Gurdaspur bypoll defeat: A wake up call for Narendra Modi and BJP?

Politics is just like the game of cricket, of glorious uncertainties, and it keeps fluctuating over a period of time. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won a record mandate of 282 seats and emerged as the single largest party after 30 years had become trendsetters in Indian polity and PM Narendra Modi made his mark as a supreme leader for the past three-and-a-half years.

On Sunday (October 15) results for the bypoll were announced in Kerala and Punjab. It was nothing new in Kerala as Congress backed IUML won the Vengara seat against the ruling LDF and it wasn’t a surprise that BJP couldn’t open its account as it has always been a marginal player in Kerala. But, the biggest jolt suffered by the saffron party was that they lost their seat in Gurdaspur held by Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna, who had won this seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The elections were necessitated after the actor’s untimely death and it was won by Congress’ state unit chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar by a whopping margin of over 1,93,000 votes against BJP’s Swaran Salaria.

Are we reading too much into a bypoll result? Is this a wake-up call for Narendra Modi and BJP? Is tide turning against the Hindutva party? Are people getting fed up with rhetoric? The above questions are all true in some sense or the other and BJP led by Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have a lot to think about in coming days. BJP, which is currently ruling in 18 states, has been on a winning spree after the general elections, with the possible exception of Bihar and Delhi. The ruling dispensation has been ruling with the iron fist and has been setting agenda with policies and schemes right throughout the country.

Indian electorate appreciates good governance, honesty and will reward any party, which can provide this fundamental need. Since last 6-8 months, the economy has been in doldrums, jobs are not being created, but the government is busy in changing goal posts and will rather propagate in finding out who is the ultimate nationalist rather than focussing on core and non-negotiable issues such as jobs and economy. The largest vote bank of the right wing party i.e. traders and small businessman have been suffering the most with the untimely and shabby implementation of demonetisation and GST.

Currently, the situation in Gujarat (home state of Modi and Shah) is not looking very positive and Shah, who was till recently making tall claims of capturing 150 seats in the 182 member assembly, is rather quiet and is now dealing with the question of alleged impropriety by his son Jay Shah. The voter of Gujarat is seething and ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che’ (development has gone mad) is trending all over the state and youth is getting impatient and restless and is demanding answers.

The ether way to look about this defeat in the Gurdaspur bypoll is that it was inevitable as Congress led by Captain Amarinder Singh has just come to power in March and it is very rare for an incumbent government to lose a bypoll , and we are jumping to conclusions way too quickly. In the case of Gujarat, despite there being strong anti-incumbency, BJP is still in a pole position to retain their seat. PM Modi and Shah have to take all issues into consideration and government has to work on its promises because there are only 18 months left before the next elections and time is running out for this regime to fulfil its umpteenth promises.

The New India’ wants peace, harmony, development and is not interested in petty issues. PM Modi has to take the bull by the horns to revive the economy and image of his government by working hard before it becomes too late to do anything.

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