Published On:13 March 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

2012 UP POLLS ANALYSIS: BJP Lost, But Narendra Modi Won?

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: BJP's most important crowd puller Narendra Modi did not address any election meetings in Uttar Pradesh and what happened BJP lost the battle. But Modi won How?
The results of mini Lok Sabha election, as the crucial Uttar Pradesh polls along with those in four other states were projected, seem to have made Chief Minister Narendra Modi politically stronger not only in Gujarat but in the national party structure, too.

Mr Modi may be able to take perverse pleasure from his party's lacklustre showing in UP. The last major campaign he did not participate in was in Bihar, where Nitish Kumar is in power with the BJP. Worried about Mr Modi alienating Muslim voters, Mr Kumar had banned Mr Modi from the alliance's pitch for re-election in 2010.

A huge victory followed for the BJP and Mr Kumar - the former showed bigger gains than the latter's JDU. Mr Modi's critics said the results showed that he had not been missed, and that his appeal among voters outside his home state is over-rated.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari has said that Mr Modi is among a group of five or six contenders for the party's prime ministerial candidates in the next general elections, scheduled for 2014. Had BJP done well in Uttar Pradesh, it was almost certain that Joshi would have gained in stature and would have struck back ferociously in Gujarat. If Joshi’s strategies had worked and secured better results in UP, he would have managed to have a crucial say in ticket distribution and strategising the December 2012 elections in Gujarat.

“Joshi would have become very strong and he would have neutralised Modi with help from Gadkari,” a senior BJP leader said. However, with Joshi’s strategies crashing in UP, there are slim chances of him getting any political say in Gujarat affairs.

Gadkari Weakened

Gadkari as party president would also have become stronger and secure in his leadership had the party got positive results.

He would have used the opportunity to even eliminate Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. However, except grabbing Goa from Congress, BJP’s personal electoral gains are not impressive.

In Uttar Pradesh in 2007, BJP had got 51 seats, four more than it managed this year. It has nearly been routed in Lucknow which has five urban and four semi-urban seats. Lucknow, a BJP bastion, has never seen this drab a performance by the saffron party in the last 21 years.
In Punjab though BJP has been gloating over its victory, it is because of its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). There, too, last time BJP had won 19 seats but this time it has won seven less. In Uttarakhand, in 2007, Congress had won 21 seats. This time it has won 32. BJP which had 34 seats last time has won 31. BSP has got three seats and independents and others have got four seats.

Amid all this, Gadkari’s performance as the national party president is bound to come under scanner. If BJP had fared better, Gadkari would have got stronger and since he and Modi do not look eye to eye anymore, it may have spelt trouble for Modi.

Parikkar - New Face

Manohar Parikkar with a clean image has snatched Goa from Congress. However, with Gadkari himself in the dock, the leadership-starved BJP would not be able to humble Modi in any way. So Modi’s biggest intra-party rivals, Gadkari and Joshi, are not going to be in any position to damage Modi. His only competition is likely to come from Manohar Parikkar who has grabbed Goa from Congress on the graft issue.

Parikkar versus Modi in BJP will be an interesting fight. As of now Parikkar, with his clean image and progressive, modernistic and all-inclusive approach, is likely to be the face of BJP in the coming months.

That Parikkar, unlike Modi, has not indulged in any cosmetic Sadbhavna and won because of Christian support in Goa will help him enhance his own and the party equity and BJP will be able to shed its hardcore Hindutva image.

Rahul, too, No Threat

Modi’s other trouble would have been Rahul Gandhi, who during the course of the UP election campaign, had said that after UP his destination would be Gujarat. Looking at Rahul’s record in UP, even if he comes to Gujarat, it seems he will not be able to harm Modi at all. On the contrary, his arrival may help Modi consolidate further his popularity among the aam aadmi. Even if Rahul comes to Gujarat, it seems as of now, it could be an extension of his UP-style campaigning and in absence of any state Congress organisational infrastructure and bankruptcy of local leadership, Modi would have nothing to lose.

If Rahul’s magic had worked in UP, it would have not only boosted the party’s morale in Gujarat but would have immensely helped in re-establishing the connect that Congress over the last decade and a half has lost with the average Gujarati. If Modi has his way, he would simply reduce Rahul to a show piece campaigner who could create a wave that would not translate into votes.

The general eslections are not very far. This performance is bound to give sleepless nights to Rahul Baba. His ambition to become the PM has clearly hit the road-block this time around. Will 2014 be any better? Akhilesh Yadav beat him at his own game. The battle ahead appears to be far tougher with Narendra Modi straining at the leash to make a go for the premier post. Is Rahul Baba ready? If not, then he should take some tips from some wise old man who can drill into his head that the surname Gandhi is not enough, the country is in search of a tall leader who can make all the problems disappear with a magic wand.

Regional leaders have emerged stronger in these assembly elections and Modi as a powerful regional satrap is all set to consolidate his position further.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on March 13, 2012. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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