Three years on: BJP aims for complete political dominance
As the NDA government approaches three years in power, available evidence suggests it is popular across large parts of the country. But BJP is known to be in permanent campaign mode and would like to leave nothing to chance before 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Thus party president Amit Shah reiterated at BJP’s national executive meet last month his ambition of dominating all possible political space from panchayat to Parliament and breaking into opposition bastions.
After the UP election victory, foremost among BJP’s ambitions must be breaking the mahagathbandhan in Bihar, which halted its advance in the country’s Hindi-speaking regions. In that political context come income tax raids and CBI investigations of prominent opposition leaders and their kin, not fortuitously according to the latter.
Among these have been raids against entities associated with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, with Lalu’s daughter Misa and sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi – the latter two being ministers in Bihar’s cabinet – accused of involvement in corrupt land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore. BJP has been taunting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who came to power on the back of his clean image as an administrator, about inaction against RJD leaders even as Kumar’s decision not to support Lalu in public has not gone down well with RJD. While BJP must clearly be hoping to drive a wedge between Lalu and image-conscious Nitish and thus break the mahagathbandhan, Lalu will not be a pushover. As a shrewd politician in feudal Bihar, he could turn the situation around politically and garner sympathy by portraying himself as a victim.
BJP has plans for Bengal and Odisha as well where regional parties rule the roost. Its Mission Bengal received a jolt when Trinamool Congress became the first mainstream party to snatch
Mirik municipality from BJP ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling Hills in three decades. TMC won four of seven municipalities that went to the polls on Sunday. In Odisha BJP was impressive in recently concluded zila panchayat elections, winning 297 seats up from 36 it won in 2012. But in terms of assembly seats, this puts BJP ahead in only 41 of the 147 assembly seats. Repeating what BJP did in UP in southern and eastern states will certainly be an uphill task.
Times of India, May 19, 2017
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