It is an irony that the BJP’s smashing victory in Uttar Pradesh might actually have made it more difficult for Modi to win in 2019. The bigger the BJP gets and the more states it wins, the more “Mahagathbandhans” will rise, making the path to victory in 2019 steeper and narrower.
On the contrary, the BJP’s big defeat in Bihar, which gave the opposition some breathing space, also made it easier for Narendra Modi. In Bihar, the BJP can at least sit back and hope for the alliance of desperate opposites to collapse under its own weight. Not so in Uttar Pradesh, where Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav will now march in lockstep. There is another mahagathbandhan of Shiv Sena + Cong + NCP budding in Maharashtra.
So, you have there the equation for 2019. Three big Mahagathbandhans in 3 of India’s 4 largest states : Uttar Pradesh (80 seats), Maharashtra (48 seats) and Bihar (40 seats). The other state in the big four is West Bengal (42 seats), where the BJP is still a bit player.
What was Modi supposed to do here? Become another Vajpayee and fade into the sunset, leaving the Dynasty and its NGO jackals to snap up the economic gains founded on his five years of hard work?
By picking Yogi Adityanath as CM, Modi has shown that he will play his best hand for 2019. He wont go down without a fight, like left liberals wanted him to. The state of Uttar Pradesh will be run directly from the Prime Minister’s Office. Lucknow is too important for him not to deliver on his promises of development. But, honestly, what “vikas” could he possibly have given in (less than) 2 years that would have taken the BJP’s vote share from 40% to 51% so that he can fight the Mahagathbandhan? Let’s be real.
Modi needed a big face, a regional satrap who transcends caste. If you want to be really politically incorrect, you could say he needed someone who can unite the 80% against the 20%. Did he have another option that would give him a realistic chance in the fight against the Mahagathbandhan?
So Modi went for broke. He went with the raw emotion of the grass-root BJP worker. Anyone who witnessed the wild celebrations of BJP workers in Lucknow yesterday would know that he had made the right decision. He will need every bit of that enthusiasm to fight the Mahagathbandhan.
With Yogi’s coronation, depressed liberals who had been hiding in the woodwork for a week, will now come out all guns blazing. Who knows, even the Samajwadi Times might start tweeting again. But why should Modi listen to the people who would never ever vote for him? Why not go with the man who was most popular among BJP workers and worked the hardest in the election? Should he be sidelined simply because some smug people suddenly claim to know the mind of the BJP supporters they didn’t know existed until a week ago?
No, Modi went with the BJP worker. I trust Modi and Shah to know their mind rather than Barkha Dutt. Those who didn’t have a single clue about the mandate until March 11 should not be in charge of interpreting the mandate.
Yes, Modi has gone with the BJP worker and rewarded the hardest campaigner and the biggest mass leader they have in Uttar Pradesh. Keshav Maurya, who was an inspired choice by Amit Shah as the party’s OBC face, has also been amply accommodated. The Modi-Shah team picked their top players, ran with their strategy and won big.
I would advise the right wing (not that they really need my advice) not to be perturbed by the outrage of left liberals. Ha! Does anyone really think that left liberals hate Narendra Modi any more today than they hated him yesterday?
Of course not. The left liberals want the BJP dead and gone. Done and dusted. Finished. Destroyed. Buried so deep under the ground that they wont find a trace of BJP in a thousand years. The appointment of one Hindutva firebrand as CM does not change their view of BJP. If yesterday they wanted the BJP buried 6000 feet under the ground, maybe liberals today want the BJP buried 6001 feet under the ground. Does it matter?
Because left liberals can live with everything, except BJP. They are happy to cuddle with Stalinists, but they can’t live with RSS. Do left liberals really care about inclusive politics? Ha! This, for example, is Shiv Sena for you.
But this did not deter the left liberals media from discovering that Uddhav Thackeray is a mild mannered photographer with a heart of gold. Right around the time of the BMC polls. So, if you are a left liberals and you are circulating speeches of Yogi Adityanath and pretending to be shocked, I am laughing at you.
Modi has begun the fight for 2019. And in order to fight this historic election, he has chosen to believe in his own. And by making Yogi the Chief Minister, he has made it clear that he won’t let the enemy whisper in his ear while the battle is in progress.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.