Mayawati wins Uttar Pradesh and creates many records in the process. Few had credited her with a majority. But in an era of coalition politics, caste and religious divisions characterised by reservations, quotas, temples and mosques, the people of Uttar Pradesh voted for governance and stability. The floating vote went to the best alternative available, and if you look closely at the results, then it is obvious that while the Samajwadi Party held and improved on its vote share, the BJP and the others were decimated and their vote went to the BSP. The majority gained by BSP is painful for Mulayam Singh Yadav, but can be very painful for the Congress and the BJP as Mayawati does not need their assistance. Her future ambition of winning 40-50 MPs in the next Lok Sabha election is no longer a distant dream. Mayawati has also won all the three Parliament byelections in Mirzapur, Bilhaur (Brahmin areas) and Robertsganj. And the picture for 2009 Lok Sabha elections may well see the BSP and SP dominating over 70 seats in the state.
The state BJP has been the biggest loser, and like the Congress, has lost its upper caste base to the BSP. I see a very bleak future for the BJP and the Congress in UP. And while the electoral base of the SP is largely intact, the future will not be easy as minority votes have shown a tendency to shift towards the party in power. The Congress numbers are not a surprise, as there are no miracles in politics. Rahul Gandhi's efforts to campaign in a losing battle and build a team for the future give a positive sign, and we must wish him well.
Political honeymoons can be rather brief and often violent, but Mayawati is a fighter. And I don't think she will be too worried about the Taj Corridor case and the CBI request to prosecute her. The CBI has not yet got the governor's go-ahead. While all politicians stress upon the independent decision making capacity of the governor, CBI, DRI, IT etc., and everyone of consequence talks of the rule of law, the reality of life is very different as we are witnessing.
Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Samajwadi Party are also under pressure and the cases against them may well take a vindictive turn. Their ability to fight these charges will depend a great deal on their innocence, and few, if any, will come to their defence if they find that the resources of the state have been used by their friends for business and commercial gain.
Change is in the air and Mayawati's success cements the steady progress of the regional parties for power sharing arrangements at the Centre. She will fight elections all over the country as she has a five to seven per cent vote base. And now with her success in attracting the upper caste vote, the position will improve My personal reading is that neither Mayawati, nor Mulayam will be very worried about these matters as charge-sheeted ministers are in the Cabinet at the Centre and cases are pending in the law courts for well over a decade. Lalu Yadav and the fodder scam, J. Jayalalithaa, Sukh Ram are some examples. In a system devoid of any transparency and accountability, every party leader is guilty of similar offences.
The power of the ballot prevails and Mayawati and the BSP have won a historic victory cutting across religion and caste, and I don't think that anyone in the immediate future will try to obstruct the verdict of the people.
Change is very much in the air and Mayawati's success only cements the steady progress of the regional parties for power sharing arrangements at the Centre. Mayawati will fight elections all over the country as she has a five to seven per cent vote base. And now with her success in BJP has been the biggest loser, and like the Congress, has lost its upper caste base to the BSP. I see a very bleak future for the BJP and the Congress in UP. And while the electoral base of the SP is largely intact, the future will not be easy as minority votes have shown a tendency to shift towards the party in power attracting the upper caste vote, the position will improve and translate into seats. The Dalit base, reinforced by upper caste and minority votes (this was the Congress formula) is a winner, and after taking oath of office Mayawati talks of reservation for the upper castes and the minorities! The immediate task for the BSP and its leader would be to instil confidence into the administration and to ensure that the new dispensation is a little more than vote bank politics. The drive against criminal elements will be politically correct and any "encounters" (without fatalities) against the political Mafia will have total public approval as is the case with Nitish Kumar in Bihar. The honeymoon period is important for consolidation, and Mayawati has seen the peaks and the valleys on three occasions in the past and is no novice to the political arena.
I don't see any immediate threat to the UPA and to the Congress in the near future, as Mayawati consolidates her hold on Uttar Pradesh. She will give issue based support and all these decisions (President's election) will be linked to her future objectives of making the BSP an effective decision maker in 2009.
There are many state elections before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and besides the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh the BSP will contest Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, MP and Maharashtra among other states, and will pose a great challenge to the domination of the Congress and the BJP in these areas.
The numbers prevail over ideology and in the current Lok Sabha, the Congress and the BJP have 280 MPs and the others have 260 MPs. And in the next Lok Sabha it could well be 220 MPs for the Congress and the BJP, and 320 MPs for the others. Change is in the air.
The dynastic drama has started in Tamil Nadu as the talented Dayanidhi Maran resigns. His elder brother Kalanidhi and Sun TV will feel the pressure from the two sons (both are feuding for many years) of the DMK chief who is under pressure. The only winner in all this will be the AIADMK and J.Jayalalithaa. Change is in the air and may come earlier than we think, as political families concentrate on dynastic politics and accumulation of assets instead of political objectives.