Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

BJP wins in Haryana and Maharashtra

BJP won in Legislative Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra.  In Haryana it was clear victory as BJP won in 47 seats out of 90.  In Maharashtra BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 123 seats out of 288.  NCP which has 41 seats declared unconditional outside support to BJP.

During by-elections that followed Lok Sabha elections BJP had done badly.  It had lost seats it had previously held.  These victories are a morale booster to BJP.

For Lok Sabha elections News24-Chanakya prediction was close.  This time India TV-C Voter was close for Haryana and India Today-Cicero was close for Maharashtra.  India TV-C Voter predicted BJP 45, INLD 23, Congress 15.  It was BJP 47, INLD 20, Congress 15.  India Today-Cicero predicted BJP 124. SS 71, Congress 35, NCP 29.  It was BJP 123, SS 63, Congress 42, NCP 41.

In Haryana BJP has come to power on its own for the first time.  Previously it was a junior partner in coalitions.  Families of Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal had dominated Haryana politics.  Then came Bhupinder Singh Hooda.  He promoted his family.  INLD dominated by Devi Lal’s descendants is second with 20 seats.  Congress is third with 15 seats.  HJC headed by Bhajan Lal’s son Kuldeep Bishnoi got two seats.  Kuldeep and his wife won the two seats.  Sushma Swaraj’s sister Vandana Sharma lost.  Many BJP members were opposed to Vandana Sharma’s candidature as they viewed it as dynasty nomination.

In Maharashtra BJP won 123, Shiv Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41.  MNS was reduced to one seat.  MIM won two seats, first time outside Hyderabad.  BJP’s allies Swabhimani Paksha, RPI (A), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram contested 27 seats and lost in 26. RSP won the lone seat.  SP got one seat.  Six independents won.  Breaking the alliance with Shiv Sena proved beneficial to BJP.  Since NCP has declared support to BJP there is not much Shiv Sena can bargain for.  Amit Shah said chief minister will be of BJP.  BJP has seats almost double to that of Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena needs BJP more than BJP needs Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena is in no position to dominate BJP and dictate terms to it.

Amit Shah said they are two steps closer to Congress-Free India.  In both states Congress has come third.  He made it clear it will be BJP chief minister in Maharashtra.  No chance for Uddhav Thackeray to become CM.

It is wrong to speak of 10 years of anti-incumbency in Haryana and 15 years of anti-incumbency in Maharashtra.  Elections are held every five years.  When a party in power wins an election there is no anti-incumbency for the preceding period.  If at all there is anti-incumbency it is of five years.  It is not anti-incumbency that causes defeat but failure to perform as per expectations.  Corruption, misrule, nepotism are some of the reasons why parties lose elections.

Modi did not campaign during by-elections.  He campaigned during Legislative Assembly elections.  That made a difference to BJP.  In both states BJP did not have chief ministerial candidates.

AAP did not contest elections.  Being Delhi-centric is not good for AAP.  In Maharashtra many have left AAP.

Was there any secret understanding between BJP and NCP?  Does Modi want to make Sharad Pawar defence minister?  Is that the reason why Arun Jaitley holds additional charge of defence minister?  It will be political suicide for Modi if he makes Sharad Pawar defence minister.

Modi spoke against dynastic rule.  There are dynasties in BJP.  Modi’s message was to all dynasties.

Whether there was Modi wave in Maharashtra is immaterial.  BJP emerged as the largest party.  It has NCP’s outside support.  It is in a position to form the government.  That is what matters.

India and ISIS

Don’t trouble trouble unless trouble troubles you.

ISIS is no danger to India.  Joining USA’s Coalition of the willing in fight against ISIS is of no benefit to India. It can damage India.

First of all there are Indian hostages in ISIS territory.  If India joins the fight ISIS can behead Indians one by one.  The outrage and uproar that will cause in India will be uncontrollable.  India was able to get nurses released from territory but failed to get construction labourers released.  How did that happen?  Was there any secret understanding that ISIS can keep construction labourers in release for nurses?

ISIS is neither an existential nor an immediate nor a clear nor a present danger to India.  ISIS was the creation of USA and its allies who wanted to pull down Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.  As long as ISIS operated in Syria, USA and its allies had no problem.  When ISIS expanded into Iraq and conquered some villages and small cities USA and its allies had no problem.  The problem started when ISIS conquered Mosul and Tikrit and other territories and driving out Christians, Yezidis and Shias.  USA was alarmed.  It started bombing ISIS areas in Iraq.  ISIS beheaded two Americans.  Then USA with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar bombed ISIS areas in Syria.  Cruise missiles were used.  Drones could have sufficed.  Perhaps USA wants to give business to cruise missile makers.  Oil refineries were destroyed.  That will give business to American contractors.

Barack Obama does not want to put boots on the ground.  War is unpopular with Americans.  Air strikes are generally safe.

There are some who twist facts to justify India joining fight against ISIS.  Someone said ISIS is already in India.  Lashkar- e- Toiba and Indian Mujahudden are ISIS.  That is wrong.   Lashkar- e- Toiba and Indian Mujahudden existed before ISIS.

Another argument is that all Indians working in Gulf countries are hostages.  That is ridiculous.  There is no danger to Indian workers in Gulf countries from ISIS.  ISIS is in no position to attack Gulf countries, leave alone conquer them.

Barack Obama said we underestimated ISIS.  Then some said we had told about dangers from ISIS to Congressional Committee.  Then Obama said we overestimated Iraq’s capacity to withstand ISIS.

Someone said Iraqi Generals were bribed by Gulf countries to let ISIS win.  Those Generals are enjoying life outside Iraq with the money they got.

After one person jumped the fence of White House there is question of Secret Service’s ability to secure White House.  He cleared five security rings.  The front door was unlocked.  He reached East Room.  Congressional Committee grilled Secret Service Director Julia Pierson on security lapses.

USA has no problem with the dictatorship in Egypt.  Egypt’s experiment with democracy was short-lived.  It is a mess in Libya.

There is report that support for ISIS is growing in Jordan.  ISIS has support in Turkey and Egypt.  For Egypt’s government Muslim Brotherhood is a problem.  ISIS is recruiting teens through social media.

India should not join fight against ISIS.  Let those who created ISIS deal with it.


BJP breaks with Shiv Sena

On 25/9/2014 BJP ended its 25-year old alliance with Shiv Sena.  BJP was not satisfied with Shiv Sena’s offer of seats for Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election on 15/10/2014.  The day also saw Narendra Modi’s departure for USA to address UN General Assembly, gathering at Madison Square Garden, meet Barack Obama and corporates.  It also saw the end of Congress-NCP alliance of 15 years.  It is difficult to say whether the three events are related.

BJP has suffered losses in recent by-elections and had lost seats it had held before.  There was a feeling that BJP will be subdued while dealing with Shiv Sena.  That did not happen.  By-election losses did not deter BJP from pressing its demands and ultimately breaking away.

For long many in Maharashtra BJP had resented Shiv Sena’s dominance.  They had to swallow their pride as BJP’s national leadership did not want to break with Shiv Sena.

The alliance was forged in 1989.  BJP had two seats in Lok Sabha.  I don’t know how many seats they had in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.  Shiv Sena did not have any seat in Lok Sabha and had one seat in Legislative Assembly.  That was of Chhagan Bhujbal.  Pramod Mahajan had met Bal Thackeray and had forged the alliance.  AtaL Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were BJP’s national leaders.  In subsequent elections the alliance won many seats in Maharashtra.  The alliance ruled Maharashtra in 1995-1999.  Shiv Sena was part of NDA that ruled India in 1998-2004.

The original arrangement was for Lok Sabha BJP to contest to 32 seats and Shiv Sena 16 and for Legislative Assembly Shiv Sena to contest 171 seats and BJP 117.  Over the years BJP Lok Sabha share came down to 24.  Shiv Sena got six seats, one of them Thane held by Ram Kapse, and other allies got two.  For Legislative Assembly Shiv Sena gave two seats to BJP in 2009.  After Pramod Mahajan’s death Gopinath Munde kept the alliance going.  He died in an accident.  After Bal Thackeray’s death Uddhav Thackeray became leader of Shiv Sena.

In 2014 Narendra Modi became Prime Minister and undisputed leader of BJP.  He did not have a good equation with Shiv Sena.  Shiv Sena was in favour of Sushma Swaraj as PM candidate.  During Lok Sabha elections Nitin Gadkari had tried to bring MNS and NCP into alliance.  That was opposed by Shiv Sena.

BJP leader Eknath Khadse said “Each Lok Sabha seat comprises six Assembly constituencies.  In that sense, by giving away our six Lok Sabha seats, which had elective merit, we have already given them 36 Assembly seats.  The BJP also surrendered its Rajya Sabha seat held by Prakash Javadekar to Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athavale ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.”  BJP felt RPI was brought in by Shiv Sena.  So Shiv Sena should have given up its Rajya Sabha seat for RPI.

NCP wanted half of the seats and chief ministership for half of the term.  Congress did not agree.  NCP claimed it was a better party as it had won four Lok Sabha seats while Congress had won two.

Talks for seat sharing dragged on for days.  Uddhav Thackeray wanted to be chief minister.  Shiv Sena said there is no Modi wave.  Lust can lead to divorce.  BJP countered by saying impotence can lead to divorce.  There was a report that on 23/9/2014 BJP had decided to end the alliance but continued talks because of RSS order.  RSS could delay the split by two days but not avoid it.

The electoral contest in Maharashtra is wide open.  MNS has announced its list of candidates.  Congress will ally with SP.  Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Party and Shiv Sangram are with BJP.  AAP has decided not to contest.  Their leaders want to concentrate on Delhi.  That is a wrong decision.  A party becomes irrelevant if it does not contest elections.  NCP has quit the government and has withdrawn support to the government.  In most constituencies there will be at least five candidates.  In such a scenario a party can get 27% of votes and more than 50% of seats.

Voters who voted for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance for 25 years or for Congress-NCP alliance for 15 years have a choice to make.  RSS has to choose between BJP, Shiv Sena or being neutral.



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