The BJP’s journey in political glories in terms of electoral victories began in 2022 with four states winning, including Uttar Pradesh. The saffron party won March polls in Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand, besides Uttar Pradesh, proving the prophets of doom wrong on many issues.
While Punjab went to the AAP, the calendar year ended with the BJP retaining its hold and achieving a record win in Gujarat. Of course, it lost polls in Himachal Pradesh, the difference in vote share with Congress was only about one per cent.
These elections and Presidential polls and BJP’s win in getting its nominee to become Vice President of India
bring in a much-needed respite in the NDA camp as the ruling alliance’s attempt for a hat-trick (third time
consecutive win) would now be much easier in 2024 than perhaps it was in 2019.
On the other front, the Lotus party returned to power in Maharashtra after dethroning Shiv Sena’s Uddhav
Thackeray; the split suffered by Sena will have a long term impact in the politics of the western state.
The country in 2022 got a new President in a tribal woman Droupadi Murmu from Odisha. The BJP is certainly
credited for giving India its first tribal President. The BJP nominee Jagdeep Dhankhar, a former West Bengal
Governor made it as the Vice President, and it is a fact that he comes from the politically significant caste of Jats
There is, of course, a big political message in all that.
“If the Opposition cannot do minimal coordination when their material interests are not as much at stake, there is
almost no chance they can do anything meaningful when there are real stakes,” wrote Pratap Bhanu Mehta in
an article for ‘The Indian Express’ after Presidential polls.
Of course, the BJP being in power in the centre and in various states across India, the results of Presidential elections and for the polling of the Vice President of India were well-known conclusions. But these occasions could have served as a great opportunity to show some unity of purpose in the opposition camp so that in months to come they can prepare themselves to take on the might of BJP’s electoral machine in 2024.
The BJP-led NDA has an overwhelming majority in both the Houses of Parliament and for Vice President elections, Dhankhar also got crucial additional support from the BJD of Naveen Patnaik in Odisha and
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh. Of course, TRS of K Chandrashekhar Rao supported Alva’s
candidature but at the end of the day, the opposition unity remains a mirage.
It required hardly a few minutes for Margaret Alva to diagnose the malady in the anti-BJP camp. Immediately after losing out to NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar, Margaret Alva, a veteran Congress leader said — “This election was an opportunity for the Opposition to work together, to leave the past behind and build trust amongst each other. Unfortunately, some Opposition parties chose to directly or indirectly support the BJP, in an attempt to derail the idea of a united Opposition”.
Her remarks were seen as a veiled attack on Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, which had stayed away
from voting in the elections for Vice President of India.
Mamata Banerjee is not alone; a few other opposition parties have derailed the myth of opposition unity on both occasions – elections for President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Dhankhar.
Firstly, these two rounds of polling for two high constitutional posts show opposition parties lack coordination at all levels – both in Parliament and outside. There is so much absence of talent and potential candidate(s), and importantly, there was a total lack of ‘social penetration’ by these parties.
While these parties, including the communists, do not leave any chance of attacking the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being autocratic and not an inclusive regime, on the ground, the BJP could be a better outfit for fulfilling the aspirations of tribals.
The stage is perhaps set for 2024, an excellent moment for Hindutva-driven nationalistic politics.
The Congress under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru had won a majority in three consecutive elections between 1952, 1957 and 1962. Under Indira Gandhi, the party won in 1967 and 1971. Incidentally, the BJP won two consecutive polls in 1998 and 1999 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 2009, the Congress returned to power under Manmohan Singh, and PM Narendra Modi won the 2014 and 2019 polls.
Now, the BJP and Prime Minister Modi are marching ahead to become the first party in over five decades to win
three back-to-back Lok Sabha polls.
Of course, crucial polls are ahead in Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura in Feb-March 2023 followed by Karnataka
in summer; while Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan polls are also slated by November-December
A good foundation is half the journey in politics, they say.