|AAP workers celebrate at Mumbai's Azad Maidan (Pic: Imtiyaz Shaikh, Anadolu Agency)|
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Right-Wing BJP victorious in four state elections
NEW DELHI (AA) - In a clear indication of the political mood of the world’s largest democracy, Indians have chosen right-wing Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the ‘secular’ Indian National Congress party.
The right-wing BJP has emerged as the single biggest party in four states whose election results were declared in gradual stages by the Election Commission of India. Retaining power in Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Chhattisgarh, BJP has upstaged Congress in Delhi and Rajasthan thus emerging a clear winner in the four states.
The counting of votes in North-Eastern state of Mizoram, the fifth state which went to polls in November, will begin tomorrow on Monday, December 9.
Poll pandits say that the election results in five states are likely to impact the next year’s general election to be held in May 2014.
In Delhi, BJP has routed the ruling Congress which has been in power for the last three terms. Out of total 70 seats, BJP bagged 32 seats followed by political debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP means Common Man’s Party) with 28 seats and three-time ruling Congress party occupies third spot with merely 8 seats. BJP, though lacking clear majority, is likely to form the next government.
Delhi chief minister and Congress leader Ms. Sheila Dikshit, a political heavyweight and three-time chief minister was defeated by a newcomer Arvind Kejriwal, party chief of AAP. Sensing an imminent defeat, Ms. Dikshit resigned as chief minister and sent her resignation to Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung even before the complete results were announced. When asked by reporters whether Congress party has failed to gauge mood of the people in Delhi, she said, “Bewakoof hain na (we are idiots, right?)”.
Ms. Dikshit had recently described AAP as a “group of broom-wielding” men making fun of AAP whose election symbol is broom.
The biggest surprise of Delhi election has been the debutant politician Arvind Kejriwal whose AAP was formed barely nine months ago as he challenged the right-wing opposition party BJP and the ruling Congress party which has retained Delhi for past three terms.
Kejriwal is former government bureaucrat (tax inspector) who rose to prominence in recent years for spread-heading anti-corruption campaign along with popular social crusader Anna Hazare demanding a strong anti-corruption legislation.
Talking to reporters, Kejriwal termed his party’s success as a “historic win.”
“This election has been fought on the principles of honesty and truth. Common people have defeated the heavyweights. This is the strength of aa aadmi (common man),” he said referring to his party’s name, Common Man’s Party.
In central state of Madhya Pradesh (MP), the ruling BJP has retained power for the third time thus making the central state a stronghold of the right-wing party. Out of the total 230 seats, the right-wing party won 156 seats thus crossing the half-way mark of 115 to form the government. Congress bagged only 53 seats, thus suffering a humiliating defeat. The BJP leads in 10 seats and Congress in 3 as the counting of votes is underway in some constituencies.
The young Congress leader from MP Jyotiraditya Scindia conceded defeat of his party and said he is very disappointed with the results. He said MP chief minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan has triumphed dismissing the suggestion that Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi played any role in the right-wing party’s victory in MP.
In Chhattisgarh state, initially there was a neck to neck fight between the ruling BJP and the Congress with the former getting 39 seats and the latter bagging 37 out of total 90 seats. The BJP leads in 8 constituencies while Congress in 4 as the counting of votes was not complete. Going by the trends, BJP is likely to retain Chhattisgarh with a narrow margin.
In the desert state of Rajasthan, the ruling Congress has been decimated by the BJP. Out of total 199 seats, BJP bagged 162 thus getting a thumping majority to form the government on its own. Congress was reduced to a rubble with mere tally of 21 seats.
Vasundra Raje, BJP leader and former chief minister of the state, said that Narendra Modi factor has played an important role in BJP’s victory. She told reporters that people of Rajasthan were impressed by Modi’s development in the neighbouring state of Gujarat.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and chairman of federal coalition UPA (United Progressive Alliance) accepted the defeat of her party. In her statement, she said that the election results naturally call for “deep introspection”. She said that people were unhappy with the Congress party.
“We are very disappointed over the results. We congratulate our opponents for victory. We will introspect and take all necessary action to rectify,” she said.
“This result calls for deep introspection,” she said. "We have to understand to look at the many reasons for this defeat. We have to look into the way we did not take our message to the people,” she said.
Gandhi scion and Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi also acknowledged defeat.
“The people have sent us a clear message. We have heard it... not just in our minds but in our hearts,” Gandhi said.
“The Aam Aadmi Party involved a lot of non-traditional people and we will learn from that...and will better it in a way you cannot imagine,” he said.