The Latest: Top stories of the day
1. Election results 2016: BJP takes Assam from the Congress, Jayalalithaa wins Tamil Nadu and Mamata sweeps West Bengal. The Left is back in power in Kerala.
2. The search for EgyptAir Flight 804: Airline official says debris not from plane.
3. Cyclone Roanu: Alert sounded in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as states brace for impact.
4. Phalodi city in Rajasthan sizzles at 51°C, the highest temperature ever recorded in India.
5. IPL: Gujarat Lions move closer to playoffs with six-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders
The Big Story: Chequered result
Himant Biswa Sharma, the Assamese leader who left the Congress for the Bharatiya Janata Party last year and is widely believed to be the architect of the BJP’s win in the state, has the most fascinating anecdote of the recently concluded election campaign. While warning Rahul Gandhi that the Congress was imploding in the Assam, the only reply Sharma got was a series of “so whats”. Biswa then claims that throughout the meeting, Gandhi was preoccupied with playing with his dog, even as the Assam leader tried in vain to get them to discuss political strategy.
The Congress, of course, slumped to 26 seats in Assam while the BJP coalition won a handsome 86. Vindicated by the result, Sharma bitterly said that with Rahul Gandhi, Congress leaders have a “servant-master relationship”.
Almost, as if on cue, after what has been a debacle for the Congress, party leaders such as PC Chako solution was to elevate Rahul Gandhi as party president.
The Congress, founded in 1885, had a good run but as is becoming quite clear after these results, it’s reaching the end of its lifetime. Without any real power, no clear appeal to identity and its earlier core vote base of upper castes deserting it, the party seems finished. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it seems unlikely that the party will be a serious contender for power.
The BJP, whose Congress-free India goal seems close that ever, is obviously pleased. Wining Assam and opening its account in Kerala means it has made an important point –the BJP is now India's national party, not the Congress.
However, it shouldn’t go overboard. At the end of the day, in the recently-concluded elections, it only won 11% of the Assembly seats on offer across four states. It might be the largest party, but the BJP is still some distance away from national dominance of the sort achieved by Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi.
On the other hand, Thursday was a good day for state parties. The Trinamool Congress effected a crushing win and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam managed to get back to power in Chennai. And even though the Communists were routed in West Bengal, they did manage to get clamber back in Kerala.
In many ways, these elections paint a rather clear picture of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It will be a return to the pre-1991 politics of the Congress versus a bevy of state parties – except that the role of the Congress will now be played by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Election 2016: The Scroll analysis
1. Verdict 2016: BJP’s gains were wrested by humbly learning lessons from previous defeats.
2. This map shows you how disastrous the last four years have been for the Congress.
3. Three charts showing spikes in BJP vote shares that should terrify Congress and the Left.
4. Five reasons why Mamata Banerjee swept the West Bengal elections.
5. West Bengal elections sideshow: The slow but steady rise of the BJP in the state.
6. As CPI(M)‘s alliance with Congress flops in West Bengal, Yechury is on the defensive.
7. Assam goes saffron: Four ingredients that the BJP got right in this campaign.
8. Amma Nadu: Jayalalithaa actually lost vote share but still managed to break records.
9. Kerala votes for change, but the Left can’t decide who’s right for the chief minister’s chair.
Politicking & Policying
1. Assembly election results: How Congress reacted to call for introspection by Sonia, Rahul.
2. Buoyed by Assam victory, BJP optimistic about civic polls in faraway Mumbai.
3. Tamil Nadu: Wiped out PMK pays for the arrogance of going it solo
1. Mamata victory is a triumph of a model made by Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik, Nitish Kumar. Here, in a milieu of emphatic “subalternisation”, lumpenisation and empowerment have struck together, says Ranabir Samaddar in the Indian Express.
2. In the Times of India, Ashok Malik analyses what verdicts in five elections tell us about the Modi sarkar.
3. The government should take steps to mandate that companies have at least two women board members, and at least one of them should be an independent director, in the next two years, argues Arun Duggal in the Business Standard.
Do Delhi’s government schools really need CCTV cameras in their classrooms, asks Aparna Kalra.
Seth added that there were many ways to groom good teachers, and a CCTV camera was not one of them. They could make young teachers, who are often nervous, even more so.
Experts seem to endorse her views.
“If CCTVs could improve teaching standards, we would have seen a revolution by now in many schools which invested in this technology more than a decade ago,” wrote Krishna Kumar, professor of education at Delhi University and former head of NCERT, in the Indian Express. “All they can lend is what we already have in plenty in our schools, namely control.”