Monday, October 5, 2009

maharastra assembly elections 2009

On October 13,Maharashtra goes to poll for electing a new assembly ; a state which screams for good governance, which it can safely be said, has not seen it for the past 15 years, and that includes the SS-BJP rule from 95-99'.

It was and continues to be the most industrial state in the nation, but its thunder is being stolen by far more proactive and better governed states like Gujarat, Tamilnadu and Uttarakhand .How can a state continue to grow when there is 8 hours of load shedding in its main cities and suburbs like Thane, Pune and Navi Mumbai; and this is not just in the summers, but an everyday phenomena. And the lesser said about the interiors the better.The Vidarbha droughts and the suicide of the farmers have hung around like an albatross neck for the state government and a constant source of embarrassment for a state was more than self sufficient 2 decades back.

Psephologists have time and again tried to gauge the mind of the voters and have been repeatedly flummoxed by the variations and discrepancies in the results predicted and the actual outcome.

Each time new variables, old constants, newer entrants and even older contestants play their part in the dance of democracy, to elect a government which can actually rule.The increasing atomisation of the society and growing insecurities of the diverse public,has given an opportunity for splinter party groups to further fracture the mandate.

This time it is almost as good as a political cauldron , and we just know its constituents with no idea of the outcome of the exercise.145 is the magic number in the 288 seat assembly;is anybody going to get there?Seems highly unlikely.

Each of the four parties in the two alliances is looking listless with only MNS ready to fight with the pugnacious energy of a 3 year old child ,which actually is also the age the party too! It will be a major game changer ,for its a misconception that the MNS will only draw votes from SS-BJP ;it will draw chunks from the Congress –NCP too and its unlikely that Raj Thackeray will have any tacit alliance with the Sena or the BJP.This would mean the elections are not a straight contest between two alliances unlike 2004,but they have a third angle now and results would become more unpredictable.

Further fragmentation is not ruled out either with the warring factions of RPI combining for the elections and neither are the chances of BSP bagging a dozen or more seats in the constituencies dominated by Dalits.

But the elections are 7 days away and that is a long time in the politics.There can be tetonic shifts or none at all. What looks possible at this point in time, may not be probable when the election campaign ends. If it throws up a hung assembly, of which there is a high probability we are sure to see an ugly game of negotiations and horse trading.

People are looking for alternatives and if Congress-NCP after it’s ten year stint is stuggling, it is no surprise as they have further sunk the state in debt and played into the lobby of builders, power brokers, sugar barons way too often.With the failing of monsoon, the anger in the sugar belt is understandable,simmering and about to boil over, not to mention that the brazen 26/11 attacks happened just 10 months ago.

The important thing to notice is that there would be no one single overpowering issue,rather a lot of issues that are localised and restricted to the constituency .Who stands for what and for whom will be sorted out only as the election nears by .

In the offing are a lot of inter and intra personalities clashing, which could turn the elections into a mean dogfight.The Maharashtra Congress is a recognised instituition of sycophancy and Narayan Rane is itching to become CM again.NCP's Chagan Bhujbal has as usual, an agenda of his own. The battle of pride and pique between Uddhav and Raj for Mumbai and its suburbs will intensify.The BJP is left only with Gopinath Munde to guide them through an extremely slippery and ideologically bankrupt times. It would have been a much easier election to manage for the saffron alliance had Pramod Mahajan hadn't passed away.Bal Thackeray would love to end one final election on a winning note and may decide to come out to campaign despite his ill-health.

With every party in disarray and every alternative seeming bleaker, what choice does the voter have?It's looking bleak for Maharashtra and we may well end up seeing President’s rule..oh but isn't the President Maharahstrian too?