Incumbency, image may override corruption issue

Will corruption be an issue in the coming Assembly elections in five states? The reports coming to New Delhi are mixed suggesting that local factors, incumbency and image of candidates would matter more in the electoral battle.

The Opposition parties have so far succeeded in making corruption, scams a major issue at the national level and had even washed out the Winter Session of Parliament. Former telecom minister A. Raja and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan had to quit while several people have been facing inquiries in the 2G spectrum allocation, CWG, Adarsha housing scams. Of late, even the Centre gave the signal of being flexible on the demand of joint parliamentary committee probe.
But the feedback coming from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and even Kerala is different, claimed Congress insiders.
According to them, the 2G spectrum scam could influence a section of urban population in Tamil Nadu.
In Bengal, the incumbency factor against the Left Front is so strong that corruption and scams have become secondary. Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has succeeded in providing an alternative to the mighty red rule which has ruled the state for over three decades. There, the issues are Maoists and anti- and pro-Left. In Assam, the Congress is optimistic of retaining power for a third time because of a divided Opposition.
and chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s reported comment that he does not want to become a CM the “next time”. Mr Gogoi has been the CM since 2001.
But Kerala could be a different story. Reports coming from the state are suggesting that the trend from the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 are changing. Infighting in the ruling CPI(M), especially between chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his rivals in the party, has not gone down and damaged the party.

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