As BJP overpowers Congress in Assam, the erstwhile government of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu receive faithful reactions from the assembly election results. Do we see an ominous future for the All India National Congress?
The recent assembly election results in Assam, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal reinforced the idea that Indian adults vote for their favourite leaders and not over-enthusiastic manifestoes to say the least. This was perhaps the most significant lesson, the Modi-led NDA alliance established in the general election in 2014. Opting out L.K. Advani and having the more popular Narendra Modi was instrumental to end the Congress regime.
Having said that, there is also definite evidence that politics in India allows a very thin line for error and you need to correct your mistakes very fast. The overwhelming victory of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal or J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu reiterates the importance of a mass-leader in India.
The BJP push
In Assam, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created history by overthrowing the 15 year long Congress government which came as a strong wake-up call for the Congress high command. The masterstroke for BJP in Assam would certainly be the projection of a strong Chief Minister candidate. Sarbananda Sonowal represents Assam’s Lakhimpur constituency in the Lok Sabha and used to handle the Sports and Youth Affairs ministry in the Modi cabinet. He was asked to take the responsibility and the gamble from the Amit Shah-led party worked at its best as it shows in the assembly election results.
While BJP in West Bengal is still struggling to make a strong ground, they managed to register their first victory in Kerala. The former union minister O Rajagopal was elected to the Kerala assembly, giving the BJP its first ever representation in the house. The BJP had so far never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala.
Is it a wake-up call for Congress?
What else can you say if the results speak for themselves? Congress lost 6 states since 2014 and the recent loss in Assam adds to the injury. Addressing the colossal loss in the four states, INC president Sonia Gandhi called for further “introspection”. However, in successive tweets after the assembly election results, the Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi manifested a rather unfamiliar gesture to congratulate the winners accepting the verdict of the people with humility.
We accept the verdict of people with humility. My best wishes to the parties that have won the elections
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) May 19, 2016
The growing whispers questioning the political and tactical acumen of the Congress vice-president is something that is expected at this juncture. However, the question is whether there is a formidable challenge to his leadership qualities within the party?
Not only had the Assam state assembly, the Congress alliance with the Left in West Bengal suffered a trouncing as Mamata Banerjee took it ahead from her last state assembly election results and registered an emphatic victory. May be its high time, the Congress high command considers wisely before choosing their allies.
Do we have hope for GST bill?
BJP is slowly gaining ground in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament, where it still needs a majority to pass key laws such as the long overdue Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The latest results are not enough to get this majority but the prospects of a GST Bill are improving, since Mamata Banerjee said she would support it, despite her opposition to BJP on other matters.
The improved ability of the Modi led government to pass key reform Bills such as the GST or the Land Bill is something Indian but also international investors are looking at very carefully.