rime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during BJP Parliamentary Board Meeting in New Delhi, on May 19, 2016. (Photo: IANS)
NEW DELHI: After humiliating defeats in Delhi and Bihar, the stunning victory in
Assam and improved performance in West Bengal and Kerala have not only
come as a major reprieve to Prime Minister Narendra Modi but would also
help empower party president Amit Shah, whose capabilities as "poll
strategist" had come under scathing attack.
The big takeaways for
the BJP from this year's polls, according to party insiders, have been
the success of aggressive nationalism as was portrayed during the Afzal
Guru-JNU controversy and also corrective steps from the poll debacle in
Delhi and Bihar.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday created
history as it was set to form its first government in the northeast in
Assam, while it opened its account in Kerala -- where the party was
generally known for its organisational weakness.
In West Bengal,
the party's performance improved and for the first time it will have
three legislators in a state where its presence was nominal.
performance in these elections also gives additional leverage to the
BJP as Prime Minister Modi's proclaimed slogan of "Congress free India"
seemed to be materializing as the principal opposition party was ousted
from power in two crucial states of Assam and Kerala.
old Congress party is now left with power only in six states --
Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya and
Mizoram. It is to form government in Puducherry, after winning the
While BJP on its own polled a substantial 30
percent of votes in Assam, with its allies the vote share for NDA has
increased to 41 percent. The party's vote share in Kerala was 10.7
percent while in West Bengal it was 10.2.
O. Rajagopal, the 86-year-old political veteran, created history by winning the Nemom seat in Kerala.
vote share in West Bengal, though it has doubled from what was in 2011,
is however much less than the 17 percent the BJP had polled in the 2014
Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP was also successful in maintaining its vote share in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
BJP leaders said that the party victory in Assam was special as it
reflects the party's growing influence across the country and its
stature as the dominant political force.
The consecutive defeats
in Delhi at the hands of Aam Aadmi Party and the victory of the Grand
Alliance in Bihar in 2015 had almost put the party on the back foot,
especially in the context of the debate on intolerance.
Bihar results had perhaps given an opportunity to the Congress to create
an 'anti Modi-anti BJP' atmosphere in the country. The desperation
shown by Congress and Left to stitch an alliance in Bengal was only an
extension of the same. But today's election results will nullify all
that," a party leader told IANS.
After the much talked
intolerance debate, a second round of ideological war against the BJP
began with the Congress, Left and other opposition parties again joining
hands on the Hyderabad University issue, the JNU row and the
controversies around chanting of slogan "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
BJP strategists countered all such campaigns with "aggressive
nationalism", and as the results show the move has perhaps brought in
immense dividends for the saffron party, not only in Assam, where it
wrested power from Tarun Gogoi-led Congress, but also in Kerala.
BJP president Amit Shah's first reaction after the results also indicated this view point.
He described the election results as the "new beginning of politics of performance and showing of mirror to the Congress".
results are a stamp on two years of performance of the Modi government
and a step towards Congress-free India," a visibly delighted Shah told a
The same view was echoed later by the Prime
Minister Narendra Modi when addressing a gathering of jubilant party
workers at BJP headquarter he said, "This mandate will give BJP more
strength and energy. The mandate endorses BJP's ideology of development.
BJP is getting more and more support from the people."
said that "positive politics has won and people have rejected negative
politics". These remarks were targeted at Congress and other rivals like
the Left who tried to play up the so called anti-Modi card.
party strategy to opt for a subdued campaign, especially by Modi himself
unlike Bihar and Delhi, and projecting a chief ministerial candidate in
Assam seemed to have worked very well.
"These elections will be a
major booster and give us a new momentum on the eve of assembly
elections in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh," BJP's Jagdambika Pal