Thumbs up for SP, Akali Dal, Cong wounded
NEW DELHI IT was a day of grand wins and bruising defeats. As counting ended on Tuesday for elections in five states, the Samajwadi Party (SP) surged back to power in Uttar Pradesh and the Akali Dal broke a four-decade jinx to win another term in Punjab, leaving India’s ruling Congress battered and the main opposition BJP counting its losses.
Two ruling parties ousted, two holding on to power despite the odds and neckand- neck in a fifth state - the electoral pastiche following the February-March polls in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa proved that the voter, weary of corruption and inflation, refused to be dazzled by either promises or star value and used only hard pragmatism in exercising choice.
The biggest popularity test since the 2009 general elections had also seen record turnouts.
India’s most populous state voted out Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and voted in Mulayam Singh Yadav and his SP for a fourth term in office with a triumphant mandate of over 220 seats in the 403-member House.
The Congress, which tied up with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), trailed a sorry fourth with a combined tally of 36 seats. The BJP came up third with an estimated 48 seats.
Punjab went back to the Shiromani Akali Dal- Bharatiya Janata Party combine, the first time in more than 40 years that a party got a second consecutive term, with 68 seats against the Congress’ 46 in the 117-member house.
In Manipur, it was the Congress which overcame anti-incumbency to sweep the polls.
However, the Congress government in Goa prepared to make way for BJP rule.
It was a close fight in Uttarakhand with the Congress and the BJP locked in a close contest till evening with no clear winner in the 70- member assembly. All were agreed that this electoral battle had left the Congress badly bruised and the famed Gandhi charisma in serious question.