Delhi: To say that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was routed in Bihar on Sunday is an understatement. It was beaten re-soundly by the Janata Dal United-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar elections.
Thus, with Bihar polls over, the Narendra Modi-led BJP needs to press the reset button and do some course correction.
Following are some of the factors that the BJP can take into account when it faces an election next:
- In one of the most bitterly fought elections in recent times, the BJP slowly deviated from the development agenda and started indulging in personal attacks. The saffron party shifted gears all too often and focused on issues like beef, oculist, reservation and so on. The party has to realise that today's aspirational India needs jobs and food on their table and it would do them good to talk of their agendas and not deviate needlessly and indulge in negative campaigning.
- Going ahead, the BJP must not expose too much in state elections. When PM Modi invests too much time and energy on a single state then his invincibility and his ability to win elections start being questioned. The PM needs to focus more on governance and take the country forward. After all he will be questioned when he faces the electorate in 2019 Lok Sabha polls on the promises that he made to them.
- The BJP cannot win in states after states by just projecting the face of PM Modi. The need of the hour is to encourage and promote a local leader, the likes of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh. One of the factors that probably went against the BJP in Bihar was the fact that it did not have any face who could match the persona of Nitish Kumar. In hindsight, to not go with a CM face in Bihar was maybe not a very good idea.
- The saffron party also needs to tackle in-fighting and disgruntled leaders like Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh. When Sinha and Singh speak against the party line in middle of a crucial election it does not augur well for the party.
- Maybe a better synergy between the BJP and the RSS next time around would be better. Questions are being raised whether the reservation comment by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat may have proved detrimental for the BJP. Also, some media reports have said that the RSS was not very comfortable by the growing clout of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
- The BJP needs to analyse whether attempts, if any, to communalise the atmosphere and polarise the voters will pay them dividend in future. For example, it is being asked if the comment by Shah on firecrackers will be burst in Pakistan if BJP loses in Bihar was needless.
However, the flip side is that while Bihar may have been done and dusted, the time is still ripe to do course correction in time for other state elections next year and in 2017.
Also, there is also lot of time left for 2019 General Elections. BJP top brass and PM Modi need to take lessons from the drubbing in Bihar. If they don't, it will be at their own peril.