The results of by-elections 2016 came as a much needed morale booster for the BJP when the entire Opposition is engaged in mud-slinging against the Centre
In the melee of verbal war over happenings in JNU and Jadavpur University—the prominent educational institutes of our country—the positive message emanating from the results of the just concluded by-polls seems to have been lost. In normal situation, the by-election results are seldom construed as referendum on the functioning of the ruling dispensation. But the atmosphere of political untouchability created by the Congress, Communists and Secular parties against the BJP in general and PM Narendra Modi in particular, the results of recently held by-polls should be seen as endorsement of the policy of “sabka saath sabka vikaas” adopted by the Modi Government from day one.
The election for 12 Assembly seats in states of Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tripura were in a way a positive commentary of how people perceived the development policies of the Modi Government. The ruling NDA bagged seven out of 12 as the people in these states voted for development. The Congress and Samajwadi Party suffered losses. But it is not just that simple.
The Prime Minister rightly commented on the results of these by-polls describing them as ‘victory of development’. “The people of India reposed faith in politics of ‘development, development and development’, tweeted PM Narendra Modi rejoicing over an impressive show by the BJP and its allies.
In Congress-ruled Karnataka the BJP bagged two seats and lost the third one due to tactical error, as observers pointed out. The BJP emerged victorious in Hebbal and Devadurga constituencies while lost in Bidar—its traditional stronghold. Out of the two seats the BJP ended the family rule of Rajshekhar Naik of Congress in Devadurga assembly seat.
“The BJP could have won the Bidar seat by fielding the son of former MLA Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli whose death caused the by-polls, but the party decided to bring in another candidate. This ‘outsider’ tag proved costly for the BJP in Bidar”, observers says. On the other hand Congress ripped political benefit on this very ‘outsider’ tag and wrested the seat from BJP.
However, the most important results came from UP which has been witnessing communal strife. This sensitive State will be going to polls in 2017 and the results of the three Assembly by-polls indicate the direction in which the wind would likely to blow.
The BJP and Congress wrested one seat each from the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) while the SP satisfied itself on just one seat. BJP won the Muzaffarnagar seat while Deoband went to Congress leaving Bikapur seat for the SP. This can be read as a vote against the SP Govt which has failed to deliver on governance. The SP held all three seats previously.
In Punjab it was a cakewalk for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Khadoor Sahib Assembly by-polls where the SAD candidate faced no Opposition. The Congress and AAP stayed away from the race and the AAP rebel was debarred from contest on a technical disqualification.
In Bihar, BJP ally RLSP won Harlakhi by-polls against the might of the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana gave one seat each to BJP, Shiv Sena and TRS while CPI-M held its ground in Tripura.
The results of by-polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are the litmus test of the ensuing elections next year which could be contested very closely.
UP is longing for development and good governance which the Akhilesh Yadav Government failed to deliver in spite of thumping majority. The State remained mired into communal conflicts arising out of rough handling of basically law and order issues and inflamed further by the irresponsible interference by leaders of all hues to further their petty political interests. As such the people of the State felt ditched by the SP Government on development issue and their resentment was reflected in this by-polls.
The BJP suffered unexpected rout in Bihar Assembly elections for a number of reasons that have been discussed many times. The victory of the party candidates in these by-polls is certainly a morale booster for the party. This shows that the voter has learnt his lessons in electoral politics. This maturity of voters is reflected in these results. The results of these by-polls came as a much needed morale booster for the BJP at a very crucial time when the entire Opposition is engaged in mud-slinging at the BJP and Prime Minister over the JNU issue.
Virag Pachpore (The writer is senior journalist
and political analyst)
Setback for Congress in Karnataka
The Congress Government in Karnataka under Chief Minister Siddaramaiah received a severe setback, when BJP managed to score a 2-1 victory in the recently held by-polls. BJP candidates won at Hebbal (Bengaluru) and Devadurga (Raichur district) while Congress managed to win at Bidar.