- The poll results in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh spell a setback for PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah
- While the elections were not about Modi, he will be under pressure to come out with something spectacular to counter the perception of a slide in BJP’s fortunes
NEW DELHI: The poll results in MP,
Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh spell a setback for PM Modi and BJP chief
Amit Shah. Although the party faced incumbency of 15 years in MP and Chhattisgarh and was up against the see-saw pattern of politics in Rajasthan, the result, coming just before LS elections, raises questions about their ability to deliver on unfriendly pitches.
While the elections were not about Modi, he will be under pressure to come out with something spectacular to counter the perception of a slide in BJP’s fortunes, especially as the LS polls rule out the scope for attempting something whose results may not be visible shortly.
The duo, known to be risk-takers, must be regretting not going for the ‘surgical strike’ against MLAs, who while being influential organisational figures, were identified for their unpopularity. During selection of candidates, Shah had planned to mitigate ‘anti-incumbency’ by dropping over 50% of sitting MLAs. Eventually, Modi and Shah went by the suggestion of state leaders and curtailed the scope of culling, perhaps also because they didn’t want to risk being held responsible in case of a defeat.
The two leaders, however, campaigned extensively if only because the option of leaving the matter to the satraps was just not there. Modi addressed around 30 rallies and Shah participated in over 170 public events.
The five states account for 83 LS seats of which BJP had won 63 in 2014 and Congress six. On the basis of Tuesday’s results, the fortunes might be reversed with BJP winning 20 and Congress bagging 46, a major jolt to the prospects of Modi’s re-election in 2019.
The defeat does not affect Modi’s leadership, though veiled criticisms of him and Shah look a distinct possibility. There are already a few murmurs about a few moves of the Modi government, including demonetisation, which seem to have boomeranged, a suggestion which is countered by others.