Despite Rahul-Modi face-off, caste-equations, poll-result as unpredictable as Hollywood-thriller climax
(Sourced from PTI)
A Narendra Modi-Rahul Gandhi face-off, last-minute switching of camps, allegations, counter-allegations, and caste equations make for a heady election cocktail in five states, but poll results remain as unpredictable as the climax of a Hollywood thriller. Political parties will battle it out in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana for 90, 230, 40, 200, and 119 seats, respectively. Read more.
The first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, that will start tomorrow, will decide how major political parties such as the BJP, Congress, and BSP are positioned for alliances to fight the 2019 battle. If the Congress manages to upset its dominant rival in these Assembly polls, then it will be a big boost to the opposition for the Lok Sabha polls
In 2013, the BJP had won 165, 163 and 49 seats in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh respectively, with the Congress securing 58, 21 and 39 seats. In Telangana, the ruling K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi is seen to be going strong and will face a contest from the Congress and the BJP.
After winning 63 seats in the 2014 Telangana Assembly polls, the TRS's ranks swelled with members of rival parties joining it over the years. However, anti-incumbency and advancing of polls by KCR may throw up surprises. In Mizoram, the Congress has been in power since 2008, while in Chhattisgarh and MP, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been ruling for the last 15 years.
In the 2013 Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, though there was a difference of 10 seats between the BJP and the Congress, the difference between their vote share was just 0.75%. The contest in Chhattisgarh again promises to be a nail-biter as the ruling BJP is facing anti-incumbency, while the Congress is up against the challenge of the Ajit Jogi-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) tie-up.
In Madhya Pradesh, the contest looks, even more, tighter as the anti-incumbency is a big factor in the state with the Congress consistently doing well in the by-elections held in the last year-and-a-half. The BJP had in 2013 secured a 44.88% vote share to Congress's 36.38%. A key statistic again here is that the BSP had bagged 6.29% vote share.
Madhya Pradesh is witnessing several switching of camps by various leaders. Among the notable switches, Sanjay Singh Masani, the brother-in-law of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and senior BJP leader Sartaj Singh joined the Congress, while Premchand Guddu, a Dalit leader, joined the BJP.
Rajasthan seems to be a different battleground from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as a key statistic here is that since 1998, the Congress and the BJP have won Vidhan Sabha elections alternately, neither able to retain power for consecutive terms. In the 2013 Rajasthan Assembly polls, the BJP had won 45.17% votes, while the Congress had got 33.07%.
Prime Minister Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are expected to crisscross the five states in a campaign blitz that is expected to be a trailer of their face-off during the Lok Sabha polls next year. Polls in MP and Mizoram will take place on November 28, while Assembly elections in Rajasthan and Telangana will be held on December 7.