NEW DELHI: The post-poll analysis within the BJP has pinned the blame or the party missing the half-way mark in the Haryana Assembly to the ‘wall’ built around CM Manohar Lal Khattar by his key aides, which antagonised the party cadres.
While the party was aware of the cadre’s anger against the CM’s style of functioning, sources said the leadership chose to ignore it in the hope that the BJP’s momentum would carry the day in the Assembly elections as well.
“The party workers had nothing against the CM, but they were miffed with him on account of his key aides building a wall around him. The overall perception prevailed that he wasn’t accessible, with his aides turning away party workers who wanted to raise issues of their concerns,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Sources said BJP national general secretary Anil Jain had brought to the attention of party chief Amit Shah the disenchantment of the cadres. "The party leadership was aware that the CM’s style of functioning had become an irritant for party workers. Khattar’s ministers also emulated him in making themselves inaccessible. As a result, party workers didn’t toil for them with the zeal they had shown in the Lok Sabha polls," said another BJP leader.
The slump in the voter turnout in the Assembly elections from 76 per cent in 2014 to about 65 per cent this year is also being attributed within the BJP to the same factor. “The BJP swept the Lok Sabha elections because the workers worked with full zeal for PM Modi and Shah. Similar zeal was missing when the party had to defend the turf in the state,” said the functionary.
Sources said the party was well aware of Jats planning tactical voting against the BJP. “The wall around the CM made light of the urgency to evolve a counter strategy due to complacency and overconfidence. They thought the Modi magic would prevail over local issues,” noted a BJP leader.