November 08, 2015

Bihar results: The buck stops with Narendra Modi, Amit Shah

Vivek Dehejia  writes in Mint: "Modi projected himself as the BJP’s electoral face in Bihar, he campaigned tirelessly, and the campaign was masterminded by his trusted aide, Amit Shah—and they lost".

Excerpts below:

Image Courtesy: Mint

 

"At the level of simple arithmetic, a mechanical explanation for the BJP’s defeat lies in the logic of the first-past-the-post electoral system. In the 2014 general election, the BJP won big in Bihar because the opposition parties contested separately. Thus, a small plurality of votes for the BJP was sufficient to win a majority of the seats in the state. But this time, with former enemies joined in an alliance, the BJP would have had to record a gain of 10 percentage points or more in its share of the popular vote to win the electoral vote, facing a united opposition—a Herculean task that even the electoral magician Modi, and his right-hand man, BJP party president Amit Shah, could not manage...

As wise observers called it after the general election itself, a decimated Congress is bad news—not good news—for the BJP. It means that opposition to the BJP, and everything it represents—or is presumed to represent—will coalesce around wily and charismatic regional leaders who champion regional causes remote from the highfalutin debates about economic reforms and all the rest that dominate the darbars of south Delhi and south Mumbai, and as far removed from the Congress as from the BJP in Delhi...

What’s the larger message? The first, at any cost, please discount the ex post facto rationalizations and punditry as you digest the results...

What the pundits with predigested wisdom won’t tell you is that, all said and done, elections are a crap shoot, and analysing the outcome is somewhat akin to trying to peer into a black box and divine its contents—without the benefit of Superman’s X-ray vision. The truth is, we don’t really know, had they done something differently in the campaign, if the BJP might have been able to pull off a win, despite the challenge of a united anyone-but-the-BJP opposition.

The bottom line is this: Modi projected himself as the BJP’s electoral face in Bihar, he campaigned tirelessly, and the campaign was masterminded by his trusted aide, Amit Shah—and they lost. Whatever the reason, the buck stops with the Modi-Shah duo. With their election juggernaut halted at the gates of Patna, the knives are already out and being sharpened as you read this. Today, winning re-election in 2019 just got a whole lot harder."

Topic : State Capacity / In : OP-EDS
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