The stage is set for the Himachal and Gujarat drama

The BJP, which rules in both states, expects to cling on to power. Despite Himachal having a sort of ‘tradition’ of anti-incumbency, the BJP feels that its ‘development’ policies will pay off. At the same time, the Indian national Congress, the only alternative – the Aam Admi Party (AAP) seems to have give up here – is in complete chaos, proceeding with determination with its implosion purpose.

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With the elections to the assembly of Himachal Pradesh announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) – elections will be held on November 12 and counting on December 8 – dates for one phase of the anxiety of people of India have been set. The other anxiety factor, elections to the assembly of Gujarat, hangs in the balance, with the ECI refusing to, again, tag it along with the Himachal dates. Whatever the extenuating reason or reasons that the ECI may have had for this decision, the other side of the entire exercise, which is the preparation of the political parties is in somewhat disarray.

The BJP, which rules in both states, expects to cling on to power. Despite Himachal having a sort of ‘tradition’ of anti-incumbency, the BJP feels that its ‘development’ policies will pay off. At the same time, the Indian national Congress, the only alternative – the Aam Admi Party (AAP) found this hill state too steep and has virtually given up – is in complete chaos, proceeding with determination with its implosion purpose. In a completely farcical ‘election’ it recently foisted old family faithful Mallikarjun Kharge as the party’s president, and nobody doubts how much of a puppet this 80-year-old will remain in the hands of the Gandhi family. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi has commented that his next move will be decided by the new party president. This means it will be decided by his mother, Sonia Gandhi. So, what changed?

The erudition and effort put in by Sashi Tharoor went to waste, with Tharoor ending up congratulating Kharge. What Tharoor’s future will be within the Congress only the Gandis can tell, but that he got more than 1,000 delegate votes makes a strong statement.

One cannot put any faith in the hands of the Congress. That is a party of losers, if I may use a colloquial term for the situation. Hence Himachal’s fate is understandably clear.

As for Gujarat, the AAP spanner in the works will either help the BJP by threatening to cut into Congress votes, or will see a three-cornered contest, which is good for democracy. AAP is too new in Gujarat and will have to settle down at the grassroots, but, then,  its foray into Punjab was also a sort of new binge. There, however, the BJP was never a force to be reckoned with.

We will wait with bated breath for the drama to unfold.