ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Winds of Change

Rise of the BJP and Challenge of an Alternative

The results of the recent assembly elections are a boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial aspirant only in the psephological sense. The real political message of these polls is that space for a democratic alternative to the Congress and the BJP is not only available but also realisable. Will the days leading up to the general elections see a consolidation of this alternative?

The dying old kulin brahmin in Goutam Ghose’s Bengali film Antarjali Jatra suddenly sprang to life on seeing his new attractive wife who had been married to him for the sole purpose of accompanying him in his life beyond as sati. Much like that character, the decrepit and ramshackle Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have suddenly sprung to life at the fantasy of power, having been out in the cold for almost a decade. And just as the young bride in the film was provided by another old impoverished brahmin (his unmarried daughter), so an utterly impoverished Congress has provided the BJP with the most tantalising possibility of what it might get in its life beyond.

How else do we explain the fact that the BJP after 2004, already in shambles with all its old leaders gone and its organisation ridden with internal bickering and loss of direction, suddenly seems to have made such a comeback in the recent elections in five states? The “return of the BJP” seems to be the overt message of the results of the recent elections to the four state assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (Mizoram being an outlier). For there is certainly no doubt that in the past one year or so, ever since the orchestrated rise of Narendra Modi in all-India level politics, the BJP’s fortunes too seem to have started turning. This development, however, was greatly facilitated by the Congress in more ways than one and it began to look as if it was determined to hand over the game to Modi and the Hindu Right.

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