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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs