Do the Recent Assembly Election Results Provide a Pointer to the Upcoming General Elections?

Now that the results for Assembly elections in five States have been out, the ruling party of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in Telangana, has retained its government with a landslide victory, while the Indian National Congress Party, which was in power in Mizoram, has been overpowered by the Mizo National Front (MNF). However, the Congress Party scraped through with a thin majority in Madhya Pradesh, but it established a clear lead in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which headed the outgoing governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, suffered a “defeat.” For the first time the BJP could make its presence felt in Mizoram by winning one seat.

Although the results are mostly on the expected lines of pre-poll estimates and sporadically close to exit poll figures, the lone surprise is the clear and absolute mandate given by the voters in Telangana, which is a record of sorts to K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his party. He has set a record for having been elected as an MLA for the eighth time, and his party fighting against what looked like a formidable and dominant – the four-party Prajakutami comprising the Congress Party, the Telugu Desam Party, the CPI and the Telangana Jana Samiti.

The Prajakutami, as an alliance group, has won just a poor figure of 21 seats. This number includes 19 seats won by the Congress Party and a dismal 2 seats won by the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who founded the Prajakutami with a view to defeating the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and also to warding off the possible victory to the BJP. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP supremo Amit Shah and other top party leaders campaigned for their party in Telangana, the party could not make any inroads; it just won one seat. Similarly Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders, who campaigned in Telangana, could not help their party. The AIMIM, which is vocal about the BJP, has retained all the seven seats it has contested. There exists a good rapport between TRS and AIMIM, although there has been no alliance or understanding between them.

In Madhya Pradesh it was unfortunate for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whose Bharatiya Janata Party has been overtaken by the Congress Party by five seats. But the Congress Party was two seats short of absolute majority.

According to final tally, in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has won 109 seats, the Congress Party 114 seats and others 7 seats. In Telangana, the ruling TRS has won 88 seats to the surprise of its own leaders, the Prajakutami 21 seats, AIMIM 7 seats, the BJP 1 seat and Independents 2 seats. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP, which was in power for three terms, has won only 15 seats, while the Congress Party has won 68 seats and others 7 seats. In Rajasthan the BJP has won 73 seats, the Congress Party 99 seats, the BSP 6 seats and others 21 seats. In Mizoram the Congress Party has won 5 seats, the MNF 26 seats, the BJP won 1 seat and others 8 seats. For the 10-odd pollster agencies, which have conducted exit polls, only three of them could make some wild guesses in Mizoram, as the State has proved to be the hard one to predict results as they could not nail the final tally.

While the Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, who vigorously campaigned in many of the cities and towns, are elated and consider that the poll results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are a harbinger of what is in store for the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the top leaders of the BJP have begun self-search and self-assessment about where they have gone wrong in their efforts and have begun planning strategies to regain the confidence of people and fare well in the coming elections.

Expecting a great success for his Prajakutami in the just concluded Telangana polls, Chandrababu Naidu, even a day prior to the announcement of the results of the Assembly elections in the five States, rushed from his State to New Delhi with a view to campaigning and mopping up all like-minded Opposition leaders to form a grand alliance with a single agenda of “saving the country and the people” from the “misrule” of the BJP and Narendra Modi. Chandrababu Naidu, Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders allege that TRS supremo Chandrasekhar Rao and Narendra Modi publicly criticize each other, but they have a “secret understanding to support each other to remain in power.”

Buoyed by the tremendous support of the electorate in Telangana, Chandrasekhar Rao, addressing a press conference in Hyderabad immediately after the results have been out, said that the policies of the Congress Party, which ruled the country for several years and those of the BJP in the past four years have been no different. “Leaders of these two parties have never understood the problems of common people and the needs of various States. The States should be given autonomy to deal with subjects like, education, health, irrigation, agriculture, safeguards to farmers, minorities, rural folks and tribal people and other such issues. There is a need to scrap the ‘Concurrent List’ of the Constitution. Why should we have only one Supreme Court for the whole country? Like in the USA, every State in India should also have its own Supreme Court. We do not need Opposition parties or self-centered political parties, we need a people’s party to understand the needs of people and look after their welfare. I shall soon visit Delhi and organize a meeting to work for the formation of a people’s party. I would try to see to it that we replicate at the Center and in other States, the welfare measures and welfare policies we have taken up in our State of Telangana,” the TRS leader averred.

Meanwhile, some hiccups have surfaced in choosing the Chief Ministerial candidates in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the Congress Party has been seeking to form government, and consequently the scenario has moved from the capitals of these States to New Delhi to place the decision in the hands of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and the leaders in the two states have expressed their willingness to abide by the party president and his mother.

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, who gained renewed confidence with the victory of their Congress Party in three States, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, who have been shaken by the surprise setback suffered by the BJP, and an elated Chandrasekhar Rao, whose TRS party’s sweeping victory in Telangana and Chandrababu Naidu, whose TDP and his Prajakutami suffering severe drubbing, are planning to strategize their operations to face and overpower each other in the ensuing 2019 Lok Sabha elections. For the voters of the country, it is a big puzzle.

– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Lakshmana Rao, a Freelance Journalist

Picture Credits : indianexpress.com

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