The Assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry have yielded unexpected results. The victory of Mamata Bannerjee in West Bengal and Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu by a huge margin must have surpassed their expectations as well. The thumping victory registered by the Congress in Assam was also unexpected. The party won by a two-third majority in the state for the third consecutive time. The result of the Assembly election might have given a toe-hold to the Congress to bask in the victory glory but the advice of the strategists’ of the Congress clinging to the DMK during the election made them face embarrassing consequence. During the second term of the UPA government, the Congress in alliance with the DMK had started to run its government when the 2G spectrum scam raised its head. This scam proved to be its undoing in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

The reason behind decision of the Congress to stick to the DMK is yet unknown despite the support from the Samajwadi Party having adequate number of MPs was already in existence. In the last few decades, it has been observed in Tamil Nadu that the AIADMK and the DMK come to power after every alternate election. But this year the Karunanidhi family has to bite dust as the people expressed their protest against them in light of 2G spectrum scam. The results show that the people in Tamil Nadu were not ready to accept corruption-ridden Karunanidhi family at any cost. The election results may prove to be the end of Karunanidhi’s political career with the strong possibility of his family feud coming to the fore. The possible chances of resurrection of the Congress in Tamil Nadu suffered a major setback as the party failed to garner even 10 seats in the Assembly elections. This was perhaps due to the close tie-up between the Congress and the DMK despite its misrule in the state.

Even Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s Tamil Nadu campaign could not save his drowning youth brigade, which failed to register a signal victory. This is a big blow to his endeavour. He received a similar shove in Kerala where only 8 out of 18 candidates of his youth team could register a win. One big reason why Rahul’s charisma failed to attract votes in the state is former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan’s popularity. Rahul Gandhi’s sarcastic comment on Achuthanandan’s age fetched him the ‘Amul Baby’ tag. Although the Congress successfully formed government in Kerala, its miserable performance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is an open secret. Undoubtedly, unconditional support to the DMK was a strong reason behind its dismal defeat.    

West Bengal witnessed the demolishment of the 34-year-rule of the Left parties by Mamata Banerjee. There was a time when it was believed that the Left parties have their cadres seated in every nook and corner in West Bengal who do not let their voters sway away from the party’s grip. But Mamata’s fighting spirit forced the Left to bow down. The defeat faced by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and many of his ministers; especially Finance Minister and Industries Minister reflect a remarkable disarray to the Left parties in the elections. The CPI-M which led the Left parties is now in the third place. It will be a sore for the Left to come down to the streets after ruling the state for 34 long years. The Left took over the control of the state when an anti-Indira Gandhi wave rippled across the country in the wake of emergency. Now, there is a wave against the Left itself.

The way developments were stalled in West Bengal by the Left parties is known to all. Today’s Bengal not only cries for development but also needs to secede from the Left ideology. The founding country of Left ideology, Soviet Union, had witnessed the death of Left philosophy long back but its supporters in India had kept it alive in Bengal. The majority of masses in Bengal will, for the first time, witness a new form of governance in the state. Obviously, new expectations will lead to insurmountable burden over the newly elected Trinamool Congress. To an extent, Mamata Bannerjee sought backing from the Maoists to win election. In such a situation, she might put a pressure on the government to stall the anti-Maoists operations. Many-a-times, Mamata has been the part of the Central government as a Minister but this is the first time when she has got the state’s reins in her hand. How long will it take for Mamata to free Bengal’s bureaucracy from the clutches of Left ideology is a matter of curiosity for the entire nation? She is a firebrand as well as hot-tempered. Her protest against land acquisition in Singur compelled Tata to shift Nano factory from Bengal to Gujarat might not have affected farmers, but it has closed the doors to industrial investments in the state.

The unexpected success registered by the Congress in Assam is due to Tarun Gogoi. The people of Assam favoured to keep those away from the rule who had once climbed to the power after their violent movement. People in the state want peace which the Congress has been providing them in the past 15 years.

The BJP had fielded large number of candidates in all the five states, but barring Assam, where it gained only 5 seats, it failed to even open its account in the southern states and West Bengal. Pranab Mukherjee mocked at the BJP’s debacle and received a curt reply from the latter. But the BJP should realise that this is the time for introspection. After all, why has it not been able to establish its identity in these states despite 20 years of sincere efforts? The BJP is a national party and its performance in the next Lok Sabha elections will depend a lot on how it performs in the non-Hindi speaking states? Albeit the Central government’s banking on the win in the recent Assembly election to lesser its political woes, the Congress has to forego such conclusions. It has been witnessed that while the UPA-I government was bogeyed under the constant Left pressure, the UPA-II government could not propel its economic reforms due to Trinamool Congress. However Mamata, in the role of a Railway Minister has failed to help the nation. She instead used the ministry for the election campaign. Now that the Trinamool Congress shall not require help from the Congress to form a government in Bengal, the chances of the former showing more tantrums to the Centre is likely precise. It will not come as a surprise if Mamata pulls in one or two more Ministries under her to help the cause of development in Bengal. All these are likely to aggravate the Centre’s problems. The increase in the interference by the Trinamool Congress in the functioning of the Central government will not be a surprising event. If this transforms into reality then the Congress will be at the receiving end of all the woes.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on May 15 in Dainik Jagran, 2011 translated by the English Editorial)