Saturday, May 16, 2009

Congress resurrects; BJP ?

In another striking example of how an Indian voter votes, 2009 election will go down the memory lane for a long time. It is because all states where BJP was expected to do good lost marginally (although Rajasthan, Haryana, Mahasrashtra proved to be exceptional cases). BJP still retains the central India completely, but it failed to generate any votes from rajasthan, Haryana, Assam in particular.

The problem with BJP is that it doesn't have a presence in key states like AP, WB, Kerala, TamilNadu which gives you 141 seats. There is virtually no presence. It has worked to the advantage of the Congress. Here, even if Congress had won or lost would not have added any vote to BJP only exception being its allies had they won. BJP gained extremely well in Bihar and Lalu is thrashed out.

It is interesting to note when Jayalalitha said to BJP to do business only if it is able to get 150 seats on its own (minimum), but now BJP should also question Jaya about the fact that she did not win more than 10 seats in TamilNadu. It is however, Congress which wiped out Left parties completely leading to only 20 seats down from 60 in 2004. Left suffered its worst ever defeat in West Bengal. In this election, Left suffered the worst.

If BJP did a good job (if not better) by accepting with humility the defeat, left seems to introspect and did not even happen that Karat offered to resign unlike Advani.

This election is a clean sweep not for Manmohan, but with no option left people voted for Congress in the following way:
In AP, one was sure Congress is going to retain, but not increase its share
In Kerala, it's always either Left/Congress - this time it is Congress next time Left again
In West Bengal, Congress was expected to gain, but not so handsomely
In Maharashtra, Congress gaining again.

The real surprises include:
1)Congress own comeback in UP by winning 20 leaving BJP behind with 13 seats - rahul gandhi strategy worked
2)Congress spectacular gains in Rajasthan by winning 20 seats (last time BJP won more than 20)
3)Congress DMK sweeping TamilNadu

So, if you analyse it properly, it is Congress's gain on its own in places where BJP doesnt exist (except Rajasthan). Even Punjab, Haryana, Uttarkhand, Delhi, J&K voted for Congress.

If at all BJP had to gain, it had to be in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan on its own. This did not happen. Had BJP lost even those states where it was very strong, it would have ended BJP completely.

But what next? BJP has to reinvent itself by showing what it has done between 1999-2004 under vajpayee core economic team led by Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha. It has to highlight the fact BJP is more interested in this direction. BJP needs to make its presence felt in south such as TamilNadu, kerala and also in West Bengal. It also has to develop or resurrect the UP unit where it is in bad shape.

It has to nurture more nationally acceptable leaders. Narendra Modi is definitely a very good bet, then Arun jaitely, Sushma Swaraj, jaswant Singh. I wonder if Jaitely had contested and won the Lok Sabha seat...he would be the best opposition leader for which Congress would have to prepare a hell lot to answer his onslaught as he is the only leader across party lines who is extremely accurate in his critiques.

One good thing that has happened in India is that Congress and BJP agree on foreign affairs and economics more or less on everything. The social sector is where Congress emerges stronger as it is more pro-poor although it has never been able to remove poverty and implemented new ideas.

BJP has to come up with fresh ideas, and how they plan to tackle existing challenges. For Congress, it is sure they will win even the next election because Rahul gandhi will be the next PM and people will vote for him.

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