This was perhaps one of the closely watched and contested elections in Bihar. With the pre-poll noise levels rising, the exit polls predicting a thumping victory for BJP, perhaps the final result was a rather strong jolt.
But the final result, was it really that surprising? Did the BJP really expect anything better? Can we put the credit for this victory entirely to Shri Nitish Kumar’s developmental financial package? Well I feel more than ever, the Bihar election results are a wake-up call for Shri Narendra Modi and the overall BJP’s campaigning style and election agenda!
Two debacles at the assembly level within 1 year of their unanimous and resounding victory in the centre perhaps is a bigger indicator than any other of the policy fallacies in the overall Modiji’s way of Governance.
While it won’t be wrong to say that I am quite a fan of the BJP Givernment’s Minimum Government, Maximum Governance approach in theory, the practical application surely needs some rethink. While the Govt does not have to tom tom about its fairly limited achievements, it is important for the Centre to convey to its voters and citizens, the exact extent of initiatives they have undertaken to bring about the promised change that they were voted to power for.
That brings me to the next point. BJP is very wrong to look for a one size fits all formula. The national situation when it was voted to power unanimously in 2014 is perceptibly and decidedly different from what it was during the respective Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections. BJP by wanting to repeat the sure winning formula made a fundamental error of misjudging and taking its voters for granted. One must understand that the average citizen who voted for BJP was not because of any political bias or affiliation. Rather it was an intense desire to change the existing situation at that time. The country was tired of UPA’s 10 years of stagnant corrupt and vote bank based governance and desperately wanted to be freed. Modiji at that time seemed like the perfect answer and best bet for an alternative government.
It is therefore time for the BJP and Shri Narendra Modi to make amends before it is too late. In depth understanding, a broader communication strategy and better connect with the masses is the absolute need of the hour. The change that the Government has pledged to undertake needs to reflect at the grass root level. Reminds me of a recent conversation with my house help, when I told her about declining inflation trends, positive economic parameters and manufacturing data and explained what inflation or any of these economic indicators signalled, she was quick to quip, “how vegetable prices were still high, general cost of living still steep, education costs still a big ask and job for her unemployed son still a distant dream.
Perhaps that signals one of the key issues- Perception management! The BJP and Shri Narendra Modi need to work overtime in ensuring the policy benefits don’t just trickle to the lowest levels but also if I am being convinced to give up a subsidy on products like LPG Cylinders, I fully understand how I gain from it. Also being the majority power in the Parliament, perhaps the time is ripe for BJP to assert and power head with reform initiatives and policy measures that the country needs badly at the moment.
And please Mr Prime Minister you are an able administrator as we understand from your Gujarat model and now the nation wants see it being replicated at the national level. No we are not looking for overnight magic but surely some amount of change needs to reflect 1.5 years down the line.