Big change in national political equation Here’s how Congress victories in the Hindi heartland altered the game PRE-POLL POST-POLL ■ BJP+ ■ Congress+ ■ Others Congress just had a few states going into the polls COIMBATORE WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12, 2018 `5.00 PAGES 20 LATE CITY EDITION Little margin for error 13 of 19 ministers in the Rajasthan govt lost the elections 5-time 4 ministers Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla lost from both seats in caretaker Telangana govt, and the Speaker, lost the polls NOTA option bettered AAP, SP, and other parties in Chhattisgarh 3 pairs of siblings contested in T’gana. Only the younger brothers won ■ BJP+ ■ Congress+ ■ Others GOP now has larger territory, more confidence 106 votes Margin by which TRS’ Manchireddy Kishan Reddy won Ibrahimpatnam in Telangana NOTA 154 votes Lead BJP’s Jabbar Singh Sankhala secured to win Asind, Rajasthan SECURED 2.1% OF VOTES IN CHHATTISGARH, 1.5% IN MP BJP BRUISED IN SEMIFINAL DUEL ● Congress wrests Rajasthan comfortably ● Neck-and-neck contest in Madhya Pradesh, but BSP indicates it will support Cong in the event of a hung Assembly ● Surprise landslide in Chhattisgarh with the grand old party bagging more than it imagined ● MNF sweeps Mizoram ● Rahul shows his ability to take on the BJP S A N T W A N A B H AT TA C H A R YA @ New Delhi IT was a different kind of birthday for Rahul Gandhi, and the gift he received was a hard-earned one. It was exactly a year ago — on December 11, 2017 — that he took over the reins of the Congress. The prevailing sentiment then was scepticism, even derision, outside the party and nervous self-doubt within. , A year later, he’s come a long way. With two Hindi heartland states in his pocket, and a photo-finish win in a third, he has not only erased the taunt of a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, he has given his party and the opposition some real impetus going into a crucial Lok Sabha election year. The key question around Rahul was that of winnability A more than hon. ourable show in a direct fight with the formidable BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh should settle that. That the Congress alliance with the TDP backfired in Telangana, or that its last holdout in the Northeast too has fallen, with the MNF taking Mizoram, receded in importance in this big picture. The vote share figures brought cheer to the party In Chhattisgarh, where it . won a surprise 68/15 landslide despite Congress supporters celebrating outside the AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday | NAVEEN KUMAR the lack of a clear leader and a tripartite field, the Congress got 43.1 per cent votes, up from 40.29 per cent in the 2013 state polls and 38.37 per cent in 2014. Three-time CM Raman Singh suffered a resounding fall, taking the BJP from 41 per cent in 2013 to 33 per cent now. That’s even more dramatic if you take the high of 49 per cent in 2014 — the Lok Sabha tally was a 10/1 knockout in favour of the BJP . The pendulum swing was starker in Rajasthan. The BJP fell from 45.2 per cent in 2013 — and an astounding high of 55 per cent in 2014 - to 38.8 per cent. The 114-109 break-up of seats, also The Modi wave had been a veritable yo-yoing through the day will very like, tsunami here, taking all 25 Lok Sabha ly set the stage for the drama to conseats from the state. tinue the next day The SP (1) and, more . On the other hand, the Concrucially BSP (2) have offered , gress improved from 33.1 per to back the Congress, whose cent in 2013 (and a comparable leader Kamal Nath has sought 34 in 2014) to 39.3 per cent now. an appointment with GoverA more modest gain than was nor Anandiben Patel. predicted earlier, this was beIn Telangana, the TRS reing expected closer to polling tained power with a bigger due to the duality in leadermandate, but the Congress imship in the shape of Sachin proved its vote share from 25.2 Pilot and Ashok Gehlot, bad per cent to 28.4 per cent. I have learnt candidate selection and rebels Mizoram is the only state about a lot of queering the pitch. things since 2014; where the Congress lost its The 99/73 seat tally reflected vote share and the BJP gained. most important being humility. this less-than-emphatic vote However, the winner is a third shift. This more shaky field The BJP has failed player, the Mizo National to provide a may see Gehlot being favoured Front, which returns to power vision for the as CM candidate, because of with a clear majority of 26 country... We have his greater perceived capacity seats out of 40. defeated the BJP to handle the many In the final analysis, farm now and we will independents. distress, the pain of demonetidefeat it in 2019 But Madhya Pradesh saw a sation and GST, the anti-inRahul Gandhi real razor-edge fight. The Concumbency fatigue against BJP gress boosted its share from CMs, all contributed. Shivraj 36.4 per cent in 2013 to 41 per cent, but has to be credited for giving the fight of that only brought it neck-and-neck his life against what seemed to be a loswith the 41.1 per cent that three-time ing game. Rahul has shown he has it in CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan retained, him to take on Modi-Shah’s formidable even while sliding from 44.9 per cent. election machinery . A M I T A G N I H O T R I @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Hyderabad HOURS after the Congress posted a decisive victory in Chhattisgarh and came close to the finish line in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, party chief Rahul Gandhi’s focus shifted to choosing the CMs. The issue, said party insiders, was ticklish and had therefore been deferred to be tackled post-poll as it required balancing power equations. The contenders in Rajasthan are former CM Ashok Gehlot and state unit chief Sachin Pilot. While young Pilot has worked hard over the past five years in revamping the party Gehlot en, joys widespread influence among party workers across the state. Sources say the veteran leader stands a better chance as he has administrative experience, which is critical as the party prepares for the LS elections. In MP, the tussle is between state unit chief Kamal Nath and campaign chief Jyotiraditya Scindia. As the party has to depend on outside support, Nath is said to be better placed to lead the party . Nath wrote to Governor Anandiben Patel late on Tuesday night staking claim to form IT’S EXPERIENCE the government, a party spokesperson said. VERSUS YOUTH On the other hand, Chhattisgarh should For the record, both Pilot and be easier where the top post could go to state Gehlot refrained from staking unit chief Bhupesh Baghel or legislative claim to the top post in party leader T S Singhdeo. Rajasthan but their Rahul sought to play down the issue sayaspiration for the high office ing, “Choosing chief ministers is no big isis well known sue…it will happen smoothly .” IN the end, it was a big pink wave that blew across Telangana, validating the gamble of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) boss and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to advance the Assembly elections, as the party got absolute majority — 88 seats in a House of 119. The mandate for the TRS in 2014 was much smaller, as it had won 63 seats, just three more than the halfway mark. It’s now just two short of three-fourths majority . Even a seemingly strong opposition alliance comprising the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and two others was swept away in the tsunami. While the Congress won 19 seats, two down from its previous tally, the TDP was humiliated as it could manage just two seats as compared to 15 in 2013. The other two allies of the People’s Front Telangana Jana Samithi and Communist Party of India - failed to even open their account. Hours after the verdict, KCR, as the chief minister is better known, announced his party’s intention to play a crucial role in national politics from INSIDE CHALLENGES CONG WILL FACE IN RAJASTHAN I P7 QUESTION MARK ON RAJE’S FUTURE I P7 CONG BIGGIES TAKE A HIT Several Congress stalwarts bit the dust like K Jana Reddy, Shabbir Ali, former PCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah, J Geeta Reddy, D K Aruna and firebrand leader Revanth Reddy. The TRS, too, lost a few bigwigs, including Speaker S Madusudhanachary and three ministers Tummala Nageswara Rao, Jupally Krishna Rao and M Mahinder Reddy. It was only in Khammam that the Congress and the TDP could put up a decent show. The popular theory of high polling indicating anti-incumbancy, too, took a beating SHIV VISVANATHAN’S OPINION PIECE I P8 HIGHEST AND LOWEST WINNING MARGINS I P9 GOVT PICKS DeMo WARRIOR AS RBI CHIEF A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi THE Centre appointed former economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das as the 25th RBI governor on Tuesday, a day after Urjit Patel resigned from the top post citing personal reasons. Das, a member of the Finance Commission, was the government’s representative at the G20 summit. Das was handpicked by the Modi government as revenue secretary in June 2014. A retired 1980 batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, he was responsible for Tamil Nadu’s successful SEZs and industrial policy He was also the . force behind conceptualising and execution of GST, where he lobbied with industrialists and state governments. In October 2015, Das was nominated to the Central Board of Directors of the RBI and became the main communicator between the government and the central bank. In 2016, he was again shifted to the Department of Economic Affairs, where he spearheaded the controversial demonetisation drive. Most of the public statements on de- ‘IT IS A SENTIMENT BOOSTER’ Industry has reacted positively to Das’ appointment. “The quick appointment of the new RBI Governor has come as a huge sentiment booster to industry. The announcement enables a smooth transition process and ensures that stability will be maintained. The government, in selecting an experienced economic expert, has avoided disruption and imparted huge confidence to investors and industry,” CII president Rakesh Bharti Mittal said. monetisation had been made by him and he faced all the difficult questions during that period, which established that the government was at the forefront of the note ban drive instead of the RBI. “During demonetisation, he was perhaps the most influential bureaucrat. He is a go-getter and as he has worked closely with the RBI and industry, he knows all sides well,” a senior finance ministry official told TNIE. Apart from Das, the names of Subhash Chandra Garg and Rajiv Kumar and Ashok Lahiri were also doing the rounds for the RBI top post. However, the government chose a bureaucrat instead of a career economist in view of bitterer past experiences. The government had its share of uneasiness with former RBI governors Raghuam Rajan and Urjit Patel, former Niti Aayog chief Arvind Panagariya and former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian. The appointment of Das will make things better and easier for the government to deal with RBI. Meanwhile, economist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday made public his resignation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic advisory council (PMEAC). “I resigned as parttime member PMEAC on December 1st; also look for my book Citizen Raj: Indian Elections 1952-2019,” Bhalla tweeted on Tuesday morning. His resignation has been accepted by the P13 Prime Minister. BJP 73 *Oth 27 TOTAL SEATS 200 Others: BSP - 6, RLP - 3, CPI(M) - 2, BTP - 2, RLD - 1, Independent - 13 SWING FACTOR: 2013 vs 2018 Cong 33.07% BJP 45.17% 39.3% (+6.23) 38.8% (-6.37) CHHATTISGARH BJP 15 Cong 68 Other 7 TOTAL SEATS 90 Others: JCC(J) - 5, BSP - 2 SWING FACTOR: 2013 vs 2018 Cong 40.29% 43.1% (+2.81) BJP 41.04% 33% (-8.04) MADHYA PR ADESH BJP 109 TOTAL SEATS 230 Others: BSP - 2, SP - 1, Independent - 4 Other 7 SWING FACTOR: 2013 vs 2018 now on. He promised to revive the Federal Front and form a non-BJP, nonCongress government at the Centre after the 2019 general elections. “To bring qualitative changes at both the administrative and constitutional levels in the Centre, the Federal Front is a requisite now. It is the only way we can address issues concerning people of all sections of the society he said at ,” a press conference. KCR’s antipathy for the TDP is well known, so he can be expected to give Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu a really tough time when the state goes to the polls along with the Lok Sabha elections in a few months from now. By extension, he would hope to contain Naidu’s possible ambition of becoming kingmaker at the Centre. The BJP too was bruised in the state, as it contested in all 119 seats but managed to win just one - not even the five it got last time. The Owaisi-led AIMIM retained all seven seats in its strongholds. Though the pink party dominated in almost all districts except Khammam, it got a thumping majority within Greater Hyderabad limits. P6 MEET MNF’S ZORAMTHANGA, MIZORAM’S CM-IN-WAITING I P9 RAJASTHAN Cong 99 Cong 114 KCR rides the pink wave, gets much bigger mandate Jockeying begins for CM posts, veterans have edge PARTY POSITION Cong 36.38% 41% (+4.62) BJP 44.88% 41.1% (-3.78 ) TELANGANA Cong 19 TRS 88 Oth 12 TOTAL SEATS 119 Others: AIMIM - 7, TDP - 2, BJP - 1, AIFB - 1, Independent - 1 SWING FACTOR: 2013 vs 2018 TRS 34.3% Cong 25.2% 46.9% (+12.6) 28.4% (+3.2 ) MIZORAM MNF 26 Cong 5 Oth 9 TOTAL SEATS 40 Others: BJP - 1, Independent- 8 SWING FACTOR: 2013 vs 2018 MNF 28.65% Cong 44.63% 37.6% (+8.95) 30.2% (-14.43 ) RAHUL’S LEADERSHIP WORKS, BUT CHALLENGES REMAIN I P9 TAMIL NADU DIGEST Get encumbrance papers online now No need to wait in long lines for encumbrance certificates any longer. Encumbrance certificates will now be digitally signed and provided to applicants online, thus ensuring transparency and achieving the goal set by the State government in 2013 to have all registration department services online, said Inspector General of Registration, J Kumaragurubaran, after the services were launched by Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami. Hosur, B’lore to get ‘closer’ With National Highways Authority of India on Monday inviting bids to widen the 71.11 km Dharmapuri - Hosur (Thorapalli) stretch of the recently upgraded NH 844, into four-lane at the cost of ` 1,331 crore, road travel to Hosur and Bengaluru from southern and western parts of TN will get shorter by 25 km soon. Thamizh Brahmi Thirukkural out International Institute of Tamil Studies, a wing of TN government’s Tamil Development department, has brought out a new edition of Thirukkural written in Thamizh Brahmi, the script which was in vogue at the time of saintpoet Thiruvalluvar. The book was released by CM Edappadi K Palaniswami Tuesday.
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