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Spectacular Show

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BJP’s return to power in UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur is nothing short of spectacular. With most number of seats in Goa, it should be able to ally with others to form a government. Very importantly, the voters have sent a message that performance counts – changing governments is not just a reflex. This should encourage governments around the country to perform. The opposition, too, should learn the important lesson that merely depending on anti-incumbency is not the way to regain power. The pro-incumbent wave is a silent one. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav’s approach of a visceral focus on caste and communal differences instigated a counter-polarisation, which is basically a rejection of negative politics.

In contrast, politics in Punjab has entered a new age with the outright rejection of the dominant parties, particularly the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal. Present as a viable alternative, the Aam Aadmi Party stole the show. The Congress was undone by the mishandling of the inner fractures by Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, as well as their Man Friday, Harish Rawat. Sidhu’s tantrums could not be contained and Channi failed to enthuse the voters, in particular his own community. SAD, on its part, made the fatal mistake of breaking with the BJP, which led to its rejection by a significant section of society. On the other hand, the pro-BJP sentiment in Uttarakhand ensured that AAP could not get a look in. Its problem was also the lack of credible leaders but if the Congress does not perform up to the standard this time around, the AAP is waiting its opportunity, enthused no doubt by the Punjab showing.

Khatima, in the meanwhile, shot itself in the foot by voting out CM Pushkar Singh Dhami. He may have fallen in the field but he did lead the party to victory. Along with the Modi factor, the prospect of having a young and forward looking leader most certainly influenced the state’s voters. Hopefully, the BJP will retain him as the Chief Minister and find an opportunity to get him elected to the House.

Expectedly, the BJP will undertake a review of how each parliamentary constituency performed and work out which MP can attract the votes on personal performance and appeal. If need be, a bad showing should lead to necessary changes for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The reasons for the relatively weaker showing in some areas of the plains need to be examined. It is also time for former CM Harish Rawat to step back from electoral politics. He has managed to get his daughter elected, that should be a farewell gift for him. It will mark a break for the state from the politics of the past, with the baton being passed on to another generation.