Summary of Lok Sabha Results Since 1999
The following facts are clear from the table above:
BJP on decline
It has been a downward slide for the BJP since 1999. BJP got 37 less seats in 2004 and 68 less seats in 2009 when compared to its seat share in 1999. Unless this trend is reversed, BJP will become irrelevant at the national level and Congress will continue to rule forever. The Babri Masjid demolition in Dec. 1992 seemed to have improved BJP’s performance but the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 are perhaps the prime cause of its decline in 2004 and 2009 elections, as it became a pariah for its allies like TDP, TMC and BJD.
Decline in Andhra
In Andhra Pradesh, it got seven seats in 1999 and none in 2009. BJP never had a strong base in Andhra. Its rise and decline was along with TDP and particularly after 2002.
Decline in Gujarat
In Gujarat, it got 20 seats in 1999, 14 in 2004 and 15 in 2009. This decline is a result of 2002 riots.
Decline in Haryana
In Haryana, it had five seats in 1999 and again none in 2009. The breakup of its alliance with the ‘corrupt’ Chautalas is the main cause of the rout. How effective the alliance with Haryan Vikas Party will be only time will tell.
Decline in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, it had 13 seats in 1999 but only eight in 2009. This decline was parallel with the decline of its partner Shiv Sena and possibly poor candidate selection.
Decline in Delhi
In Delhi, it had seven seats in 1999 but none in 2009. The decline is attributed to removal of Madan Lal Khurana, infighting and poor candidate selection.
Decline in Orissa
In Orissa, it had nine seats in 1999 but none in 2009. The decline was the result of break up with BJD and weak state organization.
Decline in Rajasthan
In Rajasthan, it had 16 seats in 1999 but just five in 2009. The decline is attributed to intense infighting and poor candidate selection. Nothing has changed here.
Decline in Uttar Pradesh
In Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it had 29 seats in 1999 but only 10 in 2009. The decline is attributed to ouster of Kalyan Singh, intense infighting, poor candidate selection and effect of Gujarat riots.
Decline in Madhya Pradesh
In Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, it had 35 seats in 2004 but only 26 in 2009. In fact, the Congress tally increased in Madhya Pradesh from just four in 2004 to 12 in 2009. Decline is attributed to ouster of Uma Bharti, infighting and poor candidate selection.
Increase in Karnataka
In Karnataka, BJP had seven seats in 1999 which increased to 19 in 2009. But this increase is likely to disappear in 2013 due to ouster of Yedurappa and split in Karnataka BJP.
Importance of Leaders
BJP does not seem to appreciate the importance of competent leadership. It feels that anyone who is nominated by the party president and the high command can be an effective leader and win elections. That is not true. BJP has a history of ill treating outstanding leaders and therefore paid the price.
Madan Lal Khurana revived the party in Delhi and led BJP to victory in the Delhi assembly polls in 1993. He resigned in 1996 in the wake of corruption charges. The party declined to reinstate him when his name was cleared and preferred Sahib Singh Verma as chief minister. Verma was ineffective as CM and was replaced by Sushma Swaraj just before 1998 elections. It was too little, too late. Congress returned to power in Delhi has retained power ever since. BJP’s tally in Delhi has been reduced from 7/7 to 0/7.
Kalyan Singh led BJP to victory in UP elections in 1991. Under him, the BJP became the largest political party in 1993 UP elections. He became leader of the opposition and was CM from 1997-1999 when his government was dismissed in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition. He was forced out of BJP in Dec. 1999 but returned to the party before 2004 Lok Sabha elections and won. He left again in 2009 before elections, citing neglect and humiliation and won as independent. BJP finished fourth in UP with 10/80 in 2009 elections. Kalyan Singh has returned to BJP again, but will he be allowed to lead the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections?
Uma Bharti led the BJP to a three-fourth majority in Madhya Pradesh assembly in 2003 and was made CM. She resigned from the post of Chief Minister in August 2004, when an arrest warrant was issued against her, regarding a case pertaining to Hubli. She was not reinstated when the case was dismissed. Shivraj Patil was inducted as CM. She was thrown out of the party for opposing L K Advani on some issue. She was re-inducted in the BJP in 2011. She was tasked with reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the assembly polls in 2012. It was another case of too little, too late. BJP suffered a humiliating defeat but she won her seat.
B S Yedurappa became the state president of the BJP in 1988 and was made the CM of Karnataka after leading BJP to a historic victory in 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections. He was accused of corruption by Lokayukta and forced to step down. In March 2012, the Karnataka High Court quashed the FIR registered against him regarding the mining scam. On 25 July 2012, Karnataka High Court granted anticipatory bail to Yeddyurappa in a case relating to alleged irregularities in de-notification of government land in 2009. But he was not reinstated. Humiliated, he has formed a new party like Uma Bharti did in Madhya Pradesh. What damage his leaving will cause is yet to be seen.
Vasundhara Raje has been a leader of BJP since 1985. From 1989 onwards, she won four consecutive elections to the Lok Sabha. In 2003, she shot to prominence by leading the BJP to its biggest victory in the state elections in Rajasthan as the state BJP president. But there was a rebellion of party leaders against her firm style of leadership. In 2008 Rajasthan assembly elections, BJP suffered a narrow defeat and Vasundhara Raje quit as CM. Being a Rajasthan resident, I know that the Sangh and some local leaders actively worked to ensure her defeat. Will she lead BJP in 2013 assembly elections and will the party support her completely, is to be seen.
B C Khanduri is senior BJP leader in Uttarkhand. He is a four-time MP and a minister in Vajpayee government. In February 2007, he led the BJP to victory in assembly elections in Uttarkhand and was chosen as CM. There was a rebellion of party leaders against his firm style of leadership. High command gave in and made Pokriyal the CM. But the performance of Pokhriyal government was so poor that BJP brought back Khanduri as CM just before state elections. BJP lost narrowly. Khanduri could not win his seat as Pokhriyal and other local leaders used all their efforts to defeat him.
BJP must understand that leadership is most important. Greeks never won a war after the death of Alexander the Great. It required Chandra Gupta Maurya to unite the 16 kingdoms of the Vedic Period into one country. The kingdom of Ashoka collapsed within 50 years of his death. The Mughal Empire collapsed within 50 years of the death of Aurangzeb. It required Shivaji to organize the Marathas into a formidable power. It required a Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to form the INA and fight the British Army. It required a Mahatma Gandhi to lead our non-violent struggle for freedom. It required Sardar Patel to unite India. It required a Syama Prasad Mookerjee to launch the struggle to integrate Kashmir with India. It required an Indira Gandhi to annex Sikkim and liberate Bangladesh. It required an Atal Behari Vajpayee to establish India as a nuclear power. It is leadership that makes the difference.
Importance of Unity
Hindu history is replete with instances of lack of unity and betrayal. In 327 BC, Hindu King Ambhi of Taxila aligned with the forces of Alexander in his battle with Hindu King Puru. In the Second Battle of Tarrain, the Hindu Raja of Kanauj Jai Chandra met Mohammad of Ghori and informed him about the details of Prithwi Raj Chauhan’s strengths and battle plans and helped ensure Prithwi Raj’s defeat. In the Battle of Khanwa with Babar, Rana Sangha was assisted by Hassan Khan Mewati but betrayed by the Hindu Raja of Malwa, Silhadi (the Rana had married his daughters to Silhadi’s son) who left Rana Sangha’s forces in the middle of the battle with 20,000 men and joined Babar.
Maharana Pratap of Mewar was not assisted in his battles with Akbar by other Rajput Rulers like Man Singh of Amber. In fact even his brothers Shakti Singh and Jagammal joined Akbar in the hope of being made the Rana after Rana Pratap was defeated. Political back stabbing is passé in the BJP. Sahib Singh Verma backstabbed Madan Lal Khurana. RSS backstabbed Uma Bharti and Vasundhara Raje. Kalraj Mishra and the Bramhin lobby backstabbed Kalyan Singh. Pokhriyal and his friends backstabbed Khanduri. Anant Kuma did the same to Yedurappa, and Arjun Munda also did it to Babu Lal Marandi.
I am reminded of a poem by Rabindra Nath Tagore describing the “Rath Yatra” at Puri. Hundreds of thousands of people were bowing before the “Rath”. The street (Path) thought that it was God, and people were bowing to it. The “Rath” thought I am God, and people were bowing to it. The idols thought they were the God, and people were bowing to it. And God smiled at their foolishness. Every senior leader in the BJP sees himself as a potential PM or CM, whether or not he is capable and acceptable. That is not possible. Unity in Congress is ensured by the Gandhi family. Who will temper the ambition of BJP leaders and ensure unity?
Importance of Strategy
Need for Winning Strategy
Hindu teaching lays great stress on bravery and sacrifice (Veerta and Balidan). It does not equally stress on planning, preparing and training to win. Since the time of Mohammad of Gazni, Hindu warriors have fought bravely but were defeated and martyred. BJP needs to evolve a winning strategy for the polls. If it fails to do that, the slide of its fortunes will continue and it will be reduced to around 80 seats in the 2013/2014 Lok Sabha Elections.
Need for Younger Leadership
Hindu teaching lays great stress on listening to elders. It means BJP leadership has no place for new ideas and young leaders. India has changed. 50 % of the population of India is under the age of 25. Today children are more educated and informed than their parents and do not listen to elders but do things differently. The BJP, like the rest of the world, must project leaders in the forties and fifties rather than seventies and eighties.
Need to Give more Seats to Women
Hindu teaching does not accept equality between men and women. But women account for more than 50 percent of the voters. They are outperforming men in many fields. BJP must give 50 % of seats to women to contest.
Need to Induct More Muslims to Improve Secular Image
BJP must improve its secular image by giving many more seats to Muslims. This will not only help them get more votes and seats but also make it acceptable to political parties like TMC, TDP and Communists etc., and make it difficult for Mulayam Singh to Keep bailing out Congress in the name of keeping out communal forces. It should remember that Hassan Khan Mewati fought alongside Rana Sangha against Babar, and the Meos of Rajasthan are Rajasthanis.
There are a large number of Muslim women’s organizations who are fighting for reforms and liberal thinking. These organizations like the All India Women’s Personal Law Board, Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, etc. could be good source of Muslim women candidates. Shia Muslims are moderate, liberal and suitable for becoming members of BJP. There are about three crore shia Muslims in India. There are many big and small towns and villages with majority of Shii’te Muslim population in India. Many of them migrated to India to escape the persecution by Sunni outfits in Pakistan. Prominent places in India with majority or considerable Shia Muslim population are Kargil, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Barabanki, Sirsi, Amroha, Zaidpur, Hallur, Naseerabad, Naugaon, Naseerabad, Manikpur, Safipur, Unnao, Akbarpur, Sultanpur and Muzafar Nagar. The Shias include Sayyids, Khoja and Bhoras. Gujarat is the home to most of the Dawoodi Bhora population of the world.
Need to Improve Campaigning
Elections are not won on the votes of staunch supporters of political parties, RSS or other organizations. They are won based on the votes of non committed ordinary voters, farmers, labourers, petty businessmen, daily wage earners, housewives, teachers and other professionals. India Shining Campaign did not work for BJP in 2004. The strategy in 2009 failed miserably. Unless a more meaning full campaign strategy is evolved, BJP will again fail to win.
Price rise is not an issue with the people. The sales in Rajasthan during Diwali this year broke all records. It is almost impossible to find a daily labourer or a maid without a mobile phone. Different people have different wishlists. Everyone wants drinking water, electricity and protection from harassment by police. Students want protection from exploitation by educational institutions, and jobs. Women want physical and financial security and income opportunities. Petty business and hawkers want protection from extortion by police, RTO and anti-socials. Farmers want seeds, fertilizer and water in time. They want loans from banks without having to pay a percentage to the manager. They want meaningful support price and aid during natural calamities. Corruption is not an issue as long as work gets done. It is useful to media to fill in their time.
Need to Bring New Allies
Congress accepts that it cannot form government on its own and is going all out to win allies. Does BJP do that? It requires at least 277 seats to form the government. Even in the unlikely scenario of it repeating its 1999 performance of winning 182 seats, it requires another 85 seats to form a government. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will provide seven and HVP two. Sena may support Narendra Modi and bring about 12 seats. That is 19. With JDU refusing to join if Modi is the candidate for PM, there is no way BJP can come near the magic figure.
Secular Image is essential
India has changed a lot in the last ten years since 1999. Education and western influences have increased. Women have become more assertive. The TV media is a strong tool for building public opinion and it does not support Hindu or Muslim fundamentalism or RSS ideology. The people who faced the trauma of the partition are mostly over 70 and an insignificant minority. Neither Congress nor BJP can hope to form the government at the centre on its own.
Congress openly acknowledges it and invites new allies. BJP does not admit it and has not sought any new allies. If it fails to improve its secular image by ruling out any role for Modi at the Centre and giving more seats to Muslims, JDU will leave the alliance and TMC, TDP and the Communists will never support BJP. That means Congress will continue to form the government for ever.
BJP must Select its Leaders with Care
The BJP must understand that there is a difference between a regional leader and a national leader. The BJP rules alone in just four of 27 Indian states. It cannot project a regional leader like Narendra Modi to lead India unless he is acceptable to all the existing and potential allies. Only Sushma Swaraj fits the bill. BJP must rehabilitate proven leaders like Kalyan Singh, Yadurappa, Vasundhara Raje, Uma Bharti, B C Khanduri and ask them to lead the party in the states. It must also indentify and nurture leaders in other states where it is not in power or sharing power.
BJP must ensure Unity within its Organisation
Unless, there is unity in the organization and all are ready to work for the party rather than for their personal ambition, Congress will rule for ever. BJP must immediately patch up with Yedurappa and make him Karnataka chief minister.
BJP must give more seats to Middle-aged Leaders and Women
40 to 50 % percent of the seats must be contested by women.
BJP must improve its Secular Image
BJP must improve its secular image by inducting more Muslim candidates and nominating Sushma Swaraj as its PM candidate.
BJP must improve its campaigning
It must understand what people want. Article 372, Ram Mandir, Swadeshi, corruption and price rise are irrelevant. Drinking water, electricity, good roads and public transport, job and earning opportunities, timely supply of seeds and fertilizers, bank credit without bribing bank managers, security for women, stopping exploitation and bullying by police, political cadres, educational institutions and anti socials are important. BJP campaigning should focus on these issues.
Your elevation to the post of party president in light of BJP’s electoral performance under your guidance in 2009 polls is surprising. I suppose no one volunteered for the job or no one was acceptable other than you. Your initial moves about Karnataka and Modi do not inspire confidence. You have two options; continue present policies till BJP is finished or change track and lead it to victory. RSS has two options; change with times and allow BJP freedom of action or be consigned to the history books.
Colonel (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar
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