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BJP, Congress have a long way to go

NOTWITHSTANDING THE upbeat mood prevailing in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress following a favourable outcome in the urban local bodies election, specially the mayoral poll, the joy of the two parties may be pretty shortlived if they don?t cash in on the situation from here.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2006 10:37 IST

NOTWITHSTANDING THE upbeat mood prevailing in the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress following a favourable outcome in the urban local bodies election, specially the mayoral poll, the joy of the two parties may be pretty shortlived if they don’t cash in on the situation from here.

The BJP’s sweep or the Congress’ gain in the poll indicates more towards the people’s anti-Samajwadi Party mood in the metropolitan towns than any actual upsurge in the political graph of two national parties. Though the two parties are using the poll outcome to the hilt, they would have to work hard from here to consolidate their showing in Vidhan Sabha elections next year.

That the poll outcome reflects on the anti-SP mood is evident from the fact that BJP has made gains even in Samajwadi Party’s bastions of Etah, Mainpuri and Kannauj etc. As the BJP and the Congress only provided a better option in the absence of the Bahujan Samaj Party from the electoral scene, the electorate went out to cast votes in favour of those who could have defeated the SP candidates, specially in metropolitan towns.

Moreover, the SP never really had much at stake in the urban areas.

Also, the local bodies poll was fought on local issues. In the Vidhan Sabha polls, however, these are likely to change into broader issues.

Under such a scenario, the poll outcome is hardly any indicator to the electorate’s mood or the poll preparedness of the political parties.

At many places division in minority votes worked as a major factor against the Samajwadi Party. The BJP may also have gained due to anti-minority polarisation in certain areas. For the Congress, the anti-SP mood and confusion prevalent among the minority voters only came as a blessing in disguise.

But the trend may not be the same during the assembly elections. This is not to say that both the Congress and the BJP in anyway stand to lose from here. At least, the victory has enthused the demoralised cadres of the two parties. This is certainly good for both of them as they are likely to go to the assembly polls battle-ready.

Also the two parties have been able to withstand the alleged large scale rigging in different districts. They have already demanded imposition of President’s rule
Governor TV Rajeswar’s report to the Centre mentioning incidents of violence and booth capturing has added new dimensions to the issue even as reports of recovery of a large number of stamped ballot papers in Moradabad has given the Congress yet another tool to attack the Mulayam government.