There are five important messages embedded in the results of the four assembly elections.
- The Congress is showing a steady march to imminent eclipse in the 2014 elections. As a party, once it starts losing momentum, it does not have the state leaders, cadres or satraps who can dig in their heels and fight back against the political tide. As for the Manmohan Singh regime, it is now not just a lame duck but a "dead duck".
- The spectacular performance of the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal's defeat of Shiela Dikshit represents the popular disgust with traditional politics. It also turns down certitudes of caste and class, and breaks a path for a new way to approach politics. It can also be suggested that Kejriwal has negated the Congress strategy of countering corruption and inflation with doles and sectional appeals to minorities.
- We can spilt hairs over whether the BJP's performance was the result of a Modi "wave" or not. But we cannot ignore the fact that after his declaration as PM candidate, the Sangh parivar cadre has united and is back to being a fighting unit. What is certain is that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party after the 2014 general elections. Although Modi is a very different personality to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, from now to the national polls, he will have to try and tone down the divisive rhetoric and try to minimise his unacceptability to regional forces.
- As the Congress ground caves in, it is up to regional forces and parties like the AAP to fill in some of the space. That will happen to some extent. Even the minority community will be searching for parties besides the Congress whom they can support as they would not like their votes to be wasted. There will be a surge in support to parties like the BSP.
- The importance of gritty, strong and charismatic leadership has been restated. Arvind Kejriwal is another in a long line of important leaders to join the national pantheon. Indian politics is now marked by two apparently contradictory trends. The desire for a big strong figure like Modi and the growing importance of every small party.
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