As counting is progressing to determine the winner of the assembly elections held in four states and one union territory, it is safe to say that decisive mandates have come by.
In Assam, the people have showed their approval of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. In Kerala, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has reversed a nearly four-decade-old trend of alternating governments every five years. In Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government has been shown the door, while in West Bengal the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is all set to retain power.
If in 2016 the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) victory was attributed to anti-incumbency against the Tarun Gogoi government, this time the BJP has shown that it has firmly etched its position in the state. What makes the BJP’s victory important is that the party has won despite facing massive protests against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and the NRC (National Register of Citizen), of which Assam was the epicentre. The victory in Assam will be a fillip to the national party’s efforts to reinforce its presence in the rest of the Northeast. This victory will also cushion the defeat in West Bengal.
For the Communist Party of India (Marxist) this election was a matter of survival, especially with the party not in power in any other state. The changes this victory will bring to the Left party’s national character is another debate — but for now Vijayan is the ‘Captain’. For the Congress this is a setback, but — contrary to what many analysts say — it is not the death knell, at least not in Kerala. That is because the Congress in Kerala is more like a regional affiliate to the national party.
A deeper analysis might also show that the state might have risen above communal politics, though it is too early to say so affirmatively.
The MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) victory, and more importantly the party crossing the halfway mark on its own, will give the party a much-needed lifeline, because it would have found it difficult to sit in the opposition benches for the third term in a row. For the ruling AIADMK, this loss could be the beginning of its unravelling. Its alliance with the BJP might have cost it the election, because there are not many visible factors or signs of anti-incumbency against the state government.
For the TMC under Mamata Banerjee, convincingly defeating bigger parties is becoming a habit. If a decade back it was the Left, this time the regional party has stood up to the BJP’s entire electoral machinery. Going ahead, it will not be easy for the TMC, especially with the BJP as principle opposition party, but the moment belongs to the TMC.In addition to the above points, there are five takeaways from the 2021 assembly election results: