People’s opinion about the ruling parties varies from section to section, from community to community and from region to region and it is generally as unpredictable as weather. However, it is certain that it is based more or less on the performance of the government. In a democracy, this opinion may be influenced by campaign machinery of different political parties. Unfortunately some political parties misuse this machinery to misguide the people to serve their vested interests. The BJP at the centre is a glaring example. It has been expending thousands of crores on publicity through government, by purchasing the favour of the media and deploying innumerable teams of social media to sing paeans for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. But when wrath of people crosses the limit, it manifests itself. The result of the bypolls announced on May 31 for four Lok Sabha and ten assembly seats across the states is the current manifestation of people’s will which hugely went against the Modi government. If these results can be taken as a barometer, than we may foresee a bad weather for the BJP in 2019.
Among four Lok Sabha seats, the BJP could only win one seat in Maharashtra and its ally won the Nagaland. Out of 10 assembly seats spread over Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab the BJP got one seat in Uttarkhand. Among all these by elections, Kairana Lok Sabha seat assumes crucial importance. This was another prestigious seat for the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who in previous by polls lost the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats. Gorakhpur from where he was elected five times was vacated by him when he was asked by the Prime Minister to take the reins of the state and other seat belonged to his deputy. Both these seats were wrested by the Samajwadi Party and BSP alliance. After that defeat, he said the party was overconfident, but now after Kairana defeat, he is too miffed to give any sensible explanation. After the death of Hukum Singh, who was representing this seat his daughter Mriganka Singh was made the party candidate. Hukum Singh in his life time made a wrong propaganda that Muslims were forcing Hindus to vacate their homes and shift to other places. When media flashed this news many TV and newspaper reporters visited these places named by Hukum Singh and found the charge baseless and communally motivated.
Now the campaign in Kairana was run based on hatred against Muslims. However, the dominating Jats and other Hindus rejected the communal forces and voted the Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Tabassum Hasan who won with a handsome margin of more than 45,000 votes. Here it should be noted that only four years ago, in 2013 the neighbouring Muzaffarnagar was gripped by communal violence and these riots practically helped the BJP on communal polarization of votes, and the party swept the Uttar Pradesh by winning 72 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 elections. The Jats forgot the past and joined hands with the Muslims to vote against the BJP in Kairana. It means people are angry against both the UP Chief Minister and also the Prime Minister. Now it is reported that the social media working for the BJP is targeting the newly elected Muslim MP. She is the first Muslim MP in Uttar Pradesh since 2014. The double-whammy for the BJP is that the party was defeated from the assembly seat of Noorpur in the state. SP’s Muslim candidate Naeemul Hasan emerged victorious.
The BJP won the Lok Sabha seat of Palghar in Maharashta defeating its ally Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena being an ally of the BJP is a partner of the state government of Maharashtra and at the centre also, but turned an aggressive rebel declaring that it will not be the part of NDA in the Lok Sabha elections. Another Lok Sabha seat in the state Bhandara-Gondia went to the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar.
In Bihar the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar suffered a setback as Jokihat assembly seat was won by the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad Yadav. It may be an indication that since Nitish parted ways with Lalu Yadav, his popular base is shrinking. Two assembly seats in Jharkhand Gomia and Silli went to the Jharkhand Mukhti Morcha. In Uttarkhand the assembly seat of Tharali was bagged by the BJP. West Bengal assembly seat at Maheshtala was won by the Trinamool Congress. In Kerala Chengannur assembly seat was captured by the CMP. Three assembly seats in Punjab, Karnataka and Meghalaya saw Congress victory. It is not only the seats of BJP that were reduced but the vote percentage is also on the decline in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is for the PM to read the writing on the wall.