Having comprehensively routed the opposition challenge in states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Gujarat and Himachal, BJP has begun oiling its gears for an action packed 2018, where they will not only be looking forward to make a sweep in their new found grounds of North East, but also aim to save their fortresses from being overrun by a resurgent opposition.
2018 is when BJP will contest in the following states:-
2.) Madhya Pradesh
North East will be discussed in a separate article, the main focus of attention will be on the first four states mentioned, i.e. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. While the first is ruled by Congress, the other three are the prime bastions of BJP. One would be concerned as to what chances BJP possesses in the four states, and what effect it will have on the upcoming 2019 elections. Here is how BJP can fare in the following four states:-
This state is nothing less than a golden opportunity for BJP to reclaim its lost ground and restore its pride in the run up to 2019 elections. Karnataka is being tortured on a daily basis by the incumbent Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, who is doing precisely what kicked Akhilesh Yadav out of power in the 2017 elections for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. The state has been witnessing excessive minority appeasement and an apparent break down of law and order machinery, under incumbent Chief Minister Siddharamaiah.
Following are some key issues that have given the incumbent Karnataka government a really bad name in current Indian politics:-. Rampant corruption prevalent in both political and bureaucratic circles, and introducing AHINDA policy, on the lines of the notorious KHAM policy of Gujarat, that aims to destroy the unity of the majority sect, i.e. Hindus, by caste based division and reservations among the lower castes, the minority sects etc.
1.) Rampant smuggling of forest products, especially the valuable red sandalwood
2.) Gagging of journalists, prime example being Ravi Belagere, Anil Raju and Shiv Aroor
3.) Making the lives of Karnataka farmers a living hell by refusing to waiver off loans, and giving a meager compensation of Rs1 for the crops destroyed in the drought that North Karnataka farmers have been suffering from for the past 3 years
4.) Introducing the arbitrary KPME Act for doctors, which is nothing less than a modern equivalent of Rowlatt Act for doctors in Karnataka
5.) Crime Against Women
6.) Turning a blind eye to issue like cleanliness, broken roads, and other such civic duties
7.) Excessive focus on Minorities, a Complete neglect of Hindus in the state
Does BJP have a chance this time? Yes, BJP does have a very bright chance of making it big in the 2018 Karnataka elections, provided it keeps its books straight.
First of all, they need to project a strong, localized leadership, on the grounds of what they successfully did in states like UP, Manipur, Assam, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh etc. The other thing they need to keep in mind is that they should not for once; give up on their trump card, i.e. aggressive nationalism, which is the need of the hour, especially for a state like Karnataka.
This time, BJP has two big aces up its sleeve – Congress stalwart S.M. Krishna who joined BJP sometime back, could be the Himanta Biswa Sarma of Karnataka, given the significant clout he has in his own community, i.e. Vokkaliga community. Also, the return of firebrand B.S. Yedyurappa into the BJP fold, who was exonerated of most of the false charges leveled against him in the infamous mining scam of 2012-13, can give an aggressive face to BJP’s campaign. In all BJP looks very well poised to cross the magical figure of 113 seats.
2.) Madhya Pradesh:-
Another state where BJP can hit the jackpot on a grand note is the state of Madhya Pradesh. Though the state is likely to face the winds of anti incumbency, an aggressive campaign on the lines of UP, and the ever so reliable face of State CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, can work wonders for BJP, who has successfully brought the state out of the notorious BIMARU group in his 15 years of brilliant governance.
While it’s true that MP was in the news for the wrong reasons, courtesy the sinister accusations of Vyapam scam [which was ironically initiated in 2002, when Digvijay Singh was in power], and the carefully crafted Farmer Protests. But the Chouhan Government was successful in nipping the conspiracies in the bud.
BJP should effectively capitalize on the recent slew of reforms in the state, be it the introduction of Purohityam Scheme, which makes sure that caste is no bar for becoming a religious Hindu priest, or the introduction of the Sukanya scheme for the downtrodden girls, or capital punishment for offenders found guilty of sexually assaulting minor girls. Even the famous 2016 encounter, where the brave policemen of Bhopal ATS successfully gunned down the 8 dreaded SIMI terrorists who escaped the Bhopal Central Jail, can also be milked upon. An aggressive campaign, with a focus on such positive incidents, can surely give BJP more than the 165 seats that they received in the previous election.
Like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh can also give a shot in the arm to BJP in their road to 2019 elections, provided they don’t let caste crooks like Hardik Patel or Jignesh Mevani to rise in their state. Shivraj Singh above all, needs to maintain the aura of a charismatic leader.
This is one state, which is tough, but not impossible. It will be tough for Raman Singh to fight the anti incumbency. Raman Singh was recently at the center of a media hitjob when he was attacked for the arrest of Journalist Vinod Verma in connection with his possession of CDs, which had clips of some important BJP leaders in compromising position. Hoever the fact that Verma was a man of questionable credentials, and is now accused of extortion doused the fires. But such hit-jobs will only increase in the runup to the election.
The transfer of officers such as CRPF commandant IGP S.R.P. Kalluri from the Bastar region, on the behest of false charges levied by Maoist sympathizers like Bela Bhatia dented Raman Singh’s credentials. Kalluri was instrumental crushing the Maoist challenge. it would be quite difficult for Raman Singh to gain the required 46 seats to form a government without any coalition.
However, all is not lost. If Raman Singh can set forward the procedure for the re introduction of ‘Salwa Judum’ and give more teeth to the CRPF and BSF units stationed in Chattisgarh against Maoists, apart from cracking down on the liberal Maoist nexus, nothing is impossible. Above all, a hard crackdown on the fledgling casteism policy, as adopted by ex CM Ajit Jogi, who has recently walked out of Congress a couple of months ago, can work wonders for BJP, who may win a handsome majority, keeping the above in mind.
This is one bastion where it will be extremely difficult for BJP to gain its ground back, thanks to the CM of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, who is now turning out to be the Achilles heel for BJP. Her recent slew of decisions, have only alienated the support in her favor instead of strengthening her fortress for the upcoming 2018 elections.
While it’s a universal truth that governments change in Rajasthan every 5 years on a consistent basis since 1993, the current trends are heavily against BJP, thanks to the controversial decisions.
1.) Failing in preventing hate crimes against the Hindu community
2.) No control over the erratic bureaucracy
3.) Introduction of Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2017 in the legislative assembly, which gave dictatorial powers to the incumbent government, and allegedly gave politicians immunity from arrest in criminal cases
4.) Turning a blind eye to the rampant cow smuggling for cattle slaughter, and instead cracking down on the ‘Gau Rakshaks’
5.) Failure in managing to control the anarchy caused after the release of the trailer of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Padmavati’
6.) Anandpal Encounter and despair of Rajput Vote bank
7.) The state has failed to show any significant increase in basic parameters like education, health, sanitation etc.
If this continues to be the case, I doubt if BJP, that steamrolled Congress in Rajasthan by winning 163 out of 200 assembly seats contested in the 2013 elections, can even cross the majority mark of 101.
To sum it up, BJP is all set for a tight, action packed 2018. A few bold decisions, along with aggressive campaigning on the lines of Assam and UP Campaigns can seal victories in the mentioned states. If BJP manages to win all four, their target for more than 300 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 elections will start looking more practical.