The Congress is having a bad time indeed! As if the Quattrocchi affair and the embarrassment from the political fiasco in Uttar Pradesh were not enough, it has now received another severe jolt from the results of the elections in Punjab and Uttarakhand. It is unfortunate that the party of Gandhi and Nehru is in power only in a few States, with the number steadily decreasing with every election. The presumed political capital of its present leader, on which the Congress heavily depends to win elections, is evidently not enough to stem the rot.
The haste with which the UPA Government implemented the economic reforms gave the impression that it was done more to please multinationals, big business, and foreign financial institutions. The continuing suicide of farmers, runaway inflation, and increased security threat are the result of its misplaced policies. The Opposition was in disarray, allies were cooperative, and the boss was in full control of the party and the government. The fact that despite all these advantages, the Congress failed to win the elections in the two States shows the extent of people's frustration and disappointment over its Governments' performance. The results are a wake-up call for the party's leaders.
The Assembly results are a reminder to the Congress not to deviate from the path of inclusive development. The poll outcome in Punjab is similar to that of the last Lok Sabha elections when despite a good performance on the economic front, the NDA Government was defeated. The Congress must learn a lesson or two and get back on track.
The Congress' defeat in Punjab and Uttarakhand is nothing but the expression of the common man's anguish over the price rise. No section other than the IT sector and elite industries has benefited from the economic reforms. Agriculturists, weavers, and workers are unable to meet their needs with their income. It is time the UPA Government at the Centre realised that a theory-based economy is not suitable for India, considering the large number of poor.
V. Anand Rao,
The drubbing of the Congress in two prestigious Assembly elections and the re-emergence of the BJP are a sign of what could be in store for the Congress in the coming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. The results also show that the BJP and its allies cannot be written off.