Then, the Congress party led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had won a thumping majority winning 364 of 489 parliamentary constituencies. Before it, Nehru was heading an interim government.
63 years later, on February 10, 2015, the same Congress party has witnessed a humiliating loss in Delhi assembly polls failing to win even a single seat – continuing its downward spiral since the Delhi assembly polls of 2013. 62 of its candidates lost their deposits including its chief-ministerial nominee. Its vote share sank to 9.7% from 24.55% in 2013 Delhi assembly polls. And this loss is following a humiliating trend. The party could get just 15% votes in the 2015 Lok Sabha polls.
After scoring a historic low in the Lok Sabha polls with just 44 seats, Congress performed even more miserably in different assembly polls of 2014.
In Andhra Pradesh, it could not open its account. In Telangana, the state it created to reap its act’s political windfall, it was down by 30 seats to 21 seats in the 119 member strong assembly. In Odisha, it could win only 16 of 147. In Maharashtra, where it ruled for three terms, the party came third with 41 seats of 288. After ruling Haryana, it was pushed to the third spot with only 15 seats.
Similar stories were repeated in Jharkhand and J&K where the party came fourth with abysmally low numbers. In further misery, reports from Jharkhand say that four of the six Jharkhand Congress MLAs are ready to join BJP. Add Delhi debacle to the list.
The grand fall of the Grand Old Party of India is proving unstoppable.
Congress's fall, from a solid electoral pedestal and from grace to a possible political oblivion, is emblematic of the phase of the political transition India is in – something that was reflected in again in BJP’s loss in Delhi on February 10, 2015, when the results of the assembly polls were declared. February 10 brought another unexpected turn to this process of political churning with sending BJP packing.
The verdict of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was its first major manifestation when thrashing all expectations and projections, the Indian electorate chose Narendra Modi to lead the country and thus them, giving him complete majority, a first in 30 years. Before it, no party in India had got a clear majority on its own after the 1984 general elections when Congress, riding on the sympathy wave that had swept the country after Indira Gandhi's assassination, with 404 seats and 49% vote share.
BJP's 2013 performance in Delhi had preceded the Party's spectacular show in the 2014 General Elections. In the previous assembly election in Delhi, BJP had won 31 seats and 33% of votes emerging as the largest party. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the party had won all seven Delhi parliamentary constituencies, leading in 60 of the 70 assembly segments securing 48% of the votes.
The vote was not just for a nationalist Hindu leader, but was also for a political icon known for development oriented governance and a clean, corruption free image, a person seen as a tough taskmaster India needed to undo the many wrongs of the Congress led United Progressive Alliance government that had pushed Indian into a financial mess affecting every walk of Indian life.
BJP's winning streak continued in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand and in Jammu & Kashmir, it registered an impressive show and is in talks with PDP to form the government. In all these states, the anti-incumbency against the governments there led the electors go for the person and the party whom they believed could deliver – BJP and Narendra Modi.
BJP and Modi had won on raising hopes, promising better lives and ensuring all around development. The expectations were quite high and so were the challenges.
And going by the electoral behavior in Delhi, it is becoming evident that people are running out of patience and are becoming more and demanding and are not ready to give politicians an extended window of time to fulfill the promises.
Through all these victories, while BJP was improving its legislative tally in the country, time was also moving, and public was counting the days, it seems now, and anti-incumbency against BJP had started making inroads.
Now, it is certainly debatable that how much time the BJP government needs to deliver on the promises it made, but the electoral behaviour is clear that after being left high and dry by the political rule of over six decades, the public is not ready to wait any longer. And Narendra Modi being in the driving seat in Delhi at this juncture of churn in Indian politics is just about the timing of his being there.
Delhi’s stalled development had become the talking point during BJP’s rule of Delhi through the Lieutenant-Governor since May 2014 and the Delhi electorate chose to recruit the option that it had, in AAP, in hopes that it would deliver.
February 10, 1952 is historic for the electoral history of India as it gave the country its first democratically elected government, laying down the roadmap further.
February 10, 2015 is significant as on this date, the country witnessed the totally unexpected turn of its electoral response so far, installing a two-year old party with a historic mandate to run the affairs of the Indian national capital, and in the process, refusing a party that it had anointed with a historical mandate just nine months ago, sending a clear message to the political class of the country that in future - it is the performance that is going to matter and the voter would not hesitate to show the door to anyone if there are alternatives available – and no one can predict the ‘window of time for his patience to run out’.
And alternatives are building in India's political ecosystem.
The transitional churning of the electoral politics of the world's largest democracy is on and the song is melodious to the ears.
And yes, it is just the beginning – hopefully.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/