From the Viewsroom

Why BJP lost Jharkhand

Poornima Joshi | Updated on December 27, 2019 Published on December 26, 2019

A new culture of sycophancy shut out the feedback mechanism

With voter behaviour being a complex phenomenon, it is simply erroneous to attribute an election victory or defeat to a singular factor. Even so, some factors, such as the personality of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are decidedly more critical than others. In the election just concluded in Jharkhand, there were, accordingly, innumerable reasons for the BJP’s loss — tribal consolidation behind Hemant Soren because of the ruling party’s land policies, the BJP’s failure to keep the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) in its fold, infighting in the BJP and wrong ticket distribution, among others.

But there is one reason that few would elaborate — especially for the benefit of Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah, who runs his election machinery with militaristic precision. It is the role played by former Chief Minister Raghbar Das, and his unique brand of what is termed “arrogancy” in the Bihar/Jharkhand demotic. “Arrogancy bohot ho gayi thi ji (There was too much arrogance),” is the common refrain. The word in Ranchi is that the turning point came when the former CM unceremoniously asked AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto to “get out” from a meeting. The BJP’s vote share on its own is 33.4 per cent, while the AJSU got 8.1 per cent vote. Their combined vote would have been 41.5 per cent against the total opposition alliance vote share of 35.3 per cent.

There is also a new tendency in the BJP’s ranks, from Das downwards in Jharkhand, of aping the PM and the Home Minister. The fashion these days is to walk, talk and even dress like them. So, Shah’s penchant for plainspeak bordering on rudeness now defines the general work culture — except that his lieutenants, like the former Jharkhand CM, reserve such mannerisms only for those below their rank. The result is that feedback mechanisms have collapsed and leaders without Shah’s talent have acquired his mannerisms.

The irony here is, “arrogancy” is not much of an issue with Shah himself.

The writer is Associate Editor with BusinessLine

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Published on December 26, 2019
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