Road to Delhi in 2019 has become more rocky, admit party leaders.
As news of the BJP’s defeat in its otherwise rock-solid support base in the Hindi heartland States of Chattisgarh and Rajasthan and a possible loss in Madhya Pradesh (counting was still on at the time of writing) started trickling in on Tuesday, the party cancelled a scheduled parliamentary board meet. Security men called in for VIP security as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member of the board, hung around for a while, then quietly disappeared.
While that particular review meeting stood cancelled, the results have given the party much food for thought for the 2019 General Elections.
Party men acknowledged that the road to Delhi in 2019 has become that much tougher after these losses, despite attempts to explain them as local anti-incumbency over State issues and not the Central leadership.
“The three State defeat (again, Madhya Pradesh still counting at the time of writing) makes it difficult to aim at 272 for the BJP or 300 plus for the NDA,” said Seshadri Chari, former editor of the RSS mouthpiece Organiser. He added that the BJP would require a major strategy shift, including cultivating more alliance partners and shoring up current alliances.
The alienation of rural voters, that showed up as a trend in the Gujarat Assembly polls, is also a challenge that may not have easy solutions. The defeat has prompted some analysts to suggest that the Ram Temple issue will be hyped up. But Mr. Chari insisted that the issue may remain very much in the background.
Party general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya admitted to a television channel that some mistakes may have been made in ticket distribution by the party, but said the BJP would rise above it before the 2019 polls.
Shah’s hold unshaken
At the party headquarters, faith in party president Amit Shah’s ability to fight and win polls remained intact. “Adhyakshji (president) did not insist on changing the candidates suggested by the chief ministers, and the campaign too was run on fairly autonomous lines. In Rajasthan, the last minute push by the Central leadership has shown results, an honourable defeat rather than a rout,” said a senior leader. “The 2019 elections will be around Prime Minister Modi with the party president having a free hand, unhampered by powerful chief ministers, ” added another leader.
Without the three big States in the heart of India that have been BJP’s bedrock of support, it will be a rocky road to 2019.
Mood Kya Hai