Millennium Post

Amit Shah, facing test of time

Next month- October- will be crucial both for the Congress and the BJP when Haryana and Maharashtra go to polls to elect their respective assemblies. The assembly elections in the two states will be crucial as they will show if the Modi wave is as strong as it was in April-May this year when the BJP swept the Lok Sabha election or its momentum slowed down. The October polls will also demonstrate if peoples’ wrath against the Congress has abated or the fury still continues. The fate of Delhi assembly still hangs in balance. The question that is agitating minds of Delhiites is- whether there will be a BJP-led government or the state will go for fresh elections within a year? Polls in Jammu and Kashmir are also due but they are likely to be postponed because of unprecedented floods and disruption of life in the state.

In Haryana, despite good work done by two-term Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Congress is not comfortably placed. Besides, anti-incumbency factor, there is dissidence in the state unit of the Congress and there are chances of sabotage in the election. Senior leaders like Birendra Singh, a cousin of Hooda, has left the party to join the BJP. Latest reports say that Hooda has improved his party’s prospects following announcement of a series of pro-poor measures. Still, it may not be an easy sail for the Congress.

Buoyed by its spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP may prefer to go alone. The party has already attempted to break away from non-Jat identity and tried to make inroads into rural Haryana. The BJP also seems to have said goodbye to dynastic politics with no ticket being given to any kin so far. There is also a shift from the BJP practice of concentrating on the trading community as also the Brahmins and Punjabis who form the party’s traditional vote bank. The party’s shift is a seeming departure from its conventional politics only because this is the first time the party is going it alone and fielding candidates in all 90 constituencies. Maharashtra is most important state for both the Congress and the BJP. The scenario at the moment appears grim as uncertainty looms large over Congress-NCP alliance even though both the parties have no option but to depend on each other or face disaster. BJP-Shiv Sena alliance too is not comfortably placed.

However, the populist measure- five per cent reservations for Muslims and 16 percent to Marathas-  taken by the Prithviraj Chavan Government is likely to yield results provided there is thaw in Modi wave. The Maratha community is the single largest vote bank in Maharashtra, accounting for 30 per cent of the state’s population. Of 288 assembly seats, Marathas can potentially swing the outcome in nearly 200 seats. The BJP, which has been wooing the Maratha community, supported the reservation for them but criticized the decision to provide quota to Muslims as ‘vote-bank politics’ and unconstitutional.

Various options are being considered in Delhi for formation of the government amidst reports of horse-trading. A sting operation conducted by the AAP shows that cash was offered to the Congress and AAP MLAs by a leader of the BJP to switch sides- if true, a deplorable act indeed. One wonders why Lt. Governor, Najib Jung, is hesitating t in following the time-tested formula of calling the leader of the largest party (BJP) in the house to form the government and give him two or three weeks time to prove his majority on the floor of the house. If he fails, there is no option but to go in for a fresh poll. The suggestion to hold secret ballot to establish majority, to say the least, is silly though a provision may exist in Section 9(2) of the National Capital Territory Act, 1991, which allows the lieutenant governor to send a message to the House and ask the legislators to choose their own leader.’The election will not be part of the proceedings of the House, and there will be no need for parties to issue a whip. The speaker can ascertain the sense of the legislators by keeping a ballot box in his chamber, and call the legislators to vote in groups of three-four MLAs’. According to the provision the outcome of a secret ballot is final, and there is also no need for the ‘chief minister-elect’ to prove his majority on the floor of the House within three days of his election – as is usually done if a party is invited to form government by the lieutenant governor.

Even former three-term Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has expressed the view that the BJP should be given an opportunity to form the government if it can. She has rightly said in a democracy, elected governments are always good as they represent the people. If the BJP has reached such situation, it may be given a chance. A recent poll survey says about 50 per cent of Delhi’s residents want fresh poll and the current mood of the people is in favour of the BJP. Why then there is dithering? Why should BJP adopt unethical means of luring MLAs from the AAP and the Congress and that too by offering money?
The survey reveals that AAP still holds sway over Delhiites and 41 per cent still prefer Arvind Kejriwal who had formed a government for 49 days with Congress backing but foolishly resigned. Kejriwal is still repenting for his ill-timed decision. IPA
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