For Indian Twitter, it’s slim pickings on the political scene. So we are left looking at the results of the various bypolls strewn across the land, sniffing for some sign of things to come.
There are some expected victories, like Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Dholpur in Rajasthan, Bhoranj in Himachal and Dhemaji in Assam. But it will sting that the BJP failed to snatch the Littipara seat in Jharkhand from the JMM. It is kind of amazing that despite having dominated Jharkhand, there are still remote parts of the state that are out of the party’s bandwidth. In Bengal, the BJP continues to rise straight upwards, from losing deposit with just 8% vote in 2016 in Contai (Kathia) South constituency, the party is now sitting north of 30% vote. Another seat where the Communists have now lost deposit. Yay!
But there were two big results that defined the day: the first was Rajouri Garden where BJP has not only won the seat, but polled over 50% of the votes. More importantly, it has sent AAP hurtling down to a pathetic 3rd position.
Something just changed in Delhi. And I for one, didn’t anticipate it in the slightest. I’m totally blindsided by the outcome.
Honestly, there aren’t many examples of a ruling party getting its head shoved into the toilet bowl like AAP was humiliated in Rajouri Garden today. This cannot be the outcome of anti-incumbency or some localised desire for change. This was sheer voter fury.
AAP should be sh*t scared right now. It’s like the people of Delhi are feeling personally guilty for creating this national embarrassment called Kejriwal. Is Delhi sending the rest of the country an apology? Is Delhi looking for redemption? If that is the case, the MCD poll has gone very far from being about any local issue. AAP might actually get obliterated in the coming elections.
I must say this is very far from my estimations till now. I had mostly assumed that Dilliwallahs are mostly sticking with their choice and buying Kejriwal’s excuses to a large extent. With Delhi BJP’s record so pathetic, I had assumed they would stick with Kejriwal. But I could be very very badly wrong and I’d be happy about it 🙂 If the people of Delhi see the coming MCD polls as a way to do public penance before the whole country for their disastrous decision of Feb 2015, then god help Kejriwal and his team of tricksters…
So much for the excitement. What has again stunned me is the result from Nanjagud in Karnataka where Srinivasa Prasad has lost miserably to Siddharamaiah’s candidate. This was a very personal battle between Yeddy and Siddhu and the Karnataka CM, often underestimated as a politician, is perhaps the biggest winner in the country today.
For a while now, the BJP has been perhaps playing fast and loose in Karnataka, confident that the state is ripe for the picking, just waiting to fall into the BJP’s lap when elections happen in 2018. The BJP certainly has been taking it easy. Nowhere was this more evident as during the Kaveri water crisis. Yeddy made a disastrous decision to stay away from the all party meet, a missed opportunity that Siddhu milked to the fullest. Then, there was horrible messaging on Kaveri water sharing … and a foolish remark by Shaina NC ran on loop on Kannada channels. Modi stepped in at the last moment over the Kaveri water tribunal and the crisis seemed to blow over … or did it? Today the results of both polls in the same Mysuru region seem to suggest otherwise.
The BJP, on its part, was definitely convinced that the Kaveri crisis was a closed chapter. They returned to their public bickerings, as if 2018 was a done deal. Bringing in S M Krishna also added to the image of a collapsing Congress. Srinivasa Prasad is a big Dalit leader imported from Congress and honestly, he should have won in Nanjagud today. I don’t think Yeddy for a moment believed that the BJP would lose today. HE chose to make the battle absolutely personal. He thought so because he really had all the cards. I would have put the BJP’s chance of winning Nanjagud above 90% today.
But BJP has lost in Karnataka today. The result is so stunning that one has to think out of the box for explanations. My first and foremost suspicion will go to the Kaveri issue. Siddharamaiah took a firm stand on Karnataka’s water and it was unambiguous. The BJP’s stand, on the other hand, was a joke.
The second suspicion would be on whether Karnataka is expressing disapproval on the politics of defections recently being embraced by the BJP. And the third possibility could be the party’s own loyal workers not putting in their best as they feel estranged due to an influx of newcomers.
Today has been a huge wake up call for BJP. If we are to have Congress-mukt-Bharat, it is an absolute imperative for the party to plant the saffron flag in Bengaluru. It’s good that this disaster came a full year before the real election. Yeddyurappa now has time to identify his enemies and his mistakes.