Thursday, April 25, 2024

BJP’s Opportunistic Politics


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The foul smell of another round of political defections is in the air. With the Rajya Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh seeing cross-voting by nine Congress MLAs to the advantage of the BJP, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Shukla has been put on notice. The BJP claims he lost his majority support in the 68-member assembly. This should be true, as the 40-member Congress block in the legislative house can now count on the trust of only 31 MLAs. A cross-voting in defiance of the party whip could mean these MLAs eventually losing their assembly membership. Clearly, the BJP that has been working to oust the Congress government in the state planned this with clockwork precision. A question that arises is, why adopt unscrupulous methods to gain power.
Notably, the Congress has only a few states in its kitty today. It lost Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and could not win Madhya Pradesh. Alternatively, it wrested power in Telangana and, a while ago, neighbouring Karnataka too. It would be curious to know that the Congress party in both Himachal and Karnataka are experiencing a fear of the unknown, namely mass defection of its MLAs to the BJP side, if only to unseat the governments in the two states. The scenario of Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram – a la Haryana a few decades ago – has returned thanks to the unscrupulous, ham-handed political styles of the BJP after it assumed power at the Centre in 2014. Then BJP chief Amit Shah’s infamous goal was to usher in a Congress-mukt Bharat (an India sans the Congress), which however proved to be wishful thinking. The Congress remains as the largest political establishment, pan India, its roots spread to every hamlet across the country. The BJP cannot claim to have such a reach. In electoral terms, the Congress has been faring badly in many states, also for the reason it does not have the money power that the BJP has managed to garner in Himalayan proportions. Chances are that the more the BJP attempts to play dirty politics, the more it is set to face mass disapproval.
For, with a new frenzy for Opposition unity, chances are that these parties would see reason and jointly take on the BJP in the April-May Lok Sabha polls. If their votes are not divided, there is less chance for the BJP to retain power at the Centre. Narendra Modi’s personal charm kept the BJP in good shape through two terms of the NDA government. This might not last. If anything, a lack of confidence on the part of the saffron establishment is evident in the way it is hastily adopting shortcuts to unseat the elected Congress governments.


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