By Sushil Kutty
“First step outside Maharashtra, giant leap towards Delhi via Dadra Nagar Haveli!”, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, Neil Armstrong-like, tweeted, soon after the Sena’s newly minted candidate, Kalaben Delkar, won the Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) bypoll. Kalaben defeated the BJP’s Mahesh Gavit and Congress candidate Mahesh Dhodi. Both the Maheshs couldn’t have imagined in their worst nightmares that a complete rookie would worst them without even a ‘May I?’
This applies more to Mahesh Gavit than to Mahesh Dhodi, who was caught in the unfolding nightmare because he happened to be in the way of Kalaben Delkar and the BJP’s sliding fortunes. Sanjay Raut probably understands this or he would have apologised to Sena’s MVA ally — the Congress! But this is also the message that there is no friend or enemy in electoral politics.
Mahesh Dhodi fell victim to the voter’s intense dislike for the BJP and preference for the Shiv Sena. That said it appears like the hate for the BJP is universal in several electoral vistas of India though there are people who argue that Dhodi must have reckoned that Kalaben is a widow and therefore benefactor of sympathy that comes with the status.
That said, it wasn’t a ripple but a wave which fetched Kalaben the victory margin of 51,269 votes. Roiled into the outcome must also have been the rejection slip for the BJP.
Kalaben and her son Abhinav joined the Shiv Sena in October this year. That makes Kalaben’s victory the Shiv Sena’s calling card in national politics. At least Sanjay Raut thinks so. Otherwise he wouldn’t have tweeted “giant leap towards Delhi”, and Aaditya Thackeray would not have betrayed a similar sentiment.
True, Sanjay Raut is oftentimes a little too impulsive, but his excitement is catching. There are people, however, who feel that this is a little too much. People who subscribe to the saying that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and who believe that this victory can at best only be a flash in the pan.
If so, the pan is pretty hot. Sizzling hot! The Bharatiya Janata Party has been left out in the cold at quite a few destinations in these bypolls. And the bypoll results came even as the redoubtable vote-catcher for the BJP, Narendrabhai Modi, was on a massive bear-hugging spree in far off Glasgow.
So, the weather has changed for the BJP in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and people with politically sensitive antennas have caught the whiff that the political climate for the BJP is undergoing a seachange. This when Modi was waxing eloquent on India’s commitment to the Paris Accord and the Climate Change dynamics.
And if Narendrabhai Modi and his Man Friday Amit Shah have failed to get the drift — the way of the wind blowing — they should be upended for the poor rendering of ‘Gone with the wind!’ If not the all-knowing ‘Bharatiiye’ voter, long dead actor Rhett Butler would hang the both of them out to dry alongside Yogi Adityanath.
The reality is, the results of the bypolls aren’t icing for the BJP. Himachal Pradesh is an oasis of rejection and Rajasthan remains slanted Congressward. Assam and Madhya Pradesh apart there is not a sign of anything going right for Modi and Shah’s party, and to the Yogi’s tilting towards defeat UP ship.
In fact, at this point in time, Yogi Adityanath must be a cowed man. The winds of change running across the great Gangetic plain threatens to blow away the Yogi’s electoral calculations. Time is running out and if Uttar Pradesh is lost, all is lost, including, perhaps, 2024.
The simple fact is it has been too good for the BJP in the longest of time, and Modi and Shah and the Yogi took it as if it was eternal love, Amar Prem! As it turned out, it’s a case of unrequited love and the BJP is the jilted lover. The death of Kalaben’s husband Mohan Delkar is a classic whodunit? Not even Patanjali’s best detergent can wash away the blood on a particular party’s hand. And as far as BJP’s future prospects go, Rhett Butler would have cracked his famous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and the BJP would have been forced to settle for “Tomorrow is another day!” (IPA Service)