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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 47 New Delhi November 10, 2018

BJP’s Bypoll Reverses, Ram Temple Issue

Monday 12 November 2018, by SC



The results of the by-elections in Karnataka have definitely given a boost to the JDS-Congress ruling alliance in the State while the Opposition BJP has been routed. The JDS-Congress alliance has won four seats while the BJP could notch up a relatively narrow victory in one. On the political plane this is the most striking news of the day whose importance can barely be minimised.

It would be premature to conclude that these results would set the stage for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the sense that the parliamentary elections would witness a repeat of the outcome of these polls. However, there is no difference among analysts that the BJP at the State level has failed to cash in on the divergences in the ruling alliance. The outcome shows that despite hiccups the alliance is working well and has quite a popular support behind it. It also shows that in the coming days the idea of the Opposition parties’ mahagathbandhan against the BJP led by the Modi-Shah duo would play a noteworthy role in influencing the 2019 polls.

At the same time today’s poll outcome is a reflection of the popular disenchantment with the BJP’s governance at the Centre as the ruling party in New Delhi has failed to implement the tall promises it had made since 2014 when it assumed power on the crest of such promises which have yet to be translated into reality. If this is any indication of things to come, it would indeed be difficult for the BJP to repeat its 2014 performance in 2019. That is not good news for the Right-wing government headed by the saffron organisation.

Meanwhile at Ayodhya the BJP is on the horns of a dilemma. Some days ago it appeared that it would harp only on the Ram temple construction issue to win the polls keeping the development plank based on the “sabka saath sabka vikas” slogan on the backburner. Yet UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s speech at Ayodhya on the occasion of chhoti diwali today is a manifestation of the fact that for the present at least it is doing just the opposite: returning to the development paradigm keeping the majoritarian consolidation for the Ram temple construction on the sidelines. Whether this is in deference to the Apex Court of the land which is already seized of the Ram temple issue only time will tell. But the change in its tactics is unmistakable and this has caused disappointment in some sections of the BJP. The change of the Faizabad district’s name to Ayodhya, decision to set up a medical college there in the name of King Dasarath, construction of an airport at Ayodhya in the name of Lord Ram are all fine but these cannot placate the Hindutvavadis conducting the Ram temple movement. Yet these do not mean that the Ram temple issue has been abandoned. It will certainly be taken up at an opportune moment.

The situation is thus quite fluid. But one should be vigilant about the future. For the intention of the BJP leaders, from the PM downwards, to exploit majori-tarian proclivities is a fact of life that cannot be ignored.

November 6 S.C.  

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