QBullet: Cong Trumps BJP in Elections; Shaktikanta is RBI Guv

1. How Congress Led by Rahul Turned it Around in 3 States

Never write the obituary of a party. Or a leader. And never write the obituary of a party which is 133-years-old, and a leader who belongs to a family which has produced three prime ministers.

Never also underestimate the ability of the Indian electorate to throw up surprises.

The Congress is back, winning the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. And it is back in the region where it was most deeply vulnerable. If there is a pattern in this set of elections, here are five factors Congress got right.

Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, those are the same factors the BJP has got right since it embarked on its winning spree since 2014.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

2. KCR Wins by Heavy Margin, Congress Distant 2nd In Telangana

K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won a second straight term in India’s youngest state after scoring a landslide victory in the Assembly elections.

The TRS won 88 seats in the 119-member Assembly.

The Maha Kootami – the grand alliance of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) – managed to win just 21 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended up with one seat.

The All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), headed by Asaduddin Owaisi, has retained seven seats, while independent candidates won the remaining three seats.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

3. Congress Loses its Last N-E Outpost, Trounced by MNF in Mizoram

The Mizo National Front (MNF) snatched the last Congress bastion in the Northeast, capturing 26 seats in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly and returning to power after a gap of 10 years.

Led by two-time chief minister Zoramthanga, the MNF, which got only five seats in the 2013 Assembly polls, cornered 37.6 percent of the vote share, reducing that of the Congress to just 30.2 percent.

With the results, the Congress has now lost power in all the eight states in the Northeast. Since 2014, the BJP has been winning state after state in the region. It now has governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur and its allies run Meghalaya and Nagaland.

(Source: The Indian Express)

4. Shaktikanta Das, Eco Secy During DeMo, is RBI Guv

The government moved swiftly on Tuesday, 11 December, to appoint Shaktikanta Das – who as economic affairs secretary in 2015-2017 emerged as a strong defender of demonetisation – as the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India for three years, opting for a safe pair of hands and a consensus builder to mend the tattered ties between the Centre and the central bank.

File image of Shaktikanta Das, the new RBI Governor.

The appointment came within 24 hours of Urjit Patel’s sudden resignation as governor, and signals the government’s resolve not to allow uncertainty to linger.

Das (61), who was a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, resigned as member of the 15th Finance Commission on Tuesday, and is expected to take charge of RBI in a day or two, said people close to the development.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. How This Translates to Lok Sabha: BJP Tally Down 62 to 31 in Three States

An analysis by The Indian Express of constituency-wise poll data of the Assembly elections in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh shows the BJP may lose as many as 31 Lok Sabha seats if the latest revealed vote preferences hold true for respective Lok Sabha seats. This is a substantial dip given the fact that BJP had won 62 of 65 Lok Sabha seats across these states in 2014.

BJP leaders sought to ring-fence their government at the Centre from the Assembly election results. Their argument: Yes, the Congress made gains but the fact that it was so close in Madhya Pradesh and not so bad in Rajasthan shows that the party may be down but it’s certainly not out.

The reality could be a little more complicated.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Rumbling in BJP: Just as They Take Credit, Top Should Share Blame Too

Since coming to power in 2014, the top two in the BJP – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah – have held “victory” marches at its headquarters after every assembly poll win that followed, and credited each other for the achievement. But, as the results of the five state polls came in Tuesday, 11 December, party leaders were scrambling to distance the two from the debacle.

From office-bearers to MPs and MLAs, they insisted that these elections were fought on local issues and that the outcome cannot be seen as a referendum on the NDA government. “In fact, the efforts by Amit Shah and Modiji helped the party put up a good show in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said.

Beneath the surface, however, the rumbling was clear. Speaking to The Indian Express, at least two senior BJP leaders admitted that the Modi-Shah combine should “at least share the blame”.

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. Delhi HC Seeks CBI’s Stand on Plea by Satish Babu Sana

The Delhi High Court Tuesday, 11 December, sought the stand of the CBI, its director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana on a plea by Satish Babu Sana, seeking to be heard as a party in the ongoing petitions on quashing of FIR in a bribery case.

Soon after the FIR was lodged, Asthana and Verma were sent on leave. Verma has challenged the Centre’s decision to divest him of all powers and sending him on leave before the Supreme Court, which has reserved its verdict.

Besides the CBI, Verma, and Asthana, Justice Nazmi Waziri also issued notice to the agency’s joint director AK Sharma on Sana’s plea, alleging that the agency is not probing his allegations properly.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. How the Picture Will Change if Mayawati Rethinks Alliances

Poll results of three states from the Hindi heartland brought some eye-opening coalition lessons for BSP Chief Mayawati. Although BSP registered a jump in the number of seats in Rajasthan, from three to six, her tally came down from four seats to two in the politically crucial Madhya Pradesh where BJP and Congress were engaged in a tight contest till late on Tuesday, 11 December.

Mayawati had accused Rahul Gandhi-led Congress of attempting to “finish her party”.

Amid worries that her newly elected 10 MLAs could be poached, Mayawati summoned them, along with senior party members, to Delhi on Wednesday, 12 December, where the party was expected to decide whether it would sit in Opposition or offer support to Congress, which was poised to form governments in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and MP.

In all these three states, BSP was in talks with Congress to have a pre-poll alliance as a precursor to a grand anti-BJP front in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, Mayawati had stunned Congress in Chhattisgarh by entering into a pact with former Congress CM Ajit Jogi’s outfit.

(Source: The Times of India)

9. Modi Taught Me What Not to Do, Says Congress Chief

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, 11 December, said the poll outcome in five states was a clear message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government that the country is not happy, and asserted that a combined Opposition will fight and defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on the central themes of unemployment, agrarian distress and corruption.

Addressing a news conference at Congress headquarters in New Delhi after it became clear that his party is forming governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and had taken the lead in Madhya Pradesh, a beaming Gandhi said the Prime Minister had received a massive mandate in 2014, but refused to listen to the “heartbeat” of the country.

“I feel bad for him. He had got a massive opportunity to transform this country. There is a feeling among the people that the promises made by the Prime Minister have not been fulfilled,” the 48-year-old Gandhi, who became party president a year ago, said.

Source: Hindustan Times)

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