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The BJP’s failure to capitalize on the problems of the Congress, will it ever be seen as an alternative ?




Consider the fact that the Government is seen as gripped by policy paralysis, there is a reduction in the growth rate of the economy, and the Congress has been steadily losing state elections, and even seen in a problematic position in municipal elections in major cities in states ruled by the Congress. One would have expected that this would be the time that a resurgent opposition party would be able to capitalize on these issues, project itself as the national alternative, and start to attract the un-attached regional parties that cannot go with the Congress. In short, this would have been the time for the BJP to be seen as a huge alternative, ready to menace the support alliance of the Congress, and would have seen the NDA emerge as a massive alternative to the UPA.
But consider what is happening ? The BJP remains in the throes of a crisis. The only saving grace for the BJP in a huge electoral state such as Uttar Pradesh is that the Congress has got fewer seats than the BJP, but otherwise it is nowhere in the large scheme of things. The BJP is unable to make inroads in states where it does not have much of a support base, and the one state where it could have reached out into new territory is showcasing the worst performance of the BJP as a political entity (talking about Karnataka where Yeddyurappa keeps on threatening the BJP central leadership and the current Chief Minister in the state, and the Supreme Court keeps on threatening Yeddyurappa with more cases). By now, the BJP has become a laughing stock in the state and the corruption allegations against Yeddyurappa keeps on rising whenever it makes a national stand against corruption, and probably the only thing that is in its favor is that the rival parties are equally factional ridden.

Where the BJP has a long-time partner, there are issues in terms of alliance politics that the party should have learnt from all the alliance politics that the Congress keeps on facing problems with; the alliance with Nitish Kumar remains perpetually in the news for tensions that keep on coming up, with the latest being the protests by the JD(U) against the remarks of Sushma Swaraj about presidential elections, followed by an attempt by the BJP to mollify the Chief Minister. The BJP would certainly not want Nitish Kumar to follow the lead of the Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who broke the alliance and then won handily on his own, thus ensuring that the BJP lost its somewhat okay political position in Orissa and is now behind the BJD and the Congress in the state.
In the state of Rajasthan, which the BJP would want to win to ensure that it has a stake in the various states of North India, everybody outside the BJP would also have heard of only one person – Vasundhra Raje Scindia; however factional politics and adverse support for her rival from the BJP high command and the RSS forced her to raise the banner of revolt. This ensured that her leading position in the state was ensured, but left bad blood on all sides, and does ensure that the state level chieftains will be more ready to oppose central intervention (which the Chief Ministers of Chattisgarh, Jharkand and Madhya Pradesh are anyhow trying to do from their own side). All this depicts the BJP as house divided, not able to emerge as the central opposition backbone of the country.
This is pretty much evident from the fact that non-Congress Chief Ministers keep on trying their efforts to talk about a non-UPA and non-NDA grouping rather than seeing the NDA / BJP as the party that seems all ready to come to power and which would attract all these other parties that know that a third front at the national level would be an extremely difficult proposition in terms of electoral and political terms.




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