The messages that politicians choose to discern from election results reduces to a joke the standard query about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. Like all by-elections the ones just concluded to ten assembly seats across several states cannot be written off as inconsequential, yet they are far from a game-changer and the mixed bag of results would be very much on expected lines.
Yet the netas have been quick on the draw to project major gains and losses ~ even when having to settle for the second spot in races in which there are no “silver medals” to be won. While the BJP did win five of the ten contests, its ousting the Left Front from the number-two position in the Kanthi Dakshin constituency in West Bengal is being touted as a performance that could threaten Mamata Banerjee’s stranglehold of the state. But the prize for feasting on crumbs would go to the Congress, which sees its beating the Aam Aadmi Party down to the third place in Rajouri Gardens in West Delhi as a sign of “resurgence” ~ linking that with Capt Amarinder Singh’s showing in the assembly polls in Punjab.
The Congress’ local show-boy, Ajay Maken, conveniently forgets that the BJP wrested that seat from the AAP, and that his outfit still remains ejected from the Old Secretariat ~ not that there is much weight to the BJP contention that it is the “beginning of the end” for brash Kejriwal and Co. By most accounts the AAP surrendered the seat when it drafted its MLA to take on the Badals.
As far as the Capital is concerned a more authentic account of political popularity will be available after the 23 April polls to the three civic bodies ~ trifurcated as part of Sheila Dikshit’s effort to reduce BJP’s clout.
That move backfired, the BJP established control of the corporations. The AAP did project itself as ousting the BJP, even promised to abolish property tax, but it could find itself deflated after its Rajouri Garden candidate was trounced into forfeiting his security deposit. As per present indications, the civic polls will be a BJP-AAP confrontation, but the Congress is hoping that the “resurgence” of which it entertains notions will not dissipate and confirm that it has lost relevance in local affairs.
As in most civic polls, all parties have been plagued by complications over ticket distribution, defections and so on. In that sphere the BJP being led by someone as “tough” as Amit Shah would have less about which to worry, and Kerjriwal does have some weight to throw about. The Congress’ “superstar”, Rahul Gandhi, has shown little interest in the upcoming affair ~ after all no ‘Yuvraj’ dirties his hands in municipal matters.