Why BJP is losing the states

Editor,

In 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) India’s most popular political party was ruling 71% of India’s total land mass. Of course in 2018, they were governing in the center. India reposed great faith in the BJP because when the BJP led NDA government came into power in 2014 they were ruling only 7 states and by 2018 the number grew to 21 states. Indian voters were very convinced by Mr Modi and his government’s promises and that shifted them towards his party the BJP. They hoped that the man who claims to create magic in the center will ensure that same magic is created in their states. But things had started changing in 2018. In 2019 the same BJP is governing 40% of India’s land mass. And mind you this is just the beginning. Elections in many states are yet to happen.

Now what really happened? In 2014 BJP was ruling in 7 states; in 2015 it went to 13, in 2016 it increased to 15, in 2017 it was present in 19 states, and in 2018 it was at the peak with its presence in 21 states. But things quickly started going wrong. From  breaking up its alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir and with TDP in Andhra Pradesh to doing poorly in the state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan , Chattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. Maharashtra followed with the Shiv Sena’s exit from the NDA and forming a government with NCP and Congress. Now what does all this signify? Does it show dissatisfaction among voters towards the Modi government at the centre? Technically speaking, no! Mr Modi’s popularity has not come down drastically. He is as popular as he was in 2019. But the question is why is BJP losing the state elections? That’s where I say Indian voters are the most astute in the entire world.

In 2014 BJP emerged as the underdog. It came as a people’s party. People started believing that the Modi government is of the people, by the people and for the people. People voted for them left, right and centre. But slowly people started realizing that every time they voted for BJP it became more arrogant started taking voters for granted. BJP almost started thinking that manipulating elections is their birth right. They started believing that the Constitution was made for manipulating. They started believing that they could manipulate the voter’s mind. They started breaking parties in various states to impose their government. The BJP leaders openly declared that if BJP returns to the Center they would topple the JDS-Congress government in Karnataka. The people of India have understood that something is wrong and the arrogance has to be arrested.

So why did people vote for BJP in 2019? Because in 2019 BJP was most probably the best option. There was no Modi wave but people voted because of the ‘TINA factor (there is no alternative). If not Modi who? Rahul Gandhi had said he didn’t want to be the Prime Minister. Regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Mayawati were in the race but people didn’t want to see them as the Prime Minister. So the only prudent and possible option was to vote for Modi and the BJP ended up with 303 seats. Hence the conclusion is – people don’t necessarily want to have a BJP government both at the center and state. The use of investigative agencies against political opponents for political gains was a matter of concern. Somewhere people started thinking. The fact is if BJP is in power in both center and state it becomes easy for the Party to use intimidating tactics and use agencies against their political opponents. But if the government is of another political party it becomes somewhat difficult like in West Bengal. In Maharashtra we saw how NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel, Raj Thackeray were summoned by Enforcement Directorate. The mandate of Maharashtra and Haryana showed BJP that voters were no longer willing to vote for BJP in the states. So they ended up giving a fractured mandate.

Somewhere down the line there is a new ‘mantra’ among Indian voters that in the center they are fine with Mr Modi because they have no alternative but in the states they prefer not to vote BJP because that gives them absolute power. And absolute power is what we are witnessing in today’s political environment.

Yours etc.,

KM Zakaria Barbhuiya,

Silchar

Halting climate change

Editor,

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ warning that the global efforts to stop climate change have been utterly inadequate so far  and that the point of no return is no longer over the horizon comes as a wake-up call to all nations, some of which are not still paying much attention to climate change. Guterres was speaking to reporters in Madrid on Sunday on climate change. He said that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius enshrined in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

His warning also comes at an opportune time when at different places on the globe environmental pollution has reached its zenith. New Delhi has been suffering from air pollution for quite long. The Amazonia has also suffered too much from wildfire. These environmental pollutions are all man-made creations and if people are thinking seriously of bringing about an end to climate change, then surely the earth can be a place of pristine beauty and of pure climate.

As populations, economies and standards of living grow, so does the cumulative level of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases occur naturally and are essential to the survival of humans and millions of other living things, by keeping some of the sun’s warmth from reflecting back into space and making earth livable. But after more than a century and a half of industrialization, deforestation, large scale agriculture, quantities of emissions in the atmosphere have risen to record levels. The greenhouse gases never let the radiations escape from the earth and increase the surface temperature of the earth. This then leads to global warming.

As a result of shifting weather patterns that cause a fall in food production, rise in sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, we stand to suffer a lot in the coming years. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly. Guterras rightly pointed out, “What is lacking is political will. Our war against nature must stop and we know that that is possible.” So, it is up to every one of us to contribute and do our part to keep the earth clean and pure.

Yours etc.,

TK Nandanan,

Via email

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