Bypoll results
Jun 2, 2018

The bypoll results are out and it is mostly bad news for BJP - or is it?

As always, first the bad news!

BJP failed to retain two LS seats - Kairana included. And the MSM made that constituency into a hot one. Because the entire opposition united to field a common candidate.

So the conventional wisdom now is, “united opposition” can trump Modi and stop the BJP war machine on its tracks. Some media coolies of dynasty are already licking their palms in anticipation. If bada-Modi is gone, perhaps there is chance to order more Rs.15 lakh necklaces from chota-Modi? (Nirav)

Indeed lots of envelopes are being collected by the usual progressive, secular “speak truth to power” gang to spin a hodge podge coalition born out of desperation & “you have nothing to lose but your oblivion” as some sort of political genius of Pandit Rahul Gandhi (v2.1). Not only that even convicted crooks and their thuggish offspring are being hailed as new “Yugpurush” flushing away the original - aka Kejriwal.

2 plus 2 may not be 5, but it can be 4?

The united school of thought has several factors going for it, even completely ignoring any loss of vote share for Modi or BJP/NDA due to any factor.

Number One: There are many constituencies where if you add the votes of the opposition, the total is far ahead of BJP, even if you apply a certain discount factor for non-transferable votes

The buzz The very fact that so many are coming together vs Modi will create a buzz that would be absent otherwise. Despite various by-election setbacks, Modi will go in as a sure shot winner, perception wise, if a splintered opposition spends ammunition attacking each other on top of Modi.

But then if only life is so simple!

There are so many other factors at play, once again even assuming Modi loses a few percentage of votes due to anti-incumbency or whatever you call it.

No one knows the “transfer discount” By that we mean SP+BSP+Congress less what? Will a SP voter automatically vote a BSP candidate? But then there are some states where the transfer percentage may be high - Bihar for one. A Lalloo voter will happily vote Congress if told so. But then this alliance was anyway there earlier too. So nothing new.

Post-poll arrangements are easy - after all everyone knows where they stand. Pre-poll arrangements are not. Many media friends of the secular gang are actively urging Rahul to play nice - or in other words, give up seats and along with it any ambition for the PM post. But that would mean the voters will know for sure who will NOT be PM but will never know who will be.

Most opposition parties don’t add value beyond specific states or regions - What can Naidu or Mamata do to help Congress in MP or Maharashtra? Even within a state, some parties are of limited use. For example, JDS and Congress in Karnataka. If they agree to fight somewhere and cooperate elsewhere, Amit Shah and Modi will rip this strategy to shreds in the campaign, over and above the largely fair criticism that a bunch of alleged crooks are ganging up simply to defeat him and with no other positive purpose.

But BJP can’t take it easy, it should work harder & play smarter

The next few months hold the key There has to be a sharp turnaround in the rural economy as well as in urban areas where middle classes need more reassurance that Modi is still with them. Whatever needs to be done to push this along needs to be done.

Repair damage done to alliance In some cases, this may not be possible or difficult. How to convince Shiv Sena to scale down its ambitions? But no harm trying. Naidu is gone and seems unlikely to return. But Nitish Kumar can still be “saved” - not just a sulking ally but one that actively campaigns for the alliance. Find new ones.

If BJP presents itself as a credible ruling party that tried hard to make a difference in the five years it had, and be upfront about its failures as well, it can still come ahead. May be not get 300+ seats but perhaps return to power with allies a bit stronger. And that is not exactly bad for democracy.

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