The BJP's stunning victory in Assam and breaking the glass ceiling in the hitherto bipolar polity of Kerala have something in common. Assam has completely dumped the Marxist-Congress combine narrative.
A solitary maiden seat victory and the NDA's 15 per cent vote share demonstrate that the BJP's paradigm has found traction in Kerala as well.
Why is the Congress on decline? Vibrant democracies and dynasty-centred politics seldom coexist for long. Moreover, like any other working mechanism, politics too needs honesty and idealism to sustain itself, the twin intertwined values that a party bereft of ideology finds difficult to uphold.
Following the split in 1969, the grand old party ceased to have an ideology of its own, and has since outsourced the job to the Left. By 1991, archaic socialist policies pursued during the preceding four decades of the Congress misrule, coupled with crony capitalism and corruption at the top, had brought the Indian economy to the brink of bankruptcy.
A chance entry of PV Narasimha Rao on the political scene as prime minister and he, in turn, picking up Manmohan Singh - a technocrat sans ideological baggage - as finance minister saved the situation. The Nehruvian path was given up and reforms followed.
During the ten-year rule, the mother-son duo wielded the real power with Manmohan Singh as the front. An extra constitutional centre of authority, National Advisory Council (NAC), dominated by the Leftists of various hues, laid the policies for the government to follow. Rest is history.
For the Left and the Congress, secularism means pandering to fundamentalist elements among minorities.
This comes naturally to communists who along with the British and the Muslim League had worked for the creation of a theocratic Pakistan.
Ironically, the Congress-Left's criticism of the BJP is a replay of what the Muslim League-communists said about the Congress in the pre-Independence India. Over the years, the Congress has internalised the League and Left's divisive mindset.
No wonder, Rajiv Gandhi did a U-turn on the Shah Bano case. The last three decades witnessed the Congress blame the victims for the Godhra carnage, side with terrorists whether in Batla House or Gujarat encounters, demonise Narendra Modi for taking on jihadis, and create the myth of Hindu terror.
The Left has nothing to offer to an aspirational India and the Congress has no conviction even in the outdated socialist paradigm it has borrowed from the Left. Poverty tourism (the occasional visits to Dalit houses by the dynasty) is photo-ops.
Today, the Congress is a machine converting power into money and vice versa. As and when this auto-mechanism break down, the machines comes to a halt and refuses to restart. In whichever state the party loses two successive elections, it fails to reclaim power.
The Congress today is a deadly mix of corruption and communalism. This is best illustrated in the case of Kerala. The Congress was not only accused of shady deals but was also seen pandering to minority irredentism, both Muslim and Christian.
Prohibition and the exploitation of the fragile Western Ghats environment figured prominently in the campaign.
Prohibition was enforced under pressure of the Christian clergy. Then came the Madhav Gadgil report about the systematic denudation of the forestland around the Western Ghats, mostly by Christian communities.
The state government which was under pressure from the Christian Bishops, who were unhappy with the Gadgil report, persuaded the UPA government to appoint another commission of enquiry headed by Kasturi Rangan. That too confirmed the continuing denudation of the area.
Assam is a visible example of how the Congress brand of "secularism" played havoc with the demographics and security of this resource-rich state. The question naturally arises about the repeated victory of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu.
The simple answer is that the discernible alternatives are no angels either. In both the states, the BJP has miles to go to become an alternate.
|BJP's Sarbananda Sonowal (C) is Assam's current CM. (PTI)|
Of course, the party is now a reality across India with power at the Centre and in most major states north of the Vindhyas.
What about the Congress? In its mindless chase of minority votes, it lost its nationalist plank to the BJP. And it cannot compete with the likes of the SP and the RJD in pandering to minority vote banks and with the Left, in glorifying poverty and irresponsible adventurism.
Today, its touch is toxic - look what it did to the DMK and the CPI(M) in the recent elections. Can it recover?
It all depends on how fast it frees itself from the dynasty and the obsolete plagiarised Leftist paradigm.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)