ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Boost for BJP's Sectarian Agenda

Verdict in Assam to lift Modi regime, ability of Congress to lead anti-BJP forces weakens.

The success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the elections to the legislative assembly in Assam will be projected as a big shot in the arm for Narendra Modi. This is the first time the BJP has come to power in north-eastern India and the strategy deployed is in keeping with its past practices. After the BJP’s humiliating electoral losses in Delhi in February 2015 and in Bihar in October 2015, the verdict in Assam is going to be predictably interpreted as an endorsement of the party’s majoritarian and divisive Hindutva agenda which it has used consistently, and which will surely be replicated in different forms in the run-up to the April 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP). What must be particularly gratifying for the BJP is the continued decline in the popularity of the Congress, which was expected to perform poorly in both Assam and Kerala. The fact that it has gained more from its alliance with the Left Front than the latter in West Bengal is small consolation.

For the left, its inability to make a dent in the support base of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) led by Mamata Banerjee should be a matter of considerable concern. Unlike in Kerala where the Left Democratic Front (LDF) put up an impressive performance, the story in West Bengal is quite different. Five years after suffering a humiliating defeat in its erstwhile “red bastion,” where the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led coalition had been in power for 34 long years, the left in West Bengal is yet to recover the lost ground; its already-despondent cadre is now further demoralised by the electoral outcome. As in West Bengal, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) led by incumbent Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu was able to buck anti-incumbency sentiments, clearly indicating that the taint of corruption and venality is yet to rub off the
AIADMK’s rival in the state, the DMK. However, the DMK’s improved performance means that it will be able to provide effective opposition to the AIADMK. The marginalisation of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam headed by “Captain” Vijayakanth in Tamil Nadu as well as the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by Badruddin Ajmal in Assam sends out a signal that in most Indian states, the polity is tending towards becoming more bipolar with two parties or two coalitions as principal rivals. Another message emanating from the assembly elections is the weakening ability of the Congress to lead any kind of coalition of political parties that is ranged against the BJP and forces of right-wing Hindu nationalism.

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