Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accepted the BJP’s defeat in two key Lok Sabha constituencies that came two days after the first anniversary of the party’s spectacular victory in the Assembly elections. He attributed it to “over confidence and inability to understand” the opponents’ strategies. A section of BJP leaders, however, said the party has to “seriously look into its style of functioning”
While three MPs, who spoke on condition of anonymity, criticised candidate selection and the style of functioning of the party leadership, a senior party MP said the party distanced itself from the electorate because of the behaviour of its leaders and induction of a number of leaders “who had no idea about the BJP’s chaal, charitra or chehra”.
BJP’s Allahabad MP Shyama Charan Gupta told The Indian Express. “There has to be changes in the thought process, style of functioning, governance and the way we approach to people. Obviously, there are problems, that is the reason we have lost both the seats.”
Urging the party to seriously introspect, Gupta, a second-term MP and a former mayor, said the party has to work hard to win the hearts of the people in the state. He blamed the BJP leadership’s decision to induct a number of leaders from other parties. Asked if he meant the induction of former SP MP Naresh Agrawal, Gupta said: “Not just he. All those who had been taken during the Assembly elections, what have they brought to the party. The BJP won in a wave, not because of them,” he said.
He pointed out that the BJP is a party with distinct principles, “chaal, charitra, chehra aur chintan” (behaviour, character, face and ideology). “The leadership has to see what happened to those values. The party has to look into the governance style also. There must be something wrong, that’s the reason the voters have rejected us.”
A senior party MP, who did not want to be identified, said the BJP leadership had picked candidates “wrongly” without looking into the caste divisions in the constituencies. “They were overconfident that the Hindu identity would override the caste differences,” he said.
Interestingly when the BJP lost 13 of 23 seats in Assembly bypolls in September 2014, months after its spectacular Lok Sabha victory, Yogi, then Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur, had publicly criticised ticket distribution. “There has to be an analysis of how tickets were distributed,” he had said.
Kausambi MP and the BJP’s SC Morcha National President Vinod Kumar Sonkar attributed the defeat to the local leadership’s failure in reaching out to the Dalit communities in the state. “The party should see why, despite several programmes initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party’s attempts to reach out to the Dalits, the BJP has failed to get the community’s vote for the party. The local leadership has failed to reach the benefits of the programmes and the initiatives of the party to the Dalits at the ground level,” Sonkar said.
Party MPs Rajesh Pandey (Kushi Nagar) and BJP vice-president Prabhat Jha were optimistic that the party leadership will seriously look into the reasons of the defeat in Uttar Pradesh. “Our leadership will look into the results seriously, into all aspects,” Jha said.
Pandey admitted that the bypoll results should be worrying for the BJP. “Party will have to worry about it. The leadership will look into it and if needed changes will have to be incorporated,” he said.