The Congress win in Delhi and the BJP’s in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are not as much victories of these parties but of the three chief ministers who have beaten anti-incumbency.
Sheila Dikshit, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh have demonstrated beyond any doubt that it is possible to win elections on positive votes. However, this can only be done by providing proper governance and pushing development forward. All the three chief ministers have succeeded in getting this positive message across and their strategy has paid dividends. Their wins also underline their ability to communicate with the electorate by raising issues that concern the people in everyday life. It is this identification with the masses that has borne fruit.
In sharp contrast to top BJP leaders raking up national issues like terror, inflation and Hindutva in most states, the MP and Chhattisgarh CMs consciously stuck to the good governance plank and it worked very well for their party. In doing so, they appeared very humble and projected a good image.
In Delhi, Sheila Dikshit beat all calculations and stuck to her development plank and it was her persistence which got her party the third term in the national capital, which many thought would go to the BJP this time. In fact, the victory in Delhi can well be described as Dikshit’s victory and not that of her party, given that she distributed 90 per cent of the tickets.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief spokesman and analyst D.P. Tripathi felt that “people in these three states have not voted with despair but with hope. The three CMs conducted themselves with a lot of dignity and, therefore, were able to carry the message across. It is a very positive sign for our country”.
Senior Congress leader and Indira Gandhi’s political adviser M.L. Fotedar, while conceding that it was a positive vote for these three CMs, said: “The Congress (itself) is responsible for its defeat in Chhattisgarh. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, there was no unified leadership which could provide a challenge to the BJP. We may have won these two states.”
He said that in Delhi, the “victory was because people want stability in the national capital. The Commonwealth Games are round the corner and the people wanted the government to continue since it has done a good job'”.
The BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Gujarat was the first state where people voted Narendra Modi for development. “It is good that this trend is continuing. Political parties will have to find ways of raising issues by which they can identify with people rather than rake up only national issues in state elections,” he said.