The Assembly election results in five states were declared on March 11, 2017. To a dispassionate analyst anti-incumbency has played again the most important role while a big crowd among voters who are “god worshippers” would give the credit to their respective gods, their charisma and works. In Punjab the SAD alliance was voted out, in Uttarakhand the Congress Party lost while in UP the Samajwadi Party lost. The same happened in Goa where BJP lost to Congress. In an exception, the Congress was able to maintain lead in Manipur. In the decisive state of UP, the BJP has recorded a historic and landslide victory, which even to its own surprise will give it some more strength in the Rajya Sabha. Thank god for many Arvind Kezriwal’s AAP didn’t make expected dent in Punjab and failed to register its winning presence in Goa, however, it has surely given an indication that if Congress fails to rise up at least as a potent opposition party AAP can fill the space. Punjab is just a beginning.
5 Assembly Election Results March 11, 2017
UP total 403: BJP-312; SP-47; INC-7; BSP-19; Others-28
Punjab total 117: BJP-03; SAD-15; INC-77; AAP-20; Others-02
Goa total 40: BJP-13; INC-17; MGP-03; AAP-0; Others-07
Uttarakhand total 70: BJP-57; INC-11; Others-02
Manipur total 60: BJP+ -21; INC-21; AITMC-01; Others-10
The BJP clinched 312 seats in UP and looks set to form a government in the state after a dry spell of 15 years. Punjab election result saw Captain Amarinder Singh leading the Congress to a convincing victory at a time when the party is losing big states to the BJP. Out of the 117 Assembly seats, the Congress won 77 seats. In Manipur Congress is close to clear majority with alliance and so it seems in Goa. But in Uttarakhand BJP has recorded a sweeping victory with 7 seats.
But the analysis of election results needs to be done cautiously. Losing or winning election has been a very poor guide in the present world and also India as to who is morally and ethically correct or who has met the promises done to the people or more capable. It had been in the past and it is at present, a competition between different interest groups and a race for power. It is mostly the number game this way or that way hardly having any deep connect with issues of concern or performance. Also when anti incumbency plays a major role, votes of people to winning party mostly reflects angst and frustration against the rejected ruling parties. This jigsaw is not an indication of a mature democracy, but a democracy still searching its paths for a truly people’s government. One heartening factor is that nobody is given the seat of power permanently. A few days ago, people were taking about intolerance, unemployment, communal flare, authoritarianism and indecent political discourse, and the reward is 307 seats in UP, the biggest state of India. Lalu Yadav was returned with 80 seats in the Bihar election despite well known Chara Ghotala, Mamata Benerjee won West Bengal election despite lot of noise about Sharda scam. That is the moral side of election and that is the proof of people’s rationality. People vote in impulses and only to repent in angst and frustration till the next election comes and they vote for the other party, the cycle to be repeated again.
- The most important lesson is for the INC. If Rahul has to fill the space, he has to do a lot of self study in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Or the dynastic rules of the Congress will have to end. As former finance minister P Chidambaram has been saying, the Congress is not a private enterprise that only a family member has to head it; there should be a decentralization of power. There are many talents in Congress party; they need to be set free and let loose to tell the people of India that Congress is not as bankrupt as it looks.
- The Congress Party and the BJP both have lost the repository of local reliable leaders, the former being in a much bad situation. But BJP has a great support base of RSS while Congress has no backing of any nationwide cadre making institution. Congress is also relying mostly on the central leadership and nobody knows about any local effective leader being promoted by it. Organizational reforms need serious attention of the Congress party.
- The people have given the National parties preference over the regional parties. It is a ringing bell which says that doing politics on the basis of group allegiance or as family fiefdom will work even lesser in future. The appointments done in by the previous government was alleged to have rigged the recruitments in favour of one caste having allegiance to a particular regional party. So voters from other castes preferred to vote for the BJP.
- Fighting propaganda and raining of huge lies and manufactured information through social media require a prolonged work amid people and telling them the truth. Propaganda is the enemy of truth, but telling the truth to people is a very important role of competing political parties, failing which people would be confused and will take voting decision on the basis of hype and hoopla.
- For people it is very important to compel the political leaders to talk more of what they achieved and what they are planning to achieve by their new policies. Debate should be issue and evidence based. If some leader is trying to play on the fracture lines in the India society, people need to be extremely vigilant. Otherwise whims, fancies and impulses would win over realities and rationality. The price would be ultimately paid by the people. Leaders would get their pension even if they are defeagted.