It’s celebration times for the BJP. The saffron party has won in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. However, the party surely felt tremors during the vote count of Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-led BJP will form its government for the sixth time straight, but this time there will be a strong opposition in the state. The Congress party along with Jignesh Mevani, Alpesh Thakor and Hardik Patel upped the ante against the BJP. As a consequence, Narendra Modi had to come up with a shrewd election campaign which included almost everything, be it claims of economic development, evoking Gujarati pride, accusing the Congress of colluding with Pakistan and addressing more than 40 rallies. The Gujarat verdict, for the BJP, is more about ‘just made it’ rather than ‘did it again’. Clearly, the upcoming elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and North-Eastern states won’t be a cake-walk for the Prime Minister and his team. So, here, are the points that the BJP must ponder over in order to continue its dream run:
1. Contrary to what Yogi Adityanath claims, Rahul Gandhi becoming Congress president hasn’t made things rosier for the BJP. During the Gujarat elections, Rahul Gandhi did all he could and more, to appeal to Gujarat’s wisdom. It might be a win for the BJP in numbers but it is surely a moral win for the Congress.
2. The party is in dire need of local leadership. The organization simply wait for the Modi-Shah wand to change their fortunes. Too much reliance on the duo can work otherwise as well. A popular local face is what BJP lacks in almost every state barring some like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
3.The BJP managed to play to class but failed to prevail on the masses. The saffron party lost its support from rural areas. This can also be attributed to the failure of development mobility in BJP’s rule. Maybe, the ‘vikas’ which Narendra Modi boasts of, hasn’t reached villages so far.
4.Taking all castes along is something the BJP must learn as soon as possible. With castes like Jats, Marathas, Dalits, Patidars, OBCs skirting from the BJP, the party may soon lose its firm ground.
5.Young leaders like Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani have shown the BJP that a dynamic leader can well be a threat to the seasoned politician. The BJP must look out for dynamic personalities within the organisation.
6. The BJP will be battling anti-incumbency sentiments in three of them – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. And if the opposition parties come together, like in Bihar, BJP will have to chalk out a very strong way out to continue its dominance.
7. Evoking a strident Hindu nationalism note isn’t out of fashion as yet. Even Rahul Gandhi shrugged off his party’s boasted secular credentials visiting more than 25 temples.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi surely needs to ‘reform his reforms’ as the shabbily implemented note ban and Goods and Services Tax (GST) has led BJP to a ‘reduced majority’ in Gujarat. Things may go worse in other states.
Unless the BJP comes clean on the above points, its ship might keep sailing in troubled waters. However, one certainty that can be drawn out of the Gujarat Elections is the fact that the upcoming elections are going to be interesting, really interesting.