In less than a week, results of the assembly polls are expected to stir the political pot as the country steers towards the election poll mode less than two months from now. Accounts from pollsters who have conducted exit polls (they will be published only after December 7th) indicate the following.
* A last minute “surge” for the Bhartiya Janata Party in Rajasthan (polling on December 7th) and Madhya Pradesh. (Polling was over on November 28th)
* In Telangana too, the TRS which is fighting a back-to-the-wall battle, is engaged in a close fight. (Polling on December 7th)
*Neither Rajasthan nor Chhattisgarh holds much hope for the BJP. In Rajasthan, it is clear that the Congress has an edge. The last-minute surge appears too little too late.
* In Chhattisgarh, though it does seem as if the Congress might tilt the scale, it is still described as a tough, three-cornered battle.
Let’s look at the trends in each state and examine why every State is important on the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The TRS internal surveys indicated that the expected kitty of the ruling party began to fall from between 70-80 seats by the end of September to below 60 – the halfway majority mark – by mid to end of October, and the Congress not only meeting it but surpassing it as well.
However, during the past one week, there is said to be a surge in favour of the TRS. How much it will impact the party’s prospects is yet to be seen.
The TRS is focussing its attack on TDP chief, N Chandrababu Naidu. The TRS is trying to fan the Telangana sentiment, which has worked in its favour in the past. Chandrashekar Rao and other leaders are stressing on the fact that Naidu is playing with Telangana sentiments. Meanwhile, the Muslim vote is undeniably a factor, considering they constitute 12 per cent of the vote.
In the 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP won 163 out of a total of 200 seats. This time there is a clear resentment against Vasundhara Raje. In fact, there is a discernable anti-Raje wind blowing as per local media reports. But will a last-minute surge help the BJP?
The hope of a comeback for the BJP comes from the bellwether region of Mewar. Voters and a section of the party leadership strongly feel that infighting, factionalism and the lack of a chief ministerial face is disrupting the momentum that the Congress had generated in the campaign’s early phase.
Traditionally, the party that does well in Mewar has usually gone on to form the government in Jaipur. Most opinion polls that had written off the BJP now feel that it is very much back in the game.
But it does seem the so-called surge has come quite late.
Going by the views of pollsters, it appears to be a close photo finish between the Congress and the BJP. If the BJP does manage to romp home, it goes entirely to the credit of Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Initial indications suggest there are as many as 48 constituencies where the battle lines are drawn and it would be a booth by booth polling contest.
Here the Jogi-Mayawati factor appears to have done more harm to the ruling BJP than the Congress. Already, pollsters are talking about a clear Congress lead in the state. Local television channels have given a 10-12 lead to the Congress.
These results would determine the course the election would be taking. Two events need to be watched post-Assembly election results:
- The stepping up of the RSS campaign on the Ram Temple.
2. An expected announcement of an alliance between Mayawati and Akhilesh in the middle of December.
Both developments would give an unmistakable impetus to the Lok Sabha polls. The RSS campaign, if it picks up, would suggest that Hindutva is likely to be the main narrative for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.
Also, the announcement of an Akhilesh-Mayawati alliance in Uttar Pradesh is likely to strike a blow to the BJP’s bid to ensure the maximum seats for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
Much would depend on the results and spin given to it by respective political parties after December 11th when the results are announced.