The results of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur are coming in, and the news isn’t good for the Congress in the first two States. The Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine has dislodged Amarinder Singh, bagging 70 of the 117 seats. And the BJP has gone past the half-way mark against Narain Dutt Tiwari. In Manipur, it’s still early days.
Two States do not a Union make. And, as every loser hastens to point out, assembly elections are about local issues. Still is this a referendum on the performance of the central government? Is it a rebuff to Manmohan Singh, the country’s first Sardar prime minister, who was projected as the electoral posterboy of the Congress?
Is the 9 per cent growth figure that the PM has been tom-tomming as its big feat bogus, a bit like the India Shining fiction? Have rising prices and growing inflation played a more decisive role, than just plain anti-incumbency or bad governance?
Given the beating the BJP took in the May 2004 elections, and the wounds it has inflicted on itself since then, has the tide begun to turn against the Congress-led UPA? Could the BJP come back to power in the next general elections? And will that be a good thing?