Jharkhand & Jammu Kashmir Verdict::Modi’s Popularity Dips
“There’s a Modi effect, but not a Modi wave”
By : Himadrish Suwan
The echo of the voters’ voice of May 2014 is receding as proven by the assembly elections in Jharkhand & Jammu and Kashmir. Pro-BJP result which was below expectations, has put a question mark on whether there’s a “Modi effect” or “Modi wave”. When asked what the main issues were in the state elections, people in small towns and rural areas mentioned inflation, corruption, unemployment, neglect of roads and water, and other local issues. They did not list Modi as a major issue. But when asked whether Modi’s emergence as the BJP spearhead had made a difference, almost everyone replied “yes.” After falling from Mission 44 to Mission 22 in J&K, BJP has decided to set realistically achievable targets for upcoming elections to save Modi’s image. BJP falling way short of majority in Jammu & Kashmir and its below expectation performance in Jharkhand is indicative of the fact that Modi Wave is no longer wave but just an effect. What’s common in results of both J&K and Jharkhand, is that Modi Wave didn’t perform as expected and wave’s performance is directly proportional to the local temperature. Lower the temperature, worse the performance.
The fact is still evident that the Muslims are not with BJP despite BJP’s hard push to transform itself from its decade old Hindutva agenda to Development agenda. The proverb is quite apt “After eating 100 rats, the cat goes on a pilgrimage”. For example, you could always cheat on quizzes in class, then when its time for the final exam, condemn the act of cheating altogether. The same is the case with BJP.BJP is trying its best to convert its image from a Hindutva based ideology political party to a development based ideology political party but this transformation is hard to set in the minds of the voters . The Kashmir verdict is quite clear that in muslim belt BJP is still “uncommon” , despite Narendra Modi’s efficient campaign and rallies BJP could not even manage to get a single seat. BJP’s mission 44 was a failure despite Modi’s effective campaign and rallies. Hence, calling Modi wave transforming into an effect will not be wrong. The rejection of the BJP including that of Hina Bhat in the Valley shows that the BJP’s polarizing influence is not just perceived, it is there. Had the BJP won a single seat in the Valley it would have been a point of rejoice for BJP.
In the case of Jharkhand despite Narendra Modi’s efficient and loaded election campaign the success rate of BJP was nothing less than a failure and its evident that Modi’s popularity has decreased .The Jharkhand verdict is quite clear that instead of so called “Modi Wave” BJP finds hard to get a clear majority. Despite so called “Modi wave” a regional party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha(JMM) managed 20 seats whom Narendra Modi criticised calling to throw off “Baap Bete Ki Sarkar” . The regional force JMM has beaten anti-incumbency and shown that if the party was a part of alliance with congress, the BJP would have found it difficult to form the government also. Infact, it would have been called a wave “if in Jharkhand & Jammu and Kashmir the other political forces would have reduced to a single digit ”,but this was not the case. Hence, it would be wrong to call it as a “Modi wave” but yes a “Modi effect” . When you compare the Lok Sabha results to today’s, the BJP has little to rejoice. In Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 60 Assembly segments of Jharkhand. It is now struggling to reach the half-way mark.
Today’s Chanakya group, who had been setting up targets through there exit poll planting BJP’s 65 seats in Jharkhand was actually a myth . The process of government formation will throw up many interesting formulations and compromises. The result throws up a unique possibility of non-BJP parties coming together to find a common ground and common agenda for J&K. The in-stint of common platform sharing can be seen with Janata party coming together at one platform but still not sure whether Janata is with Janata parivar or not. Now, If the PDP decides to partner with the BJP to form the government, what would be the stand on contentious issues like Article 370, Self-Rule, dual currency and AFSPA? If the BJP compromise on these issues as they compromised during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government the constituency of J&K that voted for the BJP for its stand on these issues will suffer .Bhartiya Janata Party talks about 370 whereas the PDP talks about self rule. The difference is quite clear.
Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah campaigned hard in these Assembly elections. The top leadership should be depressed of not succeeding in getting an overwhelming majority in Jharkhand or getting a reason to smile in Kashmir. Modi government should take pro-people initiatives to regain its overwhelming popularity or so called “Modi Wave”.