Congress sources say what’s left of the party will hold a meeting to decide which minor flunkey to blame for the election debacle. There is no question of blaming the top leaders, since they have crafted the fine victory in Puducherry. A family retainer claimed Rahul Gandhi was extremely popular with voters. ‘In fact, many voters were so hysterical with joy on seeing him they forgot to vote on election day,’ he added.
Congress insiders say the silver lining in the state election results is that Rahul may have to embark on another voyage of self-discovery. ‘While rushing about during the elections, Rahul lost the self he found during his last vacation. He’ll have to find a brighter, shinier self now,’ said a guy who hoped the journey will be a very long one.
Disgruntled voters all over India admit that the Congress is their default anti-vote option. ‘I feel dissatisfied all the time because of the boil on my bum and don’t feel like voting for any party, so I just go and vote against the Congress,’ said a peevish voter. Congress insiders say it shows how important the party really is.
Exit pollsters’ faith in Indian voters has been restored. ‘After the Bihar and Delhi elections, many of us felt Indian voters were habitual liars, who delighted in humiliating us. Thankfully, that opinion has now changed,’ said a pollster.
Sources in the BJP say the entire credit for the increase in its vote share in Kerala should go to Mr Modi. ‘His brilliant remark about Kerala and Somalia consolidated the pro-Somalia vote in the state, enabling us to do so well,’ said a fan.
BJP insiders say while Amit Shah is happy with the results, he is riven by doubts whether he should gloat over them, smirk or preen. Hotheads in the party want him to do all three together, while simultaneously crowing. More cautious folk say he should merely cackle now, reserving the gloating for the UP polls.
Analysts say cultural factors played a major part in Mamata’s landslide victory in Bengal. ‘Playing Rabindrasangeet at Kolkata street crossings was a big hit, especially after the Left used to play Beethoven,’ said a pundit. Sources say the BJP has asked all its members to start training for the next elections by learning Rabindrasangeet and is hopeful of persuading Mr Modi to sing ‘Ekla Chalo Re’ at his next Kolkata public meeting.
An AIADMK supporter said she always knew Amma would win. ‘Once we won the battle of sops, especially by providing the 50% discount on scooties to women, the nine months’ maternity leave and the free goats, the opposition was finished,’ she boasted.
A Communist insider claims there is actually a lot of anti-incumbency sentiment against Mamata in West Bengal. ‘But, unlike in other states, anti-incumbency in West Bengal means voting out the party in power after 34 years,’ he clarified.
And finally, about the Kerala elections, I grab the opportunity to say ‘I told you so,’ pointing to this remarkably prescient verse I wrote back in 2014, ‘Oommen Chandy/Thinks he’s Gandhi/And Sudheeran, of course, is a bum/If they ban rum, whisky and brandy/ Just wait till the elections come.’
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. The views expressed are personal.