Funnily somehow almost everybody is happy with the Uttar Pradesh results.
The Samajwadi Party of course has every reason to smile like a Cheshire cat. The BJP is happy that Rahul Gandhi’s campaign flopped in the state. The Congress is happy that the BJP hasn’t done too good either.
Some sections within the BSP may also use this occasion to assert themselves. Mayawati had sacked a record number of ministers, who were quite miffed, before the polls.
The exit pollsters are happy because they almost all had put the SP ahead, the exact number of seats be damned. But still it makes you wonder about how they operate.
UP was predicted as a hung mandate, but the SP romped home. Punjab was too close to call, but the SAD alliance won hands down.
Uttarakhand was supposed to see a strong anti-incumbency, but ended up being much much closer.
Earlier also Tamil Nadu was too close to call (with some putting the DMK slightly ahead), but Jaya got a relative landslide in the end.
In earlier polls even Narendra Modi was supposed to lose Gujarat, but his stranglehold over the state has lasted more than a decade now.
It’s easy to be a psephologist in India. First make your prediction. Then explain why it went wrong. Either way you get paid.
A landslide being called “too close to call” before the polls is unpardonable for any pollster in the world.
'You are worse than me'
At the national level, if any other party comes to power other than the Congress or BJP, then the country is in real trouble. Nobody else can give the same kind of vision and stability. The markets and bureaucracy will also not be convinced of their long-term viability.
Yet instead of trying to convince us that “We’re the better party”, the focus is always on “They’re the worse party.” This game is getting lower and lower.
Whenever the issue of corruption comes up, both parties gleefully point to each other instead of answering to the nation, which elects them in the first place. In the 2G case, IT & Telecom Minister Kapil absurdly blamed the BJP for a scam that had taken place in UPA1.
When Sibal tried to censor the Internet, the BJP went ballistic. When BJP legislators were caught in the Karnataka assembly watching porn, Sibal couldn’t hide his delight.
The same thing is happening now with each party being more interested in the other’s tally in UP. While BJP is covering Uttarakhand with Goa, it’s the other way around for the Congress.
Either way, at third and fourth position, they have been proved the worst major parties in UP.
In need of a CM candidate
The Samajwadi Party has two clear chief ministerial candidates: Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav. They romped home more than comfortably. Mayawati is still the CM candidate for the BSP and it is also the chief opposition party in the state now.
That way no-one was sure who they would get in the state if they voted for the BJP or Congress despite the likes of Uma Bharti campaigning.
Would it be a good idea for both national parties to announce a party president who is also the candidate for the CM’s post and begin from scratch? That might be an idea worth considering as both parties have nothing to lose.
Will the Rahul brigade stop?
After the stunning comeback of the UPA in 2009, a section of the Congress gave heir apparent sole credit and were pushing him for the PM’s post despite the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and NREGA had more to do with it than anything else.
Now will the Rahul brigade pipe down? Certain spokespersons had become embarrassing cheerleaders for Rahul off late.
With Sonia Gandhi’s health becoming a mystery (nobody really goes abroad for “routine” check-ups), Rahul taking over as Congress president would be a more workable idea.
That would make uncertain who the next Prime Minister or President of India is. Manmohan is turning 80 this year and Pratibha or any other Congress candidate may not get the consensus to make it through this time.
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/
Also read: Rahul Gandhi & Mayawati: Biggest losers of the season
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