had won his Mainpur LS seat for his party and his son boasted of victory to secular forces, the real factor that helped the SP win was the absence of BSP symbol on the Electronic Voting Machine. Other important factor is the decision of Amit Shah to entrust Yogi Vaidyanath, a controversial MP, with the responsibility of campaigning for the party. It was detrimental for the party and the democratic, secular values that the people of India cherish. Yogi’s invention of Love Jihad (which was questioned by Home Minister Rajnath Singh after polling was over) did not go well with the electorate in UP. The results disproved the theory that communal card would pay electoral dividends in the backward area of UP. Nor the claim by the young CM Akhilesh Yadav that the people have supported SP for its secular credentials could be endorsed. The apex court had found fault with the UP government for not acting in time to arrest the communal frenzy in Muzaffarnagar a few months ago before the elections. Amit Shah who was personally involved in selection of candidates and finalizing campaign strategies has to take the blame for the huge defeat. He cannot escape the responsibility for the communal crusade launched to garner Hindu vote en block. It is time both Modi and Shah realized that the people of India desire that a government that is serious about the governance should be there in Delhi and no communal card should be played here after. Modi as a leader known for good governance is good enough for the BJP to retain the goodwill he earned in the Lok Sabha elections. No need to cut corners.
Rajasthan is being ruled by a queen of Scindia dynasty, called Vasudhara Raje Scindia, who held as many as 47 portfolios in her hands and limited the number of ministers to 11 although her party had won 163 seats out of the 200 Assembly seats in Rajasthan. She has exhausted her goodwill within months of coming to power riding on a polar wave. She was seen as a dictator who does not care for the opinion or advice of others. The credit of cashing on the popular disenchantment with the government goes to the young leader of the Congress party, Sachin Pilot. The resourceful son of Rajesh Pilot did an excellent job in leading an energetic election campaign highlighting the shortcomings of the administration and the ruling BJP putting Chief Minister Raje squarely in the dock. The Congress has got a new lease of life after winning three out of the four seats in Rajasthan.
The Gujarat fiasco was the result of lack of charisma on the part of the new chief minister, Anandiben Patel. She wanted to give a one hundred percent ten-seat victory as a birthday gift to Modi but she had salvaged only seven and conceded three to the Congress. The Vadodara Lok Sabha seat vacated by Modi who chose to keep Varanasi seat was won by the BJP candidate with a reduced majority. The results have rekindled the hopes and aspirations among the Congress leaders and workers who have been kept at bay by Modi for more than 13 years. May be, the people of Gujarat are yet to reconcile to the fact that Patel has replaced their popular leader Narendra Modi who moved over to Delhi.
The victory of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate in Medak Lok Sabha bypoll was expected by the opposition as well. It was the seat vacated by K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), the chief of TRS, who retained the Gajwel Assembly seat in the vicinity of Medak parliamentary constituency. KCR has been articulating well ever since he took over as the first chief minister of new state of Telangana. Though things are yet to happen on the ground level, he has been continuing his flow of promises to the people of his state keeping them in good humour. The Congress had a face-saving position after ending up in the second slot (all the credit to candidate Sunitha Lakshma Reddy) while the BJP-TDP combine made a lot of noise but settled for the third position. The BJP had committed blunder in selecting a Congress leader Turpu Jayapraksh Reddy (Jagga Reddy) as its candidate instead of fielding its own leader like Kishan Reddy, president of party’s president in Telangana. Kishan could have given a better fight. The BJP-TDP alliance indulged in unprincipled politics without achieving their goal. Kotha Prabhakar Reddy who won the Medak seat is a successful businessman. He would be joining the Delhi lobby of businessmen who became members of parliament. KCR has celebrated the victory with another round of loud talk and tall promises. The real credit for the huge majority obtained by the TRS candidate goes to Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao who is the architect of the victory. The planning and strategy besides hard work of electioneering was his.
The ruling TDP in Andhra Pradesh has retained Nandigama Assembly seat which fell vacant on the death of sitting MLA. The YSRCP, the only opposition party in AP Assembly, did not put up a candidate and hence the Congress could keep the deposit. The TDP has fielded Tangiral Sowmya, wife of the deceased, as its candidate in the by-election. AP Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao worked very hard to help the TDP candidate to win handsomely.