How BJP can win hearts in Bengal, Bihar

Delhi’s catastrophe was just a lesson to be learnt, after all the battle either ends in a win or a loss, setbacks too teach you something. Still, the little lesson from Delhi has lot many learnings, discussed in the past, analyzed, criticized; hence in my view, the time is to move on. Upcoming contests are way far bigger and crucial than the Delhi one, and it seems that though the BJP has not been the first choice in Bihar, and merely a choice in Bengal, since the rise of Modi as a national hero for the BJP, milieu has much altered. The challenge, however, is to convert this wave into real and substantial number of votes, a requisite for the central government to bring key legislations by way of increase in numbers in the Rajya Sabha. Didi’s Bengal and an abruptly changed politically unstable state of Bihar pose both a threat as well as opportunity for the BJP; while in the former, though TMC’s hold has not much dipped, Left votes have shifted in the BJP’s kitty, and the ‘yes-no’ Janata Parivar in the latter seems to prove a self-destruction approach of BJP’s opponents. BJP can tap these occasions provided that Shah’s tactic in respective states and Modi’s delivery at the center until legislative elections are in sync with the prevailing demands of voters, more or less underprivileged and the lower middle class households. Not to forget, both states have significant strength of minority votes, votes from unemployed/ underemployed and deprived.

One of the crucial learnings from Delhi’s debacle is that the BJP will have to employ a two-pronged strategy, one that shall be aimed at displaying BJP as a more constructive and pro-development political party as compared to arch-rivals, and second to be aimed directly at voters, making each one of them feel that BJP, as alleged by opposition, is not just a party for corporates or the middle-class, rather it is equally focused on the notion of all-inclusive growth, where none of the clusters is left out, even the minority. Let us discuss the first where BJP’s delivery at the national level and also the approach adopted by the duo, Modi and Shah would decide the party’s fate. Though JD(U)’s rebel Jitan Ram Manjhi would now think of forming another party to lure his vote bank, the Mahadalits of Bihar that makes up 11 per cent of the entire population, it cannot be denied that this short-term CM of the state be welcomed in Bihar BJP, a move that will surely be a loss-loss condition; Manjhi did not prove his caliber to govern the state, except for some illogical statements he made; hence maintaining desirable distance, though treating him as friend is looked-for. Firming up party from within, an unheeded essential that marked a gap between voters and candidates in Delhi is to be thought over well in advance to provide ample time to leaders to connect with people from their constituencies.

Everything lies in numbers. BJP-JD(U) alliance could manage a little over 39 per cent vote share in the 2010 assembly elections, while in 2014 general polls BJP with new partners LJP and RLSP managed to secure 38.8 per cent. Now the point is that the BJP will not only have to retain the vote share of 38.8 per cent but will have to increase it by around 5 per cent to rule out the coming together of RJD and JD(U), along with a likely support from Congress. This time, elections will not be triangular. In Bengal, the BJP has improved in 2014 Lok Sabha polls by managing 17 per cent votes, but TMC’s figure of 39.8 per cent seems far than easily beatable. With the downfall of CPI(M), however, BJP’s position may further improve by some percentage. Then is the Saradha probe by CBI that is revealing TMC’s corruption in WB, freedom to illegal migrants from Bangladesh may also go for the collapse of Mamta’s party, though only when the BJP is able to tap that 40 percent of vote share that has been loyal to Didi for long. We can also see BJP tuning with Mukul Roy, but his inclusion in state BJP will again discourage long time loyalists. All in all, Shah will not only have to aggressively polarize the Hindu vote bank of both states, but will need to politely win the confidence of other castes, that are somewhat assured now post Modi’s words on religious tolerance.

Then are the efforts to be made from Delhi that would impact the thoughts of voters in both the states. Budget session is on and the PM is on the right and much desired track of forming consensus with opposition parties, both within the legal framework as well as through personal nods, Mulayam’s family kids with PM in Saifai and his attendance in Baramati, Pawar’s home of politics, were more than just celebrations, paving way for six ordinances in the ongoing session is the primary target; now we can see the Vajpayee’s magical touch in our dear PM Modi. Not just these legislations are crucial, also is each and every endeavor of the central government prior to elections in Bihar and Bengal. In fact, Modi will need to surpass his image of being a leader of economics and corporate houses and shall stablish himself as a social reformer and Messiah of the poor. Why not deploy two ground workers, one from BJP and the other from RSS to talk to people in both states, understand their concerns and bring them to the notice of the government, which can then frame policies accordingly? Connect with poor, unemployed, minority and lower middle class is the basis to win the heart as well as votes of people in India, and the same has to be BJP’s strategy in all upcoming legislative polls. JD(U), RJD, TMC and Congress will appease the minority to the core, and this time collectively; hence bringing all Hindus into BJP’s fold is the key; though when you rule a state, governance does not make a distinction between religions/ castes, every Indian and his/ her dignity is the responsibility of rulers.

In the queue are also the legislative polls in the state of U.P., where the strength of Mulayam and Mayawati cannot be underrated. BJP’s nationwide vote share in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections grew by over 12 per cent, still they are not to overlook that BSP, which could not win a single seat, was still at the third position with respect to nationwide vote share. To be specific, in U.P. the BJP fetched a vote share of 42.3 per cent in 2014, SP fetched 22.2 per cent and BSP 19.6 per cent. Looking at the condition in the J&K, PDP proving to be a headache for the BJP, and also the wide gap between the ideologies of BJP and SP or BSP, it is sure that BJP cannot afford a hung assembly. Clear mandate is very much necessary to run a BJP government that should not deviate from its basic principles and established practices. Polls in U.P. may not be that close, but voters’ mind is influenced every now and then with the decisions of the central and state governments. Best strategy is to strengthen state units of BJP and infuse a sense of authority and belonging in them, undertake tasks that can lead to direct and visible benefits to the poor and other vulnerable clusters, and minimum divergence from core BJP principles and ideology.

94 thoughts on “How BJP can win hearts in Bengal, Bihar

  1. hamard rishi

    I don’t think that there was anything wrong in Delhi campaign.
    You would be knowing that all Congress votes went to AAP in Delhi.
    People did not reject BJP but felt more assured with AAP.
    Bihar and Bengal will have different story.

    Reply
  2. Sharad

    Manjhi should not be permitted to join BJP at any cost.
    You have said this right that outsiders in BJP bring down the morale of party workers.
    BJP should not hide from fact that party roots in Bihar Bengal and UP are not strong, they need intelligent changes.

    Reply
    1. CA A.K.JALAN

      Sharad ji, you are wrong on two counts.Firstly, BJP roots are very deep in Bihar .
      In Bengal also, erstwhile Jansangh with RSS has had deep roots.
      Moreover, Mr. Jeetan Ram Manjhi is right now is not a person, he has been now symbolized as Mahadalit pride in Bihar.
      It may be the strategy of BJP in Bihar to get Mr.Manjhi supporting from outside, but taking him inside will also not be harming anyway the electoral prospects of BJP in Bihar.

      Reply
  3. Manish Khurana

    Bengal government has allowed immigrants from Bangladesh, they are involved in scams and ministers there are like goons of Mamta Banerjee.
    But do not forget that people love Didi and to change this equation you will have to hit the nerves.

    Reply
  4. sampreet kaur

    Modiji always was considered as saviour of Hindu Ideology but what is happening in Jammu Kashmir is not in his favour.
    He should win back the confidence of Hindus and also stress more on religious harmony.

    Reply
  5. shyam

    It is a famous quote that rather than looking at short-term gains people should look at long-term failures.
    BJP is correcting basic issues and surely this will work well in Indian economy and society.
    Let us give them time to prove their capability.

    Reply
  6. amarjit

    AAP will contest elections if not in Bihar and Bengal, I can definitely bet in UP.
    They will have a strong hold in urban parts of UP.
    BJP should bring schemes for poor people and unemployed youth to win the confidence of voters.

    Reply
  7. Rahul Raj

    Is anybody noticing how well are we doing on economic terms after formation of BJP government in 2014.
    Our output and efficiency have increased and funds are flowing heavily because we have promised higher returns.
    Great job by PM and his team.

    Reply
  8. Yamini

    Bihar is not a problem for Modi, Bengal is.
    Mamta’s hold in West bengal is pretty hefty and to challenge that BJP will have to reach the poor section of society.
    In Bihar I think the win is sure, focus more on Bengal where party is a third choice after TMC and Left.

    Reply
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  14. usha jha

    it is not an easy for BJP to win Bihar election. There is no Modi magic in Bihar. politically Bihar’s people is very matured . sri Nitish kumar is first choice for the CM. It will be tough fight for the BJP.

    Reply
  15. CA A.K.JALAN

    Dear Dr.Sunil Gupta ji,
    I praise your comments on Bihar-Bengal political scenario. As far as I understand Bihar since my childhood, electoral prospects of BJP in Bihar is at the highest level. People in Bihar are very innocent, but understand their long term interests. The gimmicks played by Nitishji and Laluji are well understood by the common man. However, we are sure that the Muslim community will not be voting for BJP and that should be the biggest worry. The polarization effect of Hindu votes are going to be vital. the situation in Bihar is totally polarized and tilted towards BJP.Bihar is charged-up and will remain so till assembly elections are concluded there. It is interesting to note in Bihar that coming together of Nitish with Lalu and Congress supporting is not a welcome proposition with general public in Bihar, rather it is a loosing proposition for them.Combind Nitish-Lalu will be effective only for muslim votes, but that would further polarize Hindu votes in favor of BJP.

    In Bengal, recent trends are indicating very drastic change in electoral scenario there. Bengalis are politically very awaken class, they know that who is going to protect their interests of food,shelter , security and job. The muslim votes are , however, is also a big challenge for BJP there as well, but to my mind, this will again be the root of polarized society voting, largely favouring BJP there. BJP has to be aware of the mad rush of rusted and defaced / discarded leaders of other political outfits in Bengal. It has to choose carefully suitors for the coming elections in the Bengal assembly.

    Reply
  16. hemant

    I differ with your opinion about performance of BJP in Bihar.
    Do not under estimate the combination of Lalu, Nitish and even Congress.
    They will play their cards and BJP can be hit very very bad.
    Better focus on Bihar than any other state.

    Reply
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  20. ram

    I don’t think that there was anything wrong in Delhi campaign.
    You would be knowing that all Congress votes went to AAP in Delhi.
    People did not reject BJP but felt more assured with AAP.
    Bihar and Bengal will have different story.

    Reply
  21. Raj

    You have raised a very valid point.
    Ground workers of BJP or any other party feel cheated when last minute candidates are given a chance.
    I think BJP should decide on candidates well in advance to give them time to contact with people.

    Reply
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    Reply
  23. ramesh khanna

    Is anybody noticing how well are we doing on economic terms after formation of BJP government in 2014.
    Our output and efficiency have increased and funds are flowing heavily because we have promised higher returns.
    Great job by PM and his team.

    Reply
  24. harish

    Manjhi should not be permitted to join BJP at any cost.
    You have said this right that outsiders in BJP bring down the morale of party workers.
    BJP should not hide from fact that party roots in Bihar Bengal and UP are not strong, they need intelligent changes.

    Reply
  25. Prem Pratap

    Modiji always was considered as saviour of Hindu Ideology but what is happening in Jammu Kashmir is not in his favour.
    He should win back the confidence of Hindus and also stress more on religious harmony.

    Reply
  26. umakant singh

    AAP will contest elections if not in Bihar and Bengal, I can definitely bet in UP.
    They will have a strong hold in urban parts of UP.
    BJP should bring schemes for poor people and unemployed youth to win the confidence of voters.

    Reply
  27. raj kumar

    Bihar is not a problem for Modi, Bengal is.
    Mamta’s hold in West bengal is pretty hefty and to challenge that BJP will have to reach the poor section of society.
    In Bihar I think the win is sure, focus more on Bengal where party is a third choice after TMC and Left.

    Reply
  28. sukanya

    It is a famous quote that rather than looking at short-term gains people should look at long-term failures.
    BJP is correcting basic issues and surely this will work well in Indian economy and society.
    Let us give them time to prove their capability.

    Reply
  29. samarath

    You have raised a very valid point.
    Ground workers of BJP or any other party feel cheated when last minute candidates are given a chance.
    I think BJP should decide on candidates well in advance to give them time to contact with people.

    Reply
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    Bengal government has allowed immigrants from Bangladesh, they are involved in scams and ministers there are like goons of Mamta Banerjee.
    But do not forget that people love Didi and to change this equation you will have to hit the nerves.

    Reply
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