Assembly bypoll results: 5 takeaways for the BJP

The Congress and the Samajwadi are gung-ho. The SP is happy that it won eight out of 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh bypolls on Tuesday with three going to the BJP and the Congress is happy that it won in Rajasthan under the leadership of Sachin Pilot.

By Manisha Singh | Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014, 20:29 PM IST

New Delhi: The Congress and the Samajwadi Party are gung-ho. The SP is happy that it won eight out of 11 seats in Uttar Pradesh bypolls on Tuesday with three going to the BJP and the Congress is happy that it won in Rajasthan under the leadership of Sachin Pilot.

Most of the reports have said that the results of the bypolls today was a major blow for the Bharatiya Janata Party as in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat it lost 13 of the 23 seats held by it there.

The Opposition was quick to point out that the so-called Modi wave was on the decline, especially after disappointing performance in the Assembly bypolls in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh in the last two months.

While, Assembly bypolls are different from the Lok Sabha polls and also different from the state Assembly polls, a lot is being read into the results that were declared today.

Following are the five takeaways for the party which is ruling at the Centre:

1. The politics of polarisation may not work as people voted for Modi in the General Elections on the agenda of growth and development. In a state like Uttar Pradesh, the BJP managed to win 73 seats out of 80 along with its allies in the Lok Sabha polls with people voting for them cutting across caste and religion. So maybe it is time for the BJP and Modi to reign in leaders like Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj and shun the politics of 'Love Jihad'.

2. Secondly, in states like Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat the BJP did suffer setbacks in the Assembly bypolls but there was no so-called polarisation of votes there. Thus, one cannot attribute BJP's bad showing to the rhetoric of 'communal agenda' only as the Opposition is making it out to be. In these states BJP needs to see whether they faltered to keep its promises or did not put up the right candidates or did not have strong regional leaders to drive them home.

Also, the trend may be pointing to the fact that the people vote differently for national and Assembly elections.

3. However, BJP winning in Assam and West Bengal today is big plus. In West Bengal the party opened its account and this means that in the Assembly polls in future the Trinamool Congress and the Congress will be confronted with a new challenge. The illegal immigration factor may have worked for the BJP in Assam and in West Bengal the waning away of the Left may have come in handy for them.

4. Inspite of the party's not-so-good showing in today's results, the BJP is tipped to win in the upcoming polls in Maharashtra and Haryana. But before that they have to sort out their differences with its ally the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra if they want to decimate the NCP-Congress combine in the state. And maybe, just maybe, they need to shed their complacency if any.

5. However, the most important takeaway is probably this - Prime Minister Narendra Modi is BJP's tallest and the most popular leader with an ability to connect with the masses like none other. And the BJP needs him to campaign for them and garner votes. Thus, the results today may be a setback for the BJP but most likely it is not a test of Modi's popularity or a referendum on the working of his government which is just over 100 days old.