Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Does BJP performance in Uttarakhand Assembly elections 2012 SURPRISE YOU?

Written by Anil Singh

If BJP’s performance in Uttarakhand Assembly elections 2012 surprises you; then you are not alone. Even media people are baffled by BJP managing to get 31 seats.

But should you be surprised?

If you have witnessed BJP’s five year of rule; then you shouldn’t.

BJP was expected to get these 31 seats; or may be inch even closer towards the 36 mark.

Why I think so?

For reasons, given below:

States like Uttarakhand suited the kind of politics Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) does. That's why it wasted no time create Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal) in 2000.

In the Uttarakhand Assembly Elections 2012; it proved to one and all, that creation of Uttarakhand was indeed a smart move.

Uttarakhand with its 70 percent upper caste population; gives BJP a turf, where it can play its game perfectly -- A game which allows it to act like a party of the upper castes; and ignore everyone else.

The simple arithmetic, which BJP kept in mind while governing the state, is: if it manages to get even thirty percent of upper caste votes, then it can make a government in Uttarakhand.

With this clear strategy in mind, it governed the state as a Government of the upper castes. BJP knew quite well, that it can afford to ignore SC/STs and minorities; hence it not only remained apathetic to their betterment; but even tried to divert resources meant for them to the upper castes.

Knowing exactly where the ‘Upper caste middle class’ is most vulnerable; BJP consciously tried to convey an anti-quota stance in the state. The party used innovative means for this purpose. In addition to reiterating its moto ‘it believes in merit [And NOT Quota]’, the party constantly looked for opportunities to appease this demography (Upper caste middle class). An example will convey this stance well.

To make Uttarakhand Samuh ga recruitment appear pro General category, the Government got it conducted through UBTER instead of UKPSC. Later it rolled out a Government order, which made minimum 35 percent qualifying marks in Uttarakhand Group C examination mandatory for SC/ST students. Knowing very well that most of SC/ST students will not be able to attain that percentage of marks; the Government opened the way to fill those unfilled seats with General candidates. Selling the Samuh Ga Application form for Rs 500 per group; as another clever ploy.

If you look closely at the last year of BJP rule, you will find that, it actually stopped focusing on Welfare schemes related to Women, Children and Youth; and instead focused entirely on consolidating its traditional vote bank (a vote bank which sees BJP as a spokesperson of Hindus). The move was well planned. Since Upper Caste vote bank and BJP’s traditional votebank in the state overlap to a high degree; consolidating a chunk of these votes, can put the party closer to the power next Assembly polls.

BJP strategy paid dividends:

Amidst a possible anti-incumbency (negative perception of voters for the party in power); BJP played its cards well not only during its five year old rule (shared just above); but also couple of months before the Uttarakhand Assembly Elections.

Bring BC Khanduri back in power:

Seeing that, TPS Rawat can consolidate the Army vote bank in Uttarakhand. BJP strategically brought BC Khanduri back as CM. Knowing very well that its traditional vote bank, doesn’t really bother about Nishank and Kaushik’s corruption, and will vote the party no matter what rivals say, BJP played BC Khanduri as its trump card; and tried to portray Khanduri honest and clear than Nisank. The idea here was to add a 7 to 8 percent of Army vote bank in Uttarakhand, to BJP’s traditional vote bank. To kill two birds with an arrow: bringing Khanduri to the forefront, not only brought BJP a share of army votebank, but also cut the votes of Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha and Congress.

At last, all such strategies paid:

1) Giving least importance to BC Khanduri; BJP strategies managed to get victories Ramesh Pokhriyal and Madan kaushik. Both of which are seen as most tainted.

2) Army sysmpathisers, failed to get Uttarakhand Raksha Morcha a single seat.

3) BC Khanduri, admired by many as an honest army man, lost his own seat.

Which voter will now see himself/herself, at a complete loss:

1) Those who confused, BC Khanduri as the face of an honest Government. With BC Khanduri lost in oblivion now; all such voters will ask themselves; “Was BJP’s slogan – Khanduri hain Jaruri – Honest?”

2) Those voters who saw Khanduri led BJP, as Anna Hazare’s “Corruption free” government, will rethink. As, ‘honest of them all Khanduri lost’, while ‘tainted of them all Nishank won’.

3) Those voters, who called Ramesh Pokhriyal aka Nishank, corrupt; should think, “Was he really corrupt” OR BJP misled them, by showing “Khanduri’s shirt many times brighter than Nishank’s.”

4) Those voters, who saw 2012 Assembly Elections of Uttarakhand, as an opportunity to consolidate the Army population in Uttarakhand; will have to think ; especially if they voted for BJP, in the hope of getting Army men to Uttarakhand Assembly.

BJP's Uttarakhand Assembly elections 2012 strategies and tactics; have proved that if you have traditional & faithful vote-bank to your side; then you can replicate the Gujarat like outcome, not only once but twice. As, on whatever pretext, a person votes for you -- whether it be an Honest Armyman, fight against corruption, Anna Hazare, Lokayukta and blah blah blah... You always get closer to power, as all such votes add to your tradtional vote bank.

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