The most awaited assembly elections results are out and there is a big tide of happiness in the Hindutva camp led by the RSS, which helped the BJP to sweep the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2017. The victory of the BJP in the two states, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, is shown as a sign of the people endorsing the government of Modi and his policies, including the economic disaster caused by the sudden demonetisation exercise.
Since the elections were held in five states including the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, it was supposed to provide a holistic view of the public mood and opinion in the five states of the country. The corporate media and its Hindutva masters rather confined the narratives around Uttar Pradesh only, where the BJP threw a serious challenge to the incumbent Samajwadi Party government and dethroned it.
The battle of Uttar Pradesh was also crucial for the BJP as it has been a laboratory of the Hindutva fascism and since 2013, the RSS has intensified a strong campaign in the state to polarise the lower caste, backward castes, and Dalits under the Hindutva umbrella.
Due to this overemphasis on the BJP’s performance in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, whose link with Modi’s fortune in 2019 is negligible, there is a deliberate attempt by the corporate media to downplay the poll results of other states where the BJP got nothing to feel happy about.
In this article we will analyse the assembly elections result of 2017, except Uttar Pradesh, to understand the political trend and what it holds for the people by each of the four states:
Review of Goa assembly elections
Goa was the turf of present day Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Narendra Modi asked the voters during his campaigning in the state that the victory of the BJP in the state will mean the victory of the former Chief Minister, who have installed a puppet, Laxmikant Parsare, to act as his proxy. The BJP’s parent body RSS faced a split in the organisation prior to the elections and tried to do a damage control in vain. The Congress threw a strong challenge to the BJP, while the latter kept working towards holding back its citadel from the attacks of the Congress, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, and the Shiv Sena, along with the breakaway faction of the RSS.
After the results of the Goa elections were out, it was found that neither the Congress nor the BJP has won anything to match the magic figure of 21 in the 40 seat assembly. In the Goa assembly elections 2017, the BJP won 13 seats and the Congress won 19, while the MGP and GFP won three seats each and the others also won three seats, which forms the vote bloc of nine seats that both the Congress and the BJP are trying to poach to form the next government. Though Laxmikant Parsare resigned from his position after the results were out, there are undercurrents in the state where Parrikar’s political future is at stake and the BJP is determined to form the government.
A Congress-led government in Goa would mean a serious setback for the BJP and Narendra Modi–Amit Shah clique’s agenda of flushing out the grand old party from the country. The desperate BJP will try to appease its former partner MGP and the GFP to ensure that it can form a coalition government to stop the Congress, while the Congress itself is too reluctant to give up an opportunity that it can use to topple the BJP’s rule in a state with its own strength; a jackpot in Modi-fied India post 2014.
Review of Manipur assembly elections
In a state that’s reeling under the juggernaut of New Delhi’s military rule, imposed through the draconian AFSPA, the elections always helped the pro-New Delhi forces to form governments by building up opportunist alliance with different local parties and organisations. The rule for Manipur is simple, if a party is a stern opponent of the draconian AFSPA and the deployment of Indian Army in the state, then that party cannot win elections, leave alone forming a government in the state.
The battle between the Okram Ibobi Singh and the BJP became intense in the Manipur assembly elections 2017 and for the first time the pro-New Delhi and Hindutva fanatic BJP managed to secure 21 seats out of 60 in the state assembly and the Congress despite scoring 28 seats, falls short of majority benchmark of 31 seats. Both parties may have to depend on the support of smaller regional parties, including the NPF, with which the BJP shares a very warm relationship, to form the next government.
Though the self-styled leader against AFSPA, Irom Sharmila Chanu fought the election this time, her outfit, PRJA, couldn’t manage to win any seats despite the AAP and the parliamentary left bloc supporting it. Chanu blamed the usage of muscle power and money power by the pro-New Delhi right-wing forces for her defeat and said that her outfit will again try to make a dent in the political landscape of the state that’s on one hand torn apart by military atrocities and on the other hand, suffers drastically due to the blockade imposed on it by various Naga factions.
The BJP made its debut in the state (its earlier MLA’s were swingers from the TMC) and it poses a threat to the way of life in the North Eastern state. The BJP may try to form a weak government with the support of other independents and by poaching Congress MLAs now, or they may allow the Congress to form a weak government and then challenge it by poaching MLAs at a later stage.
The victory of the BJP in Manipur will mean that the RSS’ shakhas will now function more vigorously in the state and incite communal tension between the ethnic tribals, the Christians, and the Hindu community. The RSS has already infiltrated deep inside the tribal heartland of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and the Hindutva outfit will use this victory of the BJP to expand and consolidate its base in Manipur and build up public support for the Indian Army’s de facto rule in the state.
Review of Punjab assembly elections
Punjab was a crucial state for the BJP, where it has ruled with its long-term partner Akali Dal since last one decade and helped the RSS and other Hindutva outfits to expand their base in the state. However, the anti-incumbency wave in Punjab was very high and it was the only state ruled by the BJP during the 2014 elections, where top BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, lost elections to AAP candidates.
The AAP had fixed its target in Punjab but failed to reap any benefits out of the extensive campaign in the state due to the unavailability of any credible face as the leader of the party in the state and a credible Chief Ministerial candidate. Fighting the elections by depending on the image of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP didn’t bother to promote any local leader, who is well acquainted with the issues of Punjab and could have provided any form of alternative agenda to the people.
Both the SAD-BJP and the Congress are dependent on the big feudal landlords and rich farmers for their existence in the state and a figure like Capt Amarinder Singh, who belongs to a former royal family and is an ardent supporter of the feudal production relation in the state, which saw rapid decline in agricultural income due to the severe agrarian crisis caused by the neo-liberal economic policies, was a natural choice for the feudal powers in the state.
The Congress managed to win 77 out of 117 seats, the debutant AAP managed to win 22 seats to be the first runner-up and the SAD-BJP alliance could only bag 18 seats, out of which three belongs to the BJP. The defeat in Punjab was a setback to the BJP’s policies that the SAD-BJP alliance implemented in full haste during their reign and pushed the state to the brink of a large agricultural crisis. The recent spurt of drug abuse in the state and the subsequent socio-economic problems it brought also caused the SAD-BJP alliance’s vote bank to erode and rendered it to the third position.
Among the five states that went to poll, the Congress can form a majority government only in Punjab and it’s a major victory for the party after it was virtually routed out after the 2014 general elections and Punjab is the sole one, where it managed to wrest control of a state government that was led by the BJP and its ally SAD. Though both Amit Shah and Narendra Modi will brush aside the defeat of the party in the crucial state, where Narendra Modi and Amit Shah tried their best to save the government led by Parkash Singh Badal from falling, the defeat in Punjab shows the blot on the fate of the BJP in the state, where the people has thumbed it down for the anti-people policies it had pursued so vigorously and also for the RSS’ attempts to incite communal violence in the state by polarising the Sikhs under the Hindutva umbrella.
Review of Uttarakhand assembly elections
The hill state has only two political parties – the Congress and the BJP; the BSP is an insignificant entity in the state. The anti-people policies of the Congress government led by Harish Rawat and the disarrayed organisational and political condition of the Congress helped the BJP to sweep the state elections riding the anti-incumbency waves.
In the 70 seats strong assembly, the BJP won an absolute majority by winning 57 seats and the Congress was left with 11 seats. The BSP lost all three seats it had won in the 2012 assembly elections in Uttarakhand. This victory of the BJP is a result of the Harish Rawat government’s soft-Hindutva policies and its anti-farmer, anti-people policies, and also a result of the BJP’s rapid appeasement of the upper-caste Hindu vote bank and strong campaigning using Hindutva tone in a state from where a large number of young men are employed in the army following the colonial era practice.
Anti-incumbency worked as a catalyst of change in the assembly elections
In all these four states the anti-incumbency wave played a crucial role in the assembly elections and except for Manipur, nowhere else the ruling party could return to power for a second term. The people voted against the BJP in the two states it was ruling and its defeat in Goa and Punjab indicates that the BJP is not so invincible as the Amit Shah-Narendra Modi clique would like the people to believe.
The result of Uttarakhand assembly polls was anticipated by the political observers of the country in advance and there was no one who would have gambled for the second term of Harish Rawat.
The status quo in Manipur and the rapid growth of BJP’s fortune in the state is a case that will worry the progressive and democratic forces of the country. Whoever among the Congress and the BJP will form the government, will make no difference to the current state of affairs of Manipur, neither will help in lifting the draconian AFSPA, rather they will strengthen the anti-democratic law to force the people of Manipur to subjugate their interests to that of New Delhi’s whims.
Apart from winning the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections riding on the anti-incumbency wave, the BJP and Narendra Modi seriously have nothing to feel happy about, rather the trend of the recently concluded assembly elections showed the rising tides of anti-incumbency waves and the BJP has to face it in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year, where it can still win the elections due to a poor and fragile opposition bloc with no organisational strength to match that of the BJP and the RSS.
The assembly election results of the five states showed one thing very clearly that whoever won or lost the polls, there will be no change in the neo-liberal economic policies under which the people are suffocating throughout the nation as both the BJP and its bete noire Congress religiously follows the prescription offered by the World Bank and the IMF and are determined to pursue the path that will lead India into a neo-colony of big foreign monopoly capital owned corporations and banking giants. The future will be dangerous for the people if they don’t start their struggle against these predatory policies and its advocates, the BJP and the Congress.