The BJP, of late, has lost two states one bigger and vital state- Maharashtra and one smaller state but significantly important one (that has been loyal to the party all along) – Jharkhand. Both happened at the fag-end of the year 2019, though the year started with a thundering note of the resounding BJP victory in general elections April-2019 with the capable, unmatchable leader Shri Modi at the helm. The BJP even at the year-end, basking on the glory of their victory at Centre, forgetting that states will have their own regional parties with regional aspirations and to compete with them, the BJP needed to tie up/make alliances with them. Like Abhimanyu of Mahabharata, it went alone and was seized by the opposition JMM-Congress’s trap.
Winning elections, depends purely on arithmetic (of the allies), and sometimes it’s on the chemistry of those partners also. Going solo, is the biggest reason for the debacle in Jharkhand for the BJP. Without calculating the arithmetic, the party went minus its (earlier) alliance partners: All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) and Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM). Their votes would definitely have added numbers. The vote share of AJSU-8% and the BJP’S own 33% would have made a great difference. The regional party AJSU, it is said, asked for 18 seats, the BJP wanted to concede 12. They (both) could have easily got reconciled to 15, in between, as a deal. But, the BJP, it seemed, preferred to severe ties rather than to come to a common ground. Charity starts from a bigger party by accommodating the smaller one’s aspirations. It’s the law of life that magnanimity should flow from above. Now, the BJP with its bravado, crestfallen in Jharkhand. It’s a five-year loss for the party. The Congress came effortlessly, piggyback on JMM. This is what is called: ‘rubbing salt to the wound’. The Congress, no wonder learnt lessons from its earlier history, not to go alone now.
United we stand, divided we fall:
Whether the BJP likes it or not, as far as states are concerned, regional parties would definitely play a role. Instead of trying to make them irrelevant, making friendship with them and coming to power is better. Once in power, the party at the Centre, can spread its wings. Now, the JMM-CONGRESS-JDU combine, is trying to woo the other smaller parties (earlier in the BJP fold) in the Jharkhand, to their side in the formation of the government so that the BJP becomes a loner. In this fast-paced world, it’s difficult to sit in the opposition for the MLAs and raise people’s issues for five long years. On the counting day, when the BJP sensed that it was falling short of majority, it (the party) was making efforts to reach the smaller parties. Why couldn’t it do this ‘reach’ before elections? For, India is a diverse country and thrives on its pluralism. Hence, the big parties like the BJP, should show their accommodative flexibility.
Success has many fathers, whereas failure is an orphan:
Now, the opposition along with secular media are blaming the BJP. The party’s move to amend Chotanagapur Tenancy Act, though the move was intended to enable the tribals, was dubbed by their opponents as conspiracy to steal tribal land. This, the BJP couldn’t negate with unity as they had inner rifts while in the ruling. The taunts of the opposition on the CAA and NRC, going against the BJP, leading to the defeat, now the BJP is silently bearing them. For all and sundry, the opposition is blaming the BJP. The BJP CM, Raghubar Das was a liability. This was pointed much before elections by many media men. That didn’t fall into the deaf years of the party.
The BJP should go back to its former tried and tested recipe:
To have a common compromise program i.e. common minimum program with its allies before fighting an election and also on vote-sharing. And to have a give and take approach with the regional players. Then, there’s a possibility of coming to power in states. The regional parties represent the regional culture and aspirations much better. People tend to vote for them (in state elections) because they articulate well in their language. All said and done, losing Shiv Sena and another five-year term in Maharashtra would not augur well for the BJP. Shiv Sena might have challenged them on many issues and might have gone against the BJP. The BJP, as a bigger party, should have addressed their concerns. There’s nothing wrong for a regional party to keep its identity. The Congress and the NCP, though opposite polls of Sena in their ideology, formed government with Sena to get the power in the state. They are also allowing Sena to have its say on Hindutva so that it (the Sena) would cut the votes of the BJP (later if there are any elections) for the combine (NCP- Congress) to win. Uddhav Thackeray, CM Maharashtra, is time and again stating that he would not leave Hindutva ideology.
All in all, the main point is: why is the BJP (in its new avatar post-2019 parliament elections) having a tiff with smaller parties in stitching alliances and why it has not been able to be inclusive and accommodative with them? By this way of fight, it’s losing national picture that’s always projected TVs. If you look at history, victory almost invariably went to those who co-operated better. Rome conquered Greece, not because Romans are intelligent but because they are able to co-operate more effectively. The BJP should be sensitive to opinions and strengths of its allies in the long run.