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BIHAR BLUNDER: WHERE DOES THE BUCK STOP IN BJP?

 
The question of whether Amit Bhai will be given a second term as Party president or not has become an open question.

“BUCK STOPS WHERE IN BJP FOR BIHAR DEBACLE"

Over the last one month, as I travelled through different parts of Bihar in the heat and dust of election campaign, I got convinced of one thing. Narendra Modi was the most popular political figure in the country.  “ Modi is a fantastic PM “ was the overwhelming view. When conversation would veer around Nitish Kumar, the answer would be the same, “ Nitish is a fantastic CM “. Ultimately in this CM vs PM debate, Nitish came out triumphant. So does that mean Modi has been rejected? No

The story of Bihar debacle for the BJP needs to be looked at from a totally different stand point. There is no doubt about the fact that Mr Modi has been the most sought after political campaigner for the BJP for almost ten years now. I distinctly remember even in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, when LK Advani was the PM candidate, the man most in demand was Modi. So its perfectly understandable for him to be the key campaigner for the party. What needs to be looked at is who was the second lead campaigner for the BJP? Amit Shah. Just how and why he emerged as the second lead campaigner for the BJP in a state where he had never campaigned before? That is where the story needs to be told.

Amit Shah is a very hands on BJP president. There are few party presidents as hard working as him. But then the team he has built around himself isn’t really the team that can help in winning tough electoral battles. Its not difficult to imagine the plight of Congress led governments in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand in 2014. Years of anti incumbency, massive corruption scandals and a huge credibility deficit. The first state where Amit Shah and co were really challenged was Delhi. Results are for all to see. Bihar was the second state where he was challenged. Again results are there for all to see. Does that then make Amit Shah a hugely over hyped figure? Afterall, isn’t he the same man who helped BJP make a virtual sweep in UP during Lok Sabha elections in 2014? Wasn’t it his effort that ensured the BJP gets past the 272 mark comfortably on his own? If he was having a dream run last year, what’s happened this year?

The political reality of 2014 was that the Congress was a company in shambles. Nation was looking for an option. At the national level, with Modi’s American style campaigning, his powerful oratory, Rahul Gandhi’s own naivete and Manmohan Singh’s silence, the election was a no brainer. There was never any doubt about BJP emerging as single largest party. Amit Shah style of politics ensured that the BJP emerged not just as single largest party, but formed a government on its own. In Delhi and Bihar, Amit Bhai, as he is fondly called, relied upon the same tactics that he had adopted in 2014 general elections first and then assembly polls. A massive media blitzkrieg, coupled with PM Modi’s rallies. He stumbled on both occasions as his contest was not with the congress party.  That’s the one big lesson BJP will take from the Bihar Pasting.

Bihar battle was also the first battle where Amit Shah ensured that his face was plastered on all hoardings along with that of Narendra Modi. Now while Mr Modi has already built a huge brand for himself, Amit Shah is still a long way off from that. In many ways, he was also trying to project himself as someone who was best equipped to be interpreted as an almost equal to Mr Modi. Again it was a flawed strategy. For many, Amit Shah represented the Bahari or the outsider in the entire debate on Bahari vs Bihari.

This is the reason why the old guard of the BJP has chosen to specifically target him. At this stage, its clear. The question of whether Amit Bhai will be given a second term as Party president or not has become an open question.


Tags: Bihar, Bihar CM, Amit Shah, BJP