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BJP and Congress lose in Uttar Pradesh elections
The Samajwadi Party is the clear winner in Uttar Pradesh

Added on March 6, 2012 at 17:54 London time
The Samajwadi Party is sure to have won 224 seats, a clear majority in the 403-seat parliament of Uttar Pradesh. Congress may end up with 36 or 37, the BJP with 47 and the BSP with 79 or 80.

The alliance of the SAD with 56 and the BJP with 12 have won together an absolute majority in Punjab's 117-seat parliament.

With 24 seats, the BJP has won a majority in GOA's 40-seat parliament.

In Manipur, Congress has won a clear majority with 42 seats in the 60-seat parliament.

In Uttarkhand with its 70-seat parliament, Congress has won 32 seats, the BJP 31 seats (the BJP chief minister Khanduri was defeated by the Congress member Negi), the BSP 3 seats, independents 3 seats and UKD-P 1 seat; Congress can try to form a new government in Uttarkhand.


Article added on March 6, 2012 at 14:56 London time
A political earthquake in Uttar Pradesh
Political parties everywhere suffer ups and downs in the public's favor. Regarding India, check for instance our 1999 English article and our 2004 German article. The question after the 2012 Uttar Pradesh election is whether we witness a general trend in India towards regional parties, away from the BJP and the Congress Party. Time will tell and historians will one day give us their verdict in retrospect.

Polls show that in India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh with its population of 200 million and a parliament with 403 seats, the regional Samajwadi Party with its leader Mulayam Singh Yadav (*1939) is the rising force. In fact, the Samajwadi Party could even win an absolute majority! The Samajwadi Party largely represent the Other Backward Classes. Whether the former wrestler Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party are a great choice remains to be seen.

The ruling force in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and their “Untouchable” or Dalit “living goddess” Mayawati (*1956) were ousted. She has had four terms as chief minister in Uttar Pradesh. She was notoriously corrupt and erected statues of Hindu and Dalit icons as well as of herself all around town. Her birthday became a regional holiday known as People's Welfare Day. Given her income as chief minister, it remains unclear where her wealth comes from. According to a leaked WikiLeaks cable by the US embassy, Megawati sent her private jet to Mumbai to pick up a pair of sandals.

Under Mayawati, Uttar Pradesh's growth rate increased to the national average, but one third of the population is still living under the poverty line. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will be reduced from 206 seats in 2007 to some 88 seats in 2012. Finally, the majority of Uttar Pradesh has come to their senses.

The loss of power for Mayawati and her party did however not coincide with a rise of the traditional BJP and Congress parties. The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi clan, who has ruled post-colonial India most of the time, Rahul Gandhi (*970), did not manage to reconnect with the Congress' great past until the 1990s. Rahul had led the Congress campaign in Uttar Pradesh and took responsibility for its poor showing in the state.

With some 27 seats, Congress is trailing in fourth place as vote counting is close to its end. Without a stronghold in Uttar Pradesh, it will be difficult for the Congress Party to lead another coalition on the national level.

As for the dominating Nehru-Gandhi clan, with Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi as former prime ministers in their family, the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi (*1946), the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress' current president, is said to suffer from cancer and unlikely to rule India herself.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (*197t2) seems to be the family's last hope to rule India again in the foreseeable future. But she has not delivered anything yet on the political level. For India as a whole, it would be better to look elsewhere for talent. Given the country's population of some 1,2 billion people, that should not be too difficult a task.

The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiy Janata Party (BJP) party does not profit from Mayawati's misfortune either. The BJP is projected to win only some 44 seats.

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Other regional elections in India

Other regional elections took place in the Indian states of Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. With corruption scandals haunting the Congress-led coalition government on the national level, the future looks grim for the Nehru-Gandhi clan.

In Punjab with its 117 seat parliament, the oldest regional party, Shiromani Akali Dal, with its smaller BJP alliance partner, should have won a combined absolute majority of 68 seats. The Akali Dal rose from 49 seats in 2007 to 56 seats in 2012, whereas the BJP declined from 19 seats in 2007 to 12 seats in 2012. Congress has only won 46 seats in 2012. That is only 4 more seats than in 2007. The Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Sing took full responsibility for the poor result and offered his resignation as Congress president.

In the 60-seat parliament of the state of Manipur, Congress seems to have won 22 seats and is leading in 5 other precincts.

In Uttarakhand with its 70-seat parliament, Congress won 4 seats and is leading in 27 precincts, whereas the BJP won 6 seats and is ahead in 26 other precincts.

Congress is in a difficult position because it has not delivered on new reforms on the national level. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was instrumental in a first round of liberalization, has not pursued his earlier reform agenda. The middle class is unhappy. The poor look elsewhere for help. Regional parties remain on the rise. Congress may be about to lose its grip on power.







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