Gorakhpur changes every thing

Gorakhpur by poll has signalled one thing very clearly. That 2019 general election will be fought to overturn the mandate of 2014. 2014 mandate made Modi led BJP look comfortable for at least two or even three terms without a significant challenge. That perception is shattered. 2019 has become an open gamble now for all.
At the root of this is not just the spectre of a grand alliance as being played out in news. But, an intricate balance within the Sangh Parivar has become shaky. It’s now clear that 2019 will be fought on caste politics and not Vikas again. Secondly ‘Garibi Hatao’ will remain just a slogan. No one in this Govt is actually bothered about marginalised class. Thirdly, a powerful unanimous leadership among the opposition will be required to challenge the already weakened Narendra Modi.
Let’s check how Modi has been weakened more from within now on top of external attacks from rejuvenated regional parties. For decades Gorakhpur has been identified as the power seat of Hindu Maha Sabha. Politically Hindu Maha Sabha has dominated Gorakhpur where even BJP has not been able to dominate it with even RSS backing. Right from Mahant Digvijay to Avaidyanath, neither Jan Sangh or BJP could dominate it. Yogi Adityanath’s training has been done not in RSS shakha, but according to Hindu Maha Sabha’s ideology. Savarkar and Hedgewar clashed on Hindutva back in time and so have Hindu Maha Sabha and factions of RSS. For the first time Hindu Maha Sabha prevailed as they put forward Yogi Adityanath’s name as UP CM. Modi and Shah’s original choice was Manoj Sinha.
Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as CM was part of the larger design as Gorakhpur was the Hindutva laboratory. Savarkarite Wing within the Sangh Parivar was the target to be defeated and Hindutva agenda to be pushed forward. In case Modi’s Vikas strategy like Vajpayee doesn’t work then hardline parallel was to be pushed with project Yogi Adityanath. Yogi’s continuous victories in Gorakhpur were at the foundation of this premise. But within a year of Yogi becoming CM, his mandate would collapse at his own fort was beyond expectations of Sangh.
The dilemma now facing the Sangh is whether to stick to Modi’s strategy and drop the experiment of project Yogi Adityanath or run both agendas parallel accepting mistakes. Sangh doesn’t have Modi’s alternative as of now.
So the only alternative is to revert to casteist politics in the name of social engineering and polarisation using Hindutva and rally round Hindu sub groups pitted on communal lines against minorities.
For this strategy to be implemented, three things are needed from Modi Govt.
1. Modi Govt will be required to pave way for Ram Mandir.
2. Welfare money goes straight in to people’s bank accounts under Jan Dhan yojana.
3. Using CBI, open investigations against Akhilesh Yadav & Mayawati so that corruption narrative can be used again in 2019 effectively.
In these circumstances it seems impossible for Sangh to retain power using Modi wave or Vikas narrative without job creation. Another question looming is how much a Ram Mandir would help BJP even if the option opens up. Remember BJP could reach only up to 161 seats in 1996 as the first general election after 1992’s Babri demolition that created Ram Mandir wave. This poses a question that whether a Hindutva or Ram Mandir wave too can take BJP past 200.
Here is another challenge for Sangh. 27% voters in 2019 will be born after 1992. Total 38% voters in 2019 will vote with education and employment on their mind. In this day and age of information, youth have a different definition of Vikas. So how much a Ram Mandir or Hindutva can influence young voters is a question mark.
Worth recalling that after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, a wave was created in favour of Congress. But, despite that Congress couldn’t win 272 in 1991. Congress won 244 seats with 45.69% votes whereas BJP won 120 seats with 22.47%. Meaning 1991’s Congress sympathy sentiment reduced to 25.78% in 1996.
At least at this juncture it looks difficult for BJP to capitalise even on Ram Mandir plank in 2019 based on past record. The basis on which BJP came to power in 2014, is gone now. Opposition is free of all major corruption charges. BJP gained only 12.19% more votes in 2014’s Modi wave as compared with 2009.
When Gujarat model proved to be a fallacy in 2017 Gujarat elections, how much can the party expect from Vikas rhetoric?
This is where Gorakhpur result has become much more significant in the context of 2019 as Yogi Adityanath had retained it since 1991 till 2014. Yadav, Jatav and Muslims have stopped Hindutva in Gorakhpur. Sangh is facing a battle between Hindutva and Vikas within its parivar. Kisan Sangh, Mazdoor Sangh, Swadesi Jagran Manch, VHP are pitted against Modi. Modi succeeded in changing guard at Kisan Sangh, Mazdoor Sangh, Swadesi Jagran Manch using his clout within RSS but failed to dislodge Pravin Togadia in VHP. On top, Modi has not succeeded yet in bringing Dattatreya Hosabale in place of Bhaiyaji Joshi. Joshi didn’t miss in pointing out farmers’s crisis along with Ram Mandir issue in their internal meetings. In total, Sangh is losing confidence in Modi just the same way as they did in Vajpayee. Vajpayee wished at the time Madandas Devi taking over RSS Sahkaryavahak. But RSS supremo Sudarshan preferred Mohan Bhagwat instead.
So 2019 is poised on a lot of factors. Right from Sangh Parivar’s own brinkmanship to opposition coalition and the most importantly the winning narrative.
That’s why what looked set to be a two or three term power has become wide open at the end of first term itself.

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