Today was the day of voting to elect members of state legislatures who will form new governments in two southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamilnadu.
Though no one is sure who will win the elections and form the government, one thing is certain. The Hindutva based Bharatiya Janata Party (who runs the Central Government with a big majority) will not play any part in forming the government in these two states. BJP is contesting elections here but is so weak that it will be very happy if it wins a handful of seats. This is true of another state also which went to polls recently , the state of West Bengal.
This is an indication of the plurality of current Indian politics.. Immediately after independence, the Indian National Congress, the main force behind India’s freedom struggle, was so popular and powerful that it formed governments in all most all states. But with passing of years it began losing out to regional parties including the Communist Left and later to BJP. Congress now is on a deep decline and the BJP is trying hard to take that role of a popular national party. But it is not succeeding that much because its right wing Hindutva agenda is not that easily accepted every where.
The contest in Kerala is between the ruling Congress led alliance and the Communist led alliance. Both the alliances have been alternatingly forming governments for several elections now. Exit polls are predicting a win by the opposition.
In Tamilnadu two factions of a Tamil sub nationalism based party are fighting each other for power. Here again the two have been alternatingly winning elections.
In West Bengal , the Communist Left has aligned with the Congress to try to defeat the ruling Trinamool Congress, a faction of Congress itself.
In India elections are a celebration. It is a public holiday and people from all sections of the society come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. All voting is on electronic machines. Almost 75% of the 80 million eligible voters (including me) did cast their votes today in a peaceful event free election day. Votes will be counted on May 19th.
Who ever wins or loses Indian democracy is alive and kicking.