The Indian National Congress on December 17, 2018 installed governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as the show of strength of the Mahagathbandhan, a coalition of political parties attempting to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from coming back to power at the centre in the 2019 General Lok Sabha elections. A host of opposition leaders attended the back-to-back swearing-in ceremonies of Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel as Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively. Congress President Rahul Gandhi attended all the three events as a show of unity.
Other prominent opposition leaders who attended the events include former Prime Minister HD Devegowda, Dr Manmohan Singh and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also attended the events along with Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. However, three prominent opposition leaders – Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati – are among those conspicuous in their absence from the three grand events even though their representatives were present.
The 41-year-old leader, Sachin Pilot, who won Tonk assembly constituency in the recently concluded assembly elections, had pledged in 2014 not to wear the traditional turban till the party returns to power in the state. He was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
Congress veteran Kamal Nath immediately after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after his party won the Assembly elections, ending 15 years of BJP rule sprang into action to waiver off farmers’ loans to the tune of about Rs.16 thousand crore, and other Congress Rule states including Punjab will work out a strategies to do the same.
According to political pundits, besides Chhattisgarh, the other two states- Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Congress only managed secure the spot of single largest party, but failed to reach the respective half way mark and get absolute majority to form the government by itself. This only shows that the main factor for the results is purely Anti-incumbency working against the BJP government in both the states, which has favoured the Congress but not as the substitute.
The Congress managed to strike the right cord as it promised to waiver off farmers’ loan within 10 days from the day it comes to power. As mentioned, Madhya Pradesh did it within the first hour of the new Chief Minister assuming office, giving a boost to the Mahagathbandhan to pin-point one of the unfulfilled promise of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government headed by Narendra Damodardas Modi.
The poor performance of the BJP in all the five states, particularly the Hindu belt like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is a clear indication of the sentiments of the masses that only the issue of the Ram temple is a big mistake, and the Lord Ram devotees (Ram bhakts), saints and religious gurus resolution of Ram Mandir Wahin Banayenge’ (Ram temple will be there only) turned out to be one of the factors leading to the disaster for the party, as the Ram Temple or the Ayodhya issues should be resolved as the state subject and not as a national issue leveraging on the Hindu vote bank.
The temple visit of year old Congress President, Rahul Gandhi has paid off as the party captured both the Hindu belt like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and this has projected the INC as a Soft- Hindutva party, while BJP is still looked upon as a hardcore Hindutva party with components like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that is the Sangh Parivar group.
The harsh demonetization, is a political move to muscle into Uttar Pradesh, which the BJP managed, while the whole nation was affected. Then comes the Goods and Services Tax India (GST) which was unable to generate employment which was the agenda for the 2014 election but is yet to take its final shape which is yet another factor leading to the downfall of BJP. One needs not mention the arrogant party workers and a few leaders which need to be introspected if the party wants to retain power in 2019.
In almost all the election campaigns he attended in 2014, Modi had assured to generate employment for all the youths in their respective state, but till date the figures of unemployment keep soaring higher.
The Congress party also agrees that the anti-incumbency wave and the assurance of Gandhi to waive the farmers loan has benefited the party, which will now be the model for the Lok Sabha election 2019.
Whatever the truth may be behind the results in these elections, it does not change the fact that these results are a wakeup call for the BJP in the upcoming parliamentary elections by the Mahagathbandhan to unseat BJP in the Lok Sabha General election.