I am pleased with the election results. I wanted the UPA to come back and I knew that they would. I was expecting Congress alone would bag 170 seats. But they have made it to 200! Even the bookie market knew who was going to come to power again, the bhang against Manmohan Singh was Re. 1 while that against Advani was 2.50.
I was all for UPA because of many things. Most importantly, Dr. Manmohan Singh. I am full of admiration for him. He is an acclaimed scholar and economist with a brilliant academic and professional track record. A workaholic who keeps a very low profile. People who have seen him from close quarters say, India has never had such a great PM in its history and probably won’t get another. In fact, he is one of the best leaders in the world today. My salutes to Sonia Gandhi for presenting India with a very able and completely non-political person like Dr. Singh as the country’s leader.
If a technocrat like Dr. Singh has raised Cong’s prospects among urban voters, schemes like the loan waiver for farmers and the rural employment guarantee have paid off well in the rural base. This is where the UPA had done well. They didn’t glorify the fact that India became a trillion-dollar economy during their regime, thus playing safe not to repeat the India shining mistake committed by the NDA in 2004.
Here in Bengal, the Left has faced a terrible rout. 30 years of misrule and too much pride – it’s time for them to go. The biggest problem the Left faces these days is a very strong electronic media. More than half a dozen Bengali news channels vying to break news have made it extremely difficult for the ruling CPM to cover up facts. Three blunders the Left have committed – Nandigram, Singur and the Rizwanur case – became burning issues thanks to an active media and of course firebrand leader Mamata. Mamata’s efforts have finally bore fruit. She now has the people’s mandate with her. The Mamata-Congress combine has bagged 26 seats out of 42. The Left has ended up with a mere 15 seats, a steep slide from their last time’s tally of 35.
This clear verdict has sounded the death knell for the CPM. The assembly elections are in 2 years and it doesn’t look like the Left can recover at any rate. Many would question how reliable Mamata Banerjee is after all? I also had similar doubts in my mind. But of late, Mamata has grown more mature and developed a calm demeanour. She doesn’t shout madly anymore. In Hello VIP, the talk show on Star Ananda, Mamata fielded the questions from Suman De and the audience very smartly, keeping her cool all the while. I was really impressed by her intelligent answers. Look, here is this lone woman with hardly any other wise soul around her who took the challenge and went head on against the CPM. And who is more honest than her? Mahasweta Devi, whom I adore very much, has praised Mamata’s honesty and her dedication for marginalised people in an interview on rediff where she also termed the Left as monsters. Her words on Mamata,
She is a thoroughly transparent person. No one can bring any charge of corruption against her. She is an extremely hardworking person with an acceptable personality. Any distressed soul can rest on her shoulders and cry.
Mamata is the only one who has the heart to go on a 26-day hunger strike for a cause. After Mahatma Gandhi, she is the sole leader who is thoroughly transparent, brave, bold and a darling of the masses.
Just compare her to our so-called Communist leaders. Take the case of Communist Party of India-Marxist Politburo member Brinda Karat, for instance. Clad in an expensive sari, she hardly makes an attempt to visit Nandigram or any trouble-prone areas. She can only sit in air-conditioned rooms and compile reports. Is this Communism?
With 20 seats in her pocket, Mamata is the 2nd largest among the smaller parties, with only Mulayam (23) ahead of her and the likes of Mayawati (20) and Nitish Kumar (20) in the same spot, and the 2nd largest among the UPA, second only to Congress. This makes her a strong contender for a heavyweight portfolio in the Central Cabinet. Railway ministry shall we say? She has been there before and did a wonderful job. Thanks to her, WB got some much needed trains and tracks at that time.
For one thing, Lalu is not going to become railway minister again as he is not within the UPA. In the pre-poll messy politics of seat sharing among allies, Lalu and Paswan tried to take upper hand and parted ways with Congress. It’s a good thing that Congress chose not to play second fiddle to them and went ahead fielding their own candidates. Lalu’s fate is doomed. He contested in 2 seats and lost in one! As for Paswan, he lost his seat. In UP too, Contress tried its own might and got away with a stunning result.
It’s great that Congress alone has so many seats. This will give the govt. the much needed stability and more elbow room to deal with the allies. For the allies won’t be able to bargain too much and be a constant pain.
The biggest loser is of course Prakash Karat. After so much hullabaloo about the third front, he has landed himself in the middle of nowhere. While his comrades in Calcutta were giving orders to the police to fire on the farmers of Nandigram, he was busy with his fancy politics in the capital – withdrawing support from UPA last year, then sacking Somnath Chatterjee, chalking out a theoretical third front. It was ridiculous of CPM to sack a veteran like Somnath Chatterjee – he was one of the few good people left in CPM. Now reduced to a dwindling force, Karat won’t get to give daily bites to the media any more!
Finally, Advani’s dream of becoming PM has been crushed. He might retire.