Modi 2.0: the electoral march of the BJP since its triumph in the Lok Sabha of 2019 | India News
The BJP’s strategy of betting on a US presidential-style campaign with Prime Minister Modi as its poster artist paid rich political dividends. The party ended up winning 303 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and was an unstoppable force.
As Modi’s government completes two years of its second term, let’s see if the momentum of Lok Sabha’s triumph was sustained in the state elections that followed.
Well the numbers don’t paint a rosy picture, or should we say saffron, for the BJP.
Since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 10 Union states or territories have gone to the polls.
Of these, the BJP has managed to win only four assembly elections, also with the help of its allies.
2019: double whammy
Just a few months after its victory in the general election, the BJP suffered a double electoral blow when it lost power in both Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
A strong wave of anti-incumbency against the dispensation led by Raghubar Das cost the BJP dearly in Jharkhand.
In Maharashtra, the BJP emerged as the largest party but was unable to retain power when its ally Shiv Sena broke ranks with the NDA and formed the government with the NCP and Congress.
In Haryana, the party’s performance declined, but it managed to form the government after joining a new post-election alliance with Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party (JPP).
2020: Mixed bag
The year began with the BJP putting on a grim show in Delhi, just weeks before the Covid pandemic engulfed the entire country.
The saffron party failed to seize the national capital from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and only witnessed a consolation increase in its quota of seats: from 3 to 8.
But later that year, a close victory in Bihar with his ally Nitish Kumar came as a shot in the arm for the saffron festival.
The elections, the first major elections to be held amid the Covid pandemic, helped the BJP stamp its authority in the key state where alliances play an important role.
Not only did he manage to outflank the combined RJD-Congress led by Tejashwi Yadav, he also became the main partner in Bihar NDA after winning more seats than his ally JD (U). However, keeping his pre-election promise, he allowed Nitish Kumar to continue as prime minister.
Read more about the second anniversary of Modi govt 2.0:
2021: Mamata shatters BJP’s Bengal dreams
For the BJP, 2021 started on a disappointing political note when Mamata Banerjee led her Trinamool Congress party to a historic victory in West Bengal.
Despite a raging pandemic, the BJP and TMC fought tooth and nail to win the high-stakes battle in West Bengal.
In the end, even a massive 74-seat gain could not make up for the failure of the BJP to overthrow the Trinamool in Bengal.
Despite investing a great deal of time and political resources in Bengal, the BJP failed to secure even half of the 200 seats it had claimed to win in the run-up to the elections.
The saving grace for the BJP came in the form of twin victories in Assam and Puducherry.
In Assam, the BJP did well to stay in power despite the anti-incumbent factor and the loss of allies. In Puducherry, the BJP-AINRC alliance helped thwart the Congress-DMK challenge to form the new government.
In the south, the BJP managed to win 4 seats in Tamil Nadu, but its alliance with AIADMK lost to the DMK-Congress combination.
In Kerala, the party was reduced to zero because it could not keep its only seat.
Lok Sabha vs Assembly elections: a worrying trend?
In addition to a series of post-2019 defeats, the BJP is seeing a trend that is cause for concern as it moves into future election battles.
In all assembly polls since the Modi 2.0 government came to power, the BJP has witnessed a drop in its percentage of votes compared to what it had obtained in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Take the recently completed West Bengal surveys. The party failed to consolidate the massive gains it made in the Lok Sabha elections and witnessed a 2.12 percentage point drop.
The trend indicates that the party has failed to replicate its national performance in some of the assembly elections.
It also points to the fact that over-reliance on Narendra Modi has not always worked well for the party, especially in states with strong regional leaders.