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Bypoll results: BJP says Modi factor will help it win in 2019; opposition says it’s ‘beginning of the end’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: The reverses in the bypoll results on Thursday have underlined the challenge that the BJP may have to fight against a likely united opposition in the Lok Sabha elections, but its leaders asserted that national issues combined with the Modi factor will pave the way for its win in 2019.

BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao highlighted how the Modi factor has helped the party win a spate of assembly elections in states, but in bypolls people are driven by local issues, castes and candidates, knowing well that results will not have any impact on governments in either at the Centre or states.

“The BJP has secured unusual and extraordinary mandate in four years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. While Modi continues to swing election after election by his ever-growing popularity… in by-polls local issues, castes and candidates take precedence over national leadership,” he said.

The BJP’s loss in Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly byelections to joint rival candidates following a similar drubbing in Gorakhpur and Pulpur Lok Sabha bypolls has made it abundantly clear that it is at a numerical disadvantage to a combined opposition in a state key to its fortunes in the general elections.

Opposition parties won 11 seats, restricting the BJP and its allies to just three, out of four Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats across 11 states.

The BJP’s reverses sparked fresh calls from the opposition parties to forge unity in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress termed the outcome of the bypolls as the people’s mandate against the four years of the Narendra Modi rule and the “beginning of the end” of BJP’s empire while the Samajwadi Party(SP) said people are giving a “befitting reply” to the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP).

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary, whose party nominee wrested the Kairana seat from the BJP, said the united opposition had succeeded in halting the ruling party’s “chariot of hate” in Uttar Pradesh. He hoped the combined opposition would keep its momentum to defeat the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said people are disenchanted and observed that regional parties are very strong now.

“This is a defeat for those who do not believe in democracy and play divisive politics. People have given a befitting reply to the BJP. This is a victory for the farmers, poor and dalits,” Akhilesh Yadav told reporters in Lucknow. The SP won the Noorpur byelection in UP after its candidate, who was supported by other opposition parties, wrested the seat from the BJP. BJP lost the Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary seats in bypolls early this year.

Yadav said the bypolls have ended the “divisive politics” of the BJP. “This success of the alliance(in UP) is a message for the entire country. All parties including BSP, RLD, Peace Party, AAP worked together for the victory,” he added.

In UP, BJP had won 71 seats and its ally another two of the total 80 seats in 2014, but reaching near this feat will require a new round of consolidation of votes in its favour.

BJP president Amit Shah had last week said that his party will work to get 50 per cent vote share in 2019 to quell the challenge from opposition parties if they unite.

The party, however, played down its defeat in the bypolls. It could retain only one of the two Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra attacked the Congress saying it has been reduced to a peripheral player in national politics.

“As far as the Congress is concerned, though it has every rights to criticise in a democracy, the fact is the opposition party been reduced to a peripheral player in Indian politics today,” he told reporters here.

Citing the case of UP where the BJP lost most of the bypolls before the state elections, Patra said despite that it emerged victorious with 325 seats in the Assembly polls.

“People do not elect their CM or PM in such elections. They vote on local issues but in national elections, when they have to chose their leader, the BJP will emerge as the front runner,” he said.

The party spokesperson said that to become the prime minister, ‘P’ for performance and ‘M’ for ‘mehnat’ (hard work) are required, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has.

“Under the able leadership of Narendra Modi, who has practised politics of performance, the BJP will be victorious in 2019 getting more number of seats than what it won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Another party leader claimed that opposition parties will end up helping the BJP’s cause in 2019 by making it “Modi vs the rest” in the Lok Sabha election.

The BJP is bound to benefit, he said, as it will be in a much better position to leverage national issues and its prime ministerial face to seek a fresh mandate against a “disjointed” opposition fighting without a face or any cohesive agenda.

He said the BJP did well in three Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998 and then 1999 when its prime ministerial face Atal Vihari Bajpayee was at the centre of national polity and people gave the BJP-led NDA bigger mandate in one poll after another to put an end to the “unstable coalition politics”.

“We are confident that a ragtag joint opposition having many leaders accused of corruption will not inspire confidence among the people, who will choose Modi over them in 2019,” he said.

Updated: May 31, 2018 — 3:29 pm

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