News / Asia

Key State Victory Boosts India’s Ruling Congress Party

School children arrive to watch the proceedings of Indian parliament in New Delhi, December 7, 2012.
School children arrive to watch the proceedings of Indian parliament in New Delhi, December 7, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s ruling Congress Party has won a key regional election, giving it a much needed boost as it prepares for national elections next year.  An opposition onslaught on the ruling Congress-led government on corruption charges has led to parliament closing three days ahead of schedule.      

The Congress Party’s convincing victory Sunday in Karnataka came as no surprise - the five-year rule of the ousted Bharatiya Janata Party had been marred by corruption scandals and accusations of poor governance.

A political analyst with the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, Manoj Joshi, says the BJP fell victim to the very issue that put the Congress-led federal government on the mat.

"The BJP government - while nationally they were attacking the Congress for corruption - found that in Karnataka, the boot was on the other foot," said Joshi.

The image of the BJP, the main opposition party in New Delhi, was tarnished in Karnataka by a $3-billion mining scam in which the state government was accused of allowing illegal iron mining.

Karnataka is home to India’s information technology hub, Bangalore, and the only southern state where the BJP was in power.  Its defeat is seen as a significant setback in its bid to wrest control of the federal government in national elections next year.    

BJP leaders admitted people were angered by poor governance. 

"If you stop governing, people will vote you out.  The reality is what you are seeing on the ground," said Jaswant Singh, a top opposition leader.

Brief reprieve

The victory gave a brief reprieve to the Congress-led government in New Delhi, which has faced massive opposition protests for a series of corruption scams - from awarding coal-field licenses to mobile-phone spectrum.

But that boost is likely to be short lived.  The election also showed that there is deep public anger about graft and voters will demand accountability as India heads for national elections next year.

Corruption has been in the headlines for nearly four years now and the brunt of the charges have been borne by the ruling Congress party. 

The latest corruption charges the government is battling involve two top ministers. A nephew of the railway minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal, has been accused of accepting a bribe from a railway official wanting a better post, while the law minister, Ashwani Kumar, is accused of interfering in a probe into the issue of coal licenses. The supreme court has censured the government for its interference.  

Following the election result in Karnataka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said corruption is a big issue for the country and needs to be addressed.

Congress party vulnerable

Political analyst Joshi says the Congress party continues to be extremely vulnerable, not only on charges of corruption, but also their apparent inability to address it.

"The Congress is stuck in a morass, generally. They are battling with this whole issue of two ministers… this seems to be the continuing story. They seem to lack decisiveness.  It’s a sense of apathy.” said Joshi.

On Wednesday, parliament closed three days early, following chaotic scenes as opposition parties refused to let it function, demanding the resignation of two ministers.

That means two landmark bills that were to be passed this session will not become law.  The government had proposed to provide heavily subsidized food to 75 percent of the people and to give fairer compensation to farmers for land acquired for industries.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid