The resounding victory of UPA-backed candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential polls will prove a morale booster for the Congress-led central government that found itself amidst the cacophony of scams and corruption. And for the BJP, which is eyeing a fragmentation of the ruling coalition and subsequent defeat of Congress in the next general elections, this should prove an eye-opener.
The atmosphere fabricated ahead of the polls would have led some to believe that the ballot box would turn out to be a Pandora’s box for UPA. BJP-supported aspirant P A Sangma went to the extent of saying that he has never tasted a defeat in his electoral career and many friends of his would register cross votes. BJP too was hoping for a miracle mainly due to the lacklustre performance by Congress, at the Centre as well as in Maharashtra.
BJP must learn a lesson, as it could muster only 47 votes, equivalent to its strength in the state legislature. Even MNS offered a jolt to BJP, remaining neutral. Shiv Sena, which supported Pranab, has also given out a warning that it may not toe the NDA line, particularly in Maharashtra.
It was argued that the independents were unhappy with CM Prithviraj Chavan and may vote against Mukherjee. But that did not happen, reassuring Chavan, who has been facing the heat from disgruntled Democratic Front legislators for his alleged ‘no decision, no controversy’ posture.
Apart from Chavan, the credit for the massive support that Mukherjee received is being claimed by state Congress unit chief Manikrao Thakre, who is busy projecting himself as a ready replacement for the CM if the party high command denies another chance to industries minister Narayan Rane. Time will tell.