Bhubaneswar:5/4/18:BJP President Amit Shah’s speech in Bhawanipatna on Wednesday was his refusal to mention the party’s ‘Mission 120’ that was launched amid great fanfare during his last visit in September last year. The explanation today that the omission was deliberate because the party expects to win even more seats in 2019 appears to be more of an afterthought and an exercise in damage control than anything else. There is little doubt that the party has revised its target downwards to more realistic proportions. The below par performance in Gujarat, setbacks in back-to-back Lok Sabha by-elections in MP, Rajasthan and UP and the crushing defeat in the Bijepur by-elections appear to have brought the party down from Cloud Nine to terra firma.
The BJP has come a long way down since the euphoria of the panchayat elections in February last year. It was the commendable show in this three-tier election, the zila parishad election in particular, which fuelled the ambitions of the party to conceive its ‘Mission 120′. But the Bijepur by-election seems to have burst the bubble and thrown the BJP’s electoral calculations for 2019 haywire.