BJP, Jaya, Mamata share the spotlight

Congress ended up the biggest loser on May 19 as the BJP

The three clear highlights of the Assembly election results are the BJP winning in Assam, Jayalalithaa creating history in Tamil Nadu with a consecutive victory, the first in 32 years in the state, and Mamata Banerjee riding the crest of an even greater wave in West Bengal. BJP’s triumph, its first in a north-eastern state, is worth far more than the numerical value of one win in the five states that went to the polls. Congress ended up the biggest loser on May 19 as the BJP, which has spelt out its clear political aim of creating a Congress-free India, and the regional leaders displayed their clout.

While the Congress-led UDF’s defeat at the hands of the Left-led LDF is a given considering the 20-year history of Kerala, its win as the leader of the combine in Puducherry brings it some consolation. Other crumbs of comfort for the Grand Old Party are that it finished ahead of the Left within its Bengal alliance arrangement as it picked up a few seats in Tamil Nadu, courtesy the DMK, with whom it mended fences after getting wiped out in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The principal lesson for the dynastic Congress is that it must go about getting its alliances right if it is to remain relevant in the coming polls in UP and Punjab or face extermination at a time when its national stock is hitting its lowest ebb. Apart from anti-incumbency, what made its defeat in Kerala more comprehensive was the resurfacing of accusations of financial scams, an invariable experience with Congress-led governance and its propensity to blame it on coalitions.

On the other hand, the BJP, in allying with the AGP and BPF in Assam and projecting a chief ministerial candidate in Sarbananda Sonowal and not making Narendra Modi the sole campaign face, showed that it had smartened up since the defeats in Delhi and Bihar last year. While painting the whole country in shades of saffron can only remain an impossible dream, the party has at least shown that it is not a force only in the Hindi heartland.

In terms of seats, it may not have achieved much more than a minor breakthrough in Kerala, but it has certainly taken an impressive vote share in the southern state. The latest round of results may also mean that the mahagathbandhan type of political alignments might become a definitive national trend with most other parties joining up to take on the BJP, which has had difficulties in finding alliance partners. The first half of the year represents a political turnaround for the Narendra Modi-led party, which is soon to celebrate two years in power at the Centre and now rules nine states and runs four in coalition arrangements.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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