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Poll blow for BJP a price of arrogance
Economic progress and harmonious environment are what people look for in a progressive society.

The stinging poll drubbing received by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in five state assembly elections in India, his biggest defeat since Modi took office in 2014, is an unambiguous indication that the party had completely failed to deliver on both fronts.

While common people were looking for jobs and distressed farmers were seeking support for better conditions, what the country increasingly witnessed in recent times was hate mongering, mob lynchings and statue constructions.

Add to this the penchant for changing the names of towns and districts instead of making them economically vibrant. 

The promised “development for all” had taken a back seat.

So much was the farmers’ agony that in several states including Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, several of them marched hundreds of kilometres on foot to Mumbai and Delhi or even resorted to throwing their produce on roads demanding sustainable prices.

The state election results are viewed as crucial primarily because it was Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh that mattered most for the BJP while winning power nationally under Modi in 2014.

The states form part of the “Hindi Belt” or “Cow Belt” region of around 475 million people, where the BJP was perceived to have its core support base.

The latest results can only be seen as a huge blow to the image of Modi as a vote-winner.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that opposition parties would unitedly fight and defeat the BJP in 2019 elections with the central themes being unemployment, agrarian distress and corruption. The focus is right as these are subjects that deserve to be addressed and the BJP certainly lost its way, overtly due to overconfidence.

Arrogance comes with a price. Taking people for granted has proved expensive for the BJP.

At least one BJP lawmaker Sanjay Kakade seems to have made an honest assessment: “We forgot the issue of development. Ram Mandir, statues and name changing became the focus.”

With a national election round the corner, there are lessons that could be learnt. The first and foremost would be for the BJP to shed the idea of divisive politics and, instead, stick to development agenda.

All these years, it has been India’s firm embrace of the concept “unity in diversity” that amazed the rest of the world. Any attempt to dent that image would only prove counter-productive.

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