And the results are out. BJP has swept UP and Uttarakhand. Congress has won back Punjab. And the Manipur and Goa assemblies have gone the way of Afsal Guru; that is to say, they’re hung.
Of course the ramifications of this ballot are clear. The BJP no longer needs to worry about the Rajya Sabha which, with their win in UP is finally saffron-ized. At this point it’s pretty clear that there isn’t a single pan-India leader left who could possibly challenge Modi. The king has consolidated his empire.
With the loss of UP, the opposition has pretty much lost any hopes of coming to power again in 2019 for one very simple reason: There is no opposition.
So does this mean we’re going to have to resign ourselves to being lorded over by the “donkeys from Gujarat”? Well pretty much. Except that we won Punjab. And the only hope the Congress and the rest of the left have of ever beating the right is to see what worked there and what failed in UP.
Any political analyst worth his salt will tell you that everyone hates the party that’s ruling. In Punjab, that meant the SAD and in UP that meant the SP. But that’s good for Congress right? People will hate BJP. They will surely vote Congress. Yeah, not really.
Anti-incumbency will only get you so far. People want change and unfortunately the Congress isn’t it. After all, what are the options in front of us? A mad man or a child.
The entirety of the INC’s campaign has been focused on criticizing Modi but political name-calling (while it is something I personally love doing) isn’t going to convince anyone. The people of India need to have a good alternative.
In Punjab, people were sick and tired of corruption and drugs and the Congress was able to harness this sentiment to convince people that they would end corruption and the Badal-sponsored drug trade. Whether they manage it or not is a different matter. What matters is that people were willing to buy it out of desperation. Telling people that the road they’re on has holes in it won’t get them to switch tracks, not unless you show them an alternative route.
So there you have the lesson to take home from these polls. People, at least a large number of people, are positively pissed at Modi. But unless the Left finds a leader who they can say would be better, the BJP will continue in power.