AA Edit | Two CMs, divergent challenges

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

It is important that even when top leaders kept moving to the saffron side, Mr Sukhu draws up a plan to meet people’s aspirations.

Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to be the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, in Shimla. (PTI Photo)

The Congress and the BJP have chosen their legislature party leaders in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, respectively, in their own time-tested ways without giving much space for haggling. The Congress’ choice for Himachal Pradesh is a four-time legislator Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who has been a party loyalist from his student days. The BJP, which experimented with three chief ministers ever since Narendra Modi who left for New Delhi in 2014 after being in the top post for 13 years, has chosen to continue with Bhupendra Patel after it got a record-breaking mandate this time around.

It is now widely acknowledged that governance issues cost the BJP its government in Himachal Pradesh; and the same transforms into the real challenge for the Sukha government. The hilly state is counted among the top when it comes to human development indices and one of the reasons could be the revolving door policy the people of the state have evolved for the political class: unless you perform, you will not be allowed to return to power on unrealistic issues which get traction in several other Indian states. It’s the people who set the larger agenda, and not the politician.

It is important that Mr Sukha, who stayed with the Congress even when top leaders kept moving to the saffron side, draws up a plan to meet people’s aspirations, and the party leadership backs him fully. A Congress chief minister these days faces threats from within, like those in Punjab and Rajasthan have faced, and from the BJP which has little compunction in undermining him either through its own machinations or using federal agencies. It’s going to be a tough job for Mr Sukha.

Gujarat and Mr Patel, on the other hand, represent political stability. There is not even a recognised Opposition in the Assembly. Governance does not appear to top voters’ agenda in the state: they chose the ruling party even in the seat where a bridge collapse killed more than 140 people a few days before the poll. It is up to Mr Patel and the BJP to create new democratic and governance paradigms that incorporate the choices and demands of all sections of people.