Sunday, October 19, 2014

Modi Wave Continues

The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-led Bharatiya Janata Party continued the Modi wave that led to a once-in-a-generation Lok Sabha majority in May this year by winning the party's first ever majority in Haryana, a state where the BJP has never had much of a base and has always played second-fiddle. Amazingly, not only did the party win a majority in the state, it also pushed the traditional number one of the state, the Congress, to third place, reducing it to the position that it was once itself in.

Haryana was a great risk for the BJP because, aside from being a Congress bastion, it did not have a single BJP worker who could really stand up as the face of the party, thus forcing it to bank heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ability to bring in votes. That high-risk strategy paid off and will possibly be the template for Amit Shah to launch the party into new territories where the party has also never been strong - West Bengal being a prime target. It has also shown that the Modi wave continues despite the hubris of the Congress after the last round of byelections - people want more of him and his agenda, not less.

For the Congress, this defeat should send the alarm bells ringing. From the Jat reservation to former CM Hooda's populism, nothing worked for the part, What's worse, the BJP used the issue of Robert Vadra's land deals to great advantage to turn the rural voters against the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. One could say that it was coming - the Congress was short of a majority in 2009 and had to cobble up a deal with HJC MLAs - but the scale of the defeat is impressive. As for the INLD, while it will now be the principal opposition in the Assembly, Chautala Sr. has a long time to go before he can hope for some mercy from Delhi. 

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