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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid