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Changing Fortunes

Changing Fortunes

“BJP has not come to power for mere five or 10 years, but at least 50 years.” This has been an oft repeated statement of party president Amit Shah ever since the BJP came to power in 2014.  He said it again after the party’s victory in Tripura. Little did he realize that even before the ink is dry on his statement, fortunes would change so fast. The party which came to power with as many as 10 extra seats in Lok Sabha is now just one seat above the 272-majority mark. Of course, the NDA tally makes it confident of defeating any no-confidence motion, if and when it is admitted in the House.

The fall of Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies from the kitty of BJP exposed that the saffron party too has feet of clay. If the fiefdom of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, considered impenetrable by any other party, could reject Lotus, it is time to read the writing on the wall. Along with it, the Telugu Desam Party’s break with the NDA is a sure sign of weakening of the BJP. The alliance partners’ disenchantment with the saffron party was in the air with its longest ally Shiv Sena declaring a couple of  months back its decision to go it alone in the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. In Punjab, Akali Dal is not happy with its tie-up with the BJP. In Bihar, Jiten Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awami Morcha has changed sides, joining Lalu Prasad’s RJD-led alliance. Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party has warned the BJP to take the NDA more seriously. Another Bihar ally, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is also queering the pitch, reportedly hobnobbing with RJD.  In Uttar Pradesh, its ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party had threatened not to vote for BJP nominees in Rajya Sabha polls though the party relented later.

On the other side, the Opposition is getting united to throw the BJP out lock, stock and barrel. They have learnt the disastrous result of disunity during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections when they lost half the seats because of splitting of votes between BSP and SP.  As the adage goes, once bitten twice shy, the BSP and SP decided to bury the hatchet in the recent LS by-polls, reaping huge benefit. This Opposition unity is spreading its wings to other states. In Maharashtra, Congress and NCP have decided to fight the elections together. According to reports, NCP is also trying to draw rival MNS to its fold to try a bigger alliance. Moreover, the Congress, with renewed vigour under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, is changing tacks to test new waters.  

The invincibility and infallibility of Narendra Modi is slowly fading. He is creating a situation for Opposition parties to come together. As his promises are falling by the wayside, there is major disenchantment among various sections of the people. This is a major factor in puncturing the invulnerability of the BJP. Noted journalist and a Minister in A.B. Vajpayee government, Arun Shourie, has used an analogy to put it succinctly: Gulliver was tied down by Lilliputians. There is a phrase in English: “Politicians and diapers need to be changed at regular intervals, often for the same reason.” Otherwise it harms you more than it helps you remain healthy.

(Published on 26th March 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 13)