Bihar Debacle: PM Modi to Meet Top BJP Leaders


New Delhi: To introspect the huge defeat in Bihar Assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, the party’s top-decision making group of 12 leaders.

Bihar’s unambiguous verdict on Sunday handed Nitish Kumar a third straight term as chief minister and is expected to galvanise opposition parties ahead of Parliament’s winter session and five state elections next year.

The anti-BJP ‘Grand Alliance’ has won 178 seats in Bihar, a commanding two-thirds majority in the 243-member state assembly. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies have had to settle for a mere 58 seats.

Stock markets tanked on Monday. The Sensex opened 600 points down on Monday, slipping below 26,000 in reaction to the Bihar verdict. It pared losses later but was still down 300 points.

After it swept the national election last year, the BJP posted big wins in several states. It was, however, routed in both state elections held this year – Delhi and now Bihar. The BJP meeting today will assess both cause and effect.

BJP president Amit Shah this morning met Mohan Bhagwat chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS to discuss the Bihar results and the party’s future strategy.

The Bihar defeat will hamper PM Modi’s push to pass economic reforms; he needs to win most state elections in the next three years to gain full control of parliament. The government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha or upper house which is selected by state assemblies.

Bihar was seen as the BJP’s best chance to win a state election before 2017, when Uttar Pradesh votes. Elections will be held in five states next year, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, where the BJP has so far failed to make big inroads

An emboldened opposition is expected to use the Bihar mandate to block important bills like the Goods and Services Tax, the biggest overhaul of taxes since independence. Investors are already fretting over the delay in reforms and Bihar adds a stumbling block.