Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) thumping win in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-led party has been on a dream run. Not only has it managed to win key elections like the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls but also sent shivers down the spines of opposition parties over their very relevance. PM Modi had taken bold steps like demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax and received severe criticism from opposition parties, but managed to hold water in successive polls across states. Despite unpopular decisions, BJP managed to endure the political tempest.
The situation was rosy for BJP in the beginning of March when it had won Left’s citadel Tripura, and decisively so. It appeared that Modi’s winning juggernaut was unstoppable. Cut to the present and the uncertain nature of politics appears to have hit BJP hard. For, Modi now faces the prospects of two no-confidence motions against its government at the Centre – one by the YSR Congress Party, and the other, from its former trusted ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Let’s track what has gone wrong in last fortnight.
Presentation of Budget: The Modi government’s last full-fledged budget before the Lok Sabha polls was presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. In the budget 2018, the government had unveiled “world’s largest public healthcare scheme”. But TDP MPs began protesting soon after claiming that Andhra Pradesh was not given a special package which was allegedly promised to them. The furore escalated to irreparable damage when N Chandrababu Naidu decided to withdraw two union ministers from the Modi cabinet. However, Naidu made it clear that his party will not pull out of the National Democratic Alliance. But on March 16 morning, TDP decided to part ways with BJP and vowed to move a no-confidence motion against the government in Lok Sabha.
Major setback in Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur and UP: The setback at the Centre is not the first for the BJP in March. The joy of the achieving historic verdict in Tripura on March 3 vanished on March 14. It had lost Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath’s bastion Gorakhpur, Phulpur earlier held by Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and Araria in Bihar, a state where BJP is a partner in ruling coalition with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
Growing bonhomie among opposition parties: The seed for this defeat was sowed when Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party arrived at an electoral understanding keeping away their traditional rivalry. The defeat gave the opposition a new direction. Many observers believe TDP’s salvo is a result of this defeat.
Tough times ahead: BJP needs to get its act together, and quickly so. Karnataka assembly election are scheduled to be held soon. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which are ruled by the saffron party, also go to polls later this year. The big one – 2019 Lok Sabha polls will be held next year.