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News Snippets

  • Government plans to change laws to make Aadhar voluntary to open a bank account or get a mobile connection
  • MP CM Kamal Nath says that incentives will be given only to those companies that hire a minimum of 70% of their manpower from local people of the state
  • Chhattisgarh CM says SIT will be set up to probe the Bastar massacre which killed top Congress leaders in the state in May 2013
  • Farm loan waiver spree: Both Kamal Nath, MP CM and Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh CM, waive loans given to farmers
  • Government expands Ujjwala scheme, in which free LPG connection was till now provided to BPL families, to include all poor families
  • Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar gets life imprisonment in the 1984 Sikh massacre case in Delhi
  • India will host the Maldives President Ibrahim Solih on a three-day state visit from today
  • Triple talaq bill to be placed in LS today
  • Trains suspended, highways closed as separatists plan stir at Army camp in J&K
  • M K Stalin proposes Rahul Gandhi as leader of united front of opposition parties
  • Bhupesh Baghel to be Chhattisgarh CM, to take oath on Monday
  • NGT orders reopening of Sterlite's Tuticorin plant. TN may challenge the order in SC
  • Bengal government denies permission to BJP to hold a rath yatra in the state, citing adverse intelligence reports about chances of communal disturbances
  • Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, chairman of PAC, says AG and CAG would be summoned before the committe over Rafale deal. Majority of other members refuse to toe the line
  • Congress high command still not able to decide on Chhattisgarh CM, may announce the name tomorrow
wilting lotus
Punjab, Gujarat and Now Rajasthan: Is the Lotus Wilting?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The scale on which the BJP has been decimated in the by-polls in Rajasthan is mindboggling and perhaps unprecedented. Consider the facts. The BJP won the Ajmer Lok Sabha seat in 2014 with a majority of 1.7 lakh votes. This time it lost by a margin of nearly 85000 votes. In Alwar, it had won by 2.83 lakh votes. The Congress won it this time by nearly 2 lakh votes. In Mandalgarh assembly, the Congress won by 13000 votes. In all three places, the swing in votes away from the BJP was over 15 percent. These figures cannot be put down to just plain anti-incumbency. These figures show that even the core voters – those who traditionally support the BJP, come what may – are also going against the party. A swing of 3 to 5 percent is often viewed as anti-incumbency vote as fence sitters not approving the ruling party’s record can go against it. But such huge swings are matters of concern and more than being negative voting against the BJP, it can be taken as positive voting for the Congress.

Although the Raje government has introduced many welfare schemes in Rajasthan, she tripped in the by polls due to many factors. First and foremost, the selection of candidates was faulty. Then, she underestimated the organizational strength of the Congress. She could not gauge the underlying anger in communities such as the Rajputs, the Brahmins and the Jats. She could not comprehend the distress over Pehlu Khan’s lynching and the general deterioration of law and order in the state. Despite being a pioneer in land law reform and introducing government-funded health insurance schemes for the poor, the Raje government could not tackle farmer distress and law and order. It also alienated powerful sections of the Hindu higher castes. That has become its undoing.

There must be deep worry lines on Amit Shah’s forehead after these results. Punjab and Gujarat have already shown that just trying to create divisions between communities will not help the party. People vote on hope for some time. After that they vote on performance. In state after state, the BJP governments are doing little to alleviate the sufferings of the people. Instead, cow vigilantes and other criminals are being given a free run to foment trouble. Religion can excite people only on full stomachs. When there is no job and the stomachs are empty, the ire is vented on the government through negative voting. The BJP has only one more year to reverse the situation. Otherwise, their footprint will start vanishing from large parts of the country.

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