The winners of Elections 2011 are now very clear. In West Bengal, it’s Mamata Banerjee all the way. In Tamil Nadu, it’s Jayalalithaa holding sway. In Assam, the Congress under Tarun Gogoi is heading towards a third term – probably with a clear majority. And in Kerala, after early morning suspense, it is now certain that the UDF will carry the day, if only by a whisker.
The election results will now create two Queens who have more power than the other Queen – Sonia Gandhi. Despite the electoral victories in Kerala and Assam, the fact that Mamata Banerjee does not need the Congress’ support in West Bengal means that she will be more demanding at the Centre. Her demands will probably be more about obtaining central resources for Bengal, which is likely to see a burst of populist schemes to support the Mamata story of being pro-poor. At stake will be the new Land Acquisition Bill, which Mamata has been holding up in view of the Bengal elections. The score at 11am: Mamata alliance 195, Left 69.
In Tamil Nadu, with the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK Front heading for a landslide, there’s no doubt who will be Queen in the state. The only question left to decide is whether Jayalalithaa will get a majority on her own (which seems likely), as this will make her all-powerful. Since the DMK as alliance partner at the Centre will be hanging on for dear life, the Congress can hope to play the AIADMK against the DMK for support at the Centre. But Jayalalithaa is holding all the high cards. She can demand a price from the Centre. Sonia will have a tough customer to deal with. Besides, she will have to deal with a lameduck DMK, which seems more like a liability now, embroiled as it is in scams of all kinds. Moneypower in Tamil Nadu has not helped the DMK salvage a win. Score: Jaya and allies: 153, DMK Front 40