Deserters ship-wrecked and marooned

Deserters ship-wrecked and marooned

The party’s trusted allies, who deserted it on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections in search of greener pastures, are left to bite the dust. And the parties which stood beside the Congress in its hour of crisis were richly rewarded.

As the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) revelled in the glow of winning control of Parliament, a pall of gloom decended on the Left parties which, by all accounts, received the worst drubbing in the elections in the last 32 years. The erstwhile “outside supporters” – the CPM, the CPI, the RSP, the Forward Bloc – virtually faced a rout that sent their top leadership scurrying for cover. All this after their best ever performance at the 2004 hustings when they assumed the role of king-makers with a combined strength of 60 MPs.

The CPM, which had 43 seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha, could manage to win only 16  seats. The CPI, which bagged 10 seats five years back, could muster only 4. The Forward Bloc and the RSP won two seats each.

The Trinamool Congress, which tied up with the Congress, emerged as a leading party in the UPA (second only to the Congress) with 17 seats in its kitty. The Congress’ southern ally, DMK, is next with 17 wins and was leadign in one at the time of printing. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP triumphed in eight seats and was leading in one at the time of printing.

Gang of three

For all their bluster, the “gang of three”, which comprised the Fourth Front (Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and the Lok Janashakti Party), which allied with the UPA but fought against the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, turned up no-so-impressive performances. SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has retained Mainpuri, but his party emerged weaker from the battle, winning 21 seats which is 18 short of the figure last time.

Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which was the largest constituent in the UPA after the Congress with 24 seats in the 2004 elections, could manage merely four seats. Lalu lost Pataliputra, but will enter the Lok Sabha via Saran.

However, one of the biggest defeats this election was that of LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan, who once held the record for winning with the highest margin from Hajipur. The Dalit leader lost by a margin of 37,954 votes to Ramsunder Das of JD(U). The LJP drew a blank in all the 12 constituencies it contested from.

The PMK, the last ally to quit the UPA to join the AIADMK, could not even manage to win a single seat from the seven it contested.

Yet another friend-turned-foe of the Congress, the MDMK, also lost badly, winning only one of the four seats it contested. It’s leader Vaiko lost Virudhunagar to a political novice from the Congress. The Telengana Rashtra Samithi, led by Chandrasekhara Rao, who switched loyalties from the UPA to the NDA, won only two of the nine seats it contested in Andhra Pradesh.