Modi government came to power on 26/5/2014. After that it has been downhill for BJP in by-elections.
In Uttarakhand there were by-elections for three Legislative Assembly seats. Two of these were due to BJP MLAs resigning after winning Lok Sabha elections. BJP lost all three.
In Bihar there were by-elections for ten Legislative Assembly seats. BJP lost four of the eight seats it had held.
In Karnataka BJP lost Bellary seat.
In Uttar Pradesh there were by-elections for eleven Legislative Assembly seats. Ten were held by BJP, one by its ally Apna Dal. BJP lost seven, Apna Dal lost its seat.
In Gujarat there were by-elections for nine Legislative Assembly seats, all held by BJP. BJP lost three.
In Rajasthan there were by-elections for four Legislative Assembly seats, all held by BJP. BJP lost three.
BJP gained two seats; one in Assam and one in West Bengal. Overall it was dismal performance for BJP.
What went wrong for BJP? What did BJP’s enemies do right? Some BJP members blamed candidate selection and sabotage for losses. Sudhanshu Mittal said two candidates in Rajasthan were wrong. But such things do not explain overall loss.
Modi had made many promises. Expectations were high. Prices of essential commodities did not come down. In some cases they went up. There was disappointment. Someone said tomatoes cost as much as petrol.
In Bihar Congress, JD(U) and RJD came together in a coalition against BJP. In UP BSP did not field candidates and that benefitted SP.
Modi spoke of development and got votes. In UP BJP leaders talked of love jihad. Yogi Adityanath did not talk of development. He spoke of love jihad. Sakshi Maharaj said madrasas are training Muslim youth in terrorism and love jihad. A Muslim young man gets 11 lakh rupees for affair with a Sikh girl, 10 lakh rupees for Hindu girl and 7 lakh rupees for Jain girl. In Jaipur Maneka Gandhi said “Money through trade of slaughtered animals goes into terrorism and therefore into killing us.” Such statements did not help BJP.
It is reality check for BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The euphoria generated during Lok Sabha elections has dissipated. After Lok Sabha victory Narendra Modi had said Rajnath Singh was captain and Amit Shah was Man of the Match. Narendra Modi wanted Amit Shah as BJP President and that happened. Amit Shah was hailed as a strategist. Within four months Amit Shah’s strategy has failed. He selected candidates. Blame for failure will be on him.
Sometimes BJP spokespersons do not do a good job in defending Narendra Modi. Some journalists are hostile to Narendra Modi. They connect unrelated issues to him and want to blame him. Karan Thapar once asked Shaina N. C. about Modi’s silence on the murder of a techie in Poona. She said she was appalled. She should have said law and order is a state subject and Maharashtra’s chief minister or home minister should be questioned about this. Bhupendra Choube connected K. Chandrasekhara Rao’s statement against journalists to Narendra Modi referring to journalists as news traders. There was no BJP spokesperson. May be CNN-IBN did not invite any BJP spokesperson as the issue was non-telecast of two TV channels in Telangana. Rajdeep Sardesai is now with Headlines Today as consulting editor. For three and half months he was not seen on TV.
Something is seriously wrong if vote share of a party goes down in a constituency within four months. The excuse of local elections being different than national elections does not work here because BJP had held those seats earlier. Lok Sabha victory is history. Congress has bounced back in Rajasthan and Gujarat. SP has emerged stronger in UP. BJP has tough competition ahead. It cannot take victories in Haryana and Maharashtra for granted.