Kolkata: The alliance between Congress and its erstwhile rivals — the Left Front — has…
NEW DELHI,SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:It was a day of electoral firsts as the results of the Assembly elections in four States and one Union Territory came in on Thursday — Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa returned to power, breaking a pattern of alternation that had held since 1989; the BJP is set to form its first government in the north-east by winning Assam and has opened its account in Kerala; Mamata Banerjee beat the combined might of the Congress and the Left Front to win West Bengal again; the Congress lost all the polls it contested, except in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
For the Left Front, the solace of sweeping the polls in Kerala was overshadowed by the fact that it was pushed to the third place in West Bengal.
‘Endorsement of Modi’
BJP president Amit Shah said: “This victory in Assam, the way we have made inroads into Kerala and West Bengal, and won in the byelections in Gujarat and Jharkhand, is an endorsement of two years of the Modi government, and its agenda of development and progress. Parties which have tried to hamper this agenda within Parliament [referring to the Congress and the Left Front] have been sent a strong message by the Indian electorate.”
Ms. Jayalalithaa ascribed her historic win to the fact that she “aligned with the people, and believed in God. The people have stood by me.” In the absence of an alliance, her party’s victory has been more or less a solo show.
Pointing to her arch-rival the DMK, she said in a statement: “This election has upheld true democracy, shattering to pieces the campaign of lies of the DMK. This election has put a permanent full stop to the family rule.”
Ms. Banerjee, who also fought alone, after the Congress ended an alliance with her to go with the Left Front, also had some sharp words for her rivals whom she so comprehensively bested.
“The people are intelligent and can see through the canards spread by the opposition, it is a victory for Maa, Maati, Maanush,” Ms. Banerjee said.
“It was a mistake by the Left to align with the Congress. You should not have compromised with your ideology. Once you do that, you lose everything,” she said.
A sombre Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M), while expressing happiness at having won a huge victory in Kerala, admitted that a “review of the party’s performance in West Bengal shall be undertaken soon.”
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to accept defeat and promised “to work harder till we win the confidence of the people.”
The Congress avenged its 2011 defeat at the hands of AINRC founder N. Rangasamy, winning 17 seats with ally DMK, to wrest Puducherry.