Musab Iqbal / World Bulletin - London
The election results of the four states of India are deeply upsetting for the ruling Congress Party (with coalition). Congress was in government in two of these four states and has badly in both these states. The Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit even failed to secure her own seat and was defeated by Arvind Kejriwal whose party was taking part in election for the first time.
Out of seventy seats of Delhi Assembly, Congress only got eight seats loosing 35 seats from the previous assembly and in state of Rajasthan; Congress got only 21 out of 199 loosing 74 seats. In state of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, right wing BJP won for the third consecutive time.
In Delhi BJP is the leading party, couple of seats short to make a government. Amidst all this the most sensational bit is the performance of Aam Admi Party(AAP) which can be translated in simple English as Common Man’s Party, contesting for the first time and deeply disturbing the political equations by winning on 27 seats of Delhi out of 90
The BJP gaining over Congress is not very surprising, three time Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dixit was not able to provide a good governance and safety to the people and more than that Congress lead coalition in center is performing very dismal. Accused of one corruption after another, government lead by a Prime Minister who hardly speaks and reacts on issues, price rise and bad governance all over the country has manifested in these results.
The anti incumbency in Congress lead states and Pro incumbency in BJP lead states reflect the poor performance of Congress government. The result is a great indicator and has great significance, as the General election is due for the next year.
In state of Rajasthan, BJP gained absolute majority by gaining 84 seats compared to last election. In assembly of 199 BJP have 162 seats. BJP was in power before this Congress government.
The Modi Factor
The greater debate now is whether Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP, Narendra Modi has any impact on these elections or not, certainly BJP wants to make it like that. Narendra Modi who is Chief Minister of Gujarat and under whose nose 2002 massacre of Muslims happened, complicit in number of things including phone tapping, is eyeing for Delhi by polarizing the votes. As suspended Police Officer Sanjeev Bhatt says, “Modi is fully liable for the Gujarat riots… Modi is a common criminal who happens to be Gujarat CM”
BJP chief Rajnath Singh after today’s result said, "BJP has got the maximum benefit of the popularity of Narendra Modi," Apparently crediting Modi and his charisma for these results, Party chief wants to make a point for 2014 General election.
Rajasthan Party chief likely to be next Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje also praised Modi and said "Modi is a very big factor. People have seen what he has done in Gujarat,"
This may appear true in first reading but a deeper analysis may expose that it’s not Just Modi or it’s not Modi at all who played key role. Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister is a strong leader and this is his third consecutive victory, he is slowly taking state to its ‘goal’. Praised by senior leader like Advani who once clearly said “I tell Narendrabhai that Gujarat was already an economically healthy state when he became its chief minister and he merely made it better,” and he adds, “Whereas Madhya Pradesh was a ‘Bimaru’ state when Chauhan became its chief minister. I give him full credit for bringing a total developmental change to it and making it a healthy state.” ‘Bimaru’ is a vintage acronym made from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, four of the country’s chronically poorest states.[i]
Delhi and Rajasthan largely went to BJP and AAP not because of Modi for sure but for Congress’s poor performance, organizational weakness and leadership crisis. In Chattisgarh, Congress although is second but gained three seats and its neck to neck.
Modi is central for BJP’s election campaign next year and therefore he has to be credited. Crediting Modi in other way is to credit those voters who prefer question of development to question of justice and communalism. Crediting Modi is to encourage that constituency which stands behind the communal and divisive politics.
AAP in Delhi
The election result of Delhi clearly indicates that citizens of India are left with no choice. Their political options have saturated and whosoever shows even a bleak possibility of change will be desperately voted. The Delhi result is an indicator that helplessness of the people has won. People are searching for honest option beyond two giants; they can vote anybody who comes with a promise to challenge both. AAP (Aam Admi party) has now a greater responsibility than both parties and it will be interesting to watch that how as an active political actor it responds to different issues of governance, corruption and communalism.
One who connects with the people and people’s problem will be preferred. The defeat of Sheila Dixit by 22,000 votes confirms that she was not voted as she was the best but she was the ‘only option’.
This is indeed important to note that creating possibility within democracy is the ultimate task and in no way, by no means that possibility shall exhaust. One who limits the possibility within democracy fundamentally undermines democracy, therefore constant progression is required to keep creating the possibility and upsetting the settled possibilities – by all impossible means
Arvind Kejriwal once a bureaucrat turned social activist, ran a nationwide anti corruption movements stands for transparency and accountability. Soon after the results he said that ‘The BJP and Congress will have to check themselves. We started corruption free politics. As soon as we got Rs 20 crore we stopped taking donations’
But question of India is not just of corruption but also of discrimination and communalism, how much Kejriwal and his team will address this remain very critical. Also to see is how it transforms itself from an urban centric party to a rural base. Delhi is the first station but there are many more.
These results are important and critical at the time when general election is months ahead. Congress’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that he has received the message of voters and he will transform the party with great pace. This is a time of introspection for Congress party but also time of worries for all those who want to defeat communal politics. The rise of India’s economy is deeply related with rise of Hindu nationalism. The chant of development often undermine the cry for justice.