Anomalous but significant
Yet another round of Assembly elections would rock the nation in midsummer with political heat overwhelming the scorching summer heat. It’s certainly wrong to infer that elections to the state legislatures in India will reveal the national political picture. But, at the same time, the electoral outcome in Assembly elections will certainly impact the course of political alignment and realignment.
Yet another round of Assembly elections would rock the nation in midsummer with political heat overwhelming the scorching summer heat. It’s certainly wrong to infer that elections to the state legislatures in India will reveal the national political picture. But, at the same time, the electoral outcome in Assembly elections will certainly impact the course of political alignment and realignment. This is the significance of state elections.
But, the current rounds of Assembly elections are unique for several reasons. The ruling BJP and the National Democratic Alliance have stakes in only one of the four States – Assam. Barring the tiny State of Puducherry, the four States that go to polls West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Assam are politically significant. The Congress, the principal opposition to BJP, is in power in two of them – Assam and Kerala – while it has little or no stakes in other two States.
Thus, the ensuing round of Assembly polls is not a direct political fight between the Congress and the BJP. This makes a national reading of the results of these elections on May 19 much more difficult. The Left that got decimated in the national polity in the recent past is a force to reckon with in two States – Kerala and West Bengal. At least in one of these States, Kerala, it is hoping to come back to power. If it does so, the Left can claim to be scripting its political revival.
The Congress-led UDF mired in internal feuds and a series of murky deals is facing an uphill task to retain power in a State known for alternating power between two fronts - the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF. It’s rather interesting to underline that the Congress is hoping entirely on BJP’s surge to retain power in Kerala. Perhaps, the God’s Own Country is the only place where the Congress wants the BJP to advance.
Such a curious state of affairs is the result of electoral arithmetic. The Congress hopes that the BJP’s surge would eat into the anti-incumbency vote benefiting it. The BJP ties up with a new socio–political formation that is banking on the support from a numerically strong and Left loyal backward caste. This summer will reveal to what extent the Lotus experiment would bloom in a State which was always a mirage for the saffron brigade.
Yet another electoral arithmetic that deserves keen attention in the days to come will have to unfold in West Bengal. The speculation over possible alliance between the CPI(M) and the Congress has an implication for not just this State but for the political realignment in India.
Tamil Nadu is still elusive for the national parties as the fight would be primarily between the two Dravidian parties that always displayed remarkable political expediency to join either of the political combinations at the Centre – NDA and UPA. The troubled State of Assam ruled by Congress for successive terms is the only State where the BJP has clear stakes. Therefore, the fresh round of Assembly elections held against the backdrop of BJP receiving a massive drubbing in Bihar and Delhi offers anomalous but significant political picture.