From Rajasthan to J&K, 10 high-octane electoral battles in 2023
Nine states and possibly the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are set to host Assembly elections in 2023. The contest in these states holds significance as the results will set the tone for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled to take place in 2024. So, here's what to expect from the poll battles in 2023.
Why does this story matter?
- The political equation across India has changed significantly since the last time these states went to polls.
- While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced a defeat in Himachal polls, it secured its 7th consecutive term in Gujarat and will be looking to assert national dominance in 2023.
- Meanwhile, parties like Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will woo voters to increase their vote bank.
Battle for Madhya Pradesh between BJP and Congress
With rumors of the BJP considering a new chief minister face in Madhya Pradesh, changing CM Shivraj Chouhan could help ride the possible anti-incumbency tide. In July, the BJP won local body polls and claimed it had defeated Congress in the 2023 Assembly poll semi-finals. State home minister Narottam Mishra confirmed election preparations are underway, while Congress's Kamal Nath is also holding poll-related meetings.
Congress will bid to keep Chhattisgarh
During the 2018 Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Congress managed to secure 68 seats out of 90 in the state, while the BJP bagged just 15. During the recent Bhanupratappur Assembly bypoll, the grand old party secured a convincing victory, as BJP faced its fifth successive defeat since 2018. These bypoll victories for Congress indicate what's coming in the 2023 Assembly polls for the party.
Ruling MNF favorites in Mizoram
In the 2018 Assembly elections in Mizoram, the Mizo National Front (MNF) secured 26 out of the available 40 seats. Meanwhile, Congress won only five seats as the BJP opened its account for the first time in the state. In the 2023 Assembly polls, the MNF will be looking to increase its seats and are clear favorites to win the state again.
Gehlot v/s Pilot in Rajasthan as BJP eyes comeback
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot faces a tough fight from Sachin Pilot as the two Congress leaders publicly scuffle for the CM post. While BJP is also facing infighting within its camp as of late, it is banking on the Gehlot-Polit tussle to get back to power. Both the Congress and the BJP are looking to set their houses in order before the polls.
TRS' tough Telangana battle
K Chandrashekar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged a one-sided win in 2018, securing 87 seats out of 119 in Telangana. This time, the political scenario drastically changed as TRS defeated BJP in the Munugodu bypoll by a narrow margin of 10,000 votes. This result indicates that the upcoming Assembly poll might be challenging for TRS, while Congress continues to lose its grip.
BJP's problems in Karnataka ahead of 2023 polls
Karnataka is the only south Indian state BJP governs, but the party needs to address vital issues ahead of polls. These include the rift between BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai and the division within BJP over the Cabinet expansion issue. While some saffron leaders see the cabinet expansion adding vigor to BJP before the polls, others claim it will be a futile exercise.
Karnataka Congress also in disarray
Reportedly, there is also a division in the Congress in Karnataka over ticket distribution. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief DK Shivakumar claimed in November that it is not Siddaramaiah but the party's high command that decides the tickets. However, Congress is predicted to give BJP a tough fight in the upcoming Assembly polls in Karnataka.
The tricky state of Nagaland
The BJP is planning to fight on 20 seats and back the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidates in 40 others for the 2023 polls. Ahead of the Nagaland polls, the state BJP suffered a setback after three district party presidents joined the Janata Dal (United). Notably, seven tribes have been calling for a separate state, "Frontier Nagaland," by carving out 16 more districts.
Three-way battle for Meghalaya
Even after Congress became the largest party in the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly poll, its 21-seat tally fell short of the majority in the 60-member legislature. The National People's Party (NPP) and BJP joined hands to form the government as the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA). For the 2023 polls, the saffron brigade wants to lead the coalition government this time.
TMC, Congress up campaign game in Meghalaya
Meanwhile, the alliance of NPP and BJP is set to face a hard challenge from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), with the Congress also stepping up its efforts to lay a mark.
BJP loses key ally ahead of Tripura polls
The saffron party won 35 seats in the 2018 Assembly polls in Tripura, with a vote margin of just 1.37% between the BJP and Left. With this, the nearly 20-year-long CM Manik Sarkar was dethroned as BJP's Biplab Deb took charge. Later in May, Manik Saha replaced Deb. BJP ties with its ally, the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura, are currently on the ropes.
TTAADC's rise to glory in Tripura
In April 2021, Tipra Motha won the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls only two months after formation. The tribal-based outfit is now trying to form an anti-BJP political front. Reports suggest that the Left, Congress, and the TMC might also support it.
All eyes on Jammu and Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls are the most awaited political event and may see the light of day in 2023. State BJP head Tarun Chug has urged the party workers to form a bond with the people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP party president JP Nadda, and Home Minister Amit Shah are all set to visit J&K in the next three months.
Alliance on the cards in J&K
The National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party, the CPI(M), and the Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference, together known as the Gupkar Alliance, might join hands with the Congress before polls. Ex-Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who launched the Democratic Azad Party, might also back the alliance for the 2023 polls. Abrogation of Article 370 is expected to top the parties' agenda.