The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary– December 4, 2023; Day 503 (1)
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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Satrap a subordinate ruler, esp one who is connected with or typical of a leader with great power, especially one who uses it in a cruel way.
Trump Get the better of
Consolation The comfort you feel when consoled in times of disappointment
Consolidation The act of combining into an integral whole
Defection Withdrawing support or help despite allegiance or responsibility
Uphill Against difficulties
Divergence The act of moving away in different direction from a common point
Reign A period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful
Devoid Completely wanting or lacking
Pivot to turn or balance on a central point
Relegate Assign to a lower position; reduce in rank
Antagonise Act in opposition to
Latitude Freedom from normal restraints in conduct
Botch An embarrassing mistake
Chink a small narrow crack
Prong each of the separate parts of an attack, argument, etc. that somebody uses to achieve something
Astute Marked by practical hardheaded intelligence

Decisive wins: On M.P., Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh Assembly election results

The BJP rode on the back of its national leadership in the Hindi heartland, while the Congress relied on regional satraps (a subordinate ruler, esp one who is connected with or typical of a leader with great power, especially one who uses it in a cruel way) for its success in Telangana 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trumped (Get the better of) the Congress in all the three States where the two were in a face-to-face fight, wresting control of both Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and retaining power in Madhya Pradesh. A remarkable revival in Telangana that pushed the BJP to the third place was the only consolation (The comfort you feel when consoled in times of disappointment) for the Congress. The BJP’s victories signify a consolidation (The act of combining into an integral whole) of its hold over the Hindi heartland and in straight contests against its principal national opponent. The Congress had won all three States five years ago, though it lost Madhya Pradesh midway through its term to politically opportunistic mass defections (Withdrawing support or help despite allegiance or responsibility). True, the Congress’s consolation prize in Telangana is remarkable, beating back a regional party that had sought to become synonymous with the struggle for Statehood. But to regain support in the Hindi-speaking States in time for the Lok Sabha election next year seems an uphill (Against difficulties) struggle for the party. The overall electoral map now suggests a divergence (The act of moving away in different direction from a common point) between the BJP strongholds in the north and the west, and peninsular India where non-BJP parties are in power. But the party’s performance in Telangana where it won eight seats compared to just one last time is notable. The setback to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Telangana is not ordinary anti-incumbency, but a pointed rejection of its dynastic reign (A period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful) devoid (Completely wanting or lacking) of any ideological content. The BJP campaign had pivoted (to turn or balance on a central point) around Prime Minister Narendra Modi, relegating (Assign to a lower position; reduce in rank) its regional leaders, including sitting Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, to the background. This was a highly risky strategy, considering the party’s defeat in Karnataka in May after it antagonised (Act in opposition to) regional satraps and caste groups. In the end, the party won 115 out of 199 (one yet to be held) seats in Rajasthan, 164 of 230 in Madhya Pradesh, and 54 of 90 in Chhattisgarh.

These decisive numbers give the BJP central leadership the latitude (Freedom from normal restraints in conduct) to have its way in government formation in all three States. The lion’s share of the credit for the victories belongs to Mr. Modi, reinforcing his authority ahead of 2024 when he will be seeking a third straight term. Mr. Chouhan chose not to raise his profile in the campaign, allowing the central leadership to take full responsibility in Madhya Pradesh, just as in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot fought a spirited battle, and though he lost, prevented a complete washout of the Congress. In Chhattisgarh, the party collapsed in the storm of allegations of corruption and under the weight of botched (An embarrassing mistake) social engineering that isolated the tribal communities. All three heartland States have exposed many a chink (a small narrow crack) in the Congress armour, particularly its two prongs (each of the separate parts of an attack, argument, etc. that somebody uses to achieve something) of social justice and welfare schemes. These are essential but not sufficient tools for victory. Trust in leadership, representation of social groups, astute (Marked by practical hardheaded intelligence) selection of candidates, effective campaigning, ideological clarity and, above all, organisational cohesion are required, especially to retain power.

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