‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’, Its Real Challenge
NEW DELHI: As the BJP celebrated Thursday’s election results and what party chief Amit Shah called being “two steps closer towards a Congress-mukt (free) Bharat,” the need for a new winning formula raised its head.
Celebrations at the party office in Delhi reached a crescendo when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived to congratulate workers on Thursday evening. For the first time in many months, the party had cause to cheer.
With its victory in Assam, the BJP cracked a challenge and put a chief minister in the North East days before the Modi government completes two years in office. And it increased its footprint in Kerala and West Bengal.
The BJP says it is now a pan-India party and party president Amit Shah, who led the celebrations, declared that the BJP has laid a “firm foundation for the 2019 national elections”.
After Thursday’s reverses, the Congress and its allies now control seven states – six of them small ones – covering just 15.5 per cent of India’s population. The BJP and its allies rule 13 states with a population share of 43 per cent.
BJP won Assam but Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool retain power in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively.
But the BJP’s real challenge lies in the sub-text of its victories. It has been winning states where it is in a direct contest with the Congress. And has fared poorly or made little real impact where it faces a regional or non-Congress party – Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala yesterday; Delhi and Bihar last year.
Regional parties run 11 states and control 41 per cent of the population. And they are not all BJP-friendly.On Thursday, after her victory in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said, “We are ideologically opposed to the BJP.
They follow divisive politics. We can only support the central government on issues which benefit voters.”She also hinted at a consolidation of regional satraps when she said, “I have so many friends I can work with – Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, Jayalalithaa, Mayawati.”
The Janata Dal United and Lalu Yadav’s RJD won a massive mandate in Bihar defeating the BJP.”The victory of the the AIADMK and the Trinamool Congress proves that the BJP can be defeated.
Such parties will continue to create opposition even if the Congress is on the decline,” said Sharad Yadav, whose Janata Dal United led a colaition that defeated the BJP in Bihar and who has been working to create a front of secular regional parties equidistant from the Congress and the BJP.