Friday, May 11, 2007

UP Results - Pluses and Minuses

Well, the results of the UP elections are in, and Mayawati's BSP has won with a landslide, enabling her to go it alone with a simple majority. This was only possible due to her cessation of caste-baiting and her willingness to reach out to "upper caste" groups. In a limited way, we can see similarities to the Bihar elections, where the other Yadav got knocked out and even lost the confidence of the Muslim vote due to the unprecedented crime wave.

And speaking of criminality, the public was treated to the sight of Mulayam's henchmen and the police carting off piles of records for mass shredding. At least Mulayam didn't pull a Jehanabad-style guerrilla raid in the hopes of starting a civil war. No chance of that, with Madame keeping him under constant surveillance - something she wouldn't do with her erstwhile ally and subsequent Railway Minister Lalu.

Mayawati now seems to be emerging as a homegrown Madame herself, after assiduously courting the "upper castes". Another overweight, overbearing Jayalalitha - but one with a large power base. Sonia better watch out, or everyone from Jaswant Singh to the commies will be lining up at Ms Mayawati's door. Despite his swagger, the youngest Gandhi brat failed to raise the Congress Party's fortunes beyond the bought constituencies.

Meanwhile, BJP took a drubbing, and I'm inclined to blame Rajnath Singh. Ever since he took over,the public hasn't seen or heard much of this guy. He's supposed to be billed as a low-key backroom broker who supposedly understands the rural masses better than Advani, Vajpayee after their India Shining debacle. So what did Mr Rural do? Nothing fantastic to attract the voters, from what I see. He's also been seen marginalizing Modi, who looks to me like a better and more charismatic leader for BJP to seize the voters' imagination.

As a fan of the late PV Narasimha Rao, I'm not automatically knocking the low-key backroom brokering approach, but that seems to mainly be advantageous when you're already in power. If you're out of power and want to get in, you'd better get some visibility. If Rajnath was such a good deal-maker and so in touch with the rural masses, then why didn't he at least cut a deal with BSP, to keep her from poaching their constituencies? A better approach would have been a hard-charging campaign, like Modi did in Gujarat. Nah, I'm not a big fan of Rajnath's plodding style. It would be better if he got rotated back to the backroom, and let somebody better like Modi come forward to forge ahead.

Failing that, maybe we need to hire Karl Rove.


nizhal yoddha said...

there are three losers in UP.

1. rahul gandhi and the kaangress. the guy proved that he deserves the dunce reputation he has. his inane comments, obviously, qualify him to the the "Next Prime Minister of India" (TM). after all, nobody wants a smart person as PM -- he can actually do something useful for the country, as narasimha rao proved.

2. pandering to mohammedans. mulayam singh yadav desisted from literally kissing mohammedan shoes asking for votes, but just barely. this has not saved him. of course, the media will not highlight this, and mayawati is certainly no beginner when it comes to pandering, but it has shown itself to be of little value.

3. the BJP's cluelessness. instead of grabbing the hindu-consoliation angle from the BSP, they allowed a do-nothing drift. i agree with san that colorless back-room-boys are not the answer. the only BJP person who has serious appeal is modi. the bad guys know this, and that's why they are consistently attacking modi.

Ghost Writer said...

I think the BJP are bigger losers than the Kangress in UP - inspite of the Kangress' lower numbers. Nobody expected the Nehru family to score more seats than they did - and the sycophants will still kiss Rahul's boots - it is the only thing that keeps them together. But for the BJP this represents a loss of momentum building up to the next general election.

I am no fan of Mayawati (big time money corruption), but the one thing I am happy about with this election is that a Hindu vote got built - even if for temporary opportunism. It shows that Hindus can also combine and vote tactically to beat the OBC Mandal -Muslim combine. I don't care two hoots if they do not do it for the BJP. If Mayawati can deliver a half-decent government - I dont expect it to happen - then long term UP could be headed the Kerala way.
It will be BJP-BSP vs. Mulayam with the Kangress as a permanent non-entity (just as it is the UDF vs. LDF in Kerala and the BJP is a non-entity)

san said...

Well, we've seen how CPI(M) in W.Bengal was willing to imititate their Beijing models and jump on the capitalist bandwagon for self-preservation (it was only their stupid commie thug culture that made a hash of it).

Likewise, I'm willing to believe that Mayawati can be swayed away from her socialism towards a more pro-capitalist trajectory, with the right persuasion.

She has shown political pragmatism by being willing to court the "upper castes" and cease her caste-baiting. Now all she has to do is cease her capitalism-baiting, and open her eyes to what the free market has to offer.

If anything, her overwhelming margin of victory gives her more latitude to pursue a higher trajectory, as opposed to clinging fiercely to socialist populist rhetoric to survive day by day.

If she wants to be empress, then let her. It will put Kangress on the hotseat nationally, and increase the likelihood of defections by other Kangress allies. Even a whole tribe of Arjun Singhs won't be able to save Sonia, Rahul and The Family.

As soon as BJP can get past this phase of behaving like Japan's LDP with its backroom brokers, and instead get a charismatic Koizumi to the forefront, then they can start showing some real progress.

Uddharet said...

Is it possible that the unanimous support of all political parties to the 27% OBC reservation had a role in the diversion of "brahmin" votes to Mayawati's party? For a long time now, Brahmins all over India have been feeling they are the real dalits. I vaguely remember reading an article on the topic. (At the same time, it is a fact of history in Tamil Nadu and Andhra, and perhaps in Karnataka that the real oppressors have been the landlord class.) Mayawati's call lured brahmins. One has to wait and see what happens next. It is even possible that there could be an en masse defection of the brahmin candidates who got elected through BSP "ticket", when the see Mayawati's true colours.

Ghost Writer said...

An interesting afterthought - what was the net effect of Uma Bharti withdrawing her candidates from the race? I wonder what happened to her votes - sis they go to the BJP or actually to the BSP thus tipping the scales in her favor?