New BJP wave sinks Congress
The win of BJP in Assam may have an impact on Bangladesh as Sarbananda Sonowal, who is set to be the chief minister there, announced that sealing the border to stop infiltration will be one of his biggest challenges.
After winning the battle of ballots in the assembly election in Assam, the BJP leader yesterday came up with the announcement.
His announcement reflected the views of the BJP leaders who while campaigning had claimed millions of Muslim immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh will be stripped of their right to vote.
By raising the issue, they tried to exploit Assam's Hindus sentiments who alleged that they had lost jobs and government benefits and welfare schemes to those who've crossed over.
Therefore, the win of the BJP in Assam may have an implication for Bangladesh and the announcement of the would-be chief minister indicated it.
Such a situation never happened in the last 15 years when the Congress was in power in Assam.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, termed his BJP's victory in Assam "exceptional, historic by all standards and phenomenal".
His reactions say he was in a jubilant mood, after counting of votes showed BJP was set to comfortably win. Modi did not waste time to be on Twitter before noon to congratulate BJP leaders in Assam.
This may surprise someone as to why Modi appeared so jubilant after a win in a state-level election.
The records, however, tell the story.
Just five years ago, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won only five out of 126 seats in the state election of Assam. In this election, it won 86 seats, well past the 64 needed to form a state government.
This win now empowers the BJP to form the government along with polls partners AGP, first time in the history of Assam.
This win, according to political analysts in India, will open windows for BJP to expand its political influence in the northeast and beyond its traditional strongholds in the northern and western parts of India.
Political analysts pointed out that this win was sort of a repeat of the BJP's 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the party had managed to win seven out of the 14 seats in Assam raising a hope of capturing the seat of power in the assembly polls.
That happened because of the Modi wave that swept the country.
But the Modi wave could not prevent the BJP's debacle in Delhi and Bihar elections last year. The humiliating defeat generated scepticism that the charisma of Modi was waning.
The BJP had changed its strategy to win Assam.
This is also the first time in Assam politics when the BJP had announced its own chief minister candidate, union minister Sonowal, to fight three-time chief minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi.
According to political analyst Ashok Malik, the BJP did not over-invest the PM's political capital. Modi travelled to Assam only three times to address public meetings.
"It focused on local leaders, themes and issues. The bombast and rhetoric of Bihar, the playing up of so-called national controversies, was avoided," Malik, a senior fellow of Observer Research Foundation, wrote for NDTV yesterday.
"It was a tightly-controlled campaign that did not allow the Congress to divert attention from the debate on local governance and bring in extraneous concerns, as the JD (U)-RJD alliance managed to do so successfully in Bihar."
There is more good news for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as it opened its account in Kerala and increased its tally in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where the party had marginal presence in the state politics.
Drum beats of the celebration in the BJP camp may be painful for the Congress as it has become the biggest looser in the state-level elections.
"The Congress suffered huge setbacks in the five states where results of the assembly elections are being announced on Thursday," said The Hindu in a report.
"It lost Assam to the BJP for huge margins, while the Left Front trounced the Congress-led UDF in Kerala," said The Hindu.
Congress could not do well in Tamil Nadu. Its alliance with the DMK did not make any major impact and the AIADMK-led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is to retain the power in the state.
In Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the partnerships that were struck in desperation produced no joy for the Congress, commended NDTV.
"Its odd coupling with the Left in Bengal, whom it fought against in Kerala, was thoroughly rebuffed."
In Tamil Nadu, the alliance with the DMK failed to evict J Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister, though the state has a 32-year-record in not re-electing a government for a consecutive term.
The loss in Kerala, which see-saws habitually between the Congress-led coalition and the Left Front, may have been foreseen; but the scale of the defeat, with several Congress ministers losing their constituencies, somewhat breaks the mould in the coastal state, said NDTV.
In West Bengal too, the party's experiment to form an alliance with the Left was rejected by the people. The Trinamool Congress-led by Mamata Banarjee won the State by huge margins.
After the humiliating defeat in the Assam election, some Congress leaders spoke for promoting Rahul Gandhi to the post of party president.
But the previous experience is not pleasant. Gandhi was not named as Congress's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 parliamentary election. He, however, led the campaign. The party scored poorest-ever result with winning only 44 seats in Lok Sabha.
Except an alliance win in Bihar last year, the Congress has been an electoral hot mess since the national polls.
The Congress has only good news in Punducherry, union territory of India. Congress-DMK alliance won 17 of 30 seats in the Punducherry Assembly.
This win according to The Hindu, is providing a silver lining in an otherwise gloomy scenario for the Congress.
The Hindu further said: "Each successive election seems to reinforce that India's oldest party is no longer a contender even as the lead opposition player; instead, it will be up to an arrangement of regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, J Jayalalithaa and Nitish Kumar to counter the BJP for the next national election in 2019.”