The BJP'sresounding success in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections confirmed a trend started in the civic bodies elections in Uttar Pradesh last year. The public disenchantment with the Congress is on the rise and as a consequence the BJP is on a comeback trail. These wins have a meaning and message for the future. Rajnath Singh'sleadership has jacked up BJP'sfortunes. The party is upbeat, cadre is rejuvenated. The issues the BJP highlighted have begun to resonate into a national outburst. The UPA has failed to meet aam aadmi'saspirations.
There are clear indications that the people have started nostalgically comparing the UPA regime with the NDA'ssix-year rule under Atal Behari Vajpayee. The UPA has already dissipated all the economic gains it inherited three years ago. The fiscal and economic mismanagement of the UPA has rudely shattered millions of middle-class dreams. This will inevitably take its political toll.
As the BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley famously put, the BJP is going great guns taking ten victories in a row. He meant the BJP successes in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and UP civic elections, Punjab and Uttarakhand assembly polls, now Delhi along with the expected pro-BJP outcome in all the assembly polls slated for this year in UP, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Even if one is not so exuberant as to predict the future poll results, there are sufficient reasons for the BJP to celebrate. Two unmistakable signs in the ongoing political churning are that the decline of the UPA has begun and the BJP'srevival is a certainty. The BJP won the Delhi elections after a long gap. The party gained more from the Congress follies than from its own positive impact. Had it entirely been a pro-BJP wave the voting percentage would have been higher and the victory margins more convincing. The anger against the Congress, which was so palpable, did not so much pull down the party to ensure a bigger sweep for the BJP. Yet, the BJP has every reason to be pleased.
The party under its youthful leader Harsh Vardhan faced the poll unitedly and undertook an intensive campaign highlighting the Congress failures. It is an oversimplification to suggest that the Congress lost because of the demolition drive. As the BJP chief Rajnath Singh analysed, the Congress lost more because of the misrule of the central government on account of price rise, policy of minority appeasement, deteriorating law and order, terrorist attacks and poor civic amenities. The UPA is a total disappointment. It has cheated the common man in whose name it assumed office.
The BJP, in fact, lost crucial votes because of a number of anti-Congress outfits like the anti-reservationists, Madanlal Khurana's party and residents welfare associations putting up their candidates. Congress is a past master in this sort of back room manipulations. It is reasonable to believe that by stealthily encouraging all these desperate elements to enter the fray the Congress somehow succeeded in splitting the anti-establishment votes even as it put up a spirited defence. This is clear from the good number of seats it won by low margins and the percentage of the Congress vote. This point is stressed here to forewarn the BJP against resting on its laurels.
The party should celebrate its morale-boosting victory. At the same time, it is an occasion to be cautious. The Congress is down but not out at least in the capital. The war is yet to be won. The encouraging aspect of the BJP'swin is its spread. The party has won in rural segments, Muslim-majority areas, slum colonies and reserved seats. This is a good sign. It proves that in recent years the hard work put in by Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and Sahib Singh Varma in these clusters fighting for their genuine needs and welfare schemes has been handsomely rewarded. The BJP election campaign was well managed and spirited. The high voltage campaign, however, in many places was not accompanied by door-to-door canvassing. This was one reason for the low voter turnout. The BJP has to perfect the art of behind the scene management, like patiently cajoling and convincing estranged sympathisers and powerful community leaders. To consolidate the Hindu vote, the party can initiate a process of a grand reconciliation with rebellious leaders who were once its flag bearers.
For the Congress, the latest bad news is from Maharashtra, where it lost all the three Lok Sabha byelections. The losses are piling up for the Congress. Trumpeted by a sycophantic media, every member of the Congress first family exudes the arrogance of ?born to rule?, and this was in brazen display in the UP ?road shows?. The mismatch of these dynastic pretensions with the 21st century dreams of a youthful resurgent India is the tragic epitaph of the Congress megalomania.