The return to power of the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra—on top of the Congress’ predicted wins in Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh—hides a smaller but more substantial subtext: the defeat of the BJP-Shiv Sena combine and their combined failure to overthrow the ruling coalition.
By all accounts, Maharashtra, one of India’s richest States but also one of its worst governed, has been ravaged by farmer suicides, power scarcity, water scarcity, mind-numbing corruption, poor administration, terrorist attacks, and worse for years, if not nearly a decade. Yet, the BJP-Sena combine was unable to overcome the so-called “anti-incumbency” wave that usually consumes ruling dispensations.
Coming on top of the BJP’s loss in the general elections in May, and the succession battle which has seen much blood-letting, the question: is it all over the BJP’s brand of politics? Is it merely missing a leader or is the trouble much deeper? Has its ideology run its course? Or, is it too early to write its obituary?