The Congress on Monday scored a valuable goal ahead of upcoming General Elections by inching towards victory in Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi, three of five states where voters picked new assemblies, dealing a blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that, however, scored a grand win in Madhya Pradesh and seemed poised to retain power in nearby Chhattisgarh.
CAPITAL GAINS: Congress' 10-year reign in Delhi doesn't seem to be ending.
And even as officials continued to count the millions of votes cast in assembly elections which were widely seen as a "semi final" before the Lok Sabha elections due next year, Congress and BJP veterans began to analyse the rights and wrongs of the November 14-December 4 ballot.
The elections took on an added value as terrorists struck in Mumbai slaughtering 172 people from the evening of November 26, casting a shadow on all the states barring Chhattisgarh where two rounds of balloting had already ended.Even as overjoyed Congress activists took to noisy celebrations outside party offices in the Rajasthan capital Jaipur and in New Delhi, political analyst GVL Narasimha Rao warned that the state results were no great news for the BJP or the Congress. "The Congress is certainly doing better than expected but not as well as they should have done to win a national election," Rao said. "The BJP is doing worse than expected and does not look like it is in the lead to come to power nationally. It is a mixed result overall."Nevertheless, Congress leaders gloated in anticipation of the sweeping victory in BJP-ruled Rajasthan, and a stunning third five-year term win in Delhi, the national capital where the BJP was confident of snatching from the Congress until late Sunday. "There is no stopping the Congress now," thundered Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, a confidant of party President Sonia Gandhi. The Congress was on the winning track in distant Mizoram, outclassing the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), a former insurgent group that has ruled the northeastern state since 1998. The BJP, however, was on the winning track in Madhya Pradesh, with its candidates leading in 120 of the 230 seats. The BJP has ruled both Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh since 2003.
NCT of Delhi (69)
Independent & Others 4
Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit looks close to retaining power for the third straight term in the Capital. The ruling Congress won three seats in Delhi Assembly elections and was leading in 37 other constituencies while BJP was ahead at 26 seats in the 70-member Assembly.Mukesh Sharma of Congress was the first to emerge victorious in the Delhi Assembly elections by defeating his nearest rival BJP's Pawan Sharma in Uttam Nagar by a margin of 7,187 votes.
Sharma, who is entering the Assembly for the fourth consecutive term, has shifted to Uttam Nagar constituency following delimitation.Another two-time MLA who won this time was Mahabal Mishra. He defeated his nearest BJP rival Pradyuman Rajput by 13,981 votes.
In Jungpura, two-time MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah defeated Akali Dal's Manjinder Singh Sirsa by a margin of 13,956 votes. Ministers AK Walia (Laxmi Nagar), Arvinder Singh Lovely (Gandhi Nagar) and Yoganand Shastri (Mehrauli) were ahead in the race.
Ministers Harun Yusuf (Ballimaran) and Raj Kumar Chouhan (Mangolpuri), who were initially trailing, were now ahead in the race. Delhi Assembly Speaker Chaudhury Prem Singh, who has never lost an election since 1958, is leading in Ambedkar Nagar.Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan is trailing in Krishna Nagar constituency. Congress is leading Vishwas Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Rohtas Nagar, Patel Nagar, Uttam Nagar and Dwarka while BJP is ahead in Shakur Basti, Patparganj and Karol Bagh.
In a major surprise other parties are leading in eight seats. BSP is ahead in Babarpur constituency where Congress is in the third position. Counting of votes cast in the November 29 polling for 69 out of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi, began on Monday morning amid tight security. Over 57 per cent of the more than 1 crore electorate had participated in the polling to decide the electoral fate of 863 candidates in the fray, including 352 independents. A clear picture of the outcome is likely to emerge by Monday afternoon. Polling for the Rajinder Nagar seat has been postponed to December 13 following the sudden demise of BJP candidate and sitting MLA Puran Chand Yogi. The results will decide if the BJP will end the Congress' 10-year reign in Delhi, or Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit will succeed in steering her party to power for a third consecutive term. At the last hustings in 2003, the Congress had a tally of 47 and the BJP 20 in the 70-member house.The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), trying to open its account in the Delhi Assembly, is likely to play an important role this time. It has put up candidates for all the 69 seats and is expected to queer the pitch for both the Congress and the BJP in few seats.
While the Congress, too, contested all the seats, the BJP had put up 68 candidates (including three Akali Dal nominees contesting on its Lotus symbol) and one candidate of the Akali Dal contested on the Akali symbol.
The Nationalst Congress Party (NCP) is in the fray in 15, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in 11, Communist Party of India (CPI) in five and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in four apart from 353 independents. Other smaller parties have fielded 270 candidates. And the BSP meanwhile is hoping to spoil the party for both the rivals, claiming to grab a few seats this time and play the part of a kingmaker. All the 13 counting centres have been declared 'high-security zones' and elaborate security arrangements are in place to prevent any untoward incidents.
Independen & Others 25
The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that is disappointed with the Assembly election outcome in Rajasthan. "Rajasthan is sad. The results have been depressing. The rebel factor was not managed by the party very well. But Vasundhara Raje's performance has been very good," party Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Congress has established a big lead in Rajasthan and is all set to cross the half-way mark in the 200-seat Assembly. "Even before the Mumbai attack, terrorism was an issue for us just as the issue of price rise. Vijay Kumar Malhotra has been a senior leader but may be Arun Jaitley would have been a better candidate. But this is my personal view," said Prasad about the Delhi elections where too the Congress is leading.
BJP has some good news from Madhya Pradesh where its government is returning to power. In Chhattisgarh the race is close. Congress Spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said, "Those who governed well have been being rewarded. The perception that UPA did not perform was wrong. In Delhi, Shiela Dikshit's performance has been good."
Madhya Pradesh (230)
Independent & Others 28
The Congress may be heading for power in three of the five states following assembly elections but a cautious Digvijay Singh Monday said the result did not reflect national mood and the party would prefer general elections only in April.“April is all right. I don’t think we should advance the elections. There is no need to advance it,” the veteran leader told reporters. Reacting to the impact of these elections on the Lok Sabha polls due early next year, Digvijay Singh said: “These elections don’t tell the national mood.” His colleague and party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan disagreed: “It (the results) certainly will have an impact on the general elections (next year).”
Reacting to the poor showing in Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh said: “We have to look into the results.” But he rubbished the idea that groupism and intra-party conflict had led to defeat in the state. As for Suresh Pachauri being projected as Congress chief ministerial candidate in the state, he argued: “He was not a bad choice. Pachauri has been there for a long time and knows the state very well.”Asked if he would be going back to Madhya Pradesh, where he has served as chief minister for 10 years, Digvijay Singh replied: “I am happy where I am. As such I am not going to contest the Lok Sabha elections.”
Independent & Others 6
Opposition Congress continued to be pro-active in its electoral battle with the ruling BJP as counting trends showed a close contest between both these parties, with no major say for Bahujan Samaj Party or the Left Parties. As counting progressed in 90 constituencies, Congress candidates in 41 constituencies were leading by narrow margin while BJP nominees are ahead in 41 constituencies. BSP and CPI are leading in one contituency each. The strategy of BSP, which had fileded its candidates in 90 constituencies under its Uttar Pradesh strategy of Sarva dharma sambhav, apparently did not click in this election. Left Parties too are heading for a similar situation. Chief Minister Raman Singh was leading in Rajnandgaon by a margin of more than 4000 votes while former chief Minister Ajit Jogi (Congress) and his wife Dr Renu Jogi ( Both Congress) have established a comfortable lead in Marwahi-St and Kota constituencies respoectively. Leader of the opposition Mahendra Karma (Dantewada-Congress), Speaker Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai-BJP), state Congress President Dhanendra Sahu (Abhanpur) and state BJP president Vishnudeo Sai (Pathalgaon-St) were prominent among those who were trailing trends coninued to pour in.
Independent & Others 12
The opposition Congress party in Mizoram Monday stormed back to power after being in political wilderness for 10 years by winning an absolute majority, while the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) accepted defeat as votes cast to elect the 40-member state legislature were counted. According to latest results, the Congress won 21 seats and was leading in four others, while the MNF managed to win in just four seats. Another regional party, the Mizo People’s Conference, bagged just one seat out of the 26 results declared so far.
In a major upset, Chief minister Zoramthanga and leader of the MNF lost the North Champai seat to his Congress rival. Accepting his party’s defeat, Zoramthanga said: ‘We accept the mandate and would work like a responsible opposition.’ ‘This is a verdict for change and a big snub to the 10-year-old misrule and corruption of the MNF government,’ Lalthanhawla, the Congress chief ministerial candidate, told IANS. ‘We are committed to providing a stable government with our focus on development and well being of the people,’ he added.
Lalthanhawla, a former three-time chief minister, won both the seats he contested. He beat F. Lalthanzuala of the MNF by 96 votes to bag the South Tipui seat and got the Serchhip assembly seat by 952 votes. P.C. Lalthanliana of the Congress won the Lunglei North seat, defeating his nearest MNF rival by 705 votes, while Congress candidate R.L. Pianmawia won the Tuivawl seat. He defeated his MNF rival by 473 votes. Congress candidate R. Lalzirliana won the Tawi seat defeating his nearest MNF candidate by 1,211 votes. In the Turial seat, Hminhdailova Khiangte of the Congress party defeated his MNF rival by 1,022 votes. Congress candidate H. Liansailova won the Aizawl North seat, defeating his MNF rival by 266 votes. Nihar Kanti Chakma of the Congress party defeated his nearest MNF rival in the West Tuipui seat by 1,540 votes, while S. Hiato of the same party won the Saiha seat, beating his MNF rival. Congress candidate L. Ralte won the Hachhek seat, defeating his MNF rival. Victory celebrations by the Congress erupted across the state as news of the party winning absolute majority came in. Jubilant Congress supporters were seen dancing and singing on the streets here. ‘This is a great victory as the MNF government swindled millions of rupees in central funds meant for Mizoram’s development. The MNF government was indulging in rampant corruption and the people gave them a fitting reply in the vote,’ said T. Sailo, a Congress supporter. The MNF had been in power in Mizoram for the last 10 years. In the last assembly elections held in 2003, it secured 21 seats, while the Congress bagged 12 and seven went to other smaller parties.
Note: Counting is still on in some places and these are not final results.