Lucknow: The BJP's rout in Bihar proves that the party's leadership needs to be humble and deliver on the promises made to the people, party leaders in Uttar Pradesh said.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the state, where assembly elections are due in 2017, have been stunned by the sweeping win of the Grand Alliance in neighbouring Bihar.
Having lost to the AAP in Delhi in February, BJP leaders had expected an easy win in Bihar. Sunday's results have come as a shocker.
In an obvious reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, a former BJP cabinet minister in the state told IANS on the condition of anonymity that the party leadership needed to be more humble.
"They should also realise that people's expectations were ignited by us last year during the Lok Sabha election. The time has come to pay back the people by delivering," he added.
Other party leader said, also on condition of anonymity, that Modi's charisma was waning and the leadership appeared disconnected vis-a-vis the people.
This, one leader said, was fast becoming a "worrying reality".
The BJP knows that the Bihar loss holds a warning in Uttar Pradesh, where it won a staggering 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and has set its eyes on dislodging the Samajwadi Party from power.
"This is a fit rebuttal to the BJP leadership which has been high on gas and low on groundwork in UP," said another party veteran, who has been sidelined in the present dispensation.
BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak, who never misses a chance to tom-tom the party and its leadership, was restrained on Monday.
"It (Bihar) is a big setback. We will have to admit that somewhere a lot of things went wrong," Pathak told IANS.
"I am sure the party will take stock of the situation and we will bounce back," he added.
The BJP, however, has lost all the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh after the Lok Sabha polls. It was also drubbed in the recent district panchayat election.
In Bihar the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress won by a landslide, reducing the BJP and its allies to just 58 seats in the 243-member assembly.
Uttar Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party has also been jolted as it did not win a single of the 80 plus seats it contested in Bihar.
It also regrets ditching the Grand Alliance at the eleventh hour.
Many in the party concede that their leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav, blundered by severing ties with RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD-U leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and going it alone.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also got just two percent votes in Bihar and is on the verge of losing its national party status.
The Congress increased its Bihar assembly tally from four to 27 but wants to go it alone in any Uttar Pradesh battle.
A close aide to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, however, told IANS that the Samajwadi Party would do well and try to retain power in Uttar Pradesh on the strength of its good governance.
But the party is battling anti-incumbency, faces allegations of promoting Yadavs and has a poor track record on law and order. Several bouts of communal riots have also hit Uttar Pradesh.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)