The trends of Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls are on display and BJP has been served a stark and cold reality check against its aspirations of winning the states with domination. As per trends, in Maharashtra, the party’s tally is likely to be reduced from 122 seats in last assembly election to 100 this time. In Haryana too, the party may even lose the CM post as the BJP has been leading in 39 seats in comparison to 47 in last assembly election.
Haryana and Maharashtra both have been Congress strongholds. In Haryana, BJP or its predecessor- Jan Sangh, have never been able to make inroads before the rise of Narendra Modi. In 2014, the state went to polls a few months after the election of Narendra Modi at centre. Prime Minister Modi campaigned aggressively in the state, and BJP won without even having a Chief Ministerial face.
Manohar Lal Khattar, a former RSS pracharak and Punjabi Khatri in the Jat dominated state, was made the chief minister, and for the first time in the history of Haryana, the state got a BJP CM, that too a Punjabi. The 2014 assembly election was fought and won in the name Narendra Modi. Only one person was responsible for the victory of BJP, which improved its seat tally from 4 to 47.
PM Modi had not campaigned largely in Haryana in 2019 assembly election and trends suggest the party’s total number of seats is likely to reduce this time.
The case remains same in Maharashtra. The party was never a serious contender for CM chair in the state before the rise of Narendra Modi. The party formed government only once in 1994, that too in alliance with Shiv Sena. The party had alliance with Shiv Sena since 1989 and BJP always played the second fiddle. However, it broke the alliance in 2014, went alone for the election and emerged as the single largest party with 122 seats.
Again, much of the credit for the victory goes to PM Modi. BJP had not announced a CM candidate, and the election was fought and won in the name Prime Minister Modi. Again, a Brahmin leader was made the CM of a Maratha dominated state and BJP got its first chief minister in the state.
However, according to latest trends, BJP has been leading in only 100 seats as opposed to 122 in the last assembly polls, as PM Modi had not campaigned largely in the state.
BJP’s performance in 2019 Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections also takes us to one obvious conclusion, the Lok Sabha election results were a referendum on the performance of PM Modi, and given the fact BJP improved its tally, and it meant people were happy with his performance. The decisive mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election was a result of PM Modi’s nationalist politics and his swift decision making abilities.
There is not an iota of doubt that Prime Minister Modi is ruthless when it comes to his decision making, he takes up decisions and follows it up with sheer determination. The toughness he showed when giving it back to Pakistan in the form of surgical strikes or giving the nod for the Balakot air-strikes, Modi has defied the standard laid-back political landscape of the country, which only insisted on using the diplomatic channels to mend ties with the nefarious neighbour of the country.
PM Modi remains immensely popular among the electorates of the country. His popularity transcends regional, caste, and class divide. Under his leadership, BJP bagged votes of upper castes, OBCs, SC and ST electorates. His popularity also transcends class factor as middle class, upper class, and poor votes, although for different reasons. Under his leadership, BJP expanded in Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western regions of the country.
Under Narendra Modi, the party has developed a take-no-prisoners attitude to politics, leading to an unending appetite for winning. From Modi’s oratory and pro-poor schemes to the ability to convert every possible potential voter into a committed finger pressing the lotus symbol on the EVM button, he has left nothing to chance.
However, PM Modi’s popularity doesn’t always reflect into votes as was earlier seen in the case of 2015 Delhi assembly polls where the party performed miserably. Much of this was due to the party’s CM candidate Kiran Bedi who could muster enough support and ultimately led to the party’s downfall in the state. The recent trends show that the BJP has been over-reliant on PM Modi’s popularity and it is high time the state BJP leaders their own base in order to improve party’s performance.