The surprising election results of Haryana and Maharashtra Assemblies have thrown Indian politics into confusion. The results are a great victory for BJP and terrible defeat for Congress. Both Maharashtra and Haryana have been ruled by Congress for a long period and are very important States economically. The BJP had never ruled either Haryana or Maharashtra. For the first time, BJP is going to rule Haryana and Maharashtra. The BJP will become a major force and the Congress will have to find new strategies to survive.
Looking back,it is easy to point out mistakes. This is a situation where the Congress should have followed the Japanese policy of “Zero-mistake“ policy. Instead we have seen mistakes which could have been avoided totally. The Congress wants to convey the impression that it will come back and it need not change. It wants to give the impression that it is the Opposition Party and there is no alternative. It has the same old spokespersons who speak as if the Congress is in power and they show an arrogance which irritates viewers and listeners.
a. After the Parliament elections, the Congress has not issued a single statement saying that it has made mistakes and will correct itself. Even Governments in Russia and China, which have little democracy, apologize to people and correct mistakes. But neither Congress party nor Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime minister have shown regret to people. Instead, they state they did everything right and the country had a wonderful time in the last 10 years. This is major mistake.
b. The entire election campaign in 2014 was against Narendra Modi personally. The Congress party felt that if they continuously attack him, the people will suspect Narendra Modi and vote against him. This did not happen. The BJP won a majority in parliament. Immediately the Congress party should have changed its strategy and avoided personally criticizing Narendra Modi. Everyone agrees that Narendra Modi had very successful foreign visits. There should be some strategic magnanimity.
c. There was a huge successful meeting in the USA and thousands of NRIs attended it in New York. The Congress party should have again congratulated the NRIs for showing such solidarity with India. Instead the Congress spokespersons attacked Narendra Modi and said the meeting was a waste. This showed very poor grace and the NRIs were offended. Praising an opponent for doing a good work is a great tactic in politics.
d. In Haryana, the Congress party has ruled for the last 10 years. In 2009, the Congress won only 40 out of 90 MLAs and formed the Government by breaking other parties. Recently, most Haryana Congress leaders have been saying that the Congress Chief Minister B.S. Hooda has been side-lining them and ensuring they have no place. The Congress leadership never interfered. This led to senior leaders like Birendra Singh, AvatarSingh Bhadana , Rao Inderjit Singh and others leaving Congress party.
In Indira Gandhi’s time, the Congress ensured that no leader became supreme and every caste, religion and community had a Place. Unfortunately, Sonia Gandhi allowed the Chief Minister Hooda to completely dominate the Congress and make the Congress party a Hooda Party and chased away all rivals.
The Congress got only 15 out of 90 seats in Haryana and in most of the 90 seats, it was in number 3 place.
e. In Maharashtra, the Congress had a great alliance with the NCP of Sharad Pawar for 15 years. In no other states have two parties had a government for 15 years, except in West Bengal, where CPM Front had a government for nearly 25 years. The Congress should have carefully protected this alliance. But the Congress let the alliance slip away. The NCP made demands for more seats. Surely, the Congress could have given them more seats. When the BJP and Shiv sena split, if the NCP and Congress were allies, they would have had a better chance in Maharashtra. It was a major mistake to lose Sharad Pawar since he has very big stature in Indian politics. The split between the NCP and Congres has given a great chance to the BJP when it split with the Shiv sena . A Congress- NCP front could have stopped the BJP.
Ancient Indians have said ‘Vinashe Kale, Vipruthi Buddh “. This means that you have to be careful when you are going through bad times. Make decisions very carefully. The other mistake of the Congress is that they forgot what the great Emperor Napoleon of France said “Never interrupt your enemies when they are making mistakes “. The Congress should allow the BJP and Narendra Modi to make mistakes. They should not criticize him on a daily basis. Give him time to make mistakes.
The results of Maharashtra and Haryana elections will confirm many mistakes. Abraham Lincoln said a 175 years ago: You can fool all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time“. For example, Congress divided Andhra Pradesh. Yet, it got only 2 MPs out of 42 . In 10 years of UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, the Prime Minister never said a word about un-employment or middle classes.
No government can forget “good governance”. Sops, vote banks and various gimmicks might work for some time. But every government should note that only “good governance“ will eventually win elections or allow political parties to survive