States : Post TsuNamo Shocks
Nitish Plays Mahadalit Card
When Nitish Kumar Chief Minister of Bihar took extreme step of resigning from the CM post everybody was surprised by the move. When he picked Mahadalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi to be his successor, many questions were answered. After JD(U) MLAs gave in to his insistence on stepping down, and authorised him to choose their leader, Nitish Kumar tried his best to bring back Bihar on old caste alliances after the devastating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections.
After breaking alliance with the BJP on the issue of Narendra Modi’s leadership, Nitish went into Lok Sabha elections with the ‘secularism’ card, which has backfired miserably. After his party JD (U) winning only 2 out of 40 seats, on moral grounds Nitish resigned on May 17th. Everybody was surprised with this move. There were hot political discussions in the political circles about Lalu – Nitish alliance and dissidence within the ruling party. After whole drama of party meeting and efforts of persuading Nitish to retain the CM post, he was authorised to choose his successor.
By naming Manjhi as the Bihar CM, Nitish has tried to achieve three objectives. He has tried to project himself on high moral ground. This will also help him in curbing dissidence within the party. Doing this he has also saved himself and his government from any interference from the Centre through Governor’s route. Most importantly, Bihar Assembly elections are a year and half away. While facing it, Nitish does not want to carry the burden of performance. While doing so he has appointed a confidant that is also from a mahadalit community. He is hoping for forging new caste alliances and remote control the government. The real question is, whether Bihar voters who have voted on developmental planks and rejected the remote controlled government at the Centre will revert back to the conventional divisive politics.
-Sanjeev Kumar from Patna
Maharashtra has been the strong and impregnable Congress bastion in India. Even during the post-Emergency elections, the State voted in favour of the Congress party lending much required physical and psychological support to the late Indira Gandhi. However, the 2014 elections proved all the way different. The seasoned Congress leaders failed to gauge the deep impact of Narendra Modi’s electrifying speeches on the psyche of the general electorate of the State. And the result came surprising for them. The complete sweep of NDA’s grand alliance demoralised the rank and file of the ruling dispensation.
Out of the 48 Parliamentary constituencies, BJP-Shivsena-Swabhimani Party and RPI (A) grand alliance bagged 42! Highest ever tally for the Opposition!! Even the ace politician and strong Maratha Satrap Sharad Pawar failed to gauge the impact of this NaMo tsunami. His Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) could save four seats in his stronghold in the sugar belt of western Maharashtra. The NCP could save its face by keeping the Baramati seat.
The two seats that Congress could win were Nanded where the ‘Adarsh-fame’ former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was elected and the other one was Hingoli from where Rajiv Satav was returned.
Former BJP National President Nitin Gadkari was declared elected from Nagpur Constituency by margin of 3, 01,000 votes over his Congress rival. The BJP had never won this seat which is also the headquarters of the RSS but for the 1996 elections when Banwarilal Purohit was elected as BJP candidate.
A notable defeat was that of Prafulla Patel, Union Minister and senior NCP leader. Sagar Meghe, son of senior Congress leader Datta Meghe was sent home packing by BJP’s Ramdas Tadas. The impact was so great that even Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde could not save his Sholapur seat. All the four LS constituencies in Kolhapur, Sholapur, Sangli and Satara districts on this region voted in favour of the BJP-alliance. Udayanraje Bhosle and Dhananjay Mahadik of NCP could retain their seats in Satara and Kolhapur due to their own influence. Same is the story of Nagar district where the BJP alliance retained the two seats.In Pune region, the BJP alliance repeated the story by bagging Pune, Shirur and Maval LS seats by huge margins.
The BJP-SS-RPI combine is naturally in an upbeat mood with their spectacular success at the Lok Sabha elections, especially with BJP’s performance of winning 23 out of 24 seats contested. It is a clear indication that the Assembly elections in the State may not be an easy walk for the Congress-NCP combine.
– Virag Pachpore from Nagpur
Also Read: Gujarat gets its First Women CM
Fiasco of Mamata's Game plan
Even after the remarkable win in the Lok Sabha poll (TMC won 34 out of 42 seats) TMC supremo and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee is not happy. Rather she is morose otherwise. Firstly, she tried to be a messiah of minorities especially Muslim, which resulted into consolidation of Hindu votes. Secondly, Babul Supriyo from BJP had defeated Dola Sen by more than 70 thousand votes. Mamata had deputed Malay Ghatak, Agriculture Minister of the State, after the result of the election was out Mamata compelled Ghatak to resign from the post of Agriculture Minister. Thirdly, BJP entered into the core area of Mamata’s own Assembly area where BJP got the largest number votes keeping Mamata far behind.
Mamata was very much hopeful that inspite of the “Modi tsunami”, the united regional parties would definitely put up a strong “morcha” in the Parliament. But it did not happen. All regional parties have been washed out. Hence, scope for horse-trading and back seat driving of big party-led government has been evaporated.
In this connection it is worth quoting a passage from the Kolkata edition of The Times of India dated May 18: “Two MPs, 16.8% vote-share or 86, 91, 765 people voting for it in Bengal is only a part of the BJP growth script in the State. Records may show that BJP candidates ended second in three seats relegating Left Front to a third position, but 10 others too did make a dash for the end.” The constituencies where BJP got more than 2 lakh votes, they include border areas like Bongaon, Bashirhat, Coochbehar and Raigunj.
For the last 20 years, BJP had no representation in the West Bengal Assembly. In this parliamentary election BJP has registered its supremacy in 24. Keep in mind that BJP was nil in the State Assembly for the last twenty years!
-Asim Kumar Mitra from Kolkata