By Gyan Pathak
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal have emerged as the most important states that are heading towards the bitterest political battle during the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 the outcome of which is likely to decide the fate of government formation in India. Election is going to be held in these three politically most sensitive states in all the seven phases. Stakes of political parties are highest and therefore these represents highest security risks too. Security forces and administration will have very tough time in handling the law and order issues. Both the ruling and opposition alliances are hoping for considerable loss or gain for each other in these states sending 162 members in the Lok Sabha.
Seven other states – Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Assam – have emerged as the second most important in this category which send 169 members in the Lok Sabha. BJP has much at stake in these states as in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar due to strong opposition which is likely to fare well compared to the Lok Sabha Elections 2014. All these nine states send 289 members in the Lok Sabha out of which BJP is holding 214 seats.
In Uttar Pradesh, the fight is between the BJP and SP-BSP combine. Congress has been kept out of the opposition alliance that is certainly advantage BJP, but even then the slowly emerging political scenario in the state suggests that the BJP will have very tough time to retain 71 seats it holds out of 80. BSP’s is fighting for its survival in alliance with SP. Congress may not gain more than a couple of seats, but will dent in the support base of all the three political parties in the race. SP-BSP combine is set to gain and BJP to lose, but the extent of respective gain and loss is highly unpredictable because of shifting level of polarization on communal and caste lines.
NDA in Bihar is pitted against RJD-Congress combine and is most likely to lose several of their seats due to double anti-incumbency of the centre and the state. NDA presently has 30 seats out of 40. Out of 48 seats in Maharashtra, BJP may lose only a couple of seats out of 23 they hold. Its relations with its alliance partner Shiv Sena has not been smooth for some time now.
In Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh the BJP is set to lose if the recent Vidhan Sabha Election results are of any indication. BJP suffered humiliating defeats in all these states. Barring Karnataka, BJP is in one and one fight with Congress in all these states. In Karnataka Congress-JD(S) combine has made BJP’s retaining it 17 seats difficult. These four states send 93 out of which BJP holds 80 seats. BJP is trying its best to prevent humiliating defeats in these states.
Double incumbency is also being felt in Jharkhand where the BJP holds 12 seats out of 14. Assam is highly communalized after National Register of Citizenship issue came to the fore. It is the only state among the nine states previously mentioned which BJP can hope for retaining their present 7 seats out of 14. In West Bengal BJP is hoping for an increase in its tally from the present two seats, but the ground reality presents severe limitation for the party.
However, there is no clue as to what really constitute the political mind of voters this time which has put all the political strategists on their toes. Real voters are not so vocal as the supporters and detractors of the political parties. In such a situation, as we have seen in earlier elections, political outcome always becomes a surprise, the unpredictable level of loss or gain to the political parties.
Keeping in this mind the ruling BJP is trying its best to influence voters on communal lines which is the party’s top agenda. It’s an open secret that the party relies most on consolidation and polarization of Hindu votes. They are hell bent upon driving home the point that the nation (read Hindu nation) is running a great risk. Hindu nationalism is their philosophy and politics. They are exerting to their utmost capacity on a Hindu ‘Chowkidar 24×7’ (read Narendra Modi) the guard of the day and night. Modi himself has been amplifying this for the last few days, though he has reverted to the conventional politics of announcing and implementing doles and welfare schemes for the last one year in a bid to re-attract the disillusioned voters, particularly the jobless youths, women, and farmers. The joblessness is the highest in 45 years, crime against women is highest ever, and the farmers are getting meagre return on their produce despite Modi’s so called flagship programme of doubling their income. The adverse impact of demonetization and GST is yet to be overcome, and corruption and bank frauds continued to hit the common voters.
It is in this backdrop, the top issue on which the opposition seems to be relying is joblessness of the younger people, distress of the farmers, corruption, and bank frauds. It is also being emphasized that the country’s fundamental psyche of tolerance, communal harmony, constitutional framework, and even democracy are being compromised or ruined under autocratic rule of Modi. No one is happy except the few capitalists and industrialists. It is to be seen how this unhappiness is reflected in their votes. (IPA Service)