In terms of personalities, the biggest losers of 2012 are undoubtedly Mayawati and Rahul Gandhi.
Mayawati has lost her stunning mandate of 2007 when she crossed the half-way mark on her own. Now her very future looks uncertain and the simmering dissent within the BSP may well come to the fore.
Her Prime Ministerial ambitions for 2014 have been undone and that seems highly unlikely in case of a hung parliament.
One also wonders whether the Congress will choose to impose President’s Rule in UP or join hands with the SP to form the government there.
If a new government forms fast, then will it to take down statues of Mayawati and all the huge elephants, the symbol of the BSP. Will it also focus on development like many other states are doing? That would be good signs indeed for UP.
Not even Yuvraj of UP: Forget India, heir apparent Rahul Gandhi doesn’t seem to be able to carry even one state on his shoulders. If Rajiv Gandhi could get 404 seats in the 1984 Lok Sabha polls and Manmohan Singh could get 206 in 2009, Rahul could get nowhere near the top two in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2009, if one converted the Lok Sabha candidates into Assembly seats, then the Congress would have got 100 odd seats in UP. With the amount of hectic campaigning Rahul did, that number should have been maintained or gone up to 120-130 to show that there was indeed a pro-Rahul wave.
The worst part was that Rahul despite his youth and freshness in the old and stale world of politics played the same old caste card in the state to fall flat on his face. His phrases like “Haathi saara paisa kha gaya” (The elephant has eaten all the money) would be witty coming from a regional leader, but not from a dynasty which has produced three PMs.
Black flags greeted him at many places and at one rally, Congress leaders beat up protestors. Rahul is clearly no different than the dozens of others prime ministerial aspirants of the country.
Fourth Janata experiment looms: The biggest winners are the SAD in Punjab and SP in UP. That’s a clear shift towards regional players.
The BJP continues to be in the twilight zone where it could still collapse in the next two years or a boost could see it crossing the finishing line in 2014 or even earlier.
That seems to be one of the messages of 2012. Thanks to the strong anti-Congress sentiment throughout the country, Trinamool in particular and DMK also may want to distance themselves from the UPA to make sure that the anti-incumbency wave doesn’t hit them in 2014.
If the BJP falls short in the next polls, we could well have a fourth Janata experiment where a regional satrap will become a PM again. That would add to the political instability at the national level and the economic woes of the common citizen.
For the record, there have been three Janata experiments each lasting 2-3 years and each giving us two prime ministers.(1977-80: Morarji Desai & Charan Singh. 1989-91: VP Singh & Chandra Shekhar. 1996-98: HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.)
The Congress may well be all too happy to prop up a Third Front candidate with an eye on coming back to power in the next mid-term polls. That strategy worked in 1991 (also thanks to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination sympathy wave) and in 1998 it helped the NDA.
The next President of India: President Pratibha Patil’s term expires in July. Who will be the next President of India? These elections have become very crucial for that. With the Trinamool not playing ball with the Congress on many issues like the Lokpal, there is a chance that the ruling party may not be able to push its candidate.
If the Third Front puts up a strong presidential candidate, then the BJP may well be tempted to back him or her in a bid to keep a Congress choice out of the picture.
A dark horse like APJ Abdul Kalam could come to the fore.
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/
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