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Sunday, April 14, 2024

It All Boils Down To The Numbers Ahead Of 2019

The Bellary victory has given a shot in the arm to the opposition unity as they work out the permutations and combinations to defeat the BJP in 2019 elections. One such combination has been already successful in Uttar Pradesh where the SP-BSP combine have already demolished BJP bastions like Gorakhpur and with the JDS Congress  ruling alliance storming the BJP citadel in Bellary, the opposition seems to have solidified another unlikely alliance to take on the BJP in 2019 elections.

However, the Congress will have to tread a lone walk in two crucial States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and also Chattisgarh. A close fight is on the cards in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh between the BJP and the Congress. Whichever party wins will carry a psychological advantage going into the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

If the BJP is able to shrug off the anti incumbency in the two states, it will be a major achievement for its party cadres apart from a victory of its two CM’s namely Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Chauhan. Moreover, it will give further credence to its theory of Congress mukt Bharat.

However, a victory for the Congress in these two important states in the Hindu heartland will be a shot in the arm for the Congress leadership and its cadres. It will give the much needed boost for its campaign ahead of the 2019 elections and increase its leverage and bargaining power with its allies and probable allies with regard to seat sharing and candidature of PM.

Since it’s a two party contest in both the states, a victory for the Congress will bolster the image of Rahul Gandhi ahead of 2019 elections and increase his stock amongst the opposition parties.

Will it act as a unifying force in bringing the entire opposition flock under one umbrella is the big question and how much confidence and trust does such a unified opposition evoke amongst the masses will be the deciding factor in 2019 elections.

The BJP has lost a string of by-elections across the Hindi heartland and the latest in Karnataka, bringing down its Lok Sabha tally to 272.

Talking about the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is unlikely to repeat its performance of 2014 when Modi wave swept everyone. This can be gauged from the fact that in states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, BJP had a 100% record winning the 25 & 29 seats on offer which was unprecedented. Even in the two big States of UP and Madhya pradesh, the BJP romped home victorious winning 71 out of 80 in UP and 27 out of 29 in MP.

Thus these four states accounted for 144 seats for the BJP or roughly 50% of the seats. But this performance happened when the UPA was battling a strong anti-incumbency and the Modi wave was at its crest.

Since then the opposition has made some lost ground and the ruling dispensation has lost some steam and it’s safe to assume that these numbers won’t be repeated.

Even if the BJP were to retain 50% of the seats in these 4 states it would still bring down its tally by 70 seats. Thus, it will have to look elsewhere to  get to the magic number provided it retains its performance in other big ticket states like Maharashtra and Bihar.

Another factor to be looked into is the intelligence of the electorate for they could be voting for a particular party in the state elections. They could change their mind for the 2019 Lok Sabha if they don’t see a credible alternative falling in place before 2019. Whatever may be the case, intriguing and interesting political battles are lined up for the winters before the mother of all battle unfolds across the vast political canvass in the summer of 2019.

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine


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