Maratha reservation, Kisan andolan, Hasdeo uprising - Can mighty BJP sail past a bumpy ride ahead?

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: The BJP has been on a winning spree in the Assembly elections for a major chunk of the last decade.

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Courtesy: ANI

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: As the mighty Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gears up for the ultimate 'public pakeeksha' of the 2024 general elections, the road ahead seems to be full of bumps and roadblocks. One might get a bit delusional and give rationale about the 'Modi wave' and the 'Ram Mandir'. However, having a bird-eye view of the pan-India scenario is worthwhile. 

The BJP has been on a winning spree in the Assembly elections for a major chunk of the last decade. But, whenever the opposition parties set the pitch of the game, the saffron party fell short - Telangana, Karnataka, Punjab, Bengal, etc. 

With the successful completion of one of the party's long-term promises - Ram Mandir in Ayodhya - there is a floating notion that the right-wing party is going to sweep the 2024 polls. But wait, the Bharatiya Janata Party was going to do the same in 2004 as well. However, it wasn't the well-perceived outcome that actually transpired.

First Bump: Maratha Reservation protests led by Manoj Jarange Patil in Maharashtra

The impending saffron surge for Maratha reservation, orchestrated by leader Manoj Jarange Patil, is making its way to Mumbai, commencing the Maratha march scheduled to culminate in Mumbai on January 26, Republic Day. It will be followed by indefinite hunger strike by Patil.

Manoj Jarange Patil's leadership is actively reshaping the political landscape in Maharashtra. The participation of lakhs of individuals in the march signifies the widespread support for the cause. The Shinde-Fadanvis government is facing a challenging situation, with uncertainties on how to handle the burgeoning scenario. Any attempts to thwart or arrest Patil could potentially escalate tensions.

On the other hand, the OBC society is warning the government that even by mistake, if the government gives reservation to the Marathas from the OBC quota, then 400 castes will take to the streets, emphasizing the need for vigilant monitoring of unfolding events.

Bump 2: Rebirth of BJP's first and only notable defeat - Kisan Andolan

As anticipation builds, the upcoming march to Delhi on 13th February gains prominence, drawing support from farmer organizations in states such as Haryana and Punjab. The focal points of this protest encompass demands for a legal assurance of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the redressal of unfulfilled commitments to the farming community. In preparation for this pivotal march, a farmer rally is set to unfold in Narnaund, Haryana, on 3rd February, urging villagers to actively participate in this movement for change.

In a bid to escalate the movement, the United Kisan Morcha and Central Trade Unions have jointly declared an industrial strike and Gramin Bharat Bandh on 16th February. Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson for Bharatiya Kisan Union, underscores the far-reaching impact of this collective action. The appeal extends its reach beyond the farming community, beckoning traders, transporters, and the general public to stand in solidarity.

It is noteworthy that the Kisan Andolan, or the Farmers' Protest, stands out as the first and only notable issue that compelled the influential BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider their stance.

Bump 3: #SaveHasdeo movement gaining momentum

In their bid to save the lungs of central India, activists, environmentalists and tribals are now receiving support from local opposition parties. Even the National Green Tribunal (NGT) demanded the report on the issue from the government. The issue which stemmed out during the Congress regime was reignited when the newly-formed Bharatiya Janata Party government gave a nod to the felling of the forest for coal-mining.

Often accused for favouring corporates, the BJP finds itself in a difficult spot yet again. What makes the matter worse is the fact the coal mines had been allocated to the Adani Group, often labelled close to the ruling party.

Combining these severe issues with the ever-increasing momentum of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi in the North East, the ruling saffron party finds itself in a tight spot beyond the Hindi belt. Yes, Ram Mandir and associated 'lehars' will have a major impact on the General Elections. However, as claimed by many, it's not a flowery road ahead for the BJP.