//BJP show worse than expected

BJP show worse than expected

BJP show worse than expected

Mohua Chatterjee [ Friday, May 12, 2006 01:46:08 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: While it was not really expected to create ripples in the five assembly elections, BJP had definitely hoped for a better showing than this, having ended up hardly troubling the scorers.

Apart from the 11 seats it bagged in Assam, the party has drawn a blank everywhere. To add to its woes, an important ally, Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, just might bolt from the NDA stable.

Having been reduced to zero in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry from four and one respectively, and maintaining a no-show in Kerala and West Bengal indicates the shrinking mandate for the party — and that it was outside all significant alliances in these elections.

While hopes were not high in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry, BJP had expected some impact of its campaign against Bangladeshi infiltrators and the IMDT Act issue to work in its favour in Assam.

Expectations were higher than the tally of 11, up from the eight that it held earlier. The party had committed the best of its efforts in the state as compared to the less receptive pastures of West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The late Pramod Mahajan was asked to oversee the action in Assam and there were a number of high-profile campaigners like L K Advani and party chief Rajnath Singh, but not to much avail.

The heartland is not looking any more receptive to BJP, with former Bajrang Dal leader Vinay Katiyar, a reluctant candidate to start with, cutting a sorry figure, finishing behind the SP nominee. As getting things going in UP is intrinsic to BJP’s future plans, the news is not good at all. There are few possibilities of any comeback scripts working.

BJP’s isolation was underscored by the reluctance of AGP and AIADMK to forego the Muslim vote by allying with the saffron outfit. Negotiations may have stumbled on other points as well, but the "veto" power of the minorities would only increase BJP’s sense of hurt.

West Bengal, however, looks like a total write-off since BJP’s ally, Trinamul Congress — seen to be the number two in the state so far — has suffered a loss of 31 seats in the 292 member legislature, down to 29 from 60 seats.