The results of Assembly elections in five states, which were considered as a run-up to the general elections 2014, are out. Political pundits in the media glare may have different interpretations of the results but the verdict in key states have broken the established myths of Indian politics.
The first myth is that State elections are fought only on local issues. One undisputed explanation of the poll verdict is that voters have clearly and strongly registered their anger against the Congress-led UPA government. The corollary is the absolute rejection of the Congress culture symbolising corruption, nepotism, dynastic rule, factional politics and indecisiveness.
Votes can be garnered by throwing popular programmes in the last phase of the term is another negated myth in these elections. With Central assistance, Congress governments in Delhi and Rajasthan poured in money in the name of welfare schemes, but people refused to sell their votes for this gimmick. This can be an indicator of plugging the loopholes in populist programmes which is the main source of corruption in Congress culture.
Another point on which, the so-called secular minds were harping on was ‘BJP looses where Modi campaigns’. The remarkable victory in 70 per cent seats that went for polls, where Shri Modi held 170 public meetings, will certainly make them think twice on this issue. Rajasthan victory for BJP was certain but winning three forth of the seats is a definite Modi effect. Shivraj Singh and Raman Singh both were facing anti-incumbencies of two terms. BJP improved its tally in Madhya Pradesh and retained the seats in the Naxal-ridden State of Chhattisgarh. The outcome in the areas where Modi campaigned are decisively favourable to the BJP. In the process, after Gujarat, both the states from Central India have proved that good governance and credible leadership can create pro-incumbency.
Political pundits considered BSP voters as the most loyal and silent. Contrary to this perception, in all the states, BSP was the substantial loser and both the national parties gained out of it. So no voter can be taken for granted, is another message of these elections.
The emergence of AAP has broken many myths of Indian politics. There was a precedence of building a new party in 9 months time by NT Rama Rao in Andhra Pradesh but party coming out of a movement and making spectacular show in 8 months time is unprecedented. Volunteerism, instead of nepotism, is back in Indian politics. Obviously, the myth of ‘political legacy to be successful in politics’ nurtured in the Congress culture is also shaken. Barring the credible candidates with inheritance, most of the dynastic heirs were defeated.
Electioneering requires lot of money and only rich people can fight elections has been the common perception in the last few decades. The corollary assumption was that traditional methods of campaigning are outdated. AAP combined conventional methods of public contact with the virtual campaign. The presence of ordinary young candidates in the political fray was also a welcome change. Elections still can be fought on issues and party lines, instead of only money and muscle power or caste and communal lines, is also reiterated.
If these broken myths stay on the India’s political scene, then illusions of the Congress that it is the natural party of governance and the only party with national presence will be broken once and for all in the coming general elections.