Voting for the first three rounds of the elections covering the 303 Parliamentary seats is over. Besides Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir and some seats of Uttar Pradesh, the first three rounds were restricted to Eastern and Southern parts of India. The electoral battle now enters the Hindi heartland. In other parts of India, such as, North-East, Bengal and Odisha, the contest was between the regional parties and the BJP. The BJP appears to be making significant gains in the East. In the Southern States, Karnataka appears to be going the BJP way. With the regional parties dominating Andhra and Telangana, the Congress in both the States, and the TDP are staring at a washout. Most of the States where elections are to be held in future rounds, it is a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress obviously is in no position to effectively take on the regional parties or the BJP. Therefore, the only issue in the future rounds is the width of the margin of victory of the BJP. Will it be a repeat of 2014 in terms of votes or will it be more? The euphoric reaction at the ground suggests a mandate larger than 2014. A 65% to 70% approval rating for an incumbent Prime Minister is unprecedented in India. It is reflecting in the groundswell.
The Congress in 2019
If we look at the run up to the poll and analyse some of the recent developments, an interesting situation develops. Some feature which stare us are enumerated below:
The fatal blow
The ‘New India’ is a positive India. It does not accept the negativism of Rahul, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee and TDP. The ‘New India’ wants to look up rather than be cynical and critical about their own country.
The Congress Party and Rahul Gandhi are 48 years behind the times. 2019 and 1971 are 48 years apart. India’s social combination and economic profile has completely changed. The Congress is contesting the 2019 election on the 1971 agenda. It is not in tune with the times. The writing on the wall is loud and clear. Those who lived a life of entitlement all through, give up when office seems to be a distant dream.