The much debated and long awaited poll results for five state assembly elections are out in open and when most of the trends have become stable it is very much safe to read between the lines of the nature of the verdict of the people of these states.
Since morning news channels are flooded with analysis and commentaries on the results and most of them suggest these results as another route for the Congress and triumph for the BJP to its slogan towards “Congress Free India”. Some of them suggest it is a gift for Narendra Modi on completion of his second year in office after two successive electoral defeats last year in Delhi and Bihar. Some News channels discussed in length the failure of the experiment of the alliance between Congress and Left which happened to be disaster for the CPM more than Congress.
News Channels which these days not only confine themselves to present the facts and opinion of the people on the ground but sometimes take the liberty to use their newsroom discussion to suggest the political parties for their future strategy or suggest to them for their future course of action and in pursuance to that ongoing trend most of the news channels keep suggesting the political parties what to take away from these results and how to move further.
Apart from these suggestions and discussions there are few other points and inferences which can be drawn from these results.
- These poll results suggest the increasingly growing more localized nature of Indian politics. The poll results of every state which were polled are very much depend on their local factors and credibility of local leadership and no pan national inferences can be drawn other than that despite all the rhetoric and claims BJP has not been able to create serious inroads in southern states even their electoral performance in Kerala is much less to their expectations given the fact that Prime Minister himself campaigned in this state with serious note and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley released the vision document in the state and claimed that their alliance will break the bipolar character of the state and will provide a third alternative to the people of the state of Kerala and in this background the opening of account for the BJP cannot be a solace for other than academic discussions , and in the same breath their inability to grow themselves as serious player in West Bengal is another indicator that all the debate around “ Nationalism” or “ Demographic imbalance or sometimes called invasion” has not been able to generate any wave in these poll bound states to change the social and religious character of these state to cultivate it into political capital . The politics in most of these states have been centered on local factors and local leadership as well as tradition.
- The verdict of these states are very much contradictory and can’t be correlated or extrapolated to other states as per example the political narrative of Assam victory of BJP cannot be stretched to its border state West Bengal in the same way the decimation of Left in West Bengal cannot be attributed to the ideological defeat of left in the country because the much hardcore and ideological left of Kerala has returned to power with much bigger and strong mandate.
- The poll results in TamilNadu have been even more interesting. Two contradictory things have came out in these results, In more than two decades it has happened first time that incumbent chief Minister have been able to retain the power but unlike other elections when winning party would have been able to enjoy the thumping majority in this election the ADMK is confronted with strong and resurgent opposition of DMK .
- It would be immature and too early to read any trend for general elections of 2019 out of these poll results. The most striking feature which these states results have shown up is the churning and shifts in the ideological positions and changes the faces who own it. In Assam for last two elections Tarun Gogoie had took a soft ideological position on illegal immigrant issue and made distance from Badruddin Azamal’s AIDUDF and it benefitted him in last two elections but in this election he was confused on this front and like general elections of 2014 he overrated the bulk support of Minorities and took it for granted and indulged in negative campaign to stop BJP and this ideological shift damaged him badly along with anti incumbency and internal fight in his own party.
In West Bengal Mamta Banerjee occupied the political space of centrist Congress and Left and emerged as new left to centre ideological and political power centre. So it would be wrong to assume that left has decimated in WB on the contrary the face of left has changed in this state from CPM to Mamta Banerjee.
One other shift has taken place in West Bengal the non ideological urban Middle class which has voted for BJP in general elections in 2014 did not stand solidly behind the party in this election and due to this shift Congress benefitted more in alliance with left and become the main opposition party in state assembly which could worry BJP in long term which was eying for that opposition space in state.
In TamilNadu the succession war in Karunanidhi family for last few years had created a political vacuum and some other Dravidian parties were trying to fill into this vacuum but the 2016 election results shows that Karunanidhi’s son Stalin has emerged winner in the succession war and he has not only restructured his party but has earned and commands the respect and loyalty among their cadres and it has helped him to gain the popularity among the masses in state and the resurgent DMK with young leadership of Stalin will shrink the possibility of role of any alternative political force in TamilNadu other than ADMK and DMK and in near future also the political character of state will be more bipolar in its nature.
The state results of Kerala have too not shown any radical shift or transition from its traditional political and social nature and the bipolar character of the state politics is the story of this state as well.