More than a little saffron sheen is lost – By Pushpesh Pant 

Whatever spin the cheerleaders in the BJP-NDA combine may try to put on the election results in Maharashtra and Haryana, it is difficult to deny that more than a little sheen has been lost. The myth of invincibility and crushing momentum of the saffron juggernaut failed to deliver a clear majority in Haryana and the numbers were far below expectation even in Maharashtra.

There is no need to waste time wringing hands reviewing ‘whats and ifs’ that could have averted the disappointment. In Haryana, the once-powerful Jat Empire struck back hard and succeeded in humbling the non-Jat CM who in any case had exposed himself as a leader without any leadership qualities. An inept administrator, Mr Khattar had miserably failed to maintain law and order when the Jat Reservation agitation exploded, nor had he distinguished himself any more creditably dealing with ‘Godmen and Gurus’ in conflict with law.

…The Khattar Sarkar had simply failed to deliver on-ground what was promised. In the end, neither the PM’s charisma nor the well-oiled clockwork-like organisation of the RSS could ensure a simple majority. It was distressing that government formation to secure another term in office first hinged on attracting independents and rebels. Most depressing aspect of this post-poll ‘strategy’ was the embrace extended to the likes of Gopal Kanda, a politician with an unsavoury reputation.…Democracy needs a strong opposition. It’s for those who oppose the BJP-NDA to find their feet.