BJP won the semis by 2-3

The recently held Vidhan Sabha elections in five Indian states were touted to be the semi finals before the general elections which are expected to be held in March – April 2009. Most analysts have concluded that since Congress suceeded in forming the Government in three states, it has won this semi final has emerged stronger than BJP. But as usual, the devil is in the details.  

Of the three states won by Congress two are Delhi and Mizoram. These two states together account for just eight Lok Sabha seats which is three less than Chattisgarh which was not only retained by BJP but the party even increased its vote share defying anti – incumbancy factor. Congress suceeded in wresting Rajasthan from BJP but it managed to get only one percent more votes than BJP. This despite the fact that BJP had to face rebel candidates in as many as 60 constituencies and many of them won (fourteen independents won with a vote share of about 20% in the state).If  votes of the four big states in the polls (excluding Mizoram) are aggregated, it is clear that BJP got 38 % of total votes polled whereas the Congress got around 36% in these elections. Even if the Vidhan Sabha seats are aggregated, BJP has won more seats (BJP got 294 whereas the Congress got 279) than Congress in the five states even if one includes 32 seats won by Congress in Mizoram which sends just one MP to Lok Sabha. Infact the states won by BJP i.e MP and Chattisgarh account for 40 Lok Sabha seats whereas the states won by Congress i.e Rajasthan, Delhi & Mizoram account for 33 Lok Sabha seats. So the performance of BJP was far bettter than Congress both in terms of vote share and seats won. This despite the fact that BJP had the disadvantage of anti incumbency in the three bigger states.

 One of the other myth that was perteprated by analysts is irrelevance of internal security as a poll issue by citing the results of Delhi elections where Shiela Dikshit won, despite the fact that Delhi alsio faced serial blasts earlier this year. However, these analysts conviniently ignore that Delhi voters are aware of the fact that Shiela Dikshit does not control Police or any other law and order department as security is not a State subject for Delhi & it is directly controlled by Central Government. In Chattisgarh, of the 31 Naxal affected seats BJP won 26 seats mainly because of the its Government’s support to Salwa Judum, a people’s movement against Naxalism. Congress had promised to disband Salwa Judum and was routed in the Naxal affected areas. So internal security is indeed a big issue and would be a bigger issue in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The results of these elections clearly point towards Advantage BJP for Lok Sabha 2009.

The False Awakening Of Page 3

As if the terror attacks were not enough, we also had to bear Page 3 celebrities on TV and Newspapers after the attacks who suddenly realised that they too belong to India. This is not the first time that Mumbai or India has witnessed a terror attack but for the first time the elite has broken out of their cocoon.

Mumbai was attacked thirteen times in the last 16 years.  The latest attack on ten different places (nine in South Mumbai and one in Vile Parle) was not the biggest on the city. In 1993, 257 people lost their lives and more than 750 were injured whereas in 2006 around 181 were dead and and 890 injured. However it was the first time that India’s elite faced terror attack. It is ironical that the same movie actors who never had a problem working with Sanjay Dutt, an accused in 1993 blasts, were marching with candles after the recent attacks. Of course the candles were lighted only at the Oberoi and Taj despite the fact that more people lost their lives in the firing at CST station.

Better late than never. But it would have been good if their activism had generated some light instead of just heat. Clueless as to what should be their reaction after the attacks, the first thing that they did was bash politicians. SMSes and mails were forwarded requesting people not to vote &  stop paying taxes. Terrorists were equated to politicians. As if politicians come from a different planet.

The good thing is despite the tremendous air time the idiotic views of these P3P got, it hardly influenced the common people. In the Vidhan Sabha elections of the states that went to polls after the attacks, the polling percentage was higher than last elections. This probably happened because voters rightly feel that they are responsible for the Government that they get. We also saw some good examples of citizen activism when a group of citizens collected 30 lakh rupees to fund 100 Bullet free jackets for Mumbai Police. This group is certainly not just aware of its rights but also its duties.

We will hopefully see many such stories where common people not only exercise their right but also perform their duty towards the country in whatever way they can. Because our responsibility does not end by just voting in elections or paying our taxes.  Voting and paying taxes are necessary but not sufficient aspects of one’s duty towards country.