Millennium Post

You know why It is all about the 'M' factor?

So much so that the results in Delhi has shown that the voters are prepared to back a convincing and viable third option, however untested, rather than supporting the alternative national party lock-stock & barrel.

Generally the state elections are won and lost on the local issues as well as candidate selection rather than non-state factors; except when there is a wave. The recent elections in the 'cow-belt' has demonstrated a distinct Modi wave directly benefitting BJP in the three non-Delhi states and a AAP/Kejriwal wave in Delhi upsetting most of the poll forecasts. Given due cognisance of Raje's charisma and leadership quality as evidenced in the past, how else could one explain the unprecedented 80 per cent + sweep at Rajasthan? Given due respect to Shivraj Singh Chauhan's quite but firm way of good governance, how else could one explain a spurt of additional 22 seats over what was held in 2008? Giving due credence to low profile Chawul-wale baba's wisdom, how else could one explain the party holding its ground in Chhattisgarh in spite of the strong negative factors and a resurgent Congress? The answer lies in the four letters, viz Modi. Even in Delhi where BJP was riddled with internal factions, leadership dispute, late selection of the CM candidate, somewhat in-appropriate selection of candidates and the dynamic penetration of AAP in the traditionally indifferent vote bank. It is the Modi factor which somewhat saved the day for BJP by almost retaining their voters' support. In fact the post poll analysis of 11 December 2013, clearly demonstrates that in 10 constituencies with thin margin of victory (six under 1,000) BJP won in only two and AAP 6. Perhaps with a little bit of luck BJP could have wrested the magic number of 36. The voting pattern of the recent polls reveals a significant departure from the traditional trends for the benefit of BJP.

Erstwhile BJP drew its major support from the urban areas where as in 2013 BJP received almost equal support from the rural voters. The majority of the numerically stronger younger age group (below 45) was drawn towards BJP. In Madhya Pradesh BJP overwhelmed INC in spite of the majority of Rajputs, its traditional backers, voted Congress perhaps due to the influence of so many of Congress leaders hailing from Rajput/Tkakur community. The main credit for all these departures, according to the qualitative feedback, has been the Modi factor.

Where does the Party go from here? It must take cognisance of the fact that the rejection of Congress and the AAP success would surely encourage the Third Front to become a cohesive consortium leading to a fractured mandate in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014. A hung parliament would not be good for the nation as well as the party for obvious reasons. Assuming that UPA, in absence of a strong leader to galvanise the masses, would not be able to overcome the strong anti-incumbency in the next few months, the best bet for BJP/NDA is to concentrate their efforts in say 300 odd seats where they are most likely to be successful, rather than trying to over-reach across the nation. If BJP could notch-up around 200+ wins, polarisation from the some of the regional parties could give rise to a Greater NDA to rule India. Seemingly the Modi bandwagon is working even in the state elections; hence it must work with much greater effect in the Lok Sabha elections. Thus, without losing any time, the party must take the required steps towards positioning itself effectively in potential constituencies across the nation with Modi as the undisputed supreme leader.

The author is managing director at ORG
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