Why Bhartiya Janta Party Lost the 2009 General Elections!

THE ELECTION results are the swansong for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s iron man LK Advani. His dream to become India’s Prime Minister remains a dream and I don’t think he will get the next chance. But the verdict has taken the country by surprise.

Everyone predicted a close contest between the BJP and the Congress but the difference of more than 80 seats is astonishing. I, as a young voter, feel that the BJP lost because of the following reasons:

1.   The BJP failed in its role as a constructive opposition. It opposed each and every policy of the government. It opposed just for the sake of opposition. Take, for instance, the stance taken by the party during the nuke deal. It leaders vehemently opposed it. Rahul Gandhi went on stretch to explain the benefits of the deal to the common people but the BJP failed to listen. And just few days before polling, Advani said that his government won’t scrap the deal! This shows that the BJP was not sure of its stance.

After the Parliament attack in 2001, the Congress lent the full support to the NDA government to fight terrorism. On the other hand, after Mumbai attacks, the BJP kept on criticizing the UPA for its failure to stop the attacks. Criticism was required but not the type which the BJP displayed. It showed its sheer opportunism and not the real will to focus on the solution of the problem.

2.   The website of the BJP has details of the party manifesto. While reading that I was impressed by few of the real good points. The party’s IT vision was also very well received by the Indian IT companies. But somewhere I felt that the BJP failed to make the people aware of their vision and manifesto while addressing the citizens. They were not able to make people aware of the same.

3.   The BJP failed to capitalize on the weak points of the UPA government which mainly included agriculture and internal security. Its leaders were themselves found napping when the Kandhar issue was raised. They failed to come up positively on these two issues.

4.   Frankly speaking, Advani was not perceived the “Majboot Neta”. He might be the Iron Man for the BJP but not for the country. His past track record proves that (comments on Jinnah, Kandhar, etc). He was unable to match the intellectual level of Dr Manmohan Singh. Instead of debating how the BJP would change the face of India most of the time he attacked the UPA and its leaders. He attacked Dr Singh throughout instead of his policies which did not augur well among the voters who hold great respect for Dr Singh.

Moreover, there have been so many splits within the party which made voters confused about the party.

The BJP also had no charismatic youth leader within its ranks. It had no one to engage Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and so forth? That too, when more than half the electorate was young.

The Congress mainly won on the ability of Dr Singh and youthfulness of Rahul Gandhi. The BJP lacked both. They have same old faces which have been around for decades. It will not be wrong to say that LK Advani lacked the magnetism and statesmanship of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

5.   There has been a saying that the way to Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh. Sadly, the BJP has ignored the state for the long time and failed to have any clear-cut strategy for the state this time as well. On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi devised the new strategy and took decision to go all alone in UP. The move which has paid off heavily for the Congress while the BJP continued to lose its base in the state. The party won more than 50 seats in the 1999 elections but has failed miserably after that.

The BJP needs to do some serious introspection before seeking power in the year 2014.