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BJP's defeat in UP-Bihar bypolls exposes the bitter challenges that lie ahead for Modi & Shah
Within a fortnight of jubilation due to unprecedented victory in CPM's fortress Tripura by getting two thirds majority in a state where not even once it had won a seat, the setback in the bypolls held for three Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has exposed the growing bitter challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi is awaiting to face in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his confident BJP chief Amit Shah have been succeeding in expanding the party into new areas, which were alien to it before. It has captured power in seven of the eight Northeastern states. Now as many as 21 states, over 70 per cent of Indian population are under BJP's rule. No single political party or leader is seen as a competitor to Modi or the BJP.

In such a rosy scenario, the unexpected defeat in its stronghold Gorakhpur, the seat vacated by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, besides Phulpur, vacated by Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, has certainly sent a warning bell to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The defeat of Gorakhpur, from where Yogi himself had won five times and his `guru' had won three times prior to him. In fact, this seat has virtually been a fortress for the BJP since 1989. Losing such a seat reflects how the BJP is being marginalized in the largest Indian state.

A simple equation between two political opponents, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) helped polarization of anti-BJP voters. But during last year'sAssembly election, the alliance between SP and the Congress had failed to do so. In fact, the alliance helped the BJP to register massive success.

The poor voting percentage in urban areas reflected the growing restlessness among the middle-class, who are said to be strong supporters of the BJP, but remained indifferent. In the rural areas, farmers' unrest and dissent among weaker sections helped the Samajwadi Party candidates to get more support. The recent historic `march' by farmers in Maharashtra demonstrated how growing crisis in the farming sector is gong against the BJP.

Now it is high time for the leadership to realise that its failure in governance, addressing to basic problems like unemployment, price rise and farm crisis and remaining busy in raising emotional issues makes people uneasy about the BJP.

In Bihar, after the BJP willfully sent Lalu Prasad Yadav to jail, as he had reportedly refused to join hands with the party and was serious about bringing all opposition parties together against the BJP, the bypolls reveal that his son Tejasvi Prasad Yadav succeeded in emerging as a potential leader to challenge the BJP.

These results also prove that the Congress no more can claim itself as a major force to challenge the Modi regime and it should show more acceptability among powerful regional parties to ensure a broader national platform against the BJP.

Bihar bypoll results reveal that people themselves will select some one who can challenge Modi. Indian politics is nowadaysonly about who can challenge Modi and who can support him. Already a major NDA allay, the Shiva Sena, which is the second largest member of the alliance after the BJP, declared that it would contest alone in 2019 general elections.

Shiv Sena's senior leader Sanjay Rawat denouncing BJP's "politics of opportunism" by encouraging massive defection, commented that God has deserted the BJP on the day when it extended a red carpet welcome to SP leader Naresh Agarwal, who had earlier abused Lord Rama.

The thirdlaegest ally of the NDA, the TDP has already withdrawn its ministers from the cabinet and is preparing to move out of theallaince. Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, who recently deserted the BJP, has advised the partyto stop working for its face value and instead put in efforts to work for the people and that's the only way in which they can improve or else they will face the same results in the 2019 polls too, he added.

Alarmingly, both Modi and Amit Shah have been facing lot of discontentment among BJP leadership and also cadre for encouraging more and more "defecting leaders" from other parties, ignoring those who have been ideologically working for the party since decades. The recent distribution of Rajya Sabha seats raised many questions among "original" party leaders on the direction the party is moving. Many of them felt it is moving towards "suicidal" direction.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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