A bad phase for the BJP has started in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (MP). It may win 100 or even less seats in the coming Assembly elections in MP. The survey conducted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has stated that the Congress may win 120 or more seats in Madhya Pradesh while the BJP will hardly manage 57-60 seats. The survey indicates at least 10 per cent decrease in the BJP’s vote share. The RSS survey shows that the Congress is in quite a strong position in Gujarat. The RSS has handed over the report of this survey to the BJP president and the Prime Minister.
The RSS conducted this survey in Gujarat to gauge the pulse of the voters but the results shocked even the RSS. They show a definite decrease in the vote share of BJP by 8 to 10 per cent. The main cause for this decrease in vote share is the anger amongst backward communities due to the changes in the process of reservation. On the other hand, the Kunbi Patidar vote bank of the BJP also seems to be drifting away because of the death of 14 people during the Patidar Anamat Movement.
The socio-political scenario in Gujarat which came to the fore in the survey clearly tells us that the BJP president and the Prime Minister may get defeated in their home state. In Gujarat, the Koli Machhuara community is 24.22 per cent of the total population, 17.61 are tribals and the Kunbi Patidar Patels form 12.16 per cent of the population. The Dalit percentage is only 7.17 per cent while Muslims are also only 8.53 per cent of the people.
The Koli Machhuara and Kunbi Patidar are politically powerful in western Gujarat (Saurashtra- Kutch. Leua Patels are quite influential in 36 seats of the 58 seats of Saurashtra-Kutch. In 46 seats of Saurashtra and 13 seats of south Gujarat, the Koli-Machhuara community can play a decisive role.
Possibly, this is the reason why the BJP has been publicising President Ram Nath Kovind as a person belonging to the Koli community instead of the Kori community to which he actually belongs. This may be a ploy to woo the Kolis and fishermen (Machhuaras). Louten Ram Nishad, a social justice scholar and leader of the machhuara community, has this to say, “To publicise Ram Nath Kovid as belonging to the Koli community is a huge deception. It is a part of the BJP’s politics of lies and cheating, because Koris and Kolis are completely different communities.”
The Koli community is almost double the size of Kunbi Patidars in Gujarat but the Patels are politically quite aware and powerful. In south central and north Gujarat, there is no influential Koli leader. Purushottam Bhai Solanki is the only powerful leader but the Koli community is quite annoyed at the way he has been treated. In 2001, he became a minister in the Modi government of the state and is still a state minister in the Rupani state cabinet.
In the last state elections, he had raised the issue of giving Kolis 25 to 30 seats. This time too, the issue of making a Koli leader the chief ministerial face seems to be picking up in Gujarat.
The pre-election survey by the RSS shows that killing of Dalits in Una will seriously damage the BJP.
Even in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP seems to be losing its way. The survey results say that the BJP will not be able to win half the seats that it had won in 2012. The survey shows that the Congress may win more than 120 seats in Madhya Pradesh and BJP may get 57-60 seats.
Recently, Amit Shah had given a target of 160-plus seats during his three-day visit to Madhya Pradesh. The very next day, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the BJP will win 200 plus seats in the coming Assembly elections. Madhya Pradesh Assembly has a total of 230 seats and the BJP will require 116 seats to come back to power. But the internal survey by the RSS shows the route may not be smooth for the BJP.
According to this survey, BJP may get less than 100 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election. If the big wigs of the Congress have efficient coordination, then the BJP is sure to lose the election. The Vyapam scam and many sex scandals related to BJP leaders have tarnished the party’s image. The farmers’ movement and death of 6 farmers during the movement, suicide by more than 50 farmers and sending the leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar, to jail are some of the issues which will seriously hamper BJP’s path to victory in the elections.
In such a situation, there is a possibility that BJP will fight the election without projecting any chief ministerial candidate. This may be because the party thinks it is very difficult to win an election under the leadership of present Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
(IANS) The views expressed in the above opinion piece are author’s own