The JMM- Congress coalition grabbed power in the recent Jharkhand State elections, defeating the incumbent BJP with a thumping majority. The coalition won 47 seats in the 81 member Jharkhand assembly, simultaneously reducing the BJP to 25. This defeat came after the promulgation of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the uproar against CAA around the country. The defeat cannot be completely attributed to CAA as the majority of the polling finished prior to the passing of the bill. Local issues prevailed and the voters voted against BJP’s Chief Minister Raghubar Das who failed to create an image that matches that of Modi, who is fairly enjoying a populist stature till date. The anti-incumbency wave hit strongly as Raghubar Das himself was dethroned from his bastion Jamshedpur East. On the contrary, Hemant Soren established himself as the leader for and of the masses, as he constantly engaged himself with them. His party emerged as the single largest with 30 seats followed by BJP with 25 and the Congress with 16 seats.
Indian National Congress (INC), the principal opposition party at the Centre termed this victory, “The beginning of the fall of Modi”. As of now, it sounds rather optimistic than realistic. Nevertheless, it is a shot in the arm for the party desperate for power. The Congress party’s aspirations for power are on hold for at least another four and a half years. This sole defeat alone cannot determine the extent of anti-incumbency, as NDA 2 is in the preliminary stages of Governance with nearly four and half year remaining in the term. In Maharastra, the BJP- Sena pre-poll alliance that received a clear verdict broke up owing to indifference due to the sharing of the Chief Minister’s chair, where the BJP was adamant in not splitting the Chief Minister’s chair and Sena turned to Congress and NCP to form the Government. BJP termed this alliance unholy and mockery of democracy as people clearly voted for the BJP-Sena alliance. It seems like the high-handed nature BJP sometimes exhibits is a dagger in the chest for itself and maybe it is time for the formidable Modi-Shah duo to get of their high horses.
In 2014, BJP rose to power thanks to the one-man army Modi whose individual charisma overshadowed any other politician and politicians as a whole. During the first tenure of NDA, the Modi led Government exhibited a strong leadership, not afraid to do what it intends to do. BJP’s ideology leans subtly towards an extreme Hindutva makeover, which didn’t fare well with the minorities who are conventional supporters of the Indian National Congress since its inception. This didn’t benefit the Congress much as minorities are indeed minorities in a democracy ruled by the majority. Congress failed to move closer to the majority Hindus who slowly drifted away from them. The RSS backed notion ‘India is for Hindus’ appealed to the masses. Corruption charges and a weak National leadership still haunt Congress. If ever Congress manages to regain momentum, a few factors need to come in play. A national-level Anti Modi sentiment, a strong alternative leadership, a clean chit in corruption allegations and a stronger IT wing could favour their chances.
From a common man’s viewpoint, there are issues one has to acknowledge, the growing prices of daily essentials, petrol and diesel, rising unemployment, fearful state of the economy and the evident physical clashes between various religious and student organizations. After its first tenure, these issues were quite evident but they didn’t affect BJP’s poll numbers. Is it the failure of the opposition to expose these issues or did the Instead they managed to garner more support. There still some who wonder how BJP managed to do so.
Psephologists and political analysts believe it is the BJP that benefits the most after riots and clashes. Surprisingly, clashes consolidated their vote bank.