Introspecting in the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, the BJP and its allies have cited different reasons for their catastrophic loss.
In a 243-seat state assembly, BJP only managed a mere 53 seats almost 40 seats almost less than the previous election. Its allies have also failed to add substantially to that number, securing a paltry five seats. This loss comes at a shock for the party after it won 22 out of the 40 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, which catapulted Modi to power thanks to an intensive campaign by Modi himself and party president Amit Shah.
Here’s a look at the some of the reasons cited by the NDA and some BJP leaders for their miserable performance at the hustings:
1. Caste arithmetic: According to the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, the united opposition was the major reason for their drubbing. As a matter of fact, members of the grand alliance did not field candidates against each other across the state. Going by the percentage of votes polled, the BJP is actually ahead of the opposition. But a consolidation of votes by the three parties nudged them ahead of the BJP.
2. Pakistan: Jitan Ram Majhi, the founder of HAM and a member of the NDA, said that ‘Pakistan’ comments proved costly for the NDA. Amit Shah had reportedly said in one of the elections that fireworks would go off in Pakistan if the NDA fails to come to power.
3. Shatrughan Sinha: The BJP MP from the state has his own grouse. He thinks that the party would have done better had he been projected as the chief ministerial candidate. He has been unhappy with the local BJP leaders whom he had reportedly called ‘selfish’ in the past and held them responsible for his decision to stay away from the election campaign for his party. Rival factions within the party, however, have blamed him for the debacle. Some party leaders think RK Singh’s rebellion too contributed to the party’s defeat. R K Singh,a BJP MP from Arrah constituency in Bihar had recently spoken about his displeasure over the party’s candidature selection.
4. Beef: In the run up to the elections, prominent BJP leaders in Bihar had said that the elections were a contest between beef-eaters and those who revere cows. Now, some party leaders think this backfired on the BJP.
5. Lack of backward class leaders: Amit Shah who has himself addressed more than 20 election rallies, said in his review, that lack of prominent backward class leaders had been a serious drawback.
The BJP may have had at least five reasons for its poor performance, but Lalu Prasad Yadav outwitted Modi at his own game: Lalu banked on Bihari pride by pitting Biharis against Baharis.
Time for the BJP to seriously introspect?