Reading the verdict from the states

Following are the answers of the questions asked by readers on Assembly election results:

Q. What went wrong with Mr Gandhi in UP?

A: Though Rahul Gandhi campaigned hard in Uttar Pradesh, the problem was, perhaps, that he projected himself as an outsider and a lone ranger who wanted to work for the people's welfare. There is still virtually no sign of revival of the local Congress organisation in the state it once ruled. What the people of UP needed were specific and forward-looking solutions to their basic problems. Rahul only appeared to offer good intentions.

Q. What went so wrong in Punjab that the traditional anti-incumbency failed to have an effect?

A: Punjab has been a state where incumbents have been decisively and regularly voted out in the last several decades. What went wrong with this pattern -- or right, from the SAD point of view -- this time in Punjab was that the SAD-BJP government was able to convince the voter that it could deliver on the promise of development. In the last one year or so, the SAD-BJP government rolled out a flurry of populist schemes and subsidies as well as some long-lasting governance reforms. Also, in comparison to the SAD-BJP, the Congress ran a completely disorganized campaign.

Q. What went wrong in Amethi with the Congress?

A: The loss looks more dramatic in the Gandhi family bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli but it stems from the same Congress failure in UP: the party has failed to realize that charisma cannot paper over the absence of organizational revival and local leadership in the state.

Q. Was Anna a determining factor or is it the series of corruption cases that killed congress this time?

A: There was no evidence that Team Anna had any direct effect on the outcome in any of the poll-going states. It is true that the high-voltage Anna campaign did push the issue of corruption centrestage. Yet, in every state, the issue of corruption was framed in a different way. In UP, for instance, corruption was primarily an issue that was raised to target Mayawati's government, not so much the Congress-led Centre.

... contd.

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