Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Congress loses Uttarkhand, Punjab

Anti-incumbency along with price rise (I prefer it over the word 'inflation') led to Congress defeat in Uttarakhand and Punjab. In Uttarakhand (earlier Uttaranchal), the state government looked ineffective.

Elderly ND Tiwari, who was once the Chief Minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh, seemed to be biding his time. Unemployment became a big issue. In Punjab, the high turnout of women signalled the public anger over the rising prices.

The Saffron sweep has come at a time when the elections in UP are round the corner. In Uttarakhand, Muslims form a substantial population but are not concentrated in any region except Haridwar.

The fact that all the three Muslim MLAs who won in Uttarakhand are from Bahujan Samaj Party, will truly give nightmares to Samajwadi Party. Qazi Nizamuddin, Shehzad and Haji Taslim Ahmed won from Manglor, Bahadurabad and Laldhang respectively.

With 8 MLAs in the house of 70, BSP has shown its strength in a state where Dalits don't have a large population. And not a single Samajwadi Party candidate could win. Uma Bharti's Bharatiya Jan Shakti also failed to open its account.

In Punjab, the lone Muslim legislator came from Maler Kotla, the only town with Muslim population that had survived partition. Razia Sultana of Congress defeated Akali Dal's Abdul Ghaffar by 14,000 votes. She was jittery when at a function, a Muslim police officer (IG) had set afire the Ravana effigy four months back, causing a controversy.

In Manipur, Alauddin (Congress) and Helaluddin Khan (RJD) won from Keiro and Lilang seats. Here Congress is likely to form the government with CPI's suppport.