Get ready for the do-or-die bat­tle

Financial Chronicle - - EDIT, OPED, THE WORKS - — Arun Kumar Chaubey

WITH the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion’s an­nounce­ment of poll sched­ule for Hi­machal Pradesh and Gu­jarat as­sem­bly elec­tions, poll fever is likely to grip the na­tion, as win­ning the states would be a do-or-die bat­tle for the Congress as well as the BJP. But just be­fore these polls, re­sults com­ing from Gu­jarat mu­nic­i­pal­ity seats and pan­chayat sami­tis in Ma­ha­rash­tra have shown a strange para­dox.

The BJP, which still ap­pears to re­tain the mass ap­peal, man­aged to win 5 of 7 mu­nic­i­pal­ity seats across 7 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Gu­jarat by-elec­tions, be­sides cap­tur­ing one taluka pan­chayat seat. No­tably, the party has rea­son to cel­e­brate, as it had suf­fered its worst loss in lo­cal body polls in the state post Pati­dar com­mu­nity protest for reser­va­tion. The anger had helped the Congress to re­gain its lost ground in the state’s ru­ral ar­eas.

On the sim­i­lar lines, in Mahrash­tra’s gram pan­chayat polls BJP nom­i­nees re­port­edly got elected in 1,457 pan­chayat sami­tis as sarpanchs, fol­lowed by Congress (301), Shiv Sena (222) and NCP (194). The re­sults as­sume sig­nif­i­cance, as it was be­lieved that BJP would loose in the ru­ral polls. In­ter­est­ingly, Congress has also claimed vic­tory in Satur­day’s polls to 3,131 gram pan­chay­ats in 16 dis­tricts of Ma­ha­rash­tra. The state elec­tion com­mis­sion, how­ever, stated that it can’t de­clare party-wise re­sults as these elec­tions are not con­tested us­ing party sym­bols. No­tably, it was for the first time in the his­tory of gram pan­chayat polls that elec­tions for sarpanch post were held di­rectly.

The sce­nario is in­ter­est­ing to watch in the wake of all round crit­i­cism of the BJP-led gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre un­der prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, whose struc­tural re­forms of de­mon­eti­sa­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST has hit the eco­nomic growth.

Amidst this try­ing times, some key op­po­si­tion lead­ers find the op­por­tune mo­ment to ex­ploit the sit­u­a­tion and have given a call for unity among “sec­u­lar” par­ties to de­feat the BJP in the next Lok Sabha polls. Liken­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion to the Emer­gency, they claim that democ­racy is un­der threat but grassroot vot­ing pat­tern shows a dif­fer­ent pat­tern. For Modi’s op­po­nents, the need of the hour is to carve a dif­fer­ent ide­o­log­i­cal nar­ra­tive if they want to give a tough fight to him in 2019.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.