• BJP’s Plan B – How To Grab Power Without Winning Elections

    ''In the past four years BJP has displayed an array of methods for achieving one thing – power.''

    Subodh Varma

    May 23, 2018



    Amit Shah and Narendra Modi / Image courtesy Zee News

    The BJP is displaying all the signs of a power hungry outfit that will stop at nothing to achieve its goal. Due to the 2014 result when Modi led the party to a dramatic victory in the Lok Sabha, and then by winning several Assembly elections, its leadership and followers – as also its mentor, the RSS – had developed the illusion that they were righteous and invincible. Amit Shah was praised for his election management, Modi for his mass appeal. Nothing could stop them, it was repeated ad nauseum.

    Yet all this while, they were steadily losing ground. Starting 2014, 27 Assembly elections have been held in the country. Among these, BJP won an outright majority in seven states: Haryana, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Tripura, UP, Assam, Gujarat. Along with its pre-poll allies, it won another four states: AP, Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland. That’s 11 states in all.

    So how come we keep hearing that BJP now rules 21 states and has 15 chief ministers. The answer lies in the fact that while Plan A was (and still is) to win elections by the usual means (Modi, money, muscle, communal and caste politics, wild promises) there is in place a Plan B too.

    What is this Plan B? Recent events in Karnataka, or before that in Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghlaya are examples of this. As time passes, and the Modi govt.’s failures pile up, we will see more and more of this Plan B.

    In Arunachal Pradesh, the Assembly elections in 2014 threw up this result: BJP 11; Congress 42; People’s Party of Arunachal 5; Independents 2. Over the course of two tumultuous years, the numbers changed to: BJP 48; Congress 1; PPA 9; Independents 2! Wholesale defections, a spell of President’s rule, death of an ex-CM, Supreme Court’s intervention, recall of a reluctant governor and four chief ministers later, the BJP had a govt!

    In the 243-member Bihar Assembly elections held in October-November 2015, the BJP got just 53 seats and 2 went to its allies. It was a sound drubbing, delivered by the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance which got a whopping 178 seats contesting as a pre-poll alliance. Yet, BJP broke up the alliance, lured away JD(U) and its chief minister Nitish Kumar, and in July 2017, formed a coalition govt. Amit Shah is complaining about the “unholy alliance” between Congress and JD(S) in Karnataka, but what about BJP’s alliance and govt. formation in Bihar?

    In Jharkhand’s Assembly elections in 2014, BJP won 35 seats and its ally AJSU 5 seats in the 81 member Assembly. They were just short of the majority. So, again they won over some independent members and lured 6 out of 8 MLAs of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha to gain a majority.

    Then, in March 2017, BJP won just 13 of the 40 seats in the Goa Assembly. They cobbled up a coalition after results were announced with small local parties and formed a govt. even as the single largest party, the Congress sits in the opposition with 17 seats.

    In Manipur, BJP won 21 seats out of 60 in the 2017 Assembly elections while the Congress got 28. But the BJP quickly assembled two local parties NPP and NPF and lone MLA from its ally LJP to claim the govt. The Governor Najma Heptullah, a former BJP MP, helped along by inviting BJP led alliance first to form the govt.

    In Meghalaya, BJP won just two seats in the March 2018 elections for the 60 member Assembly. But it struck a post poll alliance with NPP to become part of the govt. Again a helpful Governor, Ganga Prasad, a former BJP MLC from Bihar helped.

    And, finally in Karnataka’s recent election, despite having only 104 MLAs in a 224 member Assembly (elections to 2 seats were not held), the former Gujarat MLA Vajubhai Vala in his new role as Governor of the state invited BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the govt. ignoring the larger Congress-JD(S) alliance. Had the Supreme Court not intervened and called for a floor test the next day, BJP would have been counting Karnataka too among the states it rules. As it happened, Yeddyurappa resigned rather than face defeat and a new Congress-JD(S) govt. was installed after a 55-hour long BJP rule.

    What these happenings in 7 states reveal is that the BJP will stop at nothing to form a govt. It will get MLAs, even whole parties to merge or switch sides, it will use its governors, it will break up alliances and form new ones, it will abandon allies or reunite with them. A chilling picture is emerging with Supreme Court or other courts intervening and political parties running from pillar to post in somehow trying to salvage democratic norms and laws from the wrecking team of the BJP. With the all important 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than a year away and three important Assembly elections (Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh) in the offing, watch out for how the Shah-Modi team and the phalanx of RSS appointees ‘manage’ these elections.


    Subodh Varma is a senior journalist.

    First published by Newsclick

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