In an unprecedented victory, the Nitish Kumar led JDU-RJD-Congress alliance swept the Bihar elections with 178 out of the 243 assembly seats that were contested in the polls. This is seen as a direct defeat for PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah led BJP, both of whom emerged as unlikely faces in the bitterly contested election, a move that has ultimately proved to have backfired.
Analysts say this mega victory can be attributed to Dadri lynching case and ambiguity regarding BJP’s position on reservation, which led to the Muslim and backward vote going towards the grand alliance.
The consequences of this victory are said to be rather sinister. While this would lead to a further stalemate in the Rajya Sabha, where the central government does not have the majority to pass key reforms but as Lalu Prasad led RJD has emerged as the single largest party with 80 seats in the assembly, it may bring back the horrific lapses in governance seen during the Lalu-Rabri leadership.
Although the vote share of the BJP is still the largest, I think it is safe to say that the party needs to rethink their strategy before they go to polls in Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, all of which are around the corner.
The main lesson that the party needs to learn is that Modi cannot be the face of every election in the country, not only because it may prove to be counter-productive but also because a potential loss, much like this one may ultimately dampen the credibility of the government and more importantly, the prime minister. Secondly, it is advisable to project a credible chief minsterial candidate who enjoys a strong backing from the central government, particularly in states where there is no anti-incumbency narrative against the sitting CM. Finally, I urge the BJP to have a more understated approach in fighting elections because this election has again proved that big rallies and fancy helicopters don’t always lead to big victories.
Conclusively, I think Narendra Modi must concentrate on running the country and BJP needs to do their homework right when fighting an election and come up with a more detailed roadmap if they want their development message to reach the last person. I think they need to accept the fact that India is a big country and Narendra Modi is NOT the last word on everything that goes on in it.