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A pyrrhic victory
The jubilations in the ruling alliance camp over LC poll result are quite misplaced
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In a country where the political parties live in a world of make believe, have mastered the art of chicanery and self-projection, the jubilations caused among the ruling alliance partners- National Conference and Congress, over the victory of their four candidates in the election to the Legislative Council from the panchayat constituencies with the elected sarpnvahs and panchs as the electorate, is not quite unexpected. The two parties which contested the elections jointly had made it a question of life and death and had mobilized all their resources in men, money and material to bag these seats. The chief minister along with all other ministers and other politicians holding offices from the political advisors to the heads of various boards had joined an aggressive poll campaign, using money power as well as the administrative machinery. The alliance also had the backing of the 7 expelled members of the divided BJP who enjoyed the patronage of the chief minister and his party and had met him on the poll eve to assure their support to him. The victory of the alliance candidates is being falsely projected as the people’s trust in the coalition and its popularity. The chief minister has gone to the extent of describing the result as “ effective reply to detractors”, though none of them had claimed the elections to the upper house as a referendum on the policies, performance and popularity of the ruling combination.

In the first place the verdict given by just 32,000 voters spread all over the state cannot be described as a verdict by the entire population of the state. The voting was based on the personal choice of the panchayat members, who had not sought the approval of their own voters while casting their votes. In such an indirect elections the ruling party has always an inherent advantage. Even if the result is taken as the verdict of the people and as an index of the popularity graph of different political parties then it clearly shows a sharp decline in the support base of the ruling alliance and a clear gain for its main political adversary-PDP, which not only increased its popular base in the Valley but also made its presence felt in a big way in Jammu region where it was almost non-existent during the 2008 elections. Its gain is both at the cost of the BJP and to some extent that of the alliance partners.If the result is measured in terms of voting for the assembly elections, even then it shows decline in the vote bank of the two alliance parties in both the regions.

There appears to be no reason for the ruling alliance to celebrate this pyrrhic victory as it is not going to be a trend setter for the next elections to the State assembly. The only gain for the ruling alliance will be its increased strength in the upper house of the legislature where it already enjoys brute majority, both due to the manner of the members elected by the State assembly and as many as eight of its members being the nominees of the ruling establishment. The alliance can have the satisfaction of providing more political jobs for its supporters, some of whom had failed to seek people’s mandate in the assembly elections. This much hyped election cannot be the substitute for empowering the panchayati raj institutions and providing them the constitutional status It will be difficult for those at the helm to sidetrack the real issue of evolving a system of democratic decentralization through a mechanism of four tier panchayti raj system.
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News Updated at : Saturday, December 8, 2012
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