Assembly Elections 2016: Parties break records, create history of a new kind

The Bharatiya Janata Party created history for itself by breaking new grounds and opening new frontiers in the North East by catapulting to power in Assam – the biggest north-eastern state. It also opened its long awaited account in Kerala in addition to winning some seats in West Bengal.

In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee broke records by not only trouncing the Left Front-Congress combine but by winning for the second consecutive time. She is the only leader in West Bengal, other than the two CPM stalwarts Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, to win for the second consecutive term. She has now earned the credit of overthrowing 34 years of unhindered Left Front rule in West Bengal.

Assembly Elections 2015. BJP flags. Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

In Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa created history by breaking the decades old revolving door jinx in the state, by winning for consecutive terms. Incidentally, the last person to achieve this feat was her mentor – MG Ramachandran, who did it over four decades ago, way back in 1984.

In Kerala, a 93-year-old VS Achuthanandan led the UDF campaign to a historic victory and will likely become the chief minister of the state. In doing so, he would become the oldest chief minister ever to take office in India.

Achuthanandan needs to be saluted for his guts, strong will, good health, and aspiration to rule the state again and for his ability to wage a spirited fight against the rivals, both within and outside.

Mamata and Jayalalithaa's victories prove that women power is on the rise and needs to be respected. They join the ranks of the other three women chief ministers - Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Anandiben Patel of Gujarat and Vasundhara Raje of Gujarat.

These elections also created history of a different kind; a story of the constant decline and shrinking of the grand old party that had ruled the Centre only till two years ago, and had ruled almost all the states in the country till only a few decades ago.

Sonia Gandhi, the longest serving president of the Congress party, will forever hold the distinction of leading it to great heights and then to its total decimation. Her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi, will hold the distinction of leading the party to a rout since the time he took over the leadership role, yet of never being held responsible for it.

He is the only Indian politician whose stock does not diminish within his party – at least officially – even after leading  the party to a humiliating defeat in the Parliamentary and Assembly elections. The clamor and unending 'requests' for him to officially take up the party president’s role never ends.

A WhatsApp message, which first circulated after Congress’s decimation in 2014 Parliamentary elections aptly reflects the situation, it said, “Dadi ko banane ka shauk tha, pote ko girane ka (grandmother had a passion to build, grandson has a fancy to destroy)." The first family sycophants are perhaps bent on creating some more history by making him the 'Bahadur Shah Zafar' of the Congress party.

In the current round of Assembly elections, Congress not only lost Assam and Kerala, but also made its allies – Left Front and DMK – lose in two other states, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

As for the BJP, its victory in Assam, the opening of the account in the Kerala Assembly, and winning some seats in West Bengal makes it a particularly sweet victory for three reasons:

First, it marks the return of BJP’s winning streak; after it lost two crucial elections when it faced humiliating defeats in Delhi and Bihar in 2015.

Second, the poll outcomes have proved that the BJP are no longer just a north-Indian Party. It has become a pan-India party with a will to expand and aggressively pursue its program, whatever it means for different shades of people ­– Hindutava development or politics of an aspiring rising India.

Third, it is one step forward in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 clarion call of creating a “Congress Mukt Bharat”.

The BJP now rule in nine states on its own (without coalition) – Anandiben Patel in Gujarat, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan, Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh, Laxmikant Parsekar in Goa, Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, Raghubar Das in Jharkhand and Manoharlal Khattar in Haryana.

Sarbanand Sonowal in Assam will now join this list. In alliance with the PDP and the Akali Dal, BJP rule Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab respectively, while its allies rule in Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

The results might help the Modi government in passing the historic GST Bill in Parliament in the Monsoon session of Parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi scripted another history in a way by congratulating Mamata Banerjee and J Jayalalithaa on the basis of leading trends and not actual results (when results of only five seats in West Bengal and no results in Tamil Nadu had been declared). The gesture of goodwill might be aimed to seek help in carrying out his government’s legislative business in Rajya Sabha.


Published Date: May 19, 2016 04:36 pm | Updated Date: May 19, 2016 06:29 pm


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