Analysis on how national parties performed in state elections

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ejazr, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Congress routed…..BJP equally so-The Times Of India

    It was on August 10th last year that I wrote a post titled “CNN-IBN’s poll shows Congress suffering; but BJP not gaining”. The background to this post was a CNN-IBN poll conducted on the eve of the Independence Day…..in a surcharged environment created by Anna’s anti-corruption movement. At that time, it appeared that the BJP was a party on the rise; capable of thrashing the Congress if elections took place then. After I wrote this post, Anna’s second major hunger strike took place – which the Congress royally bungled. After this, everyone expected the BJP to emerge even stronger – having sided with Anna throughout this tumultuous phase. However, my post had taken a contrarion line – and analyzed why the BJP could not gain even if the Congress lost.

    What I had written specifically was “While the Congress is losing the corruption perception battle, the BJP is not gaining from it.”…..and “My big worry is that if the Congress suffers and the BJP doesn’t gain, then the Lok Sabha is going to be an even more divided house the next time around. The Left is hardly likely to gain unless Mamata messes up in WB. It’s the smaller regional parties who could gain – that means an even more weak central coalition government than we have seen during the NDA and UPA times.” If anything, the results announced yesterday are an endorsement of this.

    Both the national parties were in deep pain yesterday. For the Congress, not being able to budge significantly beyond its 2007 tally hurt hugely – especially since the battle was led by none other than Rahul Gandhi himself. What must have felt like salt in a wound was the unexpected loss of Punjab. But what must have hurt the BJP equally badly was the story that has been repeating itself nationally. The BJP itself does poorly, even as its allies do better. The BJP’s performance in UP was atrocious to say the least – losing 4 seats over its poor-enough performance in 2007. And though it claims to have won Punjab, it’s actually not true. The BJP lost massively in Punjab, losing 37% of its seats. What the Congress had to salvage its pride was Manipur; the BJP Goa. Both parties proved unable to convince the voters of Uttarakhand to support them. It remains to be seen who forms the government there (Will Mayawati support Cong or BJP?).

    What must have hurt both parties was the way the counting progressed yesterday. For the first couple of hours (till about 10 am or so), the picture that was emerging was very different from what happened at the end. In UP, there appeared to be a “BJP wave”. The party appeared to be doubling its seat count compared to 2007. The BJP appeared to be emerging as the 2nd largest party after the SP. In fact, TV anchors started propounding theories of why the BJP was doing so well. One theory that particularly gained currency was that it was Salman Khursheed’s 9% reservation fiasco that had gifted the BJP a huge poll victory in UP! In fact, some BJP leaders were so impatient to expand on the party’s superelative performance that they couldn’t hold themselves back. They must have felt totally embarrassed when the tide changed! Far from doubling its count, the BJP actually lost seats. The same was the scene for the Congress in Punjab. The first ten odd leads indicated a “sweep” for the Congress. Again, there were big statements made about Punjab continuing with the tradition of tossing out the incumbent government every five years. Just as the Congress was getting smug about its victory in Punjab, the tide turned! If many political leaders looked like fools in the end, so did many TV anchors!

    So what are the big messages emerging from the state elections?

    1) That the regional parties are here to rule: It’s a regional party that continues to rule UP and it’s another one that continues to rule in Punjab. Not only do they continue to rule, they have both managed to increase their seat counts. The Akali Dal has gained 7 seats in Punjab; and the SP stands at 224 compared to the BSP’s 206. Last year, the only other national party – the Left, was routed by the TMC in WB. Clearly, regional parties are doing a better job of representing their people’s wishes than the national parties are at the state level.

    2) Both the Congress and the BJP have been decimated. But like I mentioned, the Congress’s loss is almost never the BJP’s gain (this time only in Goa) – it is a regional party that gains. But when the BJP loses, it is usually the Congress that gains (this time in Uttarakhand, but just look at states like Gujarat, MP, Chhatisgarh and even Karnataka partly…..). For the BJP, what this means is that it has peaked – they simply cannot grow beyond their current size.

    3) For the BJP, it’s a strange problem. The party continues to become weaker and weaker. But their allies continue to do better and better. In Punjab, the BJP actually lost 7 seats even while their partner the Akali Dal managed to gain those many. In both UP and Uttarakhand, the party lost 4 seats each. It’s only in Goa where the party captured an additional 7 seats. Overall, the BJP’s seat count went down by 8 seats in these elections (the Congress gained 24 seats). Today, the clear picture that is emerging is that the BJP is yielding ground to its allies. Is this the meaning of coalition dharma? Is this the price that a national party has to pay to keep its coalition going? The BJP already doesn’t matter in most of the politically important states – in Bihar, it’s really a JD(U) government; in UP, it is in a poor position. In Maharashtra, it’s already a weak party (in Mumbai, it’s a weak ally) and in WB and AP (the other larger states), it almost doesn’t exist. Even in Punjab, it’s in an unequal alliance. The BJP seriously needs to introspect on its political strategy. In contrast, the Congress is not in an alliance where it is a minority partner except in WB – but we already know that it has no voice in that state. The BJP likewise has no voice in states in which it is the minor alliance partner.

    4) There was absolutely zero influence of Anna’s movement. How many months has it been since the movement bombed? Three months? If Anna’s movement had any impact, the BJP should have been the biggest beneficiary. The party was parroting every demand of Team Anna – almost looking like its B team; but the party that won was the Samajwadi Party which was never a supporter of Anna. The BJP needs to ask itself if its belief that hogging prime time on TV with eloquent spokespeople is enough to wrest political power. It has to think about whether backtracking on the Lok Ayuktas clause in the Lokpal Bill was the right thing to do. It also needs to introspect on its stand on various economic policies – remember the Akali Dal was a big supporter of FDI in multi-brand retail but the BJP opposed it? Basically, the BJP needs to understand where it stands – as an opportunistic, disruptive party, or one that stands for something principled and constructive?

    5) Narendra Modi is a smart politician. He probably read the writing on the wall better than most other BJP leaders! No wonder then that he decided not to campaign in UP. Had he done so, he would have been compromised. Today, he stands out taller in the BJP.

    6) What about Rahul Gandhi? Well, I think the consensus is that the people of UP thought him to be hard working and sincere. Yes, he failed and he has taken responsibility for it. But in my mind, he’s made a lasting impression on UP’s electorate. The Congress may have lost UP, but they are in a position to increase their Lok Sabha strength in the next General Elections. One thing is clear – if the BJP fears anyone the most, it is Rahul Gandhi. No wonder then that more than analyzing her own party’s dismal performance, Sushma Swaraj was at pains to explain (almost urge viewers) that Rahul Gandhi is a failure!

    7) Dynasties work in India and how! Both the men of the match yesterday were Akhilesh and Sukhbir. When TV anchors asked both this question…..their attitude said it all “Who cares?”!!

    The real truth is that the state elections come as a warning to both the BJP and the Congress. Both need to reinvent themselves. Rather than fighting each other in a battle of mutual attrition, both parties need to grow their clout. Both parties are losing relevance in an India – there is a growing preference for regional parties – at least at the state government level. Even in the Lok Sabha, the last time the ruling party had a clear majority of its own was perhaps when Narasimha Rao was PM. Both parties need to introspect……and yet, both of them prefer to attack each other….
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Rahul Gandhi and the Congress did not live up to the media's hype all because of Digvijay Singh and Khurshed's failure to read the tea leaves and instead be back at the game of polarising society. To add insult to injury, Jaiswal's silly comment that if the Congress does not make it, then there would be President's rule!

    They were not capable of cashing on the waning popularity of Mayawati.

    Though the political analysts in the last night TV discussions stated that the national issues had not played a part in the Elections, I think it did. People are tired of corruption and Anna Hazare had charged up the people into believing that they could make a change with people's power. Also, people are fed up with statistics and GDP being flashed in their face whenever there is some glitch, while the Food prices were the only thing that was rising!!

    BJP has not done well and it will not do well unless the Togadias are pushed into oblivion. Goa is an example where the Togadia philosophy was nowhere to be seen!

    In Uttarakhand, the BJP would have been wiped out but for Maj Gen Khanduri and yet the poor man lost while the corrupt ex CM Nishank won. It is said that Nishank was instumental in Khanduri's loss.

    Even though there is much hype being generated about regional parties and the third front, one wonders if at the national level elections the electorate will vote for regionalism forsaking the national parties.
     
  4. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    This regional parties gaining to much importance now is another media hype that will be busted in 2014 elections. The state issues and the central issues are separate and the elections will be fought on those issues. Hopefully by that time Congress and BJP do the hard work of building the ground network, whichw ill ultimately get the results
     
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  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Shekhar Gupta also does a very intersting editorial on the election results.

    They just didn't get it - Indian Express

    India has changed. It will vote for those who understand, respect and embrace this change with humility, not hubris

    Has Uttar Pradesh changed? That question will be asked often after this election. The state has given a clear verdict for the second time in a row. For two decades before this, it was a state of humongous size, and uncrossable divides of religion, caste, region and even party politics: unlike neighbouring Bihar which, though similar in political demography, has more or less two clear alliances in contention rather than UP’s four-way contests. Further, the two parties that won these clear verdicts (BSP in 2007 and SP now) would normally be described (and dismissed) as mere caste-based parties with limited identity-driven agendas and inelastic appeal. They are bitter rivals. But in devastating both Congress and BJP, they have shown a political genius that the larger national parties have lacked. But would these two successive clear verdicts have been possible if UP had not changed? The answer has to be no, and for a long time there hasn’t been better news for India. It also follows that while the voter in UP has changed, breaking out of the horrible Mandal-Kamandal trap, the two national parties have stayed right there. They are being made to pay for this lack of imagination, this intellectual laziness.

    So, what else is new about this verdict, in UP, and elsewhere too? First of all, it has again highlighted to us the perils of contemptuously stereotyping communities and ethnicities as dumb vote banks. Muslims, in particular, have been treated shoddily by political intellectuals of the left and religious right. In 2008, both said that any party supporting the Indo-US nuclear deal would lose the Muslim vote. As if our Muslims somehow put their anti-Americanism above their nationalism and issues like bijli-sadak-paani, jobs, what kind of schools their children go to and whether there are any doctors or medicines in their hospitals or not. Mulayam Singh defied the protesting maulanas to weigh in for the nuclear deal. Now, he has this stunning endorsement by his Muslim voters to show for it. Similarly, Rahul’s ill-advised reminder of the BJP’s Israel connection left his Muslim audiences utterly unimpressed. Definition of identity is complex in India. Modern Indians, rural or urban, have common needs and shared concerns that cut across barriers of caste and religion.

    You want to stereotype the Hindu majority, ask the BJP, so deflated after today’s result. It thought Congress had answered its prayers by playing that suicidal Muslim reservation card and brought out vicious advertisements reminding Hindus that their jobs were being taken away and given to Muslims by way of an electoral bribe. If any of the Hindus were impressed, they obviously did not come out to vote. Similarly, you want to profile the Dalits purely in terms of empowerment? They should then have been thrilled with Mayawati’s memorials and the crassness of the way she exercised power. If they were, would they have broken rank with her and reduced her to 79 seats? You will pay severely for stereotyping the poor as well, by telling all they need is free food and only you can get it to them. You cannot treat an entire mass of poor Indians as beggars. Particularly not when they are so impatient in the course of such a remarkable upsurge of aspiration. You presume rural India is peopled by hapless beggars, you will be made to pay for the folly. It may be the deeply held belief of some South Delhi bleeding hearts that feed off the Congress Party gravy train, and some Rajya Sabhaist free-loaders on it. But ask them to go out and get some votes first. Rural India is not inhabited by tens of crores of beggars.

    Finally, five states went to the polls today, and four gave clear verdicts, confirming yet another welcome trend. Our voter is no longer confused. Nor is she a prisoner of narrow-focus prejudices and loyalties. She now reads the big picture: agendas, track records, and what’s-in-it-for-me-and- for-my-children’s future. That is why verdict after verdict, you get the same message. That our elections are now becoming increasingly meritocratic. That is why it is not so important who wins or loses. Because it isn’t just Uttar Pradesh that has changed. India has changed. It will vote for those who understand, respect and embrace this change with humility, not hubris.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  6. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Shekhar Gupta is ignorant. Voting was done on basis of cast/religion basis only. SP got majority of OBC votes.

    SP won because of "Negative Voting against BSP". Since, Both BJP and Congress were weak. Hence, large voters consolidated in favour of SP. It was polarised vote. In polarised voting, Normally Winners gets more vote and loser gets less vote as people prefer voting to those who can win and SP was only probable winner. No one expected BJP to perform well. Many even expected party to be at 4th position. Indeed, It was Congress which was expected to win 100-125 seats like 2009 performance. But Result shows it was mere artificial media campaign.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
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  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is now that I realised that the Congress in UP has got just 28 seats!

    Surprising that the media hype and back breaking campaigning did not pay off.

    Amethi, Rae Bareilly and Sultanpur also seems to have slipped out of the hand, even though they are nourished and nurtured by the Congress.

    I think these odd fishes like Digvijay Singh, Khurshed and Jaiswal are the real culprits who has let Rahul Gandhi and the Congress down!
     
  8. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    well how du think parties accepted their defeat.BJP and Bsp pissed me off . instaed of accepting loss in UP bjp president was talking about rahul loss . he even comented un-importance of manipur in this election at bjp-news conference .

    bjp has limlt in wining seats and so does require allies but then it must certain respected seats under their belt. i think its time there should be new pan india party in opposition to congress . bjp waala cant think beyond ram mandhir and charisma of ABV

    wherever BJP has strong local leader it wins eg MP,CHG,RAJ,BHIAR ,GUJ,UT
    AND WHERE IT DOESNT IT TRAILS MOST OF TIMES

    what d u think what would happen in DELHI assembly election do they have any local leader or it would be again shela dixit
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

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