Good Seasonal Fortune for Congress

Almost all political parties make strategies. Congress party’s strategies plus silence have paid rich electoral dividends in the just concluded bye-elections. A disarrayed opposition especially the BJP has given a solid growth for the Congress. Left front is fastly getting wiped out in its bastion Bengal. Kerala gives verdict to Left and Congress alternatively. Naturally the next turn is for Congress. The most surprising outcome is for the BSP. The statue saddened state had given good number seats to the self-glorifying Behenji.

The Times of India writes (11 November 2009)

There is reason for the Congress-led UPA to feel happy about the bypoll results declared on Tuesday. The alliance has done well in West Bengal
and Kerala and has wrested the important Firozabad Lok Sabha seat in UP from the Samajwadi Party. Its performance in other states is a mixed bag. But the Congress and its allies can take satisfaction that the BJP hasn’t made any notable progress even in its strongholds like Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

A standout feature of the current round of elections is the decimation of the Left Front in the two states where it holds office. The LF has lost all but one of the 13 constituencies in West Bengal and Kerala that went to polls last week. Most of these seats previously had Congress or Trinamul Congress MLAs and, hence, the front may claim that the results don’t reflect a trend. Nevertheless, the LF has not been able to get its act together since the humiliating loss in the 2009 Parliament elections. The UPA almost swept both states then and has since maintained the trend. What must hurt the Left most is the defeat in Kannur in Kerala and Belgachia East in West Bengal. Trinamul won Belgachia East, the pocketborough of late CPM stalwart Subash Chakraborty, defeating his widow Ramola. In Kannur, a former CPM MP Abdullakutty defeated CPM heavyweight M V Jayarajan. Abdullakutty, who won the Kannur Lok Sabha seat for the CPM twice, was expelled from the party ahead of the Parliament elections in May and had joined the Congress. Though the Kannur assembly seat is a Congress stronghold, his success is likely to impact political undercurrents in this volatile region. Left leaders, however, were reconciled to a possible rout in Bengal and ran a low-key campaign. Clearly, the signs are ominous for the LF as the two states are set to face assembly polls in 2011.

A contrast to the Left’s predicament is the remarkable performance of the BSP in UP. The party fared badly in the 2009 Parliament elections, but has recovered well to justify its success in the 2007 assembly elections. It has bucked anti-incumbency and the Congress’s attempt to rebuild its base and has won a majority of the byelections since the Lok Sabha polls in May. The Congress may have re-emerged as an option in a Lok Sabha election, but seems to lack organisational network and grassroots leaders to take on regional players like the BSP and the SP in assembly contests.

The BJP’s stock has slipped further in UP. Not only has it failed to put up a fight in the bypolls, the party even lost its sitting Lucknow West seat to the Congress. With the state unit in disarray and the central leadership clueless about the way forward, the BJP has a lot to worry about. Its predicament is remarkably similar to that of the CPM.

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