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After Delhi rout, BJP faces troubles all over

By Archis Mohan
February 13, 2015 10:16 IST
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Allies, Opposition increase volume of criticism; hope in Kashmir, Assam. Archis Mohan reports

The drubbing that the Bharatiya Janata Party got in the Delhi assembly polls is unlikely to dent Narendra Modi's or Amit Shah's political capital, but it has emboldened the dissidents.

Both within the party, and without, both allies and Opposition, those opposed to Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Shah, so long silenced by the juggernaut of electoral victories, seem to have got a shot in the arm.

In the past 48 hours -- since the Delhi poll results were declared reducing the BJP to an insignificant minority with three seats out of 70 in the Assembly -- trouble has reared its head all over the country.

Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare -- once the mentor of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, who won a thumping majority in Delhi -- has threatened to launch a campaign against Modi’s government; K N Govindacharya, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader, has stepped up his criticism of the National Democratic Alliance government.

The BJP is also facing trouble in states where it has governments -- Haryana and Maharashtra. In the former, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been trying to placate ministerial colleagues. In the latter, ally Shiv Sena has criticised the government. In Punjab, clashes have been reported between workers of Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP.

Khattar, whom Modi had handpicked, is facing the heat from his colleagues Anil Vij and Captain Abhimanyu.

On Thursday, the chief minister denied that there were any differences with Vij but went to meet him at his residence at night.

In Pune, Anna Hazare announced that he would address farmers at a public meeting on February 24 in New Delhi, targetting the controversial land acquisition Act of the NDA. The Act also faced heat from RSS functionary Govindacharya, who said the defeat in Delhi was a result of NDA’s “pro-rich attitude”.

There was some good news from Assam. BJP swept the municipal polls, the results for which were declared on Thursday. The BJP hopes to form a government in the northeastern state for the first time; elections are due in mid-2016.

In Jammu and Kashmir, too, BJP is likely to be a part of a coalition government with the People’s Democratic Party.

A team of PDP leaders would meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on Friday.

PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed would be the chief minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh the deputy chief minister. PDP would take the home portfolio; BJP, finance.

There is also some soul-searching within the Sangh Parivar. A meeting has been scheduled on Sunday to analyse the Delhi loss.

Senior ministers have also asked PM Modi to sell off the suit with his name pinstriped on it, and donate the money. The suit -- which Congress’ Rahul Gandhi estimated to be worth lakhs -- was worn by Modi while meeting US President Barack Obama on January 25.

Better get rid of the notorious fashion statement before the party goes out of fashion, seems to be pragmatic opinion.

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Archis Mohan
Source: source