New Delhi — The Congress (I)’s carefully articulated thesis of one-party state has been rejected by the voter in this year’s assembly elections.
This is evident from the results coming in till late on Wednesday night from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim and Maharashtra which have belied Congress (I) expectations.
The theme that the states should be ruled by the Congress (I) simply because it had been voted to power at the Centre was projected in different words after the Lok Sabha election by the Prime Minister himself in his campaign speeches, and two general secretaries of the party, Mr. Abdul Ghani Khan Chowdhury and Mr. Sri Kant Varma.
This was mainly because the Congress (1) got carried away with the massive vote which it received at the Lok Sabha election giving the party over 400 seats in the House.
The voters in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and Sikkim have felt otherwise. In Maharashtra too the Congress (I) has come in for a shock because of the influence Mr. Sharad Pawar has wielded in blocking the Congress (1) from repeating its Lok Sabha election performance.
Most people thought that the results of assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim will go against the Congress (1), but only a few had felt that the voter in Karnataka and Maharashtra will not support the Congress (I) in the same way as he had done in the Lok Sabha polls only two months ago. This clearly indicates that the voter in these states has not only rejected the Congress (I)’s election plank but also the fact that the ruling party has lost some support bases in these states after the Lok Sabha polls.
The results have also shown that the Congress (I) continues to be the dominant force in the Hindi speaking states as well as in Gujarat in the west and in Orissa in the east. These are some signs of the revival of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh which has been a party stronghold, although it was rejected outright at the Lok Sabha polls.
The reason for impressive opposition performance in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra was its ability to project clearly identifiable leaders in Mr. N. T. Rama Rao, Mr. Ramakrishna Hedge and Mr. Sharad Pawar who could confidently face the Congress (I) challenge.
In Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the squabbles within the Congress (I) helped the Telugu Desam and the Progressive Democratic Front led by Mr. Sharad Pawar. In Karnataka it is clear that Mr. Hegde’s personal image as well as the record of the Janata Government he led in the state helped him to stand up to the Congress (1) onslaught.
Countering gress (1I)’s state thesis, Mr. Hegde had run his campaign with the help of a rhetorical question asking the people: “Should Karnataka be governed from Delhi?” At the same time he had made it clear that he did not favor a con
The Conone party frontation with the Centre.
In Sikkim, the people have clearly rejected the Congress (I) making it plain that they did not approve of the dismissal of a duly elected government of the state by the Centre last year.
With the vote not having gone in the Congress (1)’s way in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Sikkim and the Marxists continuing to be in the saddle in West Bengal and Tripura, it remains to be seen what policy the Rajiv Gandhi Government adopts to these non-Congress (1) states.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 22, 1985