The run-up to Christmas season is usually associated with the pleasant sound of ‘jingle bells’. However for the BJP, one must say this time, the Christmas season brings ‘warning bells’ ringing loudly in their ears!
As the much awaited and anticipated results of Gujarat and Himachal assembly polls are out, the BJP wants to portray a picture of celebration to the outside world; however, the setback in Gujarat of the party coming down from 115 seats (which it won in 2012 polls) to 98 seats is worrying many members of its think tank! It is important to note that the BJP had set out with the target of 150 seats as its campaign plank and party insiders confidently said till last week that they would win at least 125 seats.
BJP’s National President Amit Shah while speaking at a press conference right after the political picture started becoming clear in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh on Monday evening said that his party had won in Gujarat with a difference of 8 per cent which was in his words a ‘considerable margin’. Obviously, when any political party starts talking about vote percentage instead of the seats they won, its an indication of them trying to divert the focus of attention!
The elections results signify three things, a) Congress is still a formidable opposition in the country and may bounce back at some stage in the future in certain parts of India, so BJP’s mission of creating a Congress-free India seems farfetched. b) Rahul Gandhi cannot be dismissed as a non-serious contender, under his leadership, the Gujarat Congress has grown from 61 seats to 80 seats with a growth of whopping 33 per cent in the party’s presence in Gujarat assembly and c) BJP may find the going tough in coming assembly elections in 2018 as Narendra Modi’s ‘pride of Gujarat’ factor will be absent in states other than Gujarat.
While a win is a win at the end of the day and nobody should deprive BJP President Amit Shah of the credit for his hard work in Himachal and Gujarat. But BJP numbers falling on their home turf is clearly an alert that the party cannot take things lightly.
One big mistake the Congress committed in Gujarat according to many experts, is that they did not allow a state leader to come to the fore and outsourced their campaign to agitating young leaders. The BJP, using all methods and electoral tactics to the hilt, has managed to retain its bastion with a thin margin and captured Himachal Pradesh convincingly, now 2018 poses bigger challenges for the party in several state assembly polls before the big 2019 fight.