Shadow of Defeat

December this year is surely leaving behind a new political mood for many in India. This mood erupted firstly, when the 132 year old Congress party got its new president after the command of party was handed over to Rahul Gandhi. Secondly, this political mood was further boosted all over country when the election results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were declared. Both these situations have now left both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in entirely new circumstances. I believe that these newly erupted situations have forced both BJP and Congress to come on their toes.

If we talk of Gujarat elections then BJP though has retained Gujarat but clearly by winning fewer seats than in 2012. In past 3 years the "Gujarat Model" was projected as a development model all over India but it is the same Gujarat which became a challenge for the BJP in this election. This is very obvious as BJP fell short of its official claim of getting 150 seats in Gujarat. Despite the fact that BJP has won, yet it appears that ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left the Gujarat the state BJP leaders are not able to meet the aspirations and demands of the people in Gujarat. I am sure you must have seen how aggressively PM Narendra Modi campaigned in his home state and in spite of that came a narrow victory. Results now show that a swing of 10 seats would have made the Gujarat contest altogether a different game.

I believe that Gujarat results have left an internal unrest for the party chief Amit Shah as well as on the PM Narendra Modi. If we talk of Congress party and its performance, then Congress didn't have much hope in Gujarat as it has been fort of BJP for last 2 decades. Since 2014, Congress is searching for a victory and this search didn't end even after Gujarat elections. But surprisingly, for the Congress the Gujarat result has left more hope out of this defeat. We shouldn't underestimate Congress now onwards as Gujarat election is like a moral victory for it. I suggest BJP that it should stop making jokes on Rahul Gandhi and in fact take him seriously as Rahul Gandhi with his campaign in Gujarat energized the whole election process. Moreover, the Congress on the whole managed to take help of many activists in Gujarat to improve their political performance.

Incidentally, I noticed that there is not much excitement in both these parties about Himachal Pradesh election. It is all because of people of Himachal as normally people in Himachal Pradesh don't repeat governments and that is why Himachal election is not being discussed with much fanfare. The results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have set political temper high for 2019 general elections in country. The 2019 general elections were earlier assumed to go towards BJP in absence of strong political opposition in country. But it is no longer an assumption and the BJP now has to improve their election strategy after this rise of Congress party in Gujarat.

I think this performance by the Congress in Gujarat will soon energize all opposition parties to fight against the BJP. Despite these losses, the Congress under its new president Rahul Gandhi will start the race towards 2019 very soon. However, it would be a big mistake for Congress party to start thinking that the performance in Gujarat is all because of new Congress president. Congress took advantage of all mistakes done by BJP in a beautiful manner by focusing attention on particular needs of different communities in Gujarat. The other reason behind this performance of Congress is that BJP government in Gujarat didn't have any charismatic leader in the state. For me, only what Rahul Gandhi has gained after this performance is a certain degree of credibility and he could do really well by multiplying this credibility.

The stage though is set for 2019 elections but before that political atmosphere in country will once again be heated after the election contests of 2018 in states like Karnataka, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The Congress has ruled these states and will definitely look forward to gaining ground once again before 2019 general elections. On the other hand PM Modi and his entire team will be under intense pressure to perform in these elections. It is because if any favorable outcome is seen for BJP in these elections then once again entirely the heat will shift on the Congress and other opposition parties in country. I am sure both parties will be adopting different tactics soon in order to swing enough sentiment in their favor before these elections. In these just concluded elections both the parties were finding themselves to be under shadow of defeat before results came out. Elections in 2018 will be once again the political battle between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi. After all of this there will be some difference and may be it turns different.

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