SEA CHANGE IN POLITICAL SCENE

Shri Advani's Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya effected a sea change in the political scene. While Mandal had divided the people, Ayodhya united the people. What violence there was in 1990 came only because the government arrested Shri Advani and the UP Chief Minister fired on Kar-Sevaks. Had they allowed Advani to reach Ayodhya and do symbolic Kar-Seva there would have been no Bandh, no violence, anywhere.

Shri VP Singh thought that BJP had secured 89 seats in 1989 because of seat adjustment with JD, and that was true enough. But he forgot that his JD had also got 143 seats only because of seat adjustment with the BJP. He now thought that in the absence of seat adjustment the BJP would lose scores of seats. Actually the BJP would lose scores of seats. Actually the BJP added 30 seats to its old score and it was the JD that declined to 59 seats. And but for the sudden killing of Mr Rajiv, which won the Congress scores of seats, both the BJP and the Congress would have been around 175 seats. This was particularly remarkable, because on this occasion the BJP had fought all alone. It had emerged as the only major solid pole in a fluid Indian political situation.

In assessing the BJP other parties make a serious mistake. They forget that as a result of our first-past-the-post electoral system, the first party has an undue advantage over No.2 Party. But the BJP, being a solid party and a solid pole, can always survive adverse winds and live to thrive another day. In 1984 the BJP had won only 2 seats, but in terms of vote it was second only to the Congress. Under a system of proportional representation its 7.4% vote would have won it 30-40 seats even in 1984. Therefore its win of 89 seats in 1989 was not all that much of a surprise. Parties like JD, being loose outfits, are in no position to survive serious reverses.

This trend has been confirmed in State Assembly elections. In the 1993 elections the BJP vote and seats declined in HP and MP thanks to strict administrative measures for which public opinion had not been prepared in advance. In UP the party lost its majority due to a gang-up of all other parties against it, but its popular vote went up by almost 30% to 34%. In Rajasthan both our vote and our seats went up. And in Delhi we got a whopping 61.59% and a three-fourths majority. In these five major states put together BJP won a hundred assembly seats and once crore votes more than the Congress.