Bihar elections were out today and BJP neither was able to gain the simple majority nor was it the single largest party elected by the people of Bihar.
No success or failure is spontaneous. There are a series of reasons that lead to it and in this case, it seems reasonable to point out the factors that led to this deficit of perception that ultimately lead to this defeat of the party.
There is a visible and clear continuation of intellectual bankruptcy across the party ranks.
BJP has an old habit of tossing aside its bright party workers. Could it be their own political insecurity, or could it be that they’ve no appreciation for the talent that helps them strategise their campaign as well as political roadmaps?
One of the most striking examples that could be cited is the case of Mr Prashant Kishore.
Mr. Prashant Kishore was working with United Nations when in 2011 he was called to India by none other than Mr Modi for LS2014 campaign. An analyst by profession, he had a big campaign strategy in mind. Chai pe Charcha and holographic speeches was Prashant's pet ideas. The campaign was successful and helped BJP gain clear majority in Loksabha elections. Prashant and hundreds like him gave up their own careers, business and other ventures to help this nationalist campaign of 2014.
However, after LS victory, he and others were not only ignored, but sidelined. An overconfident BJP never got around recognising the contribution that intellectual work brings to a party.
Even big leaders like Arun Shourie (notwithstanding his recent idiosyncrasies) & Dr. Subramanian Swamy were abandoned, enthusiastic party workers and concerned citizen supporters were conveniently forgotten. Their voice and genuine concerns were given a royal ignore.
Instead of going into details his power tussles with Amit Shah, let’s just say that to prove his mettle, a dejected Prashant Kishore resorted to helping Nitish Kumar in his campaign in Bihar (not without a plum remuneration though) and to prove that he is better strategist than Amit Shah.
With Prashant at his side, the face of Nitish’s campaign was completely changed into a series of powerful statements echoing across the state. A politician facing the anti-incumbency factor was restored to power on the result that followed on November 8, 2015.
On one hand BJP was kept at the backfoot due to Mohan Bhagwat’s deliberate and aptly timed statement against reservation of OBC’s and SC/STs, on the other the media ate out of Nitish’s hands setting the narrative in the state as that of an ‘outsider’ trying to take over their state. No wonder BJP had to get rid of mammoth posters featuring Modi and Amit Shah. The strains were clear even while elections were midway.
The media of course played its role, running unbridled with the price rise, intolerance and other such stories throwing its full weight behind defacing BJP in the state as well as the nation.
BJP is perceived as a party that fears media and pays a hefty ransom to mainstream channels just to pacify them.
Combined with the fact that it never has tried to recognize the talent on its own side, rather discarded them in political garbage bins, BJP for all means and purpose was playing the game of perception only to lose it.
It has been said before and we have to say it again – BJP cannot keep ignoring its own talent pool and then blame the people for its election defeats.
It must also be pointed out that Hindus have believed that if BJP comes in power, their genuine concerns will be addressed and resolved; and that they can live in this country with peace without any fear of the minority community. To their disappointment, the current government has failed to do things any different from the Vajpayee or even the Sonia regime. All one gets is noise from motor mouths who’re hell bent on embarrassing the party and no real action whatsoever.
Pakistani flags are waved even now in Kashmir. Cow protectors are being murdered with machete in public but BJP has not voiced for these issues. Our festivals are being interrupted and stopped by minority community members (and even police in Bengal/UP). The issues that were before 2014, stand as is even today.
The manifesto is forgotten and what remains is plain rhetoric of development and secularism. Nothing has changed.
Unless BJP reverts to what it claimed to be before 2014, this defeat in Bihar and other state elections may be become a rule rather than an aberration.