News / Asia

West Bengal Vote Ends 34 Years of Communist Rule

Supporters of the Trinamool Congress party, an ally to India's the ruling Congress Party, hold election billboards featuring portraits of party leader Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata, India, May 13, 2011.
Supporters of the Trinamool Congress party, an ally to India's the ruling Congress Party, hold election billboards featuring portraits of party leader Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata, India, May 13, 2011.

India’s Congress Party, which heads the ruling coalition, has notched up some significant victories in a crucial round of regional elections. The results give a much-needed boost to the ruling party, whose image has been dented by massive corruption scandals.     

The governing Congress Party and a crucial ally fared well in three out of the five states which went to the polls recently to choose local governments.   

The Congress Party retained power in remote northeastern Assam state, and won a narrow victory over communist parties in the southern Kerala state. But it lost ground in the small southern state of Pondicherry.

Watch related Kurt Achin video report

However the focus remained on two key regional allies, who play an important role in propping up the federal coalition.   

In West Bengal state, a Congress Party ally, the Trinamool Congress, swept to power after inflicting a crushing defeat on communist parties, thereby ending its three-decade reign.

But another important ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)suffered a huge reversal in southern Tamil Nadu state. The defeat is being attributed to anger among voters over a massive corruption scam involving a former federal minister from the DMK.

Political analysts say the results in Tamil Nadu should be a message to the Congress Party, whose image is also tainted by corruption scandals, that demands for clean governance are growing.

However, telecommunication minister and a senior leader of the Congress Party, Kapil Sibal, downplayed the impact of public anger over the issue of corruption.  

“These are regional elections and the issues are regional," Sibal said. "Corruption would be an issue, but it is far beyond corruption as well.”

Congress Party leaders said they are satisfied with the results because voters have reaffirmed their faith in the party.

The outcome will give a brief respite to the Congress Party, whose second term in office has been marked with growing protests by both opposition parties and the public demanding that the government do more to address issues of corruption and rising prices.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee called the elections a vote for stability.  

“For the last one year, efforts were made to destabilize, not only the government, but through the process of destabilizing the government, destabilize the system, and bring instability in the country," he said. "From that point of view this election has conveyed a very clear message.”

The reversal suffered by communist parties in their bastions of Kerala and West Bengal could also give the Congress-led government more leverage to press ahead with economic reforms.

With voters throwing out four of the five governments in the states which went to the polls, political analysts say the elections also underline the growing demands for better governance and development in India.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid