The state elections cannot be taken as a referendum on the popularity of the central government and the prime minister.
The coming together of JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was a no brainer.
They were against a common enemy – Bhartiya Janata Party – and the drubbing that they received in Lok Sabha elections opened their eyes.
It has now been proved that it was the smartest move they made for their parties.
Barely a week ahead their 100-days-in-office celebration, the BJP has suffered electoral jolt from the hands of these two friends.
Of the 10 seats that went to assembly bypoll in Bihar, BJP managed to win just four.
Two seats went to JD(U), three to RJD and one to Congress. The results have not only signaled the return of Nitish in the political arena, it has also re-branded Lalu as a political force to reckon with in the state.
Apart from Bihar, BJP lost considerable votes in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka as well. While it managed to wrest two out of three seats that went to bypoll in MP, it lost two seats – including stronghold Bellary – out of three in Karnataka. Congress clinched all the three seats lost BJP seats in these two states.
In summary, of the 18 seats in four states (Karnataka, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab) for which bypolls were held on August 21, the Congress and its allies won 10, while the BJP won seven, and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won one.
The loss of the party has now given a reason to the opposition to smile. However, they are yet to dump a big comment such as they are ‘on the path of revival’ or that they will ‘defeat Narendra Modi in next elections’. But they can now claim in various media channels that the charisma of Narendra Modi is fading and that “there is no Modi-wave”.
So, is it really fading?
The BJP has put up a brave face, saying waves are only found in the ocean, not in the river. The shine is still there but the results are definitely a wake-up call.
The social symmetry that worked in favour of the opposition in assembly elections may not repeat history. However, there is no doubt that the results will prove to be a morale booster to the opposition camp ahead of the Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand Assembly elections this year.
Lalu is known for creating jungle raj in the garb of social justice and Nitish, considered to be the development icon of Bihar, has lately given indications that he too relies more on the politics of arithmetic than his USP for delivering popular goods.
As has always been seen, the sentiments of people are different when it comes to Lok Sabha and assembly elections. It is possible that the BJP supporters did not come out in strength, as was the case in the parliamentary elections as these elections will not alter the power dynamics in the state. The state elections cannot be taken as a referendum on the popularity of the central government and the prime minister.
This grand alliance may have put up an excellent show in the Bihar by-elections, and Congress may have clinched some seats.
But this does not mean that the shine is fading.