As the dates for the UP assembly polls draw nearer, a real sense of trepidation appears to be gripping the BJP, which had swept the state during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Ridding piggyback on the Modi wave, the saffron party had won 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats here.
Several senior BJP leaders have now voiced concerns over their party’s rapidly diminishing electoral chances in UP, where they, not so long ago, felt confident of replicating the success of 2014.
A Rajya Sabha MP, known for his fiery speeches, told jantakareporter.com, “We are in trouble in UP. But, I think the issue of Ram Mandir can save us. This matter will soon come up for hearing in the Supreme Court, where our legal team would request for a day-to-day hearing. This may do the trick in persuading the electorates to vote for us in 2017 assembly elections.”
While, a victory in the Assam elections may have given brief respite to PM Modi and his so-called Chanakya Amit Shah, both know that their inability to replicate the Lok Sabha performance in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat will cause them considerable grief and weaken their hold within the party.
Last week, Shah was left red-faced after only 30,000-35,000 people turned up for a rally at a venue in Lucknow usually known to accommodate at least a 5 lakh crowd. That’s because the BJP is now fast being seen as an anti-Dalit party because of the rising attacks against the community allegedly by right-wing militants masquerading as cow vigilantes.
Most opinion polls including one by jantakareporter.com has placed the BJP at second position. But even BJP leaders feel that they will either need ‘BSP to commit a blunder’ or need a miracle for their dwindling fortunes to reverse between now and next year.
According to jantakareporter.com, the BJP is likely to win not more than 135 seats.
Another BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh said requesting anonymity, “I think you(JKR) were generous. It will be nothing less than a chamatkaar if our tally crosses the three digit mark. We can’t blame anyone for this reversal of fortunes but ourselves. There’s real disenchantment among voters particularly after PM Modi failed to take any tangible action against Pakistan in response to Uri attacks.
According to some local leaders, the party’s inability to project a mass leader for the chief minister’s role too hasn’t gone down well even with die-hard BJP supporters. Many believe that the BJP president Amit Shah’s alleged desperation to settle scores against the Sultanpur MP, Varun Gandhi, has hurt the party considerably. Soon after taking over the party’s reign, Shah had removed Gandhi from the party’s general secretary post.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat are scheduled to go for polls next year. The party’s inability to retain governments in Gujarat and Punjab and wrest power from the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will cause significant damage to PM Modi’s grip in the BJP.