Delhi civic poll pointers

The BJP juggernaut is rolling on, crushing all obstructions. The result of three civic elections in Delhi has only brought out that fact in sharp relief. What is most pathetic is that the Congress has been relegated to the third position. The Aam Admi Party came a distant second to the BJP but the Congress was far behind even the AAP. Some top functionaries of the Delhi Congress have sent in their resignations to the party chief but resigning is hardly the answer to the party’s steady decline. Narendra Modi is the winner in every election, not the BJP, just as every Trinamool Congress victory in West Bengal is the victory of Mamata Banerjee. Taken as the index of popularity of Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, the latter has lost all the sheen he acquired after the spectacular AAP victory in the Delhi State Assembly elections in 2015. Kejriwal has, undoubtedly, lost the confidence of the people for whatever reason. His blaming the EVMs is an excuse that will find no takers.
The Delhi civic poll results will only strengthen the impression that Narendra Modi is invincible and unstoppable. The Opposition parties will have to introspect deeply why they are losing in every round to the man with a 56-inch chest. No issue – from demonetization to farmers’ suicides to failure to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks – is having any effect on the electorate which seems to have an unshakable faith in Modi. Odisha and West Bengal are next in the firing line. BJP national president Amit Shah’s recent tour of West Bengal denoted that the BJP has already started its poll campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 Assembly polls in Bengal. While in 2019 Mamata Banerjee is expected to hold her fort, 2021 may turn out to be a different proposition.
The Opposition parties cannot offer any effective opposition to the BJP unless the hammer out an alternative programme of development. Both the programme and the leadership of the Opposition must be able to command the trust and confidence of the people. Today there is no personality like Jayaparakash Narayan whom the people implicitly trusted because they knew he has not seeking power for himself. But even JP could not prevent the break-up of the Janata Party and its Government in 1979. Without an effective Opposition and a credible leadership the march of the BJP cannot be stopped. Whether the non-BJP parties, from Congress to CPM, can unite on the basis of an alternative programme in the two years left is the million dollar question.

Friday, 28 April, 2017