Perhaps the best heading given to the Congress defeat at the State elections held recently was the one given by The Telegraph ( December 9). The eight column front page heading consisted of just one word, and a very apt one: BROOMED. “The day a mass weapon of cleansing shook India and the vote catching ability of Sonia’s welfare politics came political strain” was how the paper describe the declaration of results. No tears were shed for the Congress.
BJP’s victory was noted as providing no surprise but, as The Asian Age (December 9) put it “AAP is real story of Assembly polls” and it is Delhi “where the spectacular performance of the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party took everyone’s breath away.” Business Line (December 9) said the election showed “a strong sense of disenchantment with the Congress Party and an emphatic 4-0 victory may have lent credibility to talk of a huge ‘Modi Wave’. But like all other papers Business Line too said “a real wave” was set up by the AAP which was responsible for reducing Congress tally to a single digit and denying BJP a clean sweep. What has happened said the paper “is a disenchantment with main stream politics and a rejection of the venality of our political culture”.
Deccan Herald (December 9) said that it is “the performance of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi that is most exciting and “the Congress’s humiliating performance in Delhi where it could not even cross the double digits will be more shocking to the party leadership than anything else.”
The Times of India ( December 9) said that “strong and charismatic regional leaders matter” as in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the pilots were Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje, but it added that “the spectacular debut of Aam Aadmi Party has not only changed the political dynamics of Delhi but has also stunned the two big national parties”.
Saying that Aam Aadmi Party’s rise is a wake-up call to both national parties, the paper made the point that “full credit must go to AAP for running an innovative campaign” indirectly praising it for choosing a broom as its party symbol.
The New Indian Express (December 9) like everyone else said “among all results, the most significant has been in Delhi where the most nascent Aam Aadmi Party composed of well-meaning individuals with no prior exposure to power politics has confounded political pundits with the magnitude of its gains”.“The fine performance of AAP must set both the Congress and the BJP thinking hard”, said the paper. The electorate, stressed the paper, is willing to give a third party a chance “wherever there is a credible alternative to BJP and Congress”.
The Hindu (December 9) in a full length editorial said that for the Congress “the humiliation in Delhi was more crushing then the defeats elsewhere” and “more ignominious than the failure to win Madhya Pradesh after two successive defeats and the fall of the Government in Rajasthan was the party’s miserable third place finish in Delhi.” The paper said the Aam Aadmi’s success was “a sparkling debut” and its extraordinary rise testified to the success of the team of activists led by Kejriwal in drawing new volunteers outside of the traditional political class. The paper said the current verdict cannot be construed as a ‘semi-final’ because the 2014 general elections will take place on a larger canvas with more leading players such as the regional parties. That said, the paper noted “there is no denying that in the race to be the single large party in the next Lok Sabha, the BJP is surely ahead.” The paper also made the point that “the results certainly boost the BJP’s chances in 2014.The paper conceded that “there is no denying that Mr Modi has injected some vigour in to the BJP’s election strategy with his aggressive campaign style.
The Hindustan Times (December 9) said “the Congress waited in the middle of the road only to be run over twice, first by the oncoming BJP juggernaut and then the unexpected vehicle from the slip road, the Aam Aadmi Party.” The paper said “if normal politic logic had worked, the AAP would have been the spoiler in a triangular contest, taking away votes which the Congress could have got but not quite making it on its own.” But here, said the paper “it has emerged as a key player in its own right”.
In conclusion the paper said: “Political observers may argue that these elections are not a precursor to the big one in 2014. But such victories help in generating a buzz and a public perception that the BJP is on a winning streak (and) it can also now project Mr Modi as the man who can make a difference to the fortunes of the party.”
The Economic Times (December 10) said “AAP has won, if not the right to form the government in Delhi, as much a moral victory as an electoral one by taking on the established heavy weights and basically shocking the wits out of them.” And it pointed out that the AAP has reminded the other parties of what ‘grass roots connect’ used to mean and the implications of this achievement are quite potent.