The West Bengal elections have given many lessons not only for BJP but all others. Almost similar things happened in Delhi elections giving kejriwal a second term in office. The party also lost in Tamilnadu elections. Now that the Uttar Pradesh and many other state elections are to be held it is important that the ruling party does not repeat the same mistakes again and again. It is important to note that recently PM Modi has also taken a meeting of BJP officials and the Sangh is also in action with talks and discussions. So let us see what we can learn from the past elections as the battle of politics gets tougher and challenging.
- First and foremost make strong connections with local citizens:- West Bengal was a different terrain and it was very important to get in touch with the locals. The shrewd Mata and PK picked this weakness of the party early and pitched for ‘bahri versus local ‘ slogans that made the difference in the final tally.
- Dont ignore the old loyal karyakartas for new turn coats: It is debatable if this policy of bringing as many opposition karyakartas in your fold and giving them party tickets at the cost of someone who has been with the party in the thick and thin . West Bengal saw many politicians who jumped to BJP expecting a complete defeat of TMC. While it is good that leaders who were in opposition are eager to join BJP and there is no harm in it , however it should be ascertained that some filters are applied here. First, don’t take a person from the opposition with a dubious record and second dont ignore the loyal karyakarta.
- The minority factor:- One of the crucial factors in West Bengal elections was the mass voting of minorities to TMC while the distribution of Hindu votes between BJP and TMC. The same will happen in UP and all other places. Though the Modi govt has done more than enough for them but it has not impressed them. UP is a cauldron of casteist politics and social norms. The Brahmins have drifted from the party with the focus on Dalits, and OBCs. The minority plus Brahmins can be a formidable combination for the party to overcome. It will be good if the party takes quick action for the long ignored brahmins of the state rather than minorities. Some top Brahmin leaders have to be brought inside the party after today’s defection of Jitendra Prasad.
- Development theme is better than Ram Mandir : Recently in one of the local elections in UP, the party lost in Ayodhya and the winning candidate was from the minority community. This should be an eye opener for many. The country does not have much appetite left for religious slogans and based politics though there has been a shrill rise in communal overtones on social media and other platforms. Religious slogans must be used judiciously and selectively only in pockets and not as a broad overarching theme. The corona virus has further lowered the hunger for religious overtones and it is possible even slight overdose of religion may backfire. Therefore to be on the safer side the party will have to adopt a development theme and generate employment and infra.
- Font raid opposition politicians just before elections: one thing that many have observed and also reported is the sudden rise in raids on many opposition party politicians . We don’t want to discuss it further but based on the past experience it can be said that such raids only help to get more sympathisers rather than haters. Maybe we can say that is what Kalyuga is all about.
- Keep the overall noise level under limit: Every election sees an undercurrent and an artificial current to create ‘ favourable hava’ for a political party. This creation of ‘hava’ is basically to bring the fence sitters and other classes of voters to vote for a party. It also plays a psychological pressure on the other political parties and to make them nervous. However there is a downside to it in the sense that it makes the karyakartas and followers/voters of the party complacent and creates a wrong picture in the eyes of top leaders that becomes suicidal to make strategy. Therefore the party should not go for loud statements but focus and get connected with more and more local citizens.
- It has been reported from West Bengal elections how the people from other parts of the country who went for canvassing misbehaved with local karyakartas and politicians , making them look inferior as against their central government connections and party hierarchy. We don’t wish to take names here but certain names have come up to us who showed their arrogance to the local karyakarta of Bengal . This is not only politically incorrect but also hurts nationalist and social values.
- The party does not need to be taught on election strategy but it is always wise to keep certain basic rules in mind. Instead of paid surveys focus more on real data and how people have voted in the past. Every constituency and block has a history of voting patterns. These patterns do change based upon perceptions and work that people see . Work on these patterns rather than useless surveys. The population and diversity of the country is so huge that no survey no matter how genuine it is can catch the pattern of voters with a sample size that is no match for the real crowd.
- Infighting as usual has increasingly been a major reason as the party keeps growing. One of the reason for this is the inorganic growth of the party ignoring the old party loyalists for someone more powerful. This also need to be discussed and addressed. There are already reports either real or projected between center and state which is like the last thing one would like to hear.
- Dont overexpose PM Modi or even HM Amit Shah as it sends a wrong message The two must keep working for the central govt and should not go for more than a few rallies overall.
Uttar Pradesh elections are crucial and will decide how the govt fares and works for the remaining tenure after that. If the party loses it will dampen the mood for 2024 while the opposition will get more motivated.
The Sangh must take complete charge of the election from ground to top level. It is also reported that the Sar Karyawah Sh Hosabale ji will be stationed in Lucknow overseeing the elections. This is a very important and good decision and can help the party’s prospects. However Sh Hosabale ji must be accessible to one and all and should keep his ears closer to the ground and hear patiently to one and all.
Last but not least there should not be any further increase in corona virus cases and or any other nuisance. The central govt must be in firm control at all times of all incidents internal and external. Overall a tough election but can be won with some proper election strategy and ground management.
Dr. Asheesh Shah