THE results of the Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra and the bye-elections in Gujarat and Bihar have come as a rude reality check for the ruling BJP.
In the backdrop of an economic crash caused by the Modi Government, BJP and Modi sought to campaign on a plank of polarising hate. They boasted of the abrogation of Article 370, promised a Bharat Ratna to Savarkar, and made repeated promises of using NRC and CAB to oust “illegal immigrants”.
But, in sharp contrast the Lok Sabha polls of May 2019, all the hate and jingoism failed to drown out the core issues of unemployment, farmers’ distress, and agrarian crisis.
In Haryana, BJP had boasted of crossing 75 seats (out of the total 90). Instead, it could scrape through only 40, with 8 of the 10 ministers fielded by the BJP losing the elections. Congress could secure 31 seats, while the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), led by Dushyant Chautala, secured 10 seats.
In Maharashtra, the BJP was hoping to cross the majority mark on its own, but won only 105 seats -- way below its 2014 tally of 122. The Sena won 56. The setbacks for the BJP-SS are in the main in Vidarbha and Western Maharashtra, and the cause is the severe farm crisis and farmers’ distress.
In Haryana, the BJP is predictably trying to form Government by wooing the infamous Haryana Lokhit Party MLA Gopal Kanda (a millionaire debtor and accused of rape and abetment to two separate suicide cases) as a kingmaker.
But whatever the outcome in terms of Government formation, the key takeaway is that the issues of jobs, livelihood and justice cannot be eclipsed forever by jingoism and hate.