Triumph of democracy: How it impacts UPA Govt at Centre

The convincing victory of the National Democratic Alliance is not so much a win of Nitish Kumar and his associates but a triumph of democracy.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2005 22:47 IST

The convincing victory of the National Democratic Alliance is not so much a win of Nitish Kumar and his associates but a triumph of democracy. The people of the state have demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that factors such as caste, region and religion did not matter when democracy was in peril and in order to preserve its sanctity, a clear and decisive verdict had to be reached.

The results in Bihar have ended the 15-year-old rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav but the verdict is not expected to have any impact on the UPA government at the Centre. In fact, for some of the UPA constituents who fought both the Bihar polls separately, the "shock" of being wiped out could act as a cohesive factor. The lesson in the result is that if united, the UPA can pull it off but divided it tended to lose its potency.

This is exactly how the drama has unfolded in Bihar where if Lalu, Congress, Ram Vilas Paswan and the left parties had contested the polls the very first time together, they would have been in power. But when they did not, the NDA which needed a victory here to boost its prospects has beaten them fairly and squarely.

The UPA and its constituents as well as its supporting parties have to realise that the will of the people cannot be manipulated. The result last time was a clear indication of the anti Lalu mandate but pressurised by the Bihar strongman, the Centre did not allow an alternate government to be formed even after it was clear that majority of MLAs of the unconstituted House had agreed to back Nitish Kumar. The unconstituted House was controversially dissolved and even the Apex Court, which is yet to give its detailed judgement held it as an unconstitutional act.

The people of Bihar have punished Lalu and his supporting parties for being party to the unconstitutional action and have left no scope for any imagination this time about their preferences in the electoral arena. In the process, for the first time, the exit polls have proved to be correct.

The immediate fallout of the result would be that Governor Buta Singh will have to be recalled or shifted. The NDA will also make noises about responsibility being fixed on the Cabinet and those who facilitated the dissolution. But apart from scoring a few brownie points, its political impact on the government will be negligible. The result was perhaps anticipated even by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who at the HT Summit last week distanced herself from the assessment of her colleagues and Lalu Prasad Yadav who had told her that "they will win 100 percent".

The results could also rob the CPI of its status as a national party apart from cutting Lalu and Paswan to size. Lalu's over assertiveness is bound to recede and he will now find refuse in the security which being a Cabinet minister at the Centre provides.

For the Congress, the developments can provide a scenario to rebuild its cadre Congress leaders like ML Fotedar who had handled the polls on behalf of his party last time today described the verdict as "a victory for democracy". It is also the victory of our democratic institutions like the Election Commission and the Supreme Court, which has to be hailed. And last but not the least, it is the victory of the people of this country in general and Bihar in particular.

First Published: Nov 22, 2005 22:47 IST