Assembly election results a 'political earthquake', Congress 'rudderless', says Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal termed the recent Assembly elections, and BJP's win in Uttar Pradesh, a "political earthquake [that] will boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's chances of re-election in 2019."

In an editorial dated March 14, US business publication The Wall Street Journal analysed the just-concluded five-state Assembly elections.

The editorial titled 'Modi's Landslide Victory' called the Bharatiya Janata Party winning a "remarkable" 80 per cent of seats in Uttar Pradesh a "political earthquake [that] will boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's chances of re-election in 2019."

The Journal opined that the BJP's wins in UP and Uttarakhand couldn't entirely be attributed to the promise of economic development, noting that PM Modi, during his campaign speeches, focused on development in a board manner.

The opinion piece also called PM Modi's politics a "clear break" from those of the Congress, a party the Journal termed "rudderless" under an 'indecisive' Rahul Gandhi.

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WHAT THE JOURNAL SAID:

  1. "Modi said little about economic reform in his stump speeches. Instead he focused on development broadly, making government more responsive to the poor and continuing the anti-corruption campaign."
  2. "The resulting chaos (after demonetisation) hit the poor hard and slowed the economy. But voters saw the move as necessary to tackle corruption, crime and tax evasion."
  3. "...the BJP delivered a message of pan-Hindu unity and rejection of the incumbent Samajwadi Party's caste-based politics."
  4. "Congress is saddled with Rahul Gandhi, whose indecisiveness and lack of charisma have left the party rudderless."
  5. "Congress won in Punjab only because the incumbent BJP-allied Akali Dal Party saw its support collapse after communal violence."
  6. "Saturday's wins will increase the government's leverage in (Rajya Sabha), but only after a delay. Uttar Pradesh is not due to replace its legislators until April 2018. By then the looming general election will put much-needed but unpopular changes to labour laws and land acquisition on hold."
  7. "Saturday's results suggest an ongoing shift in Indian politics. Mr. Modi continues to sell a vision of "new India" in which government removes obstacles to the poor improving their own lives. This is a clear break from Congress's politics of handouts and special privileges."
  8. "Only by undertaking far-reaching deregulation can the government meet its goal of expanding manufacturing to 25 per cent of the economy in 2020 from the current 16 per cent."
  9. "And without that industrial boom, India can't create jobs for a labour force that adds a million new workers every month. Without bolder action he can't deliver the opportunities he promised."

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(With inputs from AP)

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