New Delhi: India
prepares to count Friday the millions of votes cast in five
states, the results widely tipped to end more than three decades
of Communist rule in West Bengal, cause upsets in possibly two
states, and probably throw up two more women chief ministers.
Although the April-May electoral battle took place only in Assam,
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal, the entire country
will keenly await the outcome as it is bound to cause ripples in
While most post-election surveys have predicted a huge win for
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, a development
that is bound to shake up the Communist Party of India-Marxist
(CPI-M), there is no unanimity on other places -- although there
are definite pointers.
For the Congress, battered in recent months by corruption charges,
the best possible scenario will be a decisive victory in Kerala
and retaining Assam, even if by a slender margin.
"If this happens, the Congress will have something to cheer
about," political analyst G.V.L. Narasimha Rao told IANS.
"Everything is at stake for the Congress."
But if the Assam-Kerala script derails, "it will cause tremors in
the Congress", Rao said.
In both West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, the Congress is a junior
partner to the dominant player. So even victories may not fetch
political dividends. In any case, the chances of the DMK-Congress
alliance retaining power in Tamil Nadu are as remote as a Congress
win in nearby Puducherry.
Irrespective of what happens in the five states, the one result
that is bound to give sleepless nights to the Congress will the
widely anticipated victory of Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy from the
Kadapa Lok Sabha by-election in Andhra Pradesh.
Son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Congress veteran
Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Jaganmohan dumped the Congress after being
denied his father's mantle and floated the YSR Congress party,
causing cracks in a state considered vital for Congress long-time
Even the most sympathetic analysts admit that the Congress is
fighting for a second place in Kadapa, knowing that Jagan will
win. If that second spot goes to the Telugu Desam Party, it will
be a Congress disaster.
Andhra Pradesh played a key role in the Congress returning to
power nationally in 2009. Jagan's win can break up the party in
Andhra Pradesh, causing irreversible damage.
Admitted a Congress source: "We are aware of the dangers Friday.
We have certain expectations, we also know our limitations."
A sweep by the Trinamool in West Bengal will seriously dent the
wider political aspirations of the CPI-M in a manner few may have
expected even two years ago.
It will bury 34 uninterrupted years of Marxist-led Left Front rule
that had baffled foes and friends, giving the CPI-M a space in
political books globally.
But a Trinamool win will also make Mamata Banerjee, who is sure to
quit Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government to be the chief
minister, that much more powerful vis-a-vis a possibly weakened
The likely rise of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu will also worry the
Congress, which will now have to deal with a party that is openly
hostile to the way Sri Lanka, across the sea, crushed the Tamil
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not a major player in this
election but it hopes to improve its tally in Assam, where the
Congress would need luck to overcome a strong challenge from three
major opposition groups.
If the Congress retains Assam, it will give Tarun Gogoi a third
stint as chief minister.
Normally, Kerala's voters throw out the ruling coalition in every
election. And this may well happen again. But some feel that for
the first time the state may buck the trend and re-elect the Left.
That, Congress sources say, is unlikely.