Congress and its allies lost in all the four states of Kerala, WB and Assam and TN. It’s only in tiny Pondicherry that they made minuscule gains. The Left too has been defeated for the second time in a row in its former bastion of West Bengal where it had ruled unopposed for 34 years, way worse than it had been in the last election. In effect, it’s just Kerala where the Left holds power and Karnataka and Uttarakhand , among the larger states which have Congress governments. So is this the end of Congress and Left? Hardly.
We often forget that being in power is not limited to being elected into public office. The real power lies in dominating the psyche and memory of the people and controlling the narrative. It lies in having built a strong base from which multiple attempts to gain power can be made, and also successful attempts to stall the programmes of the government in power.
Out of the nearly seven decades of our country’s independence (haha), it has been largely a one party state, ruled by the Congress, with the only exceptions being 1977-80, 1990-91, 1998-2004 and the current scenario post 2014. In that time, it has moulded the entire structure of the polity to suit its own needs. Bureaucracy is the biggest of them. Politicians come and go, but it’s the bureaucrats who run the actual wheels of the government machinery. It is them who implement the government directives and also help to formulate them.
And we all know that there is no one who can insure their self-interests better than bureaucrats in India. The very strength of the bureaucratic lobby in India can be gauged by the fact that not a single bureaucrat has got a long prison sentence for any crime, and none of them have ever been dismissed for incompetence. To stay in plum posts, the bureaucrats develop good relations and nexus with politicians, preferably the ruling party ones and those given cabinet posts. It helps not only them in the long term, but also their future generations.
In turn, the ruling party does everything it can, to ensure that its legacy and rule stays, whether it be the education system (to make sure the students grow up to the citizens who become lifelong voters and if not, have no thinking power to change the status quo), populist measures (freebies to the working class , making them devoid of self-reliance and making them into entitlement leeches) or the recruitment of govt servants including bureaucrats (to make sure that they remain loyal to them, implement their policies, ensure that the state machinery is always favourable to them, even when they are out of power). And yes, this extends to judiciary too, favouring certain judges to rise up in the ranks to be appointed to high courts or to the Supreme Court, so that the verdicts are always in their favour to buy more time.
Congress has done all of the above exceptionally well during their five decade plus rule on India.
Most of the bureaucracy and judiciary is pro Congress, as most of the senior career bureaucrats and judges have started their careers during the time when Congress enjoyed absolute majority, and therefore made long term relations with them. No one rewards loyalty as well as Congress, and the party shields its leaders as well as associates against all legal consequences in case of any wrong doing. Congress may be down to just 44 seats, but it has stalled the parliament again and again and has not allowed key bills to pass. BJP has been helpless, in spite of being in full majority in the Lok Sabha. Congress does not need to be in the government to be in power in India, anyone who thinks otherwise is far from reality. It will keep using its judicial and bureaucratic machinery it has nurtured to undermine their detractors. Being out of power for one or two terms won’t deter it anyway.
The left has lost its bastion of West Bengal completely in 2011 which they ruled with an iron hand for 34 years. It was under them that West Bengal became Waste Bengal. Today, the left is in power in Kerala and Tripura, which do not amount to even 5% of India’s population combined. Communism is a shape shifting monster. It is still alive and kicking today, in the garb of progressivism, which is deceptively called liberalism. A progressive in reality is not a liberal, it is an individual who is “progressing” towards a common goal of the collective. All the world over, it is the left that controls the media and academia and India is no exception to this rule.
They completely control the narrative, and when you throw in the fact that they control history writing too, the picture is complete. Whenever the name evil comes up, people have Hitler on their mind. But not the faintest of thought is given to Stalin and Mao whose combined tally of victims today extends the population of many countries. All the crimes of communists have been white washed from history. In India too, seculibs keep barking about Modi and 2002, but not one word is uttered about how CPIM supported the Pakistan demand and how they murdered over 50000 plus people during their reign in WB. No word about hundreds of RSS workers murdered by the communists but if one communist student leader gets arrested, all hell breaks loose. Thats the power of narrative.
No amount of grandiose schemes of economic reform will be of any use, unless the bureaucratic red tape is cut down, or the power of the bureaucracy is curtailed. And the left dominated media and academia cannot be allowed to carry on their vicious propaganda if any sort of good doing by the government is to be made known. That’s where any new government faces its challenge. Congress and Left have been each other’s enemies, but they are totally fine with burying the hatchet temporarily to fight BJP.
The RSS/BJP have still not learnt media management, and always seem to fall for the trap of playing by the enemy’s rules and viewing the world through the enemy’s glasses. They are too full of themselves and this costs them heavily. They have got another chance to consolidate, if they lose it now, they might not get another.