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The unstoppable juggernaut

Rajeev Sharma
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RAJEEV SHARMA
Last update 24 December 2014 10:20 pm

Published Thursday 25 December 2014

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The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party


(BJP) is continuing its dream run of electoral
victories, wresting states after states from the
opposition. The principal opposition party, the
Congress, also continued its horror run in electoral
politics as Tuesdays results of assembly polls in
Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir show.
After winning Haryana on its own steam and
forming its own government in Maharashtra, both
first time happenings, the BJP on Tuesday added
one more state to its kitty: Jharkhand. For the first
time, the BJP will be heading its own government
with an almost clear majority in Jharkhand.
Almost because the BJP won 37 seats on its
own in the 81-seat assembly while its new ally All
Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) won five; thus
together the two allies have one seat more than
the magic number of 41. This is a big achievement
considering that since Jharkhand was carved out
of Bihar and made an independent state by the
Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000, no party
ever won a majority in this state. Jharkhand has
had a track record of political instability with its
14-year-old history being pock-marked by nine
different governments and two terms of Central rule.

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Yet another first time happening in Jharkhand is that the


predominantly tribal state will soon have a non-tribal as chief minister,
the most likely chief ministerial candidate being Raghubar Das, 59, a
backward caste leader of the BJP. Important national fallout of
Jharkhand polls result would be that it will provide more political heft
to Prime Minister Modi in giving the much-needed fillip to mining
projects in this resource-rich state to tackle energy shortages more
comprehensively. The story of Jammu and Kashmir assembly
elections is a bit different. Election results in J&K have thrown up a
fractured mandate with no single party having the requisite 44 seats
on its own to form a government. This will inevitably lead to protracted
negotiations as new political equations are made.

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of former Union Home Minister


and former J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed emerged as
the single largest party with 28 seats in the 87-member assembly but
far short of a clear majority.

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The BJP with 25 seats is close behind the PDP. But in terms of vote
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of almost 24 percent as compared to the PDPs vote share of about
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What is even more creditable for the BJP is not just its best-ever
performance in Indias only Muslim-majority state but also the little
talked about fact that in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley BJP
polled more votes than the Congress in several constituencies.
However, the bigger political that has emerged from the election
results of Jharkhand and J&K is that despite his winning streak, Modi
is not invincible after all and it is all about the opposition making the

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The unstoppable juggernaut | Arab News

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http://www.arabnews.com/columns/news/679276

right alliances at the right time.

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In Jharkhand, the Congress entered the assembly elections by


breaking off its alliance with the regional satrap Jharkhand Mukti
Morcha (JMM). Both lost to the BJP with the JMM and the Congress
winning 19 and six seats each as against the BJPs 37. The Congress
dumped the JMM in favor of a tie up with Nitish Kumars Janata Dal
United and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal, neither of
which could win a single seat. Both Kumar and Yadav may be big
leaders in the contiguous state of Bihar but in Jharkhand they are
irrelevant and the JMM is a far bigger political force. This is what the
Jharkhand results have just shown. In Jammu and Kashmir, the
Congress contested elections independent of National Conference,
though the two parties ran the state government for last six years
together. National Conference and Congress won 15 and 12 seats
respectively.
The story could have been drastically different if the state leadership
of NC and Congress were to contest elections together as allies to
take on Modi. Clearly, the non-BJP parties have not learnt from their
mistakes in Maharashtra where the Congress and Sharad Pawars
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) severed their alliance and
contested elections against one another. The moral of the story is
this. The Modi juggernaut is stoppable but only if the opposition
makes the right alliances. Nothing is better demonstrated than the
fact that in the April-May general elections the BJP had led in 58
assembly segments in Jharkhand but in the state assembly polls less
than seven months later the BJP managed to win only 37 seats.

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The opposition is citing this fact to prove that the Modi wave is
waning. This can be a valid political point but all that matters is who
wins and who loses. The fact is that Modi has emerged politically
stronger after elections in four states and shown that his landslide
victory in general elections seven months ago was not a freak.
The Indian opposition parties will do well to remember a quotable
quote made famous by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping: I dont mind if
my cat is black as long as it catches rat. In the Indian political
context, it would mean that an ideology or an alliance does not matter
as long as it works.

Comments
1 Comment

Debuji

Congress will keep loosing inspite of joining hands with any party. Had it
joined hands with NCP in Maharashtra, together they would have not won
even 50 seats. They would bring down any entity by being friend to them.
They have invited people's wrath by their misrule !

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