Though it is still early in the day, the suspense over the results of five states that went to polls is over.
BJP, under the very able and shrewd presidentship of Amit Shah has done what seemed like impossible after the ‘mishap’ that Bihar had been.
Bihar today, UP tomorrow – it had seemed. But if BJP learnt its lesson well from their Bihar defeat, the others did not learn from their victory. There was no ‘mahasanghatan’ to take on the huge BJP onslaught in the most important state of Uttar Pradesh. (They acutally fought it like making war against a hostile enemy. )In the final analysis, the two UP ke ‘bete’ could get backing of only two groups – Yadavs, and to some extent Muslims. (Who were further split between Mayawati and Akhilesh).
Uttarakhand in a way has been an extension of U.P.
The ‘surprise factor’ of these elections is actually the revival of Congress as a National party that can be the only viable option to BJP. The traditional roles and image of these two parties has reversed. BJP is the larger party and Congress the smaller – but still with a national presence. (So the BJP motto of making India “Congress -Mukta” will remain just that, an empty rhetoric. Indians will always have checks and balances against any party becoming too important and Big.)
Thus it is on the way to notching up victories in three diverse and very different states – Punjab in the North, Manipur in the far North East and Goa in South West. Thus the loss of UP may be huge, but the gains in these states are not insignificant. And like the very verbose Sidhu just declared on TV – “this is the beginning of the come back of Congress in the national arena!”
Another important factor in the results is the anti-incumbency factor which has gone against both Akali Dal/BJP in Punjab,S.P. in UP and BJP in Goa.
The fact that Parsekar, the outgoing C.M. of Goa has also been defeated indivudually as an MLA shows how unpopular his government had become. Even the presence of Manohar Parrikar, Defense Minister hinting that he could “return to Goa” could not save the BJP.
As one Goan put it ” Goans haven’t taken well to our beloved Coconut trees being labelled as ‘grass’!”
This is one charge ruling BJP cannot really defend – their policies were leading to environmental disasters for this already fragile small state.
The poor show that AAP candidates have put up in Punjab is a collective shock to everyone – AAP and non AAP. Did they make a fatal mistake by letting Sidhu get away to Congress? Was the support for them among common people of Punjab exaggerated? Or, did not having a C.M. candidate for the important state go against them on voting day?? Remember Congress had two strong faces – Captain and Sidhu, AAP had none.
Anti incumbency worked against Akhilesh in UP too. Remember between S.P. and B.S.P. they have ruled UP for 15 years? This was probably making the non Yadav OBCs and other Dalit castes – other than Mayawati’s – feeling left out. Amit Shah is supposed to have worked hard on the ground for the last 2 years, holding small sabhas, getting all these castes under the BJP umbrella.
The final 3 days of ‘Modi climax’ was in Shah’s planning, the icing on the cake, not a desperate move by BJP as some in media thought.
Finally, these results really underline how canny and far thinking the Indian voting public is! They have learnt to give decisive victories and strengthen the hands of the party which they see may lead the nation to a ‘brighter and more equitable’ future. Modinomics of demonetization has succeeded beyond imagination as a P.R. exercise for the poor – since it is being collectively viewed as ‘anti- rich’.
…Sunita Mudaliar (Associate Editor)