Seen as the semi-final battle before the 2024 general elections, the outcome of the Assembly elections in five States, including the most populous Uttar Pradesh, contains crucial political messages. The key among them is that the BJP continues to reap the electoral harvest largely because of the absence of a cohesive alternative political formation. The […]
Seen as the semi-final battle before the 2024 general elections, the outcome of the Assembly elections in five States, including the most populous Uttar Pradesh, contains crucial political messages. The key among them is that the BJP continues to reap the electoral harvest largely because of the absence of a cohesive alternative political formation. The annihilation of Congress appears complete, offering no hope of a revival anytime soon. The big story from the latest round of polls, however, has been scripted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has pulled off a landslide win in Punjab where several former chief ministers fell by the wayside as the Arvind Kejriwal-led party snatched power from the Congress. AAP’s victory shows that the public resentment against the tried and failed national parties can be effectively galvanised by a new political player with the help of a clear, honest and pro-poor narrative. The day also belongs to Yogi Adityanath, the saffron-robed Chief Minister, who steered his party to return to power, thereby demolishing the anti-incumbency myth. This is the first time since 1985 that an incumbent government has been voted back for a second consecutive term. The BJP is also set to retain power in Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. This 4-1 victory score comes as a booster shot for the saffron party, particularly in the wake of a gloomy economic scenario, marked by growing unemployment, price rise and inflation, and the criticism over its handling of the Covid-19 crisis. The favourable outcome has put the party on a stronger wicket for the election for the post of President expected later this year.
Though the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party put up a reasonable challenge and vastly improved its vote share, it was not enough to halt the saffron surge in UP. The complete decimation of the Congress, which was once a dominant player in the Hindi heartland, and the steady erosion of the BSP’s support base have only benefited the BJP. The saffron party’s second consecutive win in UP shows the electorate’s overwhelming acceptance for Hindutva politics despite personal grievances against policies that have led to mass-scale unemployment and rising prices. The mantle of challenging the aggressive campaign machinery of the BJP fell on the SP which proved simply unequal to the task. AAP, on the other hand, showed dogged perseverance to remain in the game in Punjab, overcoming the drubbing it faced in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and finally emerged victorious. With Punjab now in its kitty, AAP, which has been in power in Delhi since 2015, is the only non-Congress, non-BJP party to helm the government in more than one State. This may well mark a shift in national politics and set a new template for the non-BJP and non-Congress forces to come together to offer an alternative brand of politics.
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