Sunday, September 25, 2022

Political mismatch

For the ruling BJP, the results of elections held in five states recently would be another confirmation that opposition parties are incapable of getting their act “together” when it matters and that should be enough comfort when voters in India go to the polls in 2024 to choose who should rule them. The BJP retained four states such as: UP with an impressive margin of 255 in a house of 403 while seeing off a challenge from the Samajwadi Party(SP). The party also retained Uttarakhand with 47 seats in a house of 70 and saw off Congress(wining 19 seats)under former chief minister Harish Rawat. In Goa, despite strong indications of a hung house the BJP managed to get 20 in a house of 40 and also got written support from three newly elected members to comfortably get the nod to form the next government. In Manipur, the BJP is no longer going to depend on support as it alone won 32 in a house of 60 and has already obtained written support from NPF(5) and JDU(6). The NPP came second winning only seven seats. In Punjab, the Congress lost a safe state because it shot itself in the leg and offered the state on a platter to the AAP. The Congress won 18 and AAP won 92 of the 117 seats in the assembly. The Congress had the opportunity to retain the state but the Gandhi siblings, particularly Priyanka, mishandled the issue by having Amarinder hounded out as chief minister barely three months before elections. Priyanka was impressed with the antics of Sidhu who got what he asked for- Punjab PCC chief. The chief wrecker that he was, Navjyot Singh SIdhu publicly attacked Amarinder first and next his successor Charanjit Channi. Sidhu actually wanted to be the CM face of the Congress but when it did not happen, he chose to sulk. The BJP used everything within its means to win power –money, muscle power and most important, Modi magic. Unlike the TMC in West Bengal, the SP in UP could not match the BJP as it rested its hopes that the spate of atrocities on minorities, mismanagement by the Yogi government on Covid and communalism will pay dividends. Even before the din and dust of the recent elections have settled, the BJP juggernaut under Modi, is ready for the next fight in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and J&K where elections are to take place by November-December 2022. The Congress was the biggest loser in the recent elections mainly due to the incapability of the Gandhi leadership especially the Gandhi siblings who are proving to be politically immature and naive. This has given the TMC, which is ruling in Bengal and AAP now ruling in Delhi and Punjab, projecting themselves as national alternative. The Congress has a pan-India presence and ruling in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and in a coalition in Maharashtra. The BJP is looking ahead to 2024 when it seeks a repeat win to remain in power. All elections in India after 2014 have become presidential with Modi as the perpetual campaigning candidate who has not challenger. If the opposition parties want to survive then they have act fast in forging a national alliance by 2023 to face Modi. However, the billion dollar question is whether egos would come in the way of finding a consensus leader.