Results of General Election of India declared
@ May 30, 2009
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A) Introduction

The General Election for 15th Parliament (Lok Sabha) was held during April-May 2009. The election results were declared on May 16. According to the results announced by Election Commission of India, Congress lead UPA coalition won the election with 262 seats, short of 10 seats needed for absolute majority of 272 seats, for total of 543 seats in parliament.

The Dr. Manmohan Singh was sworn in as Prime Minister on May 22. He also announced the names of 18 cabinet ministers. The first parliament session will be held on June 1-8.

Chronicle is pleased to bring out special report on general election. Please note that this is provided for general information only. Chronicle does not support any political party.


PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi

16 May 2009, 1859 hrs IST




Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presents a bouquet to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi during a press conference in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)


B) After elections




President Pratibha Patil and PM Manmohan Singh, with newly sworn-in ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. (PTI Photo)


59 new ministers join Team Manmohan

28 May 2009, 1309 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Patil on Thursday administered the oath of office to 14 Cabinet ministers, 7 ministers of state with independent charge, and 38 MoS in an elaborate ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

In a businesslike ceremony that started punctually at 11.30am at the historic Ashoka Hall in the presidential palace, President Pratibha Patil administered the oath of office to the 59 ministers in the second phase of ministry formation -- 19 cabinet ministers were sworn in May 22, IANS reported.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, only the second Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to get a second consecutive term in office, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were seated in the front row to watch the proceedings that was the culmination of days of intense lobbying for ministerial berths.

Leader of Opposition LK Advani was conspicuous by his absence at the ceremony. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had attended the first instalment of ministerial inductions last week.

The new Council of Ministers includes 59 from the Congress and 19 from five allies: seven each from DMK and Trinamool Congress, three from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one each from the Muslim League and National Conference.

The Cabinet ministers were the first to be sworn in, followed by seven ministers of state with independent charge and 38 ministers of state.

Kicking off the proceedings was former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, one of the nine former chief ministers who comprise Manmohan Singh's cabinet. He was followed by National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah.

Former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja, Mallikarjun Kharge, Kumari Selja, Subodh Kant Sahay, M S Gill, G K Vasan, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mukul Wasnik, Kantilal Bhuria and MK Azhagiri were sworn in Cabinet ministers in that order.

Praful Patel, Prithviraj Chavan, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Salman Khursheed, Dinsha Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Krishna Tirath took oath as ministers of state with independent charge.

Srikant Jena, E Ahamed, Mullappally Ramachandran, V Narayanasamy, Jyotiraditya Scindia, D Purandeswari, Ajay Maken, K H Muniyappa, Panabaka Lakshmi, Namo Narain Meena, M M Pallam Raju, Saugata Ray, S S Palanimanickam, Jitin Prasada, A Sai Prathap, Gurudas Kamat, Harish Rawat, K V Thomas, Bharatsinh Solanki, Mahadev Khandela, Dinesh Trivedi, Shishir Adhikari, Sultan Ahmed, Mukul Roy, Mohan Jatua, D Napoleon, S Jagathrakshakan, S Gandhiselvan, Preneet Kaur, Tusharbhai Chaudhary, Sachin Pilot, Arun Yadav, Prateek Prakash Patil, RPN Singh, Shashi Tharoor, Vincent Pala, Pradeep Jain, and Agatha Sangm were sworn in ministers of state.

As the ceremony proceeded with clockwork precision, the ministers quickly followed suit. Some fumbling a bit, like Congress' Jairam Ramesh who forgot to sign the register after his oath and V Narayansamy who asked the President to wait a bit while he settled his papers. But Saugata Ray of the Trinamool Congress was only too ready and started off even before Patil could prompt him, leading to laughs all around.

Most of the ministers were dressed in their traditional best like Congress MP Sachin Pilot who sported a red Rajasthani turban, debutant Shashi Tharoor who threw a saffron and white angavastram over his kurta, and the DMK brigade, all clad in the 'veshti', sarong, from back home in Tamil Nadu except for filmstar D Napoleon who decided to be different and wear black trousers.

The only person to wear a western business suit was MS Gill.

Watching on were finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister AK Antony, railway minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and a stubbled Rahul Gandhi.

Nine women, one less than last time, find place in the Council of Ministers, whose average age is 57. The youngest is Agatha Sangma, the last to take oath, who is 27 and the oldest at 77 is External Affairs Minister SM Krishna.

Thirteen people are in their 40s and younger.

At the end of the one-and-a-half hour long ceremony, the council that has come under criticism for not having enough representation from the most populous state Uttar Pradesh or from the minority Muslim community, was ready for governance - for the next five years.

The ministers' portfolios, tussle over which led to delay in ministry formation, are likely to be announced later in the day.


Complete list of Cabinet ministers and portfolios

28 May 2009, 2204 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM




Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister

Pranab Mukherjee


Sharad Pawar

Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution

A K Antony


P. Chidambaram

Home Affairs

Mamata Banerjee


S M Krishna

External Affairs

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Health and Family Welfare

Kapil Sibal

Human Resource Development

Veerappa Moily

Law and Justice

Ambika Soni

Information and Broadcasting

Anand Sharma

Commerce and Industry

S Jaipal Reddy

Urban Development

Murli Deora

Petroleum and Natural Gas

Kumari Selja

Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Tourism

Sushilkumar Shinde


Vilasrao Deshmukh

Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

Kamal Nath

Surface Transport and Highways

Virbhadra Singh


A Raja

IT and Communication

Dayanidhi Maran


Meira Kumar

Water Resources

C P Joshi

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj

M S Gill

Youth Affairs and Sports

M Azhagiri

Chemicals and Fertilizers

Mallikarjun Kharge

Labour and Employment

Farooq Abdullah

New and Renewable Energy.

Subodh Kant Sahay

Food Processing Industries

G K Vasan


Pawan Kumar Bansal

Parliamentary Affairs

Vyalar Ravi

Overseas Indian Affairs

B K Handique

Mines, Development of North-Eastern Region

Mukul Wasnik

Social Justice and Empowerment

Kantilal Bhuria

Tribal Affairs



Praful Patel

Civil Aviation

Prithviraj Chavan

Science and Technology; Earth Sciences and MoS in the PMO; Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Parliamentary Affairs.

Sriprakash Jaiswal

Coal; Statistics and Programme Implementation

Salman Khursheed

Corporate Affairs; Minority Affairs

Dinsha J Patel

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Krishna Tirath

Women and Child Development

Jairam Ramesh

Environment and Forests



Mahadev S Khandela

Road Transport and Highways

Dinesh Trivedi

Health and Family Welfare

Sisir Adhikari

Rural Development

Sultan Ahmed


Mukul Roy


Mohan Jatua

Information and Broadcasting

D Napoleon

Social Justice and Empowerment

Dr S Jagathrakshakan

Information and Broadcasting

S Gandhiselvan

Health and Family Welfare

Tusharbhai Chaudhary

Tribal Affairs

Sachin Pilot

Communications and IT

Arun Yadav

Youth Affairs and Sports

Pratik Patil

Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

R P N Singh

Road Transport and Highways

Shashi Tharoor

External Affairs

Vincent Pala

Water Resources

Pradeep Jain

Rural Development

Agatha Sangma

Rural Development

Ajay Maken

Home Affairs

Jitin Prasada

Petroleum and Natural Gas

E. Ahamed


Srikant Jena

Chemicals and Fertilizers

Mullappally Ramachandran

Home Affairs

V Narayansamy

Planning, Parliamentary Affairs

Jyotiraditya Scindia

Commerce and Industry

D Purandeswari

Human Resource Development

K H Muniyappa


Panabaka Lakshmi


Namo Narain Meena


M M. Pallam Raju


Saugata Ray

Urban Development

SS Palanimanickam


A Sai Prathap


Preneet Kaur

External Affairs

Gurudas Kamath

IT and Communications

Harish Rawat

Labour and Employment

K V Thomas

Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

Bharatsinh Solanki



Know your ministers: Kapil Sibal (HRD Minister)

23 May 2009, 1449 hrs IST



312-kapil sibal.png


  AGE: 60

ASSETS: Rs 32cr


Like the young Varun Gandhi of the BJP, Kapil Sibal is a published poet. While the quality of verse in both cases is rather strained (Sibal composes on his Blackberry), the two poets part company here. Secular and sophisticated, Sibal’s style is a far throw from Varun’s immature posturing. A day before counting day, he said, “The secular credentials of parties will be decided after the results are out.” As it turned out, parties weren’t put to the test. Sibal himself coasted in from Delhi's Chandni Chowk with two lakh votes between him and the next man. Genial, articulate and comfortable on television, the doting grandfather of an eightmonth-old insists the baby bawls when “Dadu disappears from the TV screen” . After his first wife, a successful IFS officer, died, he remarried. In 1991, he joined Congress and fought his first election from South Delhi in 1996, only to lose to BJP's Sushma Swaraj. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998, but keen to prove his electoral mettle, Sibal fought the Lok Sabha election from Chandni Chowk in 2003. He won, was named minister for science and technology, and delivered. Hands-on , the hot shot lawyer’s style is brisk and to the point.

Know your ministers: Farooq Abdullah | A K Antony | Ghulam Nabi Azad | MK Azhagiri | Mamata Banerjee | Pawan Kumar Bansal | Kantilal Bhuria | Prithviraj Chavan | P Chidambaram | Murli Deora | Vilasrao Deshmukh |MS Gill | B K Handique | Sriprakash Jaiswal | C P Joshi | Mallikarjun Kharge | Salman Khursheed | S M Krishna | Meira Kumar | Dayanidhi Maran | M Veerappa Moily | Pranab Mukherjee | D Napoleon | Kamal Nath | Dinsha Patel | Praful Patel | Sharad Pawar | Sachin Pilot | A Raja | Jairam Ramesh | Vayalar Ravi | S Jaipal Reddy | Subodh Kant Sahay | Agatha Sangma | Jyotiraditya Scindia | Kumari Selja | Anand Sharma | Sushilkumar Shinde | Virbhadra Singh | Ambika Soni | Shashi Tharoor | Krishna Tirath | GK Vasan | Mukul Wasnik


C) Election Results

General Election 2009 Results
Information Available: - 543/543





















































Third Front




























Fourth Front










Other Parties






BJP Murli Manohar Joshi beats Mukhtar with big margin

16 May 2009, 2212 hrs IST, Rajeev Dikshit, TNN

VARANASI: The people of Varanasi preferred Bharatiya Janata Party's Murli Manohar Joshi to mafia don-turned-politician and Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Mukhtar Ansari.


312-mm joshi.png


(Prof. MM Joshi)

In a neck to neck contest, Joshi defeated Mukhtar by a margin of 17,211 votes to win the parliamentary election from Varanasi seat on Saturday. Samajwadi Party candidate Ajay Rai secured third position while other candidates including Congress MP Rajesh Mishra lost their deposits. Mishra had to struggle till second last round of counting to leave Apna Dal candidate Vijay Jaiswal back to secure the forth position.

Since the beginning of counting, a tough battle was visible between the BJP and BSP candidates. Joshi struggled in Sevapuri and Rohania assembly constituencies, where not only the BSP and SP but even the AD candidate was said to be of some worth. But, the Cantonment, City South and City North assembly areas helped the BJP bigwig to maintain his lead, though Mukhtar continued to reduce the difference of votes. Joshi had succeeded in taking a lead of over 10,000 votes against Mukhtar by the 12th round.

A ray of hope was generated for BSP when the lead of BJP reduced to 4,000 by the end of 16th round of counting. But, the BSP candidate could not continue the rising trend. After this round, Joshi's lead over Mukhtar increased continuously. By the end of counting, Joshi emerged victorious with 2,03,122 votes. Mukhtar could secure only 1,85,911 votes.

The SP candidate also succeeded in giving a tough contest to the BJP and BSP in the outskirts. But, Rai failed to attract the voters in city areas in comparison to the rural voters. He had to content himself with the third position with 1,23,874 votes and he also managed to secure his deposit.

MP Rajesh Mishra not only failed to retain his seat and secure his deposit but also struggled hard to ensure a better position in comparison to the AD candidate Vijay Jaiswal. Jaiswal continuously maintained fourth position till the end of 24 rounds of counting. Mishra took a lead over AD candidate in 25th round and maintained it in the concluding 26th round.

Other 10 candidates also lost their deposits. When the postal ballets were opened for counting Joshi again succeeded in getting maximum votes. Out of 309 service votes cast through postal ballots, 269 were found as valid while 40 were cancelled. Joshi got 153 votes while Rai got 45 votes. Mukhtar, Mishra and Jaiswal also got some votes of service voters.

It's people's victory: Joshi

After emerging victorious from Varanasi parliamentary constituency, BJP candidate Murli Manohar Joshi praised the people of this city for giving a befitting reply to the mafia and terrorist elements.

"It is the victory of people who sidelined muscle and money power," he claimed while talking to reporters before collecting his victory certificate from the district election officer. Regarding National Democratic Alliance's poor show, he said BJP could not convey its agenda and issues to the voters properly.

He said the fact could not be denied that Congress had emerged single largest party. He said he was leaving for Delhi to attend party meet to decide future strategy of the BJP.

Votes secured by the candidates

Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP) 2,03,122

Mokhtar Ansari (BSP) 1,85,911

Ajay Rai (SP) 1,23,874

Rajesh Mishra (Congress) 66,386

Vijay Jaiswal (AD) 65,912


Some News links and blogs for election results


D) Election results analysis by news media

1) Inside the mind of Rahul Gandhi

24 May 2009, 0338 hrs IST, Shobhan Saxena, TNN

Call it software

. After buttons on the EVMs are pressed, data from the machines fed into the national network, votes dissected on 24x7

312-rahul gandhi.png

Rahul studied in St Stephen's College in Delhi, Harvard, Rollins College in Florida and finally Trinity College. (TOI Photo)

  Channels and the poll pundits proven wrong, the young man responsible for the grand old party’s near-decisive victory is sitting quietly on the backbench, showing no emotion.

He betrays neither the joy and relief of victory nor the strain of possible responsibilities in the future. The Cabinet position has been declined, at least for now. With the dust of the election battle settling, the party reins have been handed back to mother. So, what’s on Rahul Gandhi’s mind now? What has he been thinking the past couple of years, when he metamorphosed from dimpled poster-boy for dynasty to Congress’s campaigner-in-chief? How does he think?

Not politics so much perhaps, as management. Masters at Doon School, his father’s alma mater and his own from 1981 to 1983, remember him as a “quiet, shy boy”. One of the masters who tutored Rahul during his stay at the school’s Kashmir House recalls, “He left the school as quietly as he came. He was grandson of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, but he rarely talked about politics.”

Rahul went on to St Stephen’s College in Delhi, Harvard, Rollins College in Florida and finally Trinity College. He collected many degrees along the way and perhaps a philosophy of management as well. It was at Harvard that he studied under Michael E Porter whose ‘Five Forces Analysis’ — a business development strategy — seems to have influenced Rahul in a big way. Porter’s model analyses the forces “that affect a company’s ability to serve its customers and make a profit”. The theory insists that if an industry is attractive, every firm doesn’t have the same profitability. “Some firms are able to apply their core competences, business model or network to achieve a profit above the industry average”. Replace Porter’s ‘industry’ with politics and ‘firms’ with parties and the analysis works well in the jumble of Indian coalition politics.

It probably helps that Rahul has been employed in something other than Indian politics. After his Cambridge M Phil, he worked as a consultant with Porter’s Monitor Group in London for three years. That was where he honed the management and analytical skills that people now say with post-election hindsight make him a good politician. But Sam Pitroda, his father’s old colleague and head of the Technology Mission predicted this when Rahul entered politics in 2004: “He has worked under Michael Porter for four years...Rahul is methodical, analytical, mature and sincere... He is extremely intelligent and at ease with cyber technology...”

Rahul’s buddies and aides say he has transferred his management skills to the Indian countryside in the year-and-a-half that he has been on a ‘Discovery of India’ tour. Jitin Prasada, Congress MP, says, “Rahul has an innate belief in the strength of rural India. When British foreign secretary was taken to Amethi, it was not as was charged by rivals to mock the poor, but it was to show the strength of rural India. He goes out to villages, connects with people and sees the reality himself. And then he analyses and conceives ideas through that first-hand experience, not by closed-door ideating in Delhi. That is his originality”.

Fawning politicians and pundits alike admit Rahul’s way of thinking is clear from all that he has done at the grassroots in Amethi. “He has a vision for the future. Rahul always thinks and talks in long terms,” says Kalyan Singh Gandhi, AICC member from Rae Bareli and long-standing family confidante. Singh describes Rahul’s management philosophy seen at first hand. He created a network of workers across Amethi — 16 blocks, 160 nyaya panchayats, 750 gram sabhas and a samooh pramukh for a cluster of 50 homes. “He organized a camp for all the workers and they were trained by top management experts from Mumbai and abroad on how to reach out to people. The samooh pramukhs are supposed to look after the people and take care of all their needs — from water to pension to help in marriages”.

Now, Rahul plans to replicate the Amethi model, where he has 9,000 active party workers, across the country. But some say the plan is merely a marketing strategy. “It’s really credible the way the Congress marketed itself in the past two years. But, it’s just marketing. Where are the results for the people?” says Ranjan Chaudhary, a Dalit and IIM-Lucknow graduate who quit his MNC job in Melbourne to join Rahul’s core team in 2004. “He has many good ideas but no clarity on how to go about it,” says Chaudhary, who left Rahul’s team last year and contested a UP seat as a BJP candidate. “He has no place for emotions. It’s only management”.

True or not, the management guru is reaping rich dividends.


2) Singh’s ‘Game Changer’ Win to Unlock India Economy; Shares Soar

By Cherian Thomas and James Rupert


312-dr. singh.png


(Dr. Manmohan Singh)

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s electoral victory, the biggest any Indian politician has scored in two decades, may loosen political shackles that have restrained the country’s economic growth as it struggles to free half a billion people from poverty.

India’s benchmark stock index soared more than 17 percent, breaching the daily limit and triggering a second trading halt. The rupee surged as much as 3.3 percent, the most in more than two decades, to 47.78 a dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“This is an absolute game changer,” said William Nobrega, the co-author of ‘Riding The Indian Tiger,’ who advises U.S. companies on investing in the world’s largest democracy. “It can truly move India in a much faster pace to where it deserves to be in the global economy.”

Political stability will make India a more attractive investment destination as Singh, 76, seeks the funds to stimulate Asia’s third-largest economy. It may also encourage President Barack Obama and his administration to seek greater cooperation in the fight against rising militancy in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Singh’s ruling Congress party will be able to form a government without needing the support of communist lawmakers who frustrated plans to entice foreign investment in his first five-year term. The ruling Congress party won its most seats since 1991 in the election, which concluded May 16.

Caretaker Premier

Singh handed his resignation to President Pratibha Patil today after a cabinet meeting, and will continue as caretaker premier until a new government is formed.

“This is good for India and good for the world,” said Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Pune-based Bajaj Auto Ltd., India’s second-largest motorcycle manufacturer.

Congress and its allies won 261 of the 543 elected lower- house seats, with the party getting 206 lawmakers of its own, 61 more than in 2004 and almost twice as many as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Lal Krishna Advani will continue to lead the BJP in parliament, its chief, Rajnath Singh, said in a statement.

The main Communist party, Singh’s partner in the last administration, won only 16 seats, less than the 43 it gained in the last election. The communists, who resisted increased foreign ownership of insurers and any outside investment in retailing, tried to bring down the government last July over a civil nuclear energy accord with the U.S.

‘Warm Partnership’

The U.S. wants Indian help in its fight against Islamic militancy in the region, especially Pakistan. Singh stalled a peace process with India’s nuclear-armed neighbor following terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in November.

“The U.S. recognizes the significance of the election for the people of India,” the White House said in a statement May 16. “President Obama looks forward to continuing to work with the Indian government to enhance the warm partnership between our two countries.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Prudential Plc are among global companies that stand to gain a stronger foothold in India now the government can function with fewer coalition partners.

“There were so many major initiatives that were sidelined,” Nobrega said. “It will have a phenomenal boost on the Indian economy this year and next.”

The incoming government will need to bolster an economy that’s growing at the slowest pace in seven years as the global recession saps demands for Indian goods. Industrial output fell by the most in 16 years in March as exports plunged by a record.

Trading Halt

In the first day of trading after the election results, the benchmark Sensitive index gained 17 percent to 14,284.21, while the Nifty index jumped 17 percent to 4,323.15, triggering a day’s halt in trading for the first time ever.

“The ‘play’ button will be on” now, said Madhabi Puri Buch, Mumbai-based chief executive officer of ICICI Securities Ltd., a unit of India’s second-biggest bank. “If global cues continue to be positive, the ‘play’ could even become a ‘fast forward.”

The election strengthened the leadership credentials of Rahul Gandhi, 38, the heir to India’s leading political family, which has dominated the Congress party since independence from the U.K. in 1947. Gandhi “should be in the cabinet, but I will have to persuade him,” Singh said in New Delhi on May 16, after declaring victory.

India, whose international political ambitions include a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, wants to maintain annual growth rates in excess of 8 percent for two decades to reduce poverty.

Millions Undernourished

About 231 million Indians are undernourished, more than in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization. The World Bank estimates 41.6 percent of Indians live on less than $1.25 a day.

Gross domestic product has risen more than four times since 1991, when Singh, then finance minister, abandoned Soviet-style state planning and introduced free-market measures. He cut red tape, removed state-enforced production caps on steel and cement makers, and allowed overseas companies such as Ford Motor Co. to set up Indian operations.

India received about $38 billion of foreign direct investments last year, about a fifth of the flows that went to neighboring China, which opened its economy 13 years earlier. Investments into India have been constrained by an unreliable power supply as well as choked roads and railways.

First Term

In Singh’s first term, Communist resistance stalled a bill to raise the foreign investment ceiling for insurers to 49 percent from 26 percent. He also failed to pass a bill aimed at removing a 10 percent cap on the voting rights of foreign investors in non-state banks. His plan to permit global retailers into India also foundered.

Kamal Nath, a Congress lawmaker and India’s trade and industry minister, said in an interview last week that the government will continue its focus on “stimulating the rural economy” as a means to spur growth. More than three-fifths of Indians live in the countryside.

Congress has introduced a rural jobs program, written off farmers’ loans, and created economic zones, many of them located in the countryside, to create employment, boost consumer demand and win popularity.

To contact the reporters on this story: James Rupert in New Delhi at; Cherian Thomas in New Delhi at

Last Updated: May 18, 2009 05:17 EDT


3) Lessons of 2009 -What the winners and the losers can learn from the stunning verdict of this election


Vote pullers don’t have to be crowd pullers; look at the thumping endorsement for Manmohan Singh

It pays to play by the aam aadmi; pro-market Manmohan wasn’t initially keen on NREGA, but pushed, he implemented it and it worked

Good governance can offset the anti-incumbency factor, indeed it can make incumbency its own reward

Ekla chalo re is a good idea for a party with national ambitions; piggybacking on regional allies in its traditional northern bases kept the Congress stunted for decades, going it alone has opened new prospects. It will take time and hard work, but the Congress could actually regain critical lost ground in UP and Bihar now

Separation of powers between government and party was an experiment in 2004; in 2009, this neo-dyarchy has become an established mode of governance. But there’s a rider — it can only work with the security of complete mutual trust and support, as Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan have unflinchingly shown



Ideological confusion lands you nowhere; L.K. Advani tried to pull himself to the moderate centre, Narendra Modi remained the poster boy of the Hindu hardline and was championed as successor in the middle of Advani’s summit attempt, nobody knew where the party really stood

It doesn’t often pay to drag political battles to a personal pitch; Advani’s consistent and sharp attacks on Manmohan as weak and ineffective backfired

Personal ambition is never quite enough to propel a party to power; in focusing too hard on his bid for prime ministership, Advani often ignored critical concerns of the party itself. As the campaign got off, the BJP appeared riven with factionalism and personal feuding and lost cohesion and discipline, once its USP

It is not enough to attack your opponent, it is probably more important to articulate an alternative, and positive, worldview of your own; Advani and the BJP failed to convince the electorate why they were seeking change



It is key to have your house in order before you launch a charge on the enemy fortress; the CPM ignored deepening crises in both Kerala and Bengal to fight Cold War-era ghosts of imperialism in Delhi

Pragmatism and political flexibility (of the kind that the late CPM boss and Karat’s predecessor Harkishen Singh Surjeet practised) might work much better than outmoded ideological rigidity

There is such a thing as anti-incumbency in democracies, and once it begins to work, it unravels fast; 32 years in power in Bengal is an unmatched record, but it offers small cause to the CPM to live in denial. Assembly elections are not too far, and Mamata is closing in



Caste is not always thicker than calibre; Nitish Kumar may have benefited from eating into the old Lalu Prasad vote base, but equally he has gained from delivering on the promise of governance. Arithmetic is a handy tactic in caste-riven societies, but two plus two do not always add up to four

There is a fine and treacherous line between confidence and complacency; in humiliating the Congress on seat-sharing and driving it away, Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan displayed an arrogance that turned out utterly misplaced

Never take the voter for granted, a personal lesson for Guinness record-holder Paswan; he won Hajipur by Himalayan margins in the past but forgot each election is a new test, and was humbled by old veteran Ram Sunder Dass, a man he thought to be well past his prime



Littering the realm with Soviet-style statues of yourself doesn’t quite add up to Dalit empowerment, neither is social engineering any substitute to governance; Mayavati read too much into her UP victory of two years ago and too little into her poor performance as chief minister since then



Riding too hard and too long on ransom-potential can be injurious to health; the Mulayam-Amar combine had set itself up as bargainers-in-chief vis-à-vis the UPA on verdict eve, the results have left them surveying their errors on the periphery. Far from grabbing key portfolios, they may not even be called to join the government

Muslims are not their monopoly in UP, they’ve gone by the bagful to the Congress this time

Not everything is decided in the shady backrooms of Delhi, there are the people too and their votes; Amar Singh often forgot this.


4) Secret of Congress's happy harvest

Amit Bhattacharya Tuesday May 19, 2009

On the eve of the counting day in Elections 2009, a veteran journalist and columnist strode into TOI's news meeting and was asked the inevitable question: What did he think about who would win? His answer was interesting. He felt the Congress could be losing because the party's poll pitch had started resembling a rural version of the NDA's India Shining campaign before the 2004 polls.

In the aftermath of the stunning Congress victory, that observation begs the question: Why did BJP's India Shining fail while Congress's 'rural India shining' succeed so handsomely?

My answer. The 2004 India Shining campaign ignored the rural distress that had been steadily building up and was exacerbated by a couple of very bad years for Indian agriculture. To return to the well worn cliché of those times, 'India' was shining while 'Bharat' was suffering.

UPA did things differently. Right from the beginning of its tenure, it seemed more sensitive to this post-reforms dual reality of India. It invested massively in the countryside - more than any government had cared to do in a very long time. So when elections came around, the Indian countryside was, in a limited sense, 'shining', even as the clouds of economic depression hovered over our cities. (In the event, even urban voters backed the Congress because they realized that the roots of the downturn were global.)

Of course, the crisis in India's villages and in our agriculture is far from over. And many would argue that the big ticket rural programmes of the UPA government didn't work as well as expected. But these certainly mitigated the crisis of joblessness and agricultural debt. The government was seen as willing to help. That certainly appears to have translated into votes.

The NDA too had invested in the countryside. But while its projects mainly focused on infrastructure development (the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, for instance), Congress targeted people. The NREGA programme, though hampered by implementation and funding issues, was still a massive intervention in the countryside that directly touched lakhs of people.

Now look at agriculture. Helped by good monsoons year after year, agriculture output grew by 5.75%, 4.13% and 6.16% respectively over three years ending 2007-08. Compare that with average agriculture growth of 2.32% since 1994-95 and you'll see signs of a modest revival of the sector after years of stagnation.

So, even as India was being threatened by a foodgrain shortage in early 2008 due to a larger global crisis, our farmers were growing more than even before. Foodgrain production touched a record high of 227 million tonnes in 2008. This came about, in part, due to a government push towards increasing the output through a series of measures.

But higher output does not always translate into gains for farmers. In late 2008, undoubtedly with an eye on the parliamentary election, the government announced an unprecedented hike in the minimum support price. In paddy, for instance, the MSP went up from Rs 645-675 per quintal to Rs 850-880. For cotton, it jumped from Rs 1800 to Rs 2500. By announcing these huge hikes, the government risked the prospect of higher food prices for consumers to put more money in the hands of the growers.

Lastly, there was the farm loan waiver. That single move seems to have gone a long way in bringing down the distress level of farmers, particularly in the cotton belts of Vidarbha and Andhra Pradesh, where the extremely high rate of suicides had become a national shame.

All this doesn't imply that rural India is shining. The crises of unemployment and diminishing returns from agriculture need a more comprehensive strategy and sustained injection of resources. But the UPA government made a start. It defied cries of populism and fiscal irresponsibility to put money where it was really needed. And it quietly reaped the rewards. So quietly that the urban intelligentsia and pollsters missed it, again. But that's another story.



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