Sunday, October 25, 2009

Maha Circus in Maharashtra - Shiv Sena surpassed, Congress suppresses BJP, MNS surprises all!

A part of the title could be debatable. Has Congress suppressed the BJP?

If the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year were a clear indication of the rising wave in favour of the Congress, the recent polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh were an icing on the cake. After drubbing the BJP severely in the Lok Sabha polls, the State polls proved to be a cakewalk to the Congress. When it easily retained the majority in Arunachal Pradesh, it emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra and Haryana. Though a minor setback in Haryana should make the Congress wary of overconfidence, overall it is time for the Congress to celebrate, much to the dismay of BJP, once a potential threat to the Congress but now a mute spectator to the Congress glory.

Of the 3 states that went into polls earlier this month, Maharashtra, was the closely observed state for all reasons. First, it houses 48 Lok Sabha seats making it the 2nd largest Lok Sabha state after UP which houses a mammoth 80 seats. So, naturally the State will have a large number of Assembly seats as well which is 288. Stakes are always high in the MH Assembly polls for it's 3 major parties- Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena. BJP has always been in the shadow of Shiv Sena in MH, unable to create an identity of it's own in the state. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a new face and a break-away faction of SS, though has performed impressively on debut, will still have a long way to go.

Let us focus on the result of MH Assembly polls. The Congress-NCP duo leads the chart by winning 146 seats compared to the 135 seats they won in the previous polls, meaning, they have garnered 11 more seats to their previous tally. BJP-SS duo on the other hand, as expected, came a distant second, with 90 seats, compared to the 122 seats they won in the previous polls. What does it imply? Assuming that the elections have taken place with full transparency from all parties (no liquor, sarees, TVs, money distributed), it is clear that the BJP-SS duo has been rejected once again. The Hindutva/Marathi/Nationalistic agenda is not being able to connect the masses of MH. If BJP-SS feels that they could run through the elections by chanting the Marathi Mantra, then they are living in the bygone era. It is an era where youngsters too follow politics closely, thanks to every piece of information available 24/7 on TV Channels and online. They would now prefer a party which speaks of development, job creation, inclusive growth and such terminologies. But then, the Devil's Advocate in me, pinches me only to remind me that the MNS which chanted the Marathi Mantra, has won 13 seats on debut and gained acceptance as of now. Voters are like Indian wives, you never know which way they turn. Indeed! (Some modification to a Sidhuism)

Lets speak of the MNS now. A party which started with nothing less than controversies and then moved ahead with controversies ONLY, has now emerged as a surprise package with 13 seats on debut, 6 of which are out of the 34 seats in Mumbai alone, which makes it an 18% stakeholder of Mumbai. Truly an impressive performance I say. Moreover, it has also won the prestigeous Nasik constituency of SS. So the nephew of Bal Thackeray, whom he so verily underestimated, has also played spoilsport in the BJP-SS ride. But then again, it is too early to pass a resolution that all the odds are favouring the MNS. It would take another 2-3 large scale elections to bet on MNS as the next big party of MH or the next big threat to BJP-SS (or even Congress-NCP)

Let us focus on the BJP now. The MH pre-poll scenario and the results were a replica of the Lok Sabha polls that took place earlier this year. Be it the agenda bankruptcy or a weak alliance, or the lack of confidence - It was all the same and the result was also a s(h)ame-s(h)ame to the BJP. Marred by in-fighting and lack of a 'credible' and strong Central leadership, the masses had lost confidence in the BJP. It looked like the BJP had conceded defeat during the election campaign itself. When there was business as usual at the Congress-NCP camp, there was nothing much within the BJP-SS camp. Especially, the BJP, was never in headlines unlike the Congress, NCP and MNS. They were nowhere to be seen on news channels as well. Hence, the result was that the Congress, NCP and MNS emerged as top 3 gainers.

To conclude, it is very evident that BJP is on its knees. Congress has taken the mindshare of the masses as well as the market-share. The inside turmoil is indeed a boon to the BJP in disguise. It is upto them, as to how soon do they settle their differences and wriggle out of the shock with a revised agenda and a revamped leadership at various levels. Sooner the better. In a democracy, two situations should NEVER arise. One, same party ruling for more time. Two, a weak and a divided opposition. To our misfortune, we are witnessing both at the same time.

Back to square one. Has Congress suppressed the BJP? Ask any political novice, even he or she will give an unequivocal "YES!!!"

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