BJP ‘s mistakes messing up 2024 elections?


(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

There is hardly one month left for 2024 elections to be over. The results are impossible to predict since India is divided into many states, hundreds of languages, religions and castes. However, it is obvious that the BJP could have taken a different route for 2024. Whether the present strategy of BJP is right or not, time will tell

Sometimes, big historical people make un-explained mistakes. There are 2 examples of collapse of empires due to mistakes.

1. Aurangzeb ruled over large parts of India between 1658-1707.  But his biggest mistake was the desire to conquer more and more distant lands.  Aurangzeb got obsessed with totally controlling present Maharashtra areas. This drained his energy and time and he died there, fighting meaningless wars.  What use was it for Aurangzeb to control a few more forts near Pune?  

2. Hitler became head of Germany in 1933. Hitler started Second World war in 1939 and was winning everywhere till 1941. Hitler was fighting England and other European countries. But Hitler signed a Peace treaty with Russia’s Stalin. However, suddenly Hitler attacked Russia in June 1941. That was the turning point of the war and Germany started losing. Finally, Hitler committed suicide in April 1945. No one knows why Hitler suddenly attacked Russia

Narendra Modi is highly popular in India. People accept he did great things. When the election was announced in February 2024, BJP was the easy favorite. But as days went by, the election has become tense. Obviously, mistakes started having their impact. Like the body which hides illnesses for some time, the country does not immediately show the mistakes of political parties Suddenly, these mistakes explode.

BJP’s mistakes:

1.Too much good news: Modi achieved many things for India. But where was the need to flood India with good news and media storms? In October 2023, there was the historic G-20 meeting, with a flood of publicity. Then again, in January 2024, there was the Ram temple. Before that, opening of new Parliament house So many such events were publicized that the public got fed up and viewed them as very ordinary events. Too much food and you get fed up.

2. Strategic mistake of fighting some regional leaders: The biggest story of this election is why did BJP fight with Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Hemant Soren of Jharkhand and KCR of Telangana. These regional leaders rule Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, Jharkhand and Bengal and totally ousted the Congress. But the BJP by focusing attacks on them has pushed them to unite with Congress. In the case of Telangana, BJP helped replaced KCR with a shrewder and more aggressive Revanth Reddy. The BJP united the divided Opposition against it.

3.Modi cabinet asymmetrical:  The Cabinet is totally weighted in favor of north and west. The East and South are totally ignored. The prime minister, Home, Defense, Railways, Commerce, industry, Roads and Highways IT and Telecom, Urban Development, Rural development, Petroleum, Agriculture, Health, Aviation are all with North and West. Finance and Foreign Affairs maybe held by South Indians. But they are not politicians rooted in the South. Can you name one important South Indian politician in the government?  

4. Neglect of agriculture : Modi was right when he said  that he will double agricultural income by 2022. But Modi could not do that. Nor was a serious effort. Modi is also right when he now says that Sharad Pawar  was Agriculture Minister from 2004- 2014 and he did nothing. But Modi should have focused more on agriculture.

5. BJP saying Will win 400 MPs was wrong:

The statement that BJP should try to win 400 MPs made BJP voters and workers complacent. They felt there was no fight was needed. This has led to lower vote percentages, though it is too early to say whether BJP suffered due to lower vote percentages.

6. More sensitive economic policies needed: The main allegation of the Opposition is price rise and un-employment. The Government focused too much on boasting of higher tax and higher GST collections.  Higher taxes also cause price rise.  Moreover, when money is taken away   through higher taxes, there is less money with public and it slows down job-creation. Modi did not supervise the economy properly.

Having said all this, it does not mean that the BJP may not win the elections. These are some of the problems which cannot be solved during the election. The BJP should have anticipated that such problems will create tension during the election.

The BJP forgot that electioneering simply does not mean speeches, rallies, promises and noise. The BJP, with its think-tanks should have anticipated such problems much before and solved them.

Was it necessary to jail Delhi chief minister just during the elections? The Supreme court may bail him out in the middle of elections!

The position of the BJP, which is the world’s largest political party, is like a giant Oil tanker. A giant oil tanker is about 450 yards long, carries 40 lakh tons of oil and the captain cannot stop it. It takes 20 minutes or 2 miles distance for such a oil tanker to stop, after the captain applies brakes. The BJP can hope that its mistakes are not serious, because like a giant oil tanker, it can do nothing now

(Author is a Political and Economic Analyst based in New Delhi)


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