Well, the election results were out on 16 May and Dr. Manmohan Singh made history by becoming only the second Prime Minister after Jawahar Lal Nehru to be elected for a consecutive second term. Though much has been said about the results and thousands of articles written about the analysis of the results, I am writing it now taking just a little more time than the govt. took for Cabinet formation :P
1. For me, the biggest surprise of the election has been the state of Uttar Pradesh. The Congress, which had no organisational base in the state and decided to contest elections on its own without any alliances, won 21 seats!! It became the second largest party in the state defeating Mayawati's BSP which won the Assembly elections by a stumping majority. So why did Congress win? I think the Varun Gandhi factor played a huge role. The Muslims vote to keep the BJP out and they knew that Mayawati would align with the BJP to fulfill her own ambitions. Moreover,the SP aligning with Kalyan Singh also pushed some votes to the Congress and the biggest of them all the Rahul Gandhi factor (more on it later).
2. The BJP is in tatters, the internal tussle going on between the party members, the leadership crisis within the party, the dalliances about Modi being a PM material, the negative campaigning against Manmohan Singh, the Varun Gandhi hate speech and more importantly the selection of wrong candidates helped the BJP to lose. They have been wiped out in all metros except Ahemdabad and Bangalore. All 7 seats in Delhi went to the Congress. They should have given the tickets to some better people. Like Arun Jaitley from New Delhi, Sushma Swaraj from South Delhi or Madan Lal Khurana from West Delhi.. at least then they wouldn't have been wiped out so badly. Wherever they presented a development agenda they have won, like in Jharkhand, Chattisgharh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar. They focused on the wrong issues.
3. More than the BJP's defeat it was a decisive verdict against the Third Front. The Left Front has been mauled in their bastion of West Bengal by Mamta Bannerjee and in Kerala by the Congress. The egoistic positions that Prakash Karat took on the nuclear deal and the ideological compromises they made did the party in. Ironically, he said that Congress was living in a fool's paradise..now see who is living in a fool's paradise. What does the Left have in common with the AIADMK? There were no prospects of stability that is why the Third Front did so terribly. The TRS attended a NDA rally after joining the Third Front!!
4. The Modi factor- Narendra Modi's charisma did not work. He was not allowed to campaign in Bihar by their own ally.What will happen to him now? It would be foolish to write him off.. Much surprises await us..
5. The biggest factors that worked for the Congress were the clean image of Dr. Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Dr. Singh's stand on the nuclear deal showed that he is not a weak PM and he would not compromise India's interest. Yes, he may not a person who gives inspiring speeches like Barack Obama but he works and people saw that work. Rahul Gandhi, who was called a fool for going alone in UP and Bihar and was accused of political naivete at his press conference emerged as the star campaigner. People saw his honesty and his work. Yes, he may be a dynast waiting to be PM some day but as he says just because he is a product of the system that doesn't mean he cannot change the system. The Youth Congress candidates put up by him won everywhere. His magic worked in UP. He is trying to bring inner party democracy to the Congress. It was a vote for stability and a vision that he tried to bring to the people. But now the Congress has to deliver.This election no doubt marks the emergence of Rahul Gandhi and possibly we will see a 2014 battle between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
The Indian voter always always surprises and nobody can take him for granted. "Eventually the people know what is best for them" said Sonia Gandhi after the results. I couldn't agree more :)