THE UNHINGED FRINGE ELEMENTS: THE PATH AHEAD LOOKS EVEN MORE ENTANGLED

Now, that is a problem, already accentuated.

And even after that, the elements are not ready to take stock of the situation.

Narendra Modi was eloquent with confidence when he had said back in May 2014 that he was there for two terms and the 2019 general elections were already won.

It followed the streak for some time, with Modi looking invincible electorally.

The letdown of the two major rounds of the bye-elections was mopped by BJP’s victory in three assembly polls with the added bonus of the party emerging as the second largest party in Jammu & Kashmir.

But, after almost nine months in the prime minister’s office, that eloquence is getting some shattering reality check.

And an ‘unbridled run’ of the fringe elements furthering the communal agenda is one of the reasons behind it.

The communal elements that have long been associated with the BJP’s politics started sounding victorious from the day one as if the victory of Narendra Modi and BJP had given them a safe haven.

Initially the BJP dismissed reactions on their acts.

The dismissive attitude was helped by victories in assembly polls. But in all those states, the BJP was the main opposition voice contesting the polls, against the anti-incumbency of the ruling governments.

But with no effective checks on these voices, they soon started going berserk, sounding and acting unhinged. Vitriolic statements were delivered and practiced. Religious conversions, saffronization of education and making India a Hindu nation started getting frequent visibility.

And this frequent visibility soon started getting traction.

It forced the BJP to come in a defensive mode, distancing itself from the voices, once the cracks started appearing, with the opposition attacking the government in the Parliament, with the people expressing their displeasure on social media and other platforms and with the media outfits debating and discussing the issue with rightly oriented critical coverage.

But the final bolt came with the humiliating loss in the Delhi polls, the first avenue where the BJP was seen ruling the National Capital Territory through the Central rule.

The many factors that contributed to the BJP’s drubbing in Delhi had in the ‘fringe communal elements running amok’ a principal collaborator.

The agenda of these fringe elements generally doesn’t go down well with the voters from the middle classes, the youth, the aspiring and job-seeking population segments and the education and peace-loving lot from every class of the society.

The BJP’s first test on this parameter was in Delhi and it failed here miserably.

Narendra Modi is well aware and he has tried to distance his government away from any radical or communal agenda. Though his silence has been questioned at times, he has come out and spoken clearly to strengthen the secular fabric of the country by voicing full support to the religious freedom, like he did during an church event in Delhi this month. He has been expressing his views in different ways and on different platforms.

But his efforts have failed so far.

And with the RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor, getting more vocal about its ‘Hindu Nation’ theory and ‘religious conversion and re-conversion’ debate, with statements questioning even a Mother Teresa, alleging her to be involved in religious conversion in the garb of charity, the path ahead looks even more entangled.

To continue..

ABHINANDAN RALLY LETDOWN: BJP NEEDS TO FIND ANSWERS BEFORE MODI’S NEXT DELHI RALLY

Reportedly, BJP is in thinking mode after lacklustre response to Narendra Modi’s rally at Ramlila Ground on Saturday while Aam Aadmi Party leaders are tweeting about the ‘poor turnout’. AAP leader Ashutosh has even written a piece titled ‘Modi’s Delhi rally has AAP relieved’.

BJP was eyeing a crowd of around one lakh while The Hindu said the gathering was 35,000 quoting the Delhi Police sources. Overall, the estimations range in 35,000 to 40,000 bracket.

It is quite a letdown for the central leadership of BJP and going by the stern image of Narendra Modi, he is not going to let it go.

But that doesn’t matter for voters, who in spite of being a non-working day, Saturday, didn’t turnout in numbers as BJP strategists had expected.

Now, nothing can be written on the basis of this one rally only.

There might be reasons like the intense cold wave when people prefer to stay indoors, under warmth of quilts. In such a situation, attending a political rally would be a ‘tough decision’ even for most of the Modi supporters who can enjoy the full speech in real time on live broadcasts.

Also, the much talked about factions of Delhi BJP, the reluctance on the part of the members of parliament who all are from BJP in bringing people to the venue or Delhi’s leaders being miffed with Satish Upadhyay’s efforts to project his chief-ministerial claims can be the reasons for thin crowd from Modi’s standards this time.

Though worried, the BJP central leadership would like to see this ‘letdown’ more as a ‘mismanagement’ issue than a ‘waning interest in Modi’.

But that doesn’t mean the party doesn’t need to engage in some serious soul-searching.

After all, the usual hallmark of Narendra Modi’s Delhi rallies has been crowds in lakhs as we saw in some big rallies preceding it. This situation was like if there was a crowd of some 2-3 lakh against the expectation of 4-5 lakh, it would be seen as ‘less than expected’ outcome.

Also, the Saturday rally was only after seven months of the absolute high of May results of the Lok Sabha polls where BJP swept the scene winning all seven parliamentary constituencies and leading in 60 of the 70 assembly segments falling in these constituencies.

Also, a report on social media trends on ‘Abhinandan Rally’, as the Saturday rally was projected, failed to earn talking points. Modi’s rallies during poll campaigns of last Delhi assembly polls and Lok Sabha election would normally be among the top trending social media events.

But ‘Abhinandan Rally’ remained a non-entity this time. Instead, #DelhiAsksPMModi on Modi’s promises for Delhi was trending on Twitter.

Also, the same report attributes it to differences between BJP’s IT Cell and Samvad Cell (social media cell). So, here as well, BJP can find a reason to think the failure is not calamitous and is a matter attributable to mismanagement that can be worked out.

But it is more than that. It is not about hashtags created and promoted by parties. It is about the overall social media behaviour that picks up a hashtag based on the popularity or notoriety of an event, irrespective of who created it. The #mufflerman hashtag, initially created to mock Arvind Kejriwal, has indeed become a top Twitter trend about the content lauding him and is creating positive vibes.

So, before the next election rally in Delhi, BJP needs to come with the answers that the yesterday’s rally created – of mismanagement or if the interest is really waning and if so, then ‘why’ of it and how to address this ‘why’ – to have a rally of the stature of Narendra Modi’s popularity, because the next letdown would have a negative ripple effect.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NARENDRA MODI MUST REMEMBER WHY THE YOUTH VOTED HIM IN

The public anger against Congress, mixed with the cocktail of its governance related anti-incumbency and its pro-corruption image, pushed the majority of the youth votes to Narendra Modi.

But why Narendra Modi only? Why not other opposition politicians?

Because he was the only projected prime-ministerial figure of pan-India appeal. Because he was the most tech-savvy politician with huge following on social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter. Because he had delivered consistently on his promises of governance and development with a ‘brand’ of politics that appealed to the youth – smart cities, big-ticket infrastructure like Bullet trains, end to end connectivity, employment, checking internal migration for livelihoods. Remember his speeches in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where he sold, day after day, rally after rally, the dreams of providing jobs to the youngsters in their own cities/regions.

No other political opposition figure had these many elements to appeal to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the largest demographic segment of the country.

Half of over 81 Crore voters in the Lok Sabha polls were youngsters, below 35 year. Over 31% of the Indians were in the crucial 18-35 years age-group, the voters, including the first-time voters. 20-30 is the age-group that seeks entry to the job markets.

Their first and foremost priorities are job, employment and future security.

According to the Census figures, in 2011, the number of households having unemployed members rose to 28% from 23% in 2001, an all time high for the decadal exercise. Some 110 million or 15% of the working-age population of 15-60 years were jobseekers. When seen from the perspective of youngsters, 18% of the youth in the age-group 25-29 were looking for jobs while unemployment rate in the age-group 30-34 years existed at 6%.

And most of them voted for Narendra Modi we find when we read into the analysis of the voting patterns of the Lok Sabha polls 2014.

And we don’t we have convincing reasons to say that they were pulled to vote for Modi because of his polarizing appeal.

After all, a famous and often-used proverb says that one cannot (and cannot be expected to) worship God with an empty stomach.

This graphics from a Quartz India article on youth priorities trending during the Lok Sabha polls only corroborates it.

fb11Image courtesy: Quartz India

They voted Narendra Modi in for his promise of development and for their future and not for elements of communal politics/politics of polarization. We should gauge this from the fact that, in spite of all the efforts, Ram Temple doesn’t stir emotions anymore.

The priorities are clearly changing and are changing fast.

And dominance of issues like religious conversions or sanctifying the forgettable (yet not to be forgotten, for they remind us of the dark forces of democracy) ghosts like Godse would make them feel cheated. Their future is at stake and they need a politics of change to change their fortunes and cannot allow absurd issues to hijack it.

They won’t allow the forces diluting the development agenda. And if Narendra Modi doesn’t deliver on it, and allow the fringe, communal elements to go unbound, he is not going to make it home in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar assembly polls as that would be a logical window of time (around two years to around three years) to assess the performance on delivering the related poll promises. But we should not be surprised if we see its signs even in the upcoming Delhi assembly polls.

Narendra Modi needs to feel it, think on it, realize it, and needs to act on it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

EULOGIZING GODSE, DEFENDING RELIGIOUS CONVERSION: MODI NEEDS TO REIN THEM IN FOR 2019 RE-ELECTION

Whenever Narendra Modi talks about his vision of India, he talks long term, of continuing governing India at least for the coming two terms, till 2024.

Modi’s reputation on governance and the promises he has made would need that much time and the country and its voters who voted for him would rationally and logically give him the window of these ten years, provided he performs regularly, coming out with report cards on regular intervals that talk of real, solid development.

The political opposition looks nailed and in disarray at the moment. The positive atmosphere for Modi is complemented well with the factors like low international oil prices and healthy inflation rate. His foray in international diplomacy is marching handsomely ahead with Barack Obama as the chief guest of the Republic Day 2015 function.

So, it’s a good harnessing ground for him — except the internal factors of his party, his party’s coalition and the elements of ideology that could potentially derail the show, denying Narendra Modi re-election in 2019.

The country and the voters would expressively reject any attempt to eulogize the likes of Nathuram Godse. Eulogizing a Nathuram Godse is akin to the evil intent to kill the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, a direct affront on the Indian democratic institution. And that eulogy coming from a member of Parliament from Modi’s party is ominous. It doesn’t matter if the person retracted or not.

The country and the voters don’t need mass religious conversion ceremonies. The country and the voters don’t need the ministers and politicians defending such moves and doing politics over the issue. It leaves most of us, who are looking for development, in bad taste.

The country and the voters don’t need debates or extensions over headlines like ‘India a Hindu nation’. It is simply not acceptable, going by the reality of the India of the day, and its realpolitik of the future.

Narendra Modi needs to rein them in. He must rein them in.

The country and the voters who voted him in have given a mandate in the name of development. The large and ever expanding middle class and the huge youth base vote basically on the priorities that can make their lives better, can ease the basket of monthly burden most of the families have to carry. With majority appeasement and polarization, this was the other major factor that gave BJP majority on its own.

This vote base is demanding and reacts actively. Perform or perish is what should be in government’s mind.

If it slips away, it will be difficult for Modi to come back in 2019.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MAHARASHTRA AND HARYANA VERDICTS AND MODI WAVE

Narendra Modi didn’t campaign (or intensively campaigned) in the bye-elections held after BJP’s high voltage performance in the Lok Sabha election 2014 that made it the first party to get majority on its own after 1985.

And BJP languished in these bye-elections – first in Uttarakhand, then in four states including Bihar, and then in 9 states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.

The negative talking points against BJP’s performance simply outnumbered the few positives that it gained in these bye-elections with the later two important bypolls seen and analysed as ‘acid test’ or ‘semi final’ or ‘test of the Modi Wave’ before the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand.

And BJP failed in these ‘semi-final’ sort of tests. Bypoll verdicts gave voices to everyone. Congress, JDU, Samajwadi Party, RJD, Shiv Sena, and other parties and the leaders of these outfits. They took on BJP with their customized reasons.

But the undercurrent was – assembly polls were different than parliamentary elections and BJP needed its allies. And the favourite talking point of the opponents was – Modi Wave was receding or had gone away, especially after poor show in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar bypolls.

But did Narendra Modi and the Modi Wave fail?

No. The Maharashtra and Haryana poll verdicts say so.

Modi campaigned extensively in these assembly polls, inviting sarcastic remarks from his opponents and allies that he should have stayed focused on delivering in Delhi. But Modi, in his workaholic work style, stayed focused on delivering his speeches reaching out to the electorate. And he promised what was his central plank during the Lok Sabha poll campaigning.

And BJP has registered historic victories in Harayana and Maharashtra assembly polls today.

It is to be seen in the context that BJP had no major political figure in these two states and the party had contested without projecting any chief-ministerial candidates. The central theme of campaigning was Narendra Modi. The party asked for votes in Narendra Modi’s name. And Narendra Modi was there, to establish direct contact. He exploited well the supporting but vital factors like anti-incumbency, government corruption and poor governance.

The analysis into the voting trends shows it has been like the Lok Sabha elections, beyond the boundaries of caste and regional considerations – voting in the name of the politics of development.

Electorate in the Lok Sabha elections bought what Modi promised and voters in these two assembly polls have once again expressed their faith in Modi and like the Lok Sabha elections, even in Maharashtra and Haryana, the ground earned by BJP was much beyond the BJP’s claim in these two states based on the party’s political history.

The verdicts today re-establish the Modi Wave discourse as the central theme of political analyses on upcoming elections, Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NARENDRA MODI’S MAIDEN UNGA SPEECH HIGHLIGHTS

Time 31 MINUTES – (IST) – 8:20-8:51 PM

#ModiAtUN – So, Mr. Modi has been invited, and it begins, as expected, in Hindi

#ModiAtUN – India is in transition phase – highlighting the country’s philosophy and it’s cultural, historical and ideological legacy

#ModiAtUN – India’s ‘the world as one family’ philosophy – India stands for peace and prosperity in the world

#ModiAtUN – Strong faith in multilateralism – the world is witnessing strengthening democratic wave in Asia and Africa

#ModiAtUN – India-Pakistan – I extended friendly hand to Pakistan after coming to the power – I would prefer bilateral talks – in a free atmosphere that Pakistan must create without any conditions – his works imply the futility of raising the Kashmir issue at platforms like the UNGA

#ModiAtUN – Narendra Modi has come in his natural flow – let’s see how long, beyond the stipulated time, he takes it to

#ModiAtUN – India-Pakistan talks – onus is on Pakistan for creating peaceful, terror free atmosphere for talks – willing to engage in serious bilateral talks

#ModiAtUN – Why so many G-groups in spite of the UN? Why can’t we move to G-All? Even India is member of such groups – introspection on UN’s role in world affairs in the prevailing circumstances

#ModiAtUN – A country or a group of countries can’t dictate the world affairs and the world order anymore

#ModiAtUN – 20th century institutions in the 21st century – need for change and adaptability – what was then, needs to look back at to incorporate changes to work ahead

#ModiAtUN – Countries sponsoring terrorism, harbouring terrorists – unacceptable concepts like good terror and bad terror – takes on the Western world

#ModiAtUN – United front against terror is the contemporary global need

#ModiAtUN – The development works need to have the spread across the world – like Facebook, Twitter spread – we need to think in those terms

#ModiAtUN – India is ready to share its skills and technology for development of the humankind – emphasises on the culture of embedded nature conservation

#ModiAtUN – Indian legacy of Yoga and its influence on living and life – says let’s have an International Yoga Day – says let’s begin work on it

#ModiAtUN – The UN will be 70 next year – we need to observe this year to deliberate and discuss – on past – for future – for the UN reforms – at in 70th milestone in 2015

#ModiAtUN – Modi winds up his maiden UNGA speech emphasising on the need for the UN reforms including the UN Security Council reforms – India’s membership to the Council is a natural requirement in the prevailing geopolitical circumstances

#ModiAtUN – Narendra Modi took almost 30-31 minutesfor the UNGA speech – spoke some from written, some was extempore

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BYPOLLS SETBACK TO BJP: THE FLAVOUR OF THE POLITICAL BUZZ

It is the season of assembly elections. Maharashtra and Haryana elections are due in October and Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir should be held by the end of this year and so, the flavour of the talk of the season are the results of the bye-elections held in the assembly constituencies.

And the results pinching the winning party of the Lok Sabha elections have added spice to the flavour of the political buzz and debates with an amplified crescendo. Anyway, the outcomes of the Lok Sabha bye-elections were on the expected lines and so there was not much to talk about.

The pointing point while writing this is, the BJP is feeling the heat, after a great reversal in its electoral fortunes in most of the assembly constituencies where elections were held.

And from the viewpoint of the political communication machinery, such ‘buzz-worthy’ outcomes, when the bigger assembly elections are just around the corner, are frustrating for the party-workers, but are the moral-boosters for the political opponents, and can become big enough a factor if played well on the electoral sentiments focusing on the impulsive reactions of the voter.

And that should worry the BJP strategists, even if they don’t admit it publicly.

BJP’s national president Amit Shah today advised his party workers to not get demoralized with the bye-election results yesterday (or to say, in the past that is being counted after May 16, 2014 when the Lok Sabha election results were announced), the past that includes bye-election defeats in the July 21 bypolls in Uttarakhand (3 assembly constituencies-ACs) and in the August 21 bypolls in Bihar (10 ACs), Madhya Pradesh (3 ACs), Karnataka (3 ACs) and Punjab (2 ACs).

The BJP could not win any seat in Uttarakhand. The results of the August 21 bye-elections, held for 18 assembly constituencies spread across Bihar Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab were an unacceptable 8-18 for the BJP. And here, the BJP lost its face in Bihar.

In the September 13 bye-elections, the results of which were declared yesterday (except Antagarh in Chhattisgarh where the counting will be held on September 20), the BJP and its allies had 25 out of the 32 assembly constituencies for which the counting was held today. The BJP alone had 24 of the 33 seats including Antagarh.

But it could win just 12 of 32. With allies, the total was 13, with TDP’s Nandigama win in Andhra Pradesh.

The BJP had all of 11 seats (one with ally Apna Dal) in Uttar Pradesh where the bye-elections were held. It registered an impressive performance in all these assembly segments in the May 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was winner in 10.

But in the September 13 bye-elections, it lost 8. More importantly, the loss includes Uma Bharti’s constituency Charkhari that she vacated after winning the Jhansi Lok Sabha seat, and Rohaniya in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. The seat was held by Apna Dal. Interestingly, Modi had got around 1.20 Lakh votes from this assembly segment in the Lok Sabha election.

In Gujarat, Modi’s home state and his comfortable political turf since 2000, though the BJP won 6 out of 9 constituencies, in fact, the BJP lost 3 seats to Congress as these 9 seats were won by the party in 2012 assembly elections as well as in 2014 Parliamentary Elections.

In Rajasthan, the party lost 3 of the 4 seats. BJP had won all 4 seats in the previous polls.

And the BJP had performed exceedingly well in these states just four months ago.

Overall, the BJP and its allies went down from 25-7 out of 32 to 13-19 yesterday, after the 8-18 tally in August bye-elections, within four months of an unprecedented victory and overwhelming support to the Modi Factor.

It is another warning call, especially before the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana the next month.

The loss is huge, symbolically and electorally. The victory on a seat in West Bengal and on one in Assam, state assemblies where it opened its accounts independently for the first time, are not going to be of much help except being the consolation prizes.

These are unsettling developments and the BJP strategists need to act like they are really worried. Amit Shah’s advice could have emerged from such a thinking over it. But mere advising will not help, given the factors that led to the BJP this debacle in just four months after an unprecedented, almost miraculous victory. The factors include the ‘pride’ of a big win and the subsequent big brother attitude and the resultant tension with allies, complacency, excessive dependence on the Modi Factor even if the elections are to be fought along the local fault-lines, infighting and the lack of focus on the context of the elections.

These are high talking points and have the potential to generate the buzz in a matter of days that could effectively dent the chances. And it has begun, the bye-elections results show it, even if it has nothing to do with Narendra Modi, his government and the Modi Factor.

And if left to continue, it will ultimately dampen the Modi Factor and will dent his political legacy that has just begun to take shape at the national level.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INSTANT TAKEAWAYS FROM SEPTEMBER 13 BYPOLL RESULTS

The BJP and its allies had 25 out of the 32 assembly constituencies for which the counting was held today.

From 25-7 out of 32 (counting of votes for the Antagarh assembly constituency bye-election in Chhattisgarh will be held on September 20) to 13-19 today, after the 8-18 tally in August bye-elections, within four months of an unprecedented victory and overwhelming support to the Modi Factor, it is another wakeup call, and the warning signals are speaking aloud, especially before the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana the next month.

And it instantly set in motion the expected developments.

— The political opposition is an enlightened lot while the Bhartiya Janata Party spokespersons are on defensive.

— The political opposition will react for sometime as if the who BJP win has been undone.

— The secular Vs communal is the flare of the day.

— With it, ‘Modi Wave’ waning or dented is one of the main headlines.

— The allies on the backfoot of seat-sharing talks before the upcoming elections are even more on upswing after another shot. Remember Uddhav Thakeray had hit back immediately on the BJP’s big brother attitude after its poor show in August 21 bye-elections.

— Talks of uniting the anti-BJP front are getting renewed impetus, especially after Bahujan Samaj Party’s absence proving to be a major factor behind the BJP humiliation in Uttar Pradesh.

— Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family will be stronger by one more member in the Indian Parliament.

— Though Rohaniya assembly constituency in Varanasi, Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, has never been a BJP stronghold, its ally Apna Dal’s loss here will be discussed as such linking it with Modi’s debacle in his constituency that he is working to develop as a world class heritage city. Here what goes against Modi in such discussions is Modi had got around 1.20 Lakh votes from this assembly segment in Lok Sabha election this year while the Apna Dal candidate lost it this time by a margin of around 15000 votes and could secure only around 60,000 votes.

— Some satirical takes/political cartoons on Amit Shah, the BJP President, crowned after BJP’s brilliant show in Uttar Pradesh that he managed, will be put in planning, especially after the poll drubbings in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar bye-elections within four months of the epic show in these two states counting for 120 parliamentary constituencies.

So, be ready with the alignments and their day-specific consequences.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SEPTEMBER 13 BYPOLL RESULTS: ANOTHER SETBACK FOR BJP AND NARENDRA MODI

Narendra Modi is in Delhi while writing this but he would be heading to the state he comes from this evening to receive the Chinese President Xi Jinping who is arriving in Ahmedabad tomorrow.

It is after Hu Jintao’s 2006 visit that a Chinese President is visiting India for bilateral talks and the stage has been set in a way to tap some lucrative business deals running in billions of US$, and in spite of all the border skirmishes, the strategists and the communication people are painting up a rosy picture advocating soft approach to the controversial issues as of now. China is eyeing the Indian infrastructure market having potential worth trillions of US$ in the long run. India would also like to tap the Chinese market with increased depth. An increasing financial focus to the bilateral ties has the potential to change many factors for positive outcomes.

And so, there are the expectations of a growing thaw after the Summit is over. And so, the economy of bonhomie has set the table so far, as far as the latest round of India-China diplomacy is concerned. And so, there is a sense of positivity in the government circles, adding to the sentiments on ‘initiatives to deliver the promises made by Narendra Modi’.

But Narendra Modi would certainly be having mixed feelings now, even if he has emerged as a strong prime minister, after the second consecutive electoral drubbing in the bye-elections in less than a month. It is not just in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, where Bhartiya Janata Party performed exceedingly well, that it is facing a situation to look for face-saver and inept excuses, it is also in Gujarat, the state that Narendra Modi ruled effectively since 2000.

In Gujarat, while writing this, though the trends changed to give the BJP a clear edge with the party leading in 6 seats out of 9 the bye-elections were held for, the initial trends showed Congress giving a neck-to-neck fight with leading in almost equal number of seats. In fact, the BJP may lose 3 seats to Congress as these 9 seats (and the assembly segments of parliamentary constituencies) were won by the BJP in 2012 assembly elections as well as in 2014 Parliamentary Elections.

Barring few bad patches, Modi’s government and its governance in Gujarat were remarkable, something that gave him the platform to raise aspirations of people across the country and an opportunity to stake claims to the Delhi’s office based on the promise to deliver them.

People were reeling under the pressure of the bad governance by the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance government, especially during its second term (2009-2014). The desperate urge to get rid of the UPA government find its refuge in Narendra Modi’s promises.

That gave the BJP and Narendra Modi an unprecedented victory, something unmatched in the recent political history of India, and a ‘possible’ option to enjoy the honeymoon period after assuming the office.

But the bye-election results say there was indeed no honeymoon period and the government was wrong if it thought so. Yes, nothing groundbreaking can be done in just four months, the groundbreaking efforts that India need to come out of the mess the UPA government had left it in.

But people are reacting. The voter is expressing his/her disagreement. And discussing the voter’s prerogative on the parameters of practical concerns of effective governance would be a futile exercise given the sociopolitical realities of India where majority of the people come from below-the-poverty-line and the lower middle class segments and find their lives engaged in the daily and monthly struggles to survive the increasing price-rise and other myriad of problems. Their day-to-day concerns are what matter for them and not the intricate matters of country’s fiscal health.

And majority of them are quality illiterate, we need to accept it. They are still swayed easily. That has been a major factor behind the BJP’s overwhelming victory with the party getting majority on its own. And this is something that is happening in these bye-elections as well, albeit on a reversed scale.

That would be and that should be in Narendra Modi’s mind. When he lands in Ahmedabad this evening, he must be thinking about the outcomes of these two bye-elections.

From an ordinary voter’s perspective, he has been voted in not for the BJP’s promises but for his legacy. And the outcomes must worry him.

The results of the August 21 bye-elections, held for 18 assembly constituencies spread across Bihar (10), Karnataka (3), Madhya Pradesh (3) and Punjab (2), were an unacceptable 8-18 for the BJP.

And the results of this round of bye-elections held on September 13 for three Lok Sabha constituencies and 32 assembly constituencies (Antagarh in Chhattigarh will be declared later) spread across 10 states should be even more unsettling for the BJP strategists.

The BJP had all of 11 seats (one with ally Apna Dal) in Uttar Pradesh where the bye-elections were held. It registered an impressive performance in all these assembly segments in the May 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was winner in 10. But in the September 13 polls, it is going to lose 9 while writing this. More importantly, the loss includes Uma Bharti’s constituency Charkhari that she vacated after winning the Jhansi Lok Sabha seat, and Rohaniya in Varanasi, prime minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. The seat was held by Apna Dal.

In Gujarat, as written above, it is trailing in 3 while writing this, and is expected to lose.

In Rajasthan, the party has lost 3 of the 4 seats elections were held for with almost confirmed trends. BJP had won all 4 seats in the previous polls.

Overall, the BJP and its allies had 25 out of the 32 seats (including Telugu Desham Party’s 1 in Andhra Pradesh) on the counting blocks today. While writing this, they are going to lose 15 of them today. The loss is huge, symbolically and electorally. The possible victory on a seat in West Bengal or the last minute changes in counting trends on some of these 15 seats are not going to help.

For the parliamentary constituencies, as expected, being the strongholds of political stalwarts like Narendra Modi, K Chandrasekhara Rao and Mulayam Singh Yadav, the outcomes followed the line. Vadodara was retained by the BJP. Medak went to Telangana Rashtra Samiti. And Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family got another of its member elected to the Parliament from Mainpuri.

From 25-7 out of 32 (or 26-7 out of 33, if we count Antagarh) to 10-22 (or 11-22, if we assume Antagarh goes to the BJP) today, after the 8-18 tally in August bye-elections, within four months of an unprecedented victory and overwhelming support to the Modi Factor, it is another wakeup call, and the warning signals are speaking aloud, especially before the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana the next month.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A GOOD BEGINNING ON THIS TEACHERS’ DAY: HOPE, THE SPIRIT SUSTAINS

If it has to be placed in the category of a political act – what Narendra Modi did on September 5, the Teachers’ Day (or the Teacher’s Day), was indeed a good and engaging politics, unlike the politics of the day, unlike what ‘Indian politics’ of the day has become synonymous with.

On googling (searching) for the definitions of politics, the first two definitions that the Google Guru (as Modi termed the online search giant – like any online search has become synonymous with ‘googling’) comes with are:

The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.

Activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization.

Obviously, these are not exhaustive. But what these definitions imply is the theoretical baseline in the contemporary times.

Activities associated with – Activities aimed at – the context is defined by words like governance, power, status, parties, organizations – and the activities can be good or bad – like ‘good politics’ or ‘bad politics’ – and we, the Indians, desperately need the ‘good politics’ – and if it was political, it was indeed ‘good and needed politics’ by Narendra Modi.

It is like the difference between ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’ as Narendra Modi points out – what Google gives us is mere information – using it in a context and using it with an informed background are what make any piece of information an event of knowledge.

Modi’s address to the students and to the nation had no political tones the way he spoke, the way he carried it further. His body language and his interaction with students told us it was more of a personal choice. He spoke and interacted like an engaged elder. It was inspiring and connecting.

Yes, there are political elements and political interpretations that can be associated with initiative. But that is for good. There is nothing wrong if Modi addresses students who are voters of tomorrow. There is nothing wrong if Narendra Modi addresses the teachers who are millions strong votebank. There is nothing wrong if Narendra Modi didn’t speak of the problems of teachers.

If they are voters of tomorrow, what’s wrong in establishing connect with them. Similar logic can be extended to the teachers. Doing it sincerely and seriously is the need of the day. The sustained outreach is the need of the day.

It was an event for students, addressing to them, talking to them, guiding them and sharing with them. How can one expect Mr. Modi to discuss the complex issues of the problems of the teachers and of the education system there? Wouldn’t it defy the whole purpose? Doing so indeed would be bad politics, the ‘politics of the day’.

There is nothing wrong in all this if we see the context. The context needed an honest display of personal reflections and Modi excelled at that, naturally and easily. It was an engaging event full of good moments where we smiled, where we laughed.

If it was politics – Modi’s Teachers’ Day address to the students was good and acceptable politics, unlike the politics of the day.

Hope it establishes a norm and a good tradition begins and the spirit that has been this year, sustains year after year.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/