Rajat Sharma

Assembly poll results will significantly impact next year’s Lok Sabha elections

aaj ki baat_frame_81760With the BJP losing Chhattisgarh and failing to emerge as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, leaving the Congress to return to power in this Hindi-speaking heartland, the die for next year’s general elections is now cast.

These assembly election results will significantly impact the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

First, it will infuse tremendous energy among the Congress workers and supporters, but the major side effect will be: there will be more infighting for the main stakes among Congress leaders.

Second, Rahul Gandh, who till now had faced a string of electoral defeats for his party, will now put his stamp of authority by winning these three key states.

Third, political pundits might assume that Rahul Gandhi may now find it easier to stitch a national-level alliance with other political parties, but it is not so easy. The alliance that needs to be forged will be in the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh. An alliance with the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party is a must for a major win in this state. BSP has also registered its significant presence in MP and Rajasthan, and its leader Mayawati will return to the centre stage with more political clout Dealing with Mayawati will be a major concern for the Congress.

On to the analysis. The 114-109 result that has come up in Madhya Pradesh between the Congress and the BJP, clearly denotes that neither the BJP lost badly, nor the Congress won handsomely. In the last elections, BJP had won 165, scoring a clear majority, but now its tally has dwindled to 109. Voting percentage wise, BJP got 41 pc of the votes and the Congress got 40.09 pc, only a razor thin 0.1 pc difference. The second largest party got major share of votes, and therefore, it would be incorrect to say that the BJP lost the elections in MP. The results, however, have left both the camps satisfied. Congress will be returning to power after a gap of 15 years in MP, while the BJP feels that a little extra effort next year can give good results in MP during the LS elections.

Sifting through the election results of Rajasthan, one can notice an important fact. The Congress no doubt scored a win, one seat lesser than the magic mark, but the major contribution to its victory was made by Hanuman Beniwal, the Jat leader. Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party damaged the prospects of BJP candidates in at least a dozen constituencies. Beniwal had won as an independent in 2008, and on a BJP ticket in 2013. He was expelled from BJP a few months ago, after which he formed his own party. He took the help of Anandpal Singh’s supporters and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal. Beniwal fielded 65 candidates, but won only three, including his own seat. It will not be incorrect if we say that the BJP did not lose to the Congress, but lost to Beniwal.

The most surprising outcome was from Chhattisgarh. The BJP leadership had the least inkling of an impending defeat, and the Congress leaders were in the beginning doubtful about their victory. The Ajit Jogi-Mayawati alliance spoiled BJP’s plans. When the alliance was announced, BJP leaders initially thought that this alliance would seriously dent the Congress vote bank. The common voter, who disliked Ajit Jogi, cast his vote in favour of Congress in order to stop him from becoming CM, in case the BJP failed to get majority and sought Jogi’s help. The Congress reaped the benefit of keeping Jogi at a distance.

In Telangana, one should accept TRS leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s political acumen. He took a major gambit by dissolving the assembly, and opted for polls eight months in advance. He took AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s support and reaped the benefits. One should now wait to see what role his party plays at the central level in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

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