Is May 31 bandh an indicator of anti-incumbency for Government

Posted in May 2012

Thomas Lim

Along with the rest of the nation, Meghalaya too was partially affected by the 12 hour nationwide strike, called by the Opposition members comprising of both the Left and Right wings, protesting against the May 23 hike of Rs.7 plus in petrol prices and demanding an immediate rollback.
Business was hit, roads deserted and train traffic disrupted Thursday as large parts of India shut down to protest the hike in petrol prices, leaving the Manmohan Singh-  Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government battling a surge of unpopularity on a day that economic growth slumped to its lowest in nine years low of 5.3 percent.
The political pundits however attributes the success of bandh, where North Easter Region too was affected, as the indication of anti-incumbency, most of the North Eastern states is going for poll in 2012, including Meghalaya and Parliamentary election sometime in 2014.
In the past, nationwide bandh has been called, but did not have such impact as witness on Thursday. The steepest hike in petrol price this time, have bind the entire nation into one voice- rollback, claiming that the hike had hit the middle classes the most, while the Below Poverty Line is finding it impossible to cope up with high cost of living.
The hike petrol is bound to affect the cost of living, hence the shutdown call manage to struck a chord even in Congress ruled states across the nation. In Meghalaya, partial shutdown had affected the daily activities in spite of the absent of representative of  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its constituents in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as well as the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Meghalaya Assembly, yet the public had voluntary observed the bandh called to silently protest against the petrol price hike which had burned their respective pocket.
Manmohan Singh government is in Catch 22 situation, if they do not rollback, it is going to be one of the agenda in the election. If they rollback, the opposition will claim it to be their success in bulldozing down the government to rollback.
Meghalaya is also ruled by Congress lead government, have proved that if there is a common cause, the entire nation can come together, because on many similar called, Meghalaya was not affected, more so the state had always felt to have been alienated by the rest of the nation.  Once the similar cord are strike we all stand as one, hope some positive vibe too comes out in this particular bandh, for the entire nation to have some common minimum programme, which will help in understanding each other more, and take the nation ahead in the absent of Politician, yes this is an impossible dream, but there are time dreams do come true.
UPA government needs to burn some mid night lamp to work out how to overcome this crisis. As the recent Assembly Election conducted had already indicated the dripping of popularity of the government, now very little time is left for the damage control for the state to go on poll in early February next year. This time, the ruling government must introspect base on the result of the bandh called protesting against the May 23 hike of Rs.7 plus in petrol prices and demanding an immediate rollback.

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