SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
I N D I A     D E C I D E S

Uttar Pradesh
Cong’s googly to BSP, SP
Lucknow, May 16
The unexpected Congress victory in Uttar Pradesh signals the beginning of a new brand of development-based politics in the state. It is also a reality check for the two main parties - the SP and the BSP - who were aspiring to be “decisive’ in the formation of government in New Delhi. For the other major national party - the BJP - small improvement of a few seats is lost in the sea of major losses elsewhere.

Didi aka Bengal tigress
Kolkata, May 16
The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has once again proved her worth. Her her party and its alliance partner, the Congress, has given a severe drubbing to the ruling Left front by scripting an unprecedented success in the Lok Sabha elections.

Trinamool Congress activists celebrate after party chief Mamata Banerjee’s win outside a counting centre in Kolkata on Saturday. Trinamool Congress activists celebrate after party chief Mamata Banerjee’s win outside a counting centre in Kolkata on Saturday. — PTI

Maharashtra
Raj Thackeray upsets BJP-Sena applecart
Mumbai, May 16
Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has emerged as a force to reckon with in state politics by impacting the outcome in nearly every one of the 12 Lok Sabha seats the party contested.




DUTT’S THE WORD: Congress candidate Priya Dutt waves after being elected to Parliament from Mumbai’s North Central constituency on Saturday. — AFP

DMK wins TN’s trust on Lanka
Chennai, May 16
With Sri Lankan Tamils plight emerging as the major poll issue in Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK, which promised to take efforts for a separate homeland for Tamils at the fag end of the campaign, won 17 out of the 21 seats it contested, proving that people trust party’s leader M Karunanidhi more than AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on the issue.

Andhra
‘Maximum state’ for UPA
Hyderabad, May 16
Scripting a massive victory, the Andhra Pradesh Congress once again contributed the highest number of Lok Sabha seats to the UPA kitty when it won 33 out of the total of 42 seats in the state.

 





Top








 

Uttar Pradesh
Cong’s googly to BSP, SP
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 16
The unexpected Congress victory in Uttar Pradesh signals the beginning of a new brand of development-based politics in the state. It is also a reality check for the two main parties - the SP and the BSP - who were aspiring to be “decisive’ in the formation of government in New Delhi. For the other major national party - the BJP - small improvement of a few seats is lost in the sea of major losses elsewhere.

It is also the vindication of the Congress decision to go it alone in Uttar Pradesh. Both the Congress and the SP appear to be in a neck-to-neck competition for the highest tally in the state with the BSP probably only a few seats behind them.

The victory of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and other ministers like Shriprakash Jaiswal and Jitin Prasad was almost a forgone conclusion.

What is surprising is the victory of more than a dozen names on the Congress list like Kamla Kishore from Bahraich and Zafar Ali Naqvi from Khiri, who have won on the combined development agenda of NREGA, waiving of loan to farmers and schemes like midday meal. In Bharaich alone, around 1 lakh farmers’ loans were ignored and 1.53 lakh in Khiri.

That perhaps also explains why the Congress has done better in rural than urban areas. It has also performed well across regions from Purvanchal (Kushinagar, Maharjganj, Faizabad), central UP (Kanpur and Akbarpur), Bundelkhand (Jhansi) and Western UP (Moradabad and Barielly).

The major setback is for the ruling BSP that was projecting Mayawati as the next Prime Minister. “UP hui hamari hai, ab Delhi ki bari hai” was the rather pompous slogan repeated by Mayawati so many times every day.

Her social engineering appears to have come unstuck with the upper caste votes shifting to the Congress and the BJP. More alarming for her is her core constituency of Dalits also disappointing her by not showing up on the D-day or in some cases voting for the Congress. Her caste-community based formula of choosing candidates and winning seats seems irrelevant in the present scenario in UP.

If last time she swept the Assembly election on the law and order agenda, this time it sounded hallow as her party had fielded around 18 hardened criminals.

Her politics of spending multi millions on parks and memorials rather than basic amenities like power, roads and employment generation has proven to be her undoing.

The Samajwadi Party can take some solace in the fact that it has managed to retain the seats of the entire Yadav clan - Mulyam, two of Akhilesh and one of nephew Dharmendra - but its final tally remain under 25 as compared to 35 in the last election.

While Jaya Prada (Rampur) and Kalyan Singh (Etah) have won, the Kalyan factor and the Mohammad Azam Khan factor have damaged many seats for the SP as the Muslims have shifted to the Congress in many regions.

For the BJP-RLD alliance it was has a marginal gain from their 2004 position of 10 and three seats, respectively. The Varun factor barely crossed the borders of Pilibhit. Varun may have won by a margin of 2.81 lakh votes but the polarisation of Hindutva votes did not even help mother Maneka Gandhi in neighboring Aonla, who barely scrapped through by a margin of approximately 7,000 votes. Its national president Rajnath Singh won in Ghaziabad where the SP had not fielded a candidate. The irrelevance of their Ram Mandir politics can be gauged from the fact that in Faizabad (Ayodhya), the Congress has won for the first time since 1984.

Top

 

Didi aka Bengal tigress
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 16
The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has once again proved her worth. Her her party and its alliance partner, the Congress, has given a severe drubbing to the ruling Left front by scripting an unprecedented success in the Lok Sabha elections.

Mamata said she was confident about the alliance’s victory but did not imagine that they would win hands down, as the CPM was in power for such a long period in the state. “But fortunately, the people wanted a change,” she remarked. Mamata said till now they could not defeat the CPM as the anti-Left votes used to get divided. “But this time, me and Pranabda had taken a solemn oath to fight against the CPM jointly and it paid off,” she added. According to the final tally, the TMC-Congress alliance has managed to win on 26 out of total 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. The combine score of the Left parties is 15, while the BJP won the Darjeeling seat.

In the 2001 Assembly poll, Mamata joined hands with the Congress and fought against the CPM but at that time they were not successful since there was no involvement of the people at the grass-roots level in their fight against the Left. In the following years, Mamata virtually played a negligible role in the state politics, since most of his trusted party leaders and workers by that time started deserting her.

But soon Singhur and Nandigram happened and Mamata, fondly called Didi, got herself involved in the agitation in support of the poor farmers, who were protesting forcible acquisition of their farmlands for industries .Her success in the Singur and Nandigram issues reflected in the subsequent panchayet and the municipal poll in which the TMC candidates won hands down against the ruling Left parties.

For the last 32 years, the CPM had been ruling the state with a massive mandate, though Mamata alleged that this could be possible because of heavy rigging. She had been always demanding that the elections should be held the holding of the elections directly under the control and the supervision of paramilitary forces.

Meanwhile, the prominent Left leaders like Jyoti Basu and Somnath Chatterjee were of the opinion that the arrogance and overconfidence of the workers at all levels had been slowly eroding the parties’ popularity. CPM leader Biman Bose said they would be holding talks and meetingsto ascertain the reasons behind party’s poor show in the state. A section in the leadership had blamed the CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for mishandling some major problems, including the Singur and Nandigram issues.

Top

 

Maharashtra
Raj Thackeray upsets BJP-Sena applecart
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 16
Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has emerged as a force to reckon with in state politics by impacting the outcome in nearly every one of the 12 Lok Sabha seats the party contested.

While the Shiv Sena bore the brunt of Raj Thackeray’s high-voltage entry into electoral politics, its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, suffered serious collateral damage. Its candidates like Ram Naik and Kirit Somaiya, seen as sure-shot winners, bit the dust as the MNS chewed into a big chunk of the saffron votes.

The MNS won a whopping 1,95,000 votes in the Mumbai North East Lok Sabha constituency enabling dark horse Sanjay Dina Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party to defeat Somaiya by a meagre 3,000 votes. Similarly, BJP’s Ram Naik from Mumbai North lost to outsider Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress by just around 5,000 votes. The spoiler was

Shirish Parkar of the MNS who secured more than 1,47,000 votes.In the communally polarised textile town of Bhiwandi, MNS candidate Devraj Mhatre gave a much-needed boost to Congress candidate Suresh Taware by hogging more than 1,07,000 votes that would have gone to the BJP’s Shiv Ram Patil who lost by less than 40,000 votes. Only Priya Dutt of the Congress, contesting from Mumbai North Central, sailed through without the crutch of the MNS. She secured more than 3,14,000 votes despite the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate snipping away more than 45,000 votes. On the other hand outsider Mahesh Jethmalani of the BJP and the MNS together managed just about 2,75,000 votes.

In Mumbai South, Bala Nandgaonkar of the MNS emerged as the runner-up behind the Congress party’s Milind Deora way ahead of the Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Mohan Rawle.

Understandably, the MNS’ performance has rattled the Maharashtra BJP which hoped to bag 30 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state for the saffron alliance. “Raj Thackeray’s MNS damaged the prospects of our alliance in 11 of the 12 seats it contested,” state BJP president Nitin Gadkari told reporters as the results came in. “The defeat of our candidates, Ram Naik and Kirit Somaiya, has come as a major disappointment to the BJP,” Gadkari added.

He further said the BJP-Sena alliance had done well in most other parts of Maharashtra like Vidarbha, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra where the MNS had not fielded candidates. Gadkari hinted that the BJP might unveil a different strategy when the assembly poll in the state is held in September this year.

Uddhav Thackeray, whose leadership of the Shiv Sena has come under a cloud, was locked in consultations with party leaders as the results came in. Senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote, who was deputed to speak to the Press, put on a brave front. “We lost some ground in urban areas because the MNS tried to divide people on regional lines,” Raote said.

Top

 

DMK wins TN’s trust on Lanka
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service


DMK leader and Rajya Saba MP Kanimozhi waves at supporters outside the party headquarters after the party’s victory in Chennai on Saturday. — PTI

Chennai, May 16
With Sri Lankan Tamils plight emerging as the major poll issue in Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK, which promised to take efforts for a separate homeland for Tamils at the fag end of the campaign, won 17 out of the 21 seats it contested, proving that people trust party’s leader M Karunanidhi more than AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on the issue.

Karunanidhi, who roped in pro-LTTE leader Thol Thirumavalavan into the alliance and read a condolence poem on slain LTTE leader S P Thamilchelvan, in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, in a joint meeting on the last day of the campaign, had the last laugh over MDMK leader Vaiko and PMK founder S Ramadoss, who challenged him for the title of “leader of Tamils.”

The DMK, which won 15 seats lost time, increased its tally by two seats this time. Besides Karunanidhi’s fast and DMK’s general strike, demanding ceasefire during the run up to the polls, the party’s populist schemes and welfare measures contributed for the success of the party.

All Union Ministers belonging to the DMK were victorious. While Karunanidhi’s son Azhagiri, defeated his nearest rival by a big margin of over one lakh. Union Minister TR Baalu won from DMK’s stronghold of Sriperumbudur, while A Raja was elected from Nilgiris. As expected, the DMK alliance did well in eastern Tamil Nadu, where the AIADMK front won only two seats.

The results also indicate the growing strength of Thol Thirumavalavan’s VCK in the northern and eastern districts of Tamil Nadu, where the pro-Tiger leader’s Dalit vote bank, effectively countered the AIADMK alliance, besides neutralising the PMK’s dwindling support. The fiery orator was elected from the temple town of Chidambaram, defeating his nearest PMK rival.

However, the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, hurt the prospects of Congress, which was accused of supporting the island government's military offensive. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who was on a sticky wicket, at his home constituency of Sivaganga, was trailing behind AIADMK's Rajakannappan, for many rounds and counting was stopped after a clash between Congress and AIADMK workers. Finally, Chidambaram managed to scrape through by 3,000 votes and the result is yet to be officially announced.

Another Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer, who invited Sri Lankan president Rajapakse to his daughter’s marriage lost in Mayiladuthurai. Photographs of Mani Shankar Aiyer with Rajapakse, taken at the reception, was pasted at nook and corner of Mayiladuthurai by Tamil nationalist groups, who targeted top leaders of the Congress.

Union Minister EVKS Elangovan, known for his strong anti-LTTE stand and ridiculed the self-immolation of a youth Muthukumaran on the island Tamils issue, lost to the pro-LTTE MDMK at the textile town of Erode, while TNCC president KV Thangabalu was defeated at Salem. However, lesser-known Congress candidates, who did not attract the ire of Tamil nationalist groups, emerged successful, though by lower margins, when compared to the DMK nominees. The Congress won only eight seats, though it contested in 15 constituencies in the state and it also won in Puducherry. However, the Congress can console itself, as it prevented the entry of pro-Tiger leader Vaiko into Lok Sabha, as its candidate Manik Tagore, defeated the MDMK leader at Virudhunagar.

Actor Vijaykanth’s DMDK spoiled the chances of the AIADMK alliance in as many as 15 constituencies, where the victory margin is less than the votes polled by his party. MDMK leader Vaiko was the worst hit by the DMDK’s splitting of anti-DMK votes, in Virudhunagar constituency. While a complacent Vaiko, who spent most of his time in other constituencies, lost by a slender margin of 15,000 votes to a new face Manik Tagore, selected by Rahul Gandhi, the DMDK candidate secured more than 1.25 lakh votes. The result is yet to be announced, as MDMK workers are demanding recounting in the constituency.

The PMK, which quit the UPA and joined the AIADMK alliance was routed, losing all the seven seats it contested.

Top

 

Andhra
‘Maximum state’ for UPA
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 16
Scripting a massive victory, the Andhra Pradesh Congress once again contributed the highest number of Lok Sabha seats to the UPA kitty when it won 33 out of the total of 42 seats in the state.

Repeating the 2004 performance when AP’s share was 29 seats, the highest in the country, the Congress candidates emerged victorious in 33 constituencies, warding off the challenge from the four-party opposition alliance, headed by the TDP, and actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.

The Congress, which went to the polls alone this time, swept the polls across the three regions of Telangana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.

The TDP secured six seats, just one more than its 2004 tally, while the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) managed to win only two seats as against five it had won in the previous elections.The Praja Rajyam Party, floated by Chiranjeevi, the CPI, the CPM and the BJP drew a blank. The Left parties had secured two seats in the 2004 poll. The Majlis-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) retained the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat.Union Ministers S Jaipal Reddy (Chevella constituency), P Lakshmi (Bapatla) , Pallam Raju (Kakinada) and D Purandareswari (Visakhapatnam) emerged victorious while another Union Minister, Renuka Choudhary, lost from the Khammam seat.

TDP Parliamentary Party leader K Yerran Naidu was defeated in Srikakulam by the Congress while PRP leader and Chiranjeevi’s brother-in-law, Allu Aravind, lost in Anakapalle.

TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao and actress Vijayashanthi won from the Mahaboobnagar and Medak constituencies, respectively.

In the simultaneous elections, Andhra voters handed out an unambiguous verdict in favour of Congress candidates for the LS while voting on local considerations in the case of Assembly constituencies.

The sustained focus of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on welfare schemes appears to have yielded rich electoral dividends for the Congress this time. So comprehensive was its victory that other factors like the Telangana statehood issue and the star power of Chiranjeevi were relegated to the background. The TRS, which hoped to play a key role in national politics by winning as many LS seats as possible, put up a poor show and managed to win only two out of the nine seats it contested in the Telangana region.

Top

 






HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |