State Elections, A View From Neutral Perch

India is in election mode. Four states are in the grip of election fever. Parliamentarians who cannot arrive at a consensus on most issues, unanimously agreed to end parliament session two days early. Members would like to participate in election campaign. 

Among four states going to poll, BJP may have a shot at forming government in Assam. Looks like BJP learnt its lesson from debacles in Delhi and Bihar. Faces of local leaders were projected. Exposure to prime minister Modi was kept to essential. Despite anti-incumbency against congress rule, a large minority population may give BJP strategists sleepless nights. Recent talk of forming J&K style coalition government with AIDUF may hint at such unease.

Other state where BJP can hope to open an account is  Kerala. Prime Minister has raised poll bugle using Augusta Westland, Gandhi family and corruption. Visibly riled congress party has demanded an apology form prime minister. Obviously, congress forgot that in Gujarat battle against Modi was fought using innuendo, hearsay and rumours. What is sauce for the gander, must be good for the goose. 

In southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, two nonagenarians are contesting for chief minister’s post. Like king Yayati of Mahabharata, 91 year old, visually impaired, wheel chair bound M Karunanidhi wants to enjoy power. His 61 year old son M K Stalin has no choice but to wait. In Kerala,  another  92 year old is in the fray.  Senior CPM leader V S Achutanandan mocked swacch bharat program of Prime Minister, ” if you do not have enough to eat, you may not need a toilet”. Surprising, after a long stint in power why left leadership is debating hunger and cleanliness in a state that is high on human development index? Time will tell,    of senility and sensibility who will prevail?

In West Bengal, TMC juggernaut is likely to move on. Combined left and congress may give TMC run for money. BJP on the other hand has no mass leader to match TMC leadership. Right of centre ideology of BJP may not have many takers in innately left leaning Bengal.  Anti-minorityism and death of Netaji Bose can fetch you only so much dividend in a state where minoritiy community has a sizeable presence. BJP would need another decade of hard work to establish its presence in Bengal.

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