133 Key take aways from the Assembly Elections 2012
The just concluded Assembly Elections across 5 states was an interesting event in Indian politics for several reasons, mainly because of the following two:
a) The Presidential Election is due later this summer and the electoral college comprises legislative members of all states. The party in power in UP ( a state with 400 legislators) plays a crucial role. While the President has merely an executive role he or she gets to call the shots on inviting a party or coalition to form the central government and plays a role in imposing Presidents Rule in states that have a fractured mandate or law and order problem.
b) Elections in large states like UP dictates course correction for the coalition or party in power at the centre. This is an eye opener for all parties as a run up to the National elections 2 years away.
In light of these 2 above factors it is important to note that:
c) The UPA government has been on life support ever since it managed a second term in 2009. The scams it has been embroiled in and the anti incumbency it has been facing right from the word go have added to its multitude of problems. However, this was an election where it was an incumbent in 2 smaller states (Goa and Manipur), was hoping to be a king maker in Uttar Pradesh /UP, was not sure about Uttarakhand and assumed Punjab would follow the ‘change of government every five years’ pattern.
d) The party and media focused their energies on one state because it is India’s most populous state sending over 80 Parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha every time there is a National Election. However, UP has become a state like many others where two regional parties call the shots and both national parties have lost relevance. Hence, Congress making any headway except for hoping to be king-maker are all utopian thoughts.
e) What was interesting is the neck-to-neck contest in Uttarakhand, the regional party Akali Dal which is an NDA ally retaining power in Punjab fighting anti incumbency for the first time and almost 3/4 majority for the Congress in Manipur. Goa was a no brainer. In the end parties that were strategic in their approach and communicated well were winners.
Manipur – The Congress’ Okram Ibobi Singh is in for a third term and is turning out to be like Sheila Dikshit in Delhi. In a 60 member house winning 42 seats is 3 short of 3/4 majority. Trinamool with 6 seats will be the principal opposition. Pawar’s NCP and Paswan’s LJP both won a seat each year.
Punjab – Shiromani Akali Dal spoke the language of development. Congress was relying on an anti incumbency factor that did not exist. Amarinder Singh of the Congress was not relevant
Uttar Pradesh – Mayawati’s brash attitude over the last 5 years including multiple scams and worst of all creating statues of herself and her party’s symbol – the Elephant using tax money in public places was a sure shot way to lose. No doubt Akhilesh Yadav managed a well balanced campaign but the odds against the incumbent were very high.
Uttarakhand – This was a shocker to the BJP and can be blamed on over confidence as the Congress did not have a chief ministerial candidate and had not paid enough attention to campaign in this state focusing all energies on UP. It almost looked like a tie between the BJP and the Congress. the chief minister’s defeat was the spoiler for the BJP.
Goa – This state is tinier than Manipur and has had stable governments only twice in the last 20 years. Once led by the BJP and once led by the Congress which has just been ousted. BJP was smart enough to get Christian candidates in several constituencies who won. Congress was embroiled in a mining scam and there was no way it was going to retain power.
Parting shot: I am personally against BJP’s communal politics and Congress’ dynastic politics. These two national parties along with the regional parties are brazenly corrupt and embroiled in crime of various kinds including economic scams, murders, land grabbing among others.
Short link : www.bit.ly/APassembly12