Left out

Left out

They were mandates for change in four assembly elections, and one was huge enough to create history. The voters’ verdict that runs through the results of elections in three of the four states and a Union Territory is a big slap on the incumbent governments.

The popular swings against the Left Front in West Bengal and the DMK in Tamil Nadu were of a tidal nature. The Left Democratic Front in Kerala suffered a huge erosion in its support. It also lost power, though the rival United Democratic Front has only a precarious majority. In Puducherry too the incumbent Congress government lost. Only in Assam the ruling party is set to return to power. Overall, the electorate in no state was confused about its choices, and voted overwhelmingly in one way, although it was not good enough to produce a very decisive result in Kerala.

The most remarkable victory comes from West Bengal where Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has ended the 34-year-old uninterrupted rule of the Left Front. It is a victory whose chronicle was foretold in elections at other levels and poll surveys in the recent past. But when it came about it was so overwhelming that it is the stuff of fantasy and history, with even chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee losing his seat. Bengal has seen a huge political quake, with the arrogance of long-held power crumbling before the perseverance of a leader who had a grasp of the people’s aspirations and related to them better.

 Though the Congress is also a part of the victorious alliance, there is no doubt where the credit for the victory goes, with the Trinamool in a position to form a government on its own. The victory of Jayalalitha’s AIADMK in Tamil Nadu is equally sweeping, much above all expectations. The AIADMK too is in a position to form a government without help from allies. The DMK, which recorded one of its worst electoral performances, has paid the price for the massive corruption scandals in which its leaders were involved and for the nepotism that marked its leaders’ conduct.

The Congress will be happy that the party and its chief minister Tarun Gogoi has come back to power in Assam for a third time with a bigger mandate and a majority of its own. The UPA at the Centre may be stronger in theory now, though the impact on it of a more assertive Banerjee and a weaker DMK is yet to be judged.