Congress Decimated

The final results of the parliamentary elections in India, which were held over a period of more than a month, are finally out. This time the Indian voter has voted decisively and BJP has emerged as the single largest party, having crossed the 50% mark on its own. Along-with its allies, its seat tally is at a comfortable 330 odd seats. This is the first time since 1984 that a single party in India has crossed the 272 mark on its own. Congress party on the other hand has faced its worst defeat in any Indian election, post independence. It has not even managed to cross the 50 seat mark. It has scored about 160 less than what it scored in the 2009 elections.

Political commentators and analysts will write about these results for some time to come and everyone will have his/ her own understanding and analysis of this verdict. Infact this result, like any other election result cannot be interpreted in just one single way. But there are certain clear takeaways from this decisive BJP victory and a huge drubbing for Congress.

This election came in the backdrop of ten year old UPA rule. While in UPA I, Congress had just 144 seats, but it managed to run the country effectively during its first term which ended in 2009. The economy was looking up and India was registering eight percent plus GDP growth. In 2009, the Indian electorate returned Congress and the UPA to power, expecting better performance from it. But this time, the Congress and its UPA allies just frittered away the opportunity. The world was awash with cheap credit during the time period 2003-2008, during which India registered strong economic growth. A big part of this growth could be attributed to this cheap credit which was available round the globe. But during 2008, the global economic system almost collapsed with many major American financial institutions at the verge of closure. Suddenly the flow of cheap credit stooped and India also began to feel the pinch. With sky high expectations from the people, UPA II found it extremely difficult to deliver on its poll promises. The job market began to shrink and inflation started creeping up. Infact high inflation was a hall mark of the UPA II Govt. Add to that a series of scams that began to unfold with first 2G scam coming to light. It was followed by the Common Wealth Games scam, where fingers were pointed at the then Congress Govt. in Delhi. The Coalgate was top follow these scam, where coal mines were allotted to private businessmen for a song, without any due regard to competitive bidding.

These scams coupled with an indifferent Govt attitude to people’s miseries like price rise and job loses fuelled a general feeling of resentment against the ruling coalition. What further added to people’s frustrations was lawlessness, especially violence against women which was epitomized by the Delhi gang rape in December 2012. Delhi was under Congress rule and even at the Centre, the coalition was led by Congress party. Both the Delhi Govt and the Central Govt failed to show any empathy and sensitivity towards the protesting people, who were demanding better policing and stricter laws against sexual violence. The scenes of police lathi charging the protesters in Delhi on those foggy December days left a bad taste in people’s memory. The results declared on May 16 were a reflection of people’s frustrations and resentment against a Govt and party which is still mired in the past and is not willing to face the ground realities. Among many other things, this vote was against dynastic power and politics of entitlement.

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