KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM ROUND ONE OF ASSEMBLY POLLS - 2013
|Assembly Polls 2013: The Winners|
(1) High Voting Percentage - Jago re, Jago re, Jagooo re: Voting is certainly the most important right that the Constitution guarantees us. In the past though, we Indians have taken this privilege for granted, preferring to take the day off rather than waiting in queues in front of the election booths. However, ever since the turn of the new millennium, there has been a steady increase in
|Courtesy: IBN Live|
(2) Anti-incumbency..... Whats that? In the years following the Emergency of 1977-78, anti-incumbency was probably, the most issue in Indian elections. In fact, except for the Left in its bastions of Bengal and Tripura, the BJP in Gujarat and the Congress in few of the north eastern provinces, fortunes of political parties in most states would change every five years. Though the BJP tried to suppress it by raising the 'feel good factor' slogan ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha and ended up paying a heavy price, the UPA managed to win a second consecutive term. Likewise, Manik Sarkar's 'Mr Clean' image and the steps his government took to establish peace by combating extremism won him a straight forth term, saving the last fortress of the communists in the country. In Meghalaya, a state renowned for its 'Aaya Ram - Gaya Ram' politics, the vote was for stability as Mukul Roy took the Congress extremely close to the majority on its own. The numerous corruption allegations against the Rio government could not prevent the NPF from retaining power single-handedly as the Naga issue struck a chord with the electorate. Last year, while Parkash Singh Badal become the first CM in over four decades to be elected for two straight terms in Punjab, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi routed the Congress in his backyard. Meanwhile, Ikram Ibobi Singh won a third term for the INC in Manipur. The writing on the wall is clear. The public will not hesitate to vote for their sitting MLAs again, if and only if they either have an excellent report card at the end of their term or seem to have credibility to deliver on their issues that concern the aam admi. No wonder then that development, stability or even some regional sentiments can undo any damage that anti-incumbency can cause.
(3) The Left survives the lithmus test: Many analysts believed that the Tripura elections could well be the last nail in the coffin of the Communists in India if the grand coalition of the INC had managed to storm the Agartala assembly. In retrospection, one will realize that the political stars of the Red brigade took a downward turn since they pulled out support to the UPA in 2008 over the Indo-US nuclear deal. In the 2009 General elections, the Left dropped 35 seats to finish at a mere 24 and the Third Front failed
(4) Mixed Bag for the Congress: With the Congress ruling over five of the eight north eastern states, the round one of the assembly polls 2013 was an excellent opportunity for the party to further make inroads into the region, especially because two of the states - Tripura and Nagaland which had been under its political rivals for a long time were up for grabs. With Baba's 'Mission 2014' in mind, the party got its entire top brass - the trioka of Manmohan Singh, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to campaign here.
|Courtesy: Shillong Times|
(5) Another flop show for the BJP: After dropping the tainted Nitin Gadkari following a last minute coup by its top leaders in what has been seen as an effort to break free from the shackles of the RSS, the saffron outfit was hoping that the new President Rajnath Singh would steer it back to the top. Singh showed aggression, trying to mix the Hindutva agenda with development, hoping that its ideology will become more relevant to the youth while preserving its traditional vote bank. The most important part of this strategy was to expand the BJP beyond the Hindi heartland, taking it to hitherto unknown lands and make it a formidable power across the nation. As such, Singh took an active part in the campaign, visiting these poll bound states with other national leaders and even opening channels of communication with regional players. However, in spite of all the efforts that the former UP CM put in, the party managed to get just one seat which is embarrassing to say the least. The lone seat that it won out of the 11 it contested in Nagaland came from the Tijit constituency. Sadly, it even failed to open its account in Meghalaya and Tripura. The question staring the party is whether it can afford to think of ruling the country without a significant presence in several parts. The outfit which came into the national scene after the demolition of the Babri Masjid is virtually non-existent in Bengal, most of the north eastern states and down south. In Uttar Pradesh its influence has waned and in states like Bihar and Punjab, it plays second fiddle to other stronger partners. It is but clear that Rajnath needs to focus on building the BJP in these regions rather than simply going there just before elections or else it will never become a national party in true sense.
(6) Endgame Sangma? When Garo strongman Purno Sangma joined the National People's Party (NPP) after failing in his bid to become the thirteenth President of India, the conception, atleast in the media was that he would have a big impact on the election results in his home state of Meghalaya. The exodus of top leaders from his previous party - the NCP including his two sons into the NPP further strengthened this claim. However, the results were a shocker to Purno and his supporters. As the
For more on the 2014 General Elections(1) The Fall of the Triumvirate (Link)
(2) The Double Edged Sword (Link)
(3) An Ally in Need is an Ally Indeed (Link)
(1) Coutesy: IBN Live
Source: Northeast election; polling underway in Meghalaya, Nagaland; high turnout expected (Link)
(2) Coutesy: CPI(M) (Link)
(3) Coutesy: Shillong Times
Source: NCP locks horns with Mukul over subsidiary fiasco(Link)
(4) Coutesy: Frontline
Source: Assembly Elections: North eastern round (Link)