Congress All Over in Three Assembly Elections


BJP-Shiv Sena Routed as MNS Raj Was The Spoil Sport for Them

The high profile Assembly elections in three important states Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh have proved once again that Congress is regaining its old status. In Maharashtra both Congress and NCP combined have whipped past the SS-BJP combine and retained the state for the third time. Raj Thackery unexpectedly won 13 seats thus proving a spoil sport for both Shiv Sena and BJP.

The high voltage campaign in Maharashtra did not bring many issues before the people, but it proved that Rahul Gandhi’s politics appealed to the masses. Congress leadership never talked of sensitive issues or caste based issues but dwelt on their policies and programmes to alleviate the suffering of the farmers and down trodden. Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Dalit homes in UP had its own impact, though he said that he had visited not Dalits but poor people. In any case, that such a high profile leader could come down to people to understand their problem, people accepted this kind of leadership rather than one that teaches hatred.

In Arunachal Pradesh it was a Congress sweep while it fell short of a majority in Haryana. In both states, Congress will form the government. But the lessons from the results both Congress and BJP have to learn is that people are watching their performance and utterances. It was more or less a repeat of the 2009 general elections for Congress and BJP.

BJP alone is to be blamed for their dismal performance in all three states. The infighting, lack of cohesive leadership and policies, single exclusive agenda, lack of good managers like Pramod Mahajan, cost the BJP dearly. For Shiv Sena, it was clear that MNS Raj Thackery would soon unseat them. Uday Thackery was not charming and did not possess the kind of charisma Raj possessed. In the absence of the ailing elder Thackery, Raj had it easy due to a rebellion in Shiv Sena. Overall it helped both Congress and NCP to retain the coveted Maharashtra.

BJP has to introspect seriously if it wishes to continue as a main opposition party. They have to free themselves from the clutches of RSS and make drastic changes in the top leadership. These are the days of younger leadership as Rahul proved to the world. A more open and inclusive agenda that would relate to people alone would help BJP regain its lost ground. People are no longer interested in the mandir-masjid issue nor has terrorism had any impact on the voters. Post 26/11 in Mumbai, Congress stood to win back people as they tackled the issue of terrorism with an iron hand.

Congress would continue to march to regain its old status as the main party in the country that would rule all states. If the trend continues, then Congress will not need alliances to form the government as they are sure to get a majority on their own. Congress has to thank the leadership of Rahul Gandhi for swaying the masses towards them. The central leadership combined with state leadership played their part to see that they win and they did it in style.

Both BJP and Shiv Sena conceded defeat and they have no explanation to offer for the drubbing they got. When they can win in MP, Jharkhand and other places, why not in these three states? Basically there is something wrong with the leadership and policies of the party. They have to come out of the closet to find the real reasons for people rejecting in the series of elections that have been held so far.

Congress on the other hand is free from such problems as the BJP faced. But then performance and clean governance provided under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh, a cool customer at the helm of affairs, brought back prestige to the post of Prime Minister. Congress should not be complacent with these wins but continue to deliver to the people what they have promised. They will be judged by what they do after the win.

In the end, Indian democracy has finally come of age and people have grown, become mature to reject hate politics. BJP has to remould its policies, while others in opposition are in a bind including the Communists as they are unable to prevent the march of Congress to power in state after state. Next on the agenda is West Bengal, where Congress and TMC of Mamta are doing well. Its only a matter of time, before they oust the Communists from their own stronghold in West Bengal. Jai Hind.

A.M. Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-based columnist, political commentator, who writes on matters of importance, political, social and self-improvement.