By TAPAS DEY | March 08, 2018
At a time when BJP , the party of ‘Hindutwa’, and its allies continue to celebrate their stunning but unexpected success in the just-concluded assembly polls , there are positive signals for Congress even amidst setbacks and failures. True to its political nature , the BJP is euphoric and its workers and supporters are making the best of the party’s electoral success by acts of vandalism , goonery and statue demolition across the state. Two statues of Lenin , the socialist revolutionary leader of erstwhile Soviet Russia, have been demolished by vandals of BJP in the state’s southern subdivisions of Belonia and Sabroom while others await the same fate perhaps in a short while. Worse probably is still to come as the BJP will be under constant pressure from its ally the IPFT, votary of a separate state and the undesirable elements who left Congress to join the ‘Hindutwa’ band wagon are not expected to make life easy for Biplab Deb-Sunil Deodhar duo. But a deeper analysis of what is in store can be postponed for the time being .
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What however emerges clearly from the outcome of the assembly polls-2018 in Tripura is that despite failure to win a seat Congress has bright prospects in a state it ruled for close to three decades and also played the role of prime opposition for thirty five years. Congress had entered the fray with a number of handicaps : the party had lost power in Centre in 2014, largescale desertion of partymen and joining of CPI (M) and then BJP en masse from 2013 onwards and this continued even during the run-up to the polls. There was-as there still is-lingering doubt in the minds of the people over the political will of Congress in fighting the CPI (M) in Tripura in view of political equations at the national level and last but not the least is the lack of resources of the party to challenge the BJP’s huge resources. The cumulative effect of all this was the failure on the part of Congress to win a seat.
But the negativity can not overshadow the positive sides of the party. Despite the overwhelming performance of BJP its close and committed supporters nurse misgiving over the party’s recklessly populist promises to the voters in the so-called ‘Vision Document’. The commitment to implement the recommendations of the 7th central pay commission for employees and pensioners, raise the allowances on social welfare schemes up to at least Rs 2 thousand from the present Rs 500-700 per head per month, regularize the services of over 55 thousand contingent, DRW and contract employees including SSA and RAMSA teachers did impact the electorate and brought rich dividends for the party but all these promises together have huge financial liabilities . How the state that contributes only 11% of the revenue to the state’s annual budget will meet these liabilities is a matter of grave doubt and misgiving. At a time of resource constraints how can the hard-pressed Centre shower special financial assistance to the state in violation of norms is a matter of conjecture only. Apart from this, the BJP’s tall and vacuous commitment to provide for employment generation for youths at a time when close to 8 lakh are registered unemployed makes even the faithful skeptical. This , coupled with the pressure from lumpenised elements in the support base and the ethnically aggressive IPFT, will soon lead the ‘Hindutwa wallas’ down the slippery slope of disaster.
But the Congress hopes for revival rests not only on what is enumerated above , the party, despite the defeat has still retained its basic and unwavering support base . The sheer scale of CPI (M)’s decimation indicates clearly that the avowed Marxists have little or no chance of reviving its fortune at the political or electoral level. A reenactment of what is happening to the party in West Bengal post-2011 is in the offing . This is what promises to work for Congress because the new voters, younger generation and those who fell for BJP’s deception will soon start joining Congress in droves. What the party needs to do at the moment to ensure it regains its ground is emphatic and visible signal that Congress will never ally with CPI (M), the tormentor of the Congress for thirty five years. In fact the hatred for communists runs so deep in the hearts of Congress that the party in Tripura can never afford to appear to have anything to do with the Marxists because of their perfidies.
Besides, the Congress in Tripura urgently needs a strong, firm and people-oriented leadership . it is the leadership issue which has let down Congress since the late seventies in Tripura. Had there been a seasoned and tested leadership to steer the Congress, the party would have returned to power long back , even in 1998. So choice of proper leadership is of crucial importance to the party in Tripura, sooner rather than later.
Image courtesy: Tripurainfoway