The Slippery ‘Hand’ ✋

New Delhi, Dec 5: The elections in five states concluded and BJP bagged three out of five contests. Congress however lost two states from their hand namely Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan. BJP was able to continue the term in Madhya Pradesh for a record fifth time. Moreover, Congress was able to continue in Telangana under the Telangana Rashtra samiti. Interestingly in Mizoram, sidelining the forecast of a hung parliament the Zoram People Front was able to secure majority with 27 seats in 40 seats assembly defeating the Mizo National Front so called ally of BJP in the State.

BJP accredited its victories to the charismatic persona of PM which swayed people to believe in the promises made in the states. On the other hand Congress leadership said it will continue to fight with its ‘vichardhara’ against the ruling government. These elections also marked the near ousting of the opposition for BJP from the ‘Hindi-heartland’ with maiden adversary in Nitish Kumar-led Bihar.

In Chhattisgarh even the ’76 percent quota issue’ did nothing for the ruling Bhupesh Bhagel led Congress regime. Also an investigation by ED is underway for payment of ₹508 crore to Shri Bhupesh Baghel by Mahadev Betting App. The corruption allegation by BJP on Congress in recruitment of officers via CGPCS is also duly noted by the Chhattisgarh high court. Allegedly it has been claimed favouritism has been shown to relatives and close associates of Congress in the states. The Congress failure to address the issue of ‘Jal, Jungle, Jameen’ and the not-so-effective implementation of Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas(PESA) Act was another setback for Congress in the State.

In Rajasthan, the controversy around RPSC with reference to eight examinations conducted between 2019 and 2022, paperleaks muddled the image of Congress Government in the State. Also women safety was a major issue on which the parties clashed in the state. Ashok Gehlot led Congress pointed finger towards central agencies for being a puppet of the centre. The ED raids on State’s Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra’s premises and summoning of Gehlot’s son in a foreign exchange violation case were made basis of the allegation.

Congress was unable to dethrone BJP in Madhya Pradesh where the fight was on women issues, OBC factor (state population comprises 50 percent OBCs). Mr Prime Minister praised tribal queen Rani Durgavati in multiple poll events on her 500th birth anniversary (tribals make 21percent of the State’s population). The foundation stone of Sant Ravidas temple with project costing ₹100 crore to sway the SC population of the state (17percent of the population and 35 out of 230 seats are reserved for SCs in the state). The problems revolving around farmer section of Madhya Pradesh, which are about 70 percent of the total population of the states was also an issue contested by both the parties. The 2018 Congress led15-month-tenure was possible only because of the police firing on farmers in Mandsaur. Unemployment was a prominent issue raised by the parties during the assembly elections in the state.

With general elections due in next year the assembly polls were like raincheck for the Congress. Safe to conclude that Congress has lost its bargaining power whatsoever. Congress prez Mallikarjuna Kharge said party will prepare fully for the general elections along with the INDIA parties. With ‘Mega event’ of Indian democracy around the corner, Congress must rethink its strategy and alliances along with tussles within INDIA.

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