Hues of a new political landscape

The president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Amit Shah, while addressing a national executive meet in New Delhi in September said that the party would continue to remain in power for the next 50 years if it won the 2019 general election. From ruling seven States in 2014, the party runs many States by itself or in an alliance. For a party that has earned such unprecedented electoral success, the feel of invincibility is natural, but Mr. Shah’s claim sounds pompous. In 1984, the Congress party won 404 Lok Sabha seats but tasted inglorious defeat in 1989. Likewise, its leader Indira Gandhi, who was venerated in 1971, had to bite the dust in 1977. India’s electoral world is dangerously precarious. Moreover, the Indian voter’s mind is very difficult to read. Looking at various political trends, however, the BJP’s dominance as single largest party for some time regardless of the outcome of the 2019 election is a fact. The BJP’s dominance partly hinges on what sort of political resistance it faces from the Opposition. The clue that we get from the history of resistance is this: the most organised resistance to the BJP took place in 1996, when the party led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was isolated and restricted to running the government for not more than 13 days even though he was seen to be more moderate than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A strategising Such an event is not possible in 2019 or later for at least three reasons. First, having led the National Democratic Alliance coalition, the BJP has developed working relations with various regional parties who no longer see the national party as politically untouchable or are scared of its ideology; Second, the leaders of regional parties, most often dynastic in nature, have very limited stakes in the national polity and a limited interest in fighting a battle outside their turf. Third, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah leadership, which presented itself as one with a difference in elections held 2014 onwards is also accommodative of their opponents. For instance, the Congress’s Rita Bahuguna in Uttar Pradesh or Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam or the Janata Dal (United)’s Nitish Kumar were accommodated generously. So why is an ideological party so forgiving towards its opponents? Because its key objective is to drain the Opposition politics of vital resources so that any future consolidation against it is weak.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/hues-of-a-new-political-landscape/article25675642.ece

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