New Delhi: Congress party is trailing in fourth place as counting of votes got underway in Uttar Pradesh, a stunning blow to Rahul Gandhi who had staked his political future on reviving his party’s fortunes in the state.
Following are reactions to the results in Uttar Pradesh and other four states, just a week before the unveiling of India’s 2012/13 budget:
Amulya Ganguli, political analyst says the results have been a disaster for Congress and an even bigger diaster for the Gandhi family.
“They were banking on success in these elections, hoping to get at least four out of five states. It has gone exactly the opposite way. It shows that there is no charisma left in the Gandhi family,” he said.
“The tricks that Rahul played, tearing up manifestos, cobbling together the most backward castes, that has not helped. The party played all its cards very crudely and wrongly. The blame has to borne by the Gandhi family and Rahul himself.”
The party’s setbacks in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab could make it harder for Singh’s already weakened coalition government to pursue reforms that could shore up the country’s economic growth, which has slipped below 7 percent.
Arun Kejriwal, strategist at a Mumbai-based advisory, Kris, feels its time for Congress to either perform or perish. “If this budget doesn’t give any direction to the economy, Congress is likely to find itself in a mess in 2014, because next year’s budget would be too late to do anything substantial for the economy.”
NR Bhanumurthy from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy
says unpopular reforms like FDI in retail and deregulation of diesel prices might be postponed post the election results. “It breaks the confidence of the government. Still it can go ahead in the budget by taking measures to contain inflationary pressures, which could be building up again. The fiscal deficit is already out of hand. There is no other option but to contain it.”
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi defended Gandhi’s electioneering despite the disappointing results.
“Not even Rahul Gandhi‘s worst enemies, political or otherwise, suggest that his leadership was lacking. He was outstanding,” he said. “He’s gone to every nook and cranny, he’s provided the spirit, the euphoria, the leadership – if it doesn’t translate, then it doesn’t translate.”