Patna: It may have taken PM Modi and Amit Shah 20 months to convert an electoral defeat into an advantage but they did it with élan. Who would have thought that the bitter electoral battle that played out in September-October 2015 would so soon culminate into Nitish Kumar coming back to NDA fold, deserting his Bihari brother Lalu Yadav.
It may be surprising when one looks at Bihar in isolation but not when a countrywide phenomena is studied. Ever since May 2014 historic mandate, Modi-Shah Jodi has marched on, conquering one state after another.
In that sense, Indian map has got another spot of saffron with BJP back in alliance with the JDU in Bihar. It’s clear that Shah, whose earlier dream was a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, now wants an ‘opposition-mukt Bharat’.
One state where the BJP has set its eye on is the national capital itself. Delhi had stopped the Modi-Shah juggernaut in Assembly polls and it was humiliating that at a time when BJP was winning states where it had no historical presence, lost out to a new player -- Aam Aadmi Party -- in its backyard. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's bitter comments on PM Modi have only made the matters worse. Now, with the sword of disqualification hanging over 21 AAP MLAs, it seems to be a matter of time before BJP ups its ante and pitches all its efforts for early elections.
The thumping victory in recently held MCD elections seems to be a step forward towards realizing the Delhi dream. Efforts are being made by Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tewari to consolidate the party and bring the leaders together.
An obvious political move would be to mobilize the public in case Kejriwal ends up losing most of his seats, and eventually loses the mandate to run the Delhi government.
With many AAP MLAs openly voicing their discontent, sources in the BJP said the growing trouble within AAP could give way to a snap poll.
Another state on the saffron party’s target list is Tamil Nadu. It’s desperately trying to shed its image of being ‘the party from the North’. Sources said that the huge leadership vacuum that was created after Jayalalithaa’s demise and the subsequent squabble over the party and the creation of the factions has created an entry point for the BJP.
The Saffron Party, on its part, has made overtures to Rajnikant (senior leader Nitin Gadkari openly invited the Tamil superstar to join BJP) making it clear that it wants to take up every shot that is available to win over Tamil Nadu.
Sources say the party’s strategy in the state is long term as the BJP needs to strengthen its organization first to cash in on the Modi wave at a later stage. Other than Rajnikant, they are also open to any local unit merging with them, even if it’s one of the factions of the AIADMK.
A look at India’s map right now would show how the Shah-Modi juggernaut rose. And a closer look at the same states would show how fast the rise was. Turning an earlier loss into a victory also seems to be a forte for the Saffron A-team. It remains to be seen if the party will continue with its onwards march.