The reasons are not far to seek for the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) debacle in the assembly elections. The contention of most BJP leaders that the elections were fought on local issues is unconvincing. The policies framed by the Union government — that had unconsciously pushed through measures like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) without thinking through the double whammy of depriving people of liquidity while simultaneously subjecting them to an arbitrary and ever-changing tax regime — were also responsible for that outcome.
The farmers are angry for not getting the remunerative prices they had hoped for. Industry and trade remained unhappy with the continuing slowdown. The lack of jobs, religious polarisation in the name of Hindutva also went against the BJP.
Booming stock markets or upbeat economic data do not reflect the true picture of the country. Prosperity that is being claimed through various hollow slogans has come to only 1 per cent of the more than 1.25 billion people and has definitely not percolated down to the poor. The number of billionaires is increasing while millions are denied even two square meals. The results have dented the BJP's image of being invincible.
S K Khosla Chandigarh
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