New Delhi: Jolted by its poor performance in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, BJP leaders are said to be in deep contemplation on what went wrong, with some already laying the blame on poor ticket distribution, the Kushwaha factor, anti-Mayawati wave and infighting.
With Hindutva leader Uma Bharti and former general secretary (Organisation) Sanjay Joshi at the helm of affairs in the state, BJP's hopes had soared and it was expecting around 80 seats in these elections.
While Rahul Gandhi had made polls in this politically crucial state a prestige issue, even BJP president Nitin Gadkari was treating it as a test case. The latter wanted a
stellar performance in UP to smoothen his ride into a second term as BJP chief.
However, things have gone horribly wrong for the right-wing party which hoped this would be a semi-final before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. UP is the most significant state politically as it sends 80 MPs to the Lower House of Parliament.
The poll debacle is likely to figure prominently in the
forthcoming National Executive meet of the BJP, to be held
tentatively in April. The other issue to rock the conclave
would be the reported sabotage by former Uttarakhand chief
minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in the hill state. Incumbent
BC Khanduri lost from Kotdwar, which came as a huge
embarrassment to the party that was ousted by a thin margin.
Induction of Babu Singh Kushwaha, Mayawati's former
cabinet colleague tainted in the NRHM scam, has cost the party
dear with the upper caste shunning it in favour of Samajwadi
Party. The decision - which was aimed at wooing the OBCs -
came as a surprise as the BJP had been running a high-pitched
campaign against corruption for several months.
BJP top brass had thought the gamble of having Kushwaha on
its side would bring OBC votes and the upper caste would grin
and bear it. However, results show that SP has pocketed the
urban seats- where the upper castes are more in number- as
well. In state capital Lucknow, known as BJP's stronghold, SP
has won three seats - a first for the party.
Following brouhaha over Kushwaha's entry into the party,
the BJP later made him write a letter stating his membership
would be kept in abeyance till he was cleared of the charges.
But he continued to campaign for the BJP, a fact that was not
lost on the voters.
Ticket-distribution has also been a factor with some of
the top brass prevailing over Gadkari and insisting that their
supporters and followers be fielded. In the constituencies
falling in Allahabad district, a senior BJP leader rubbished
the party's internal surveys and his candidates were fielded.
The party has performed badly here.
A similar situation arose in Varanasi and other districts
where senior leaders prevailed and this led to the defeat of
the BJP candidates.
Some of the candidates- put in the fray with the
Machiavellian intention of winning the seat at any cost- also
failed to perform. Sachidanand Sakshi, once incarcerated in
Tihar in cases of rape and sexual assault, was fielded from
Bhogaon but stood fourth.
Lallu Singh, who had been winning the Ayodhya seat since
1992 due to the Ram temple issue, lost this time. The party
did not see the writing on the wall that the people wanted
development of the constituency to be given priority.
First Published: Sunday, March 11, 2012, 11:17