By Gyan Pathak
BJP is given to exasperation, the opposition to an unprecedented hope, and the people to a spectre of an uncertain political direction by the first six rounds of voting for the 17th Lok Sabha. The seventh and the last phase of election, for which votes will be cast on May 19, is only to expose BJP to a greater frustration. Several of the 59 constituencies spread over 8 states/UTs going to poll are likely to brighten a little the prospect of the UPA, but they will be still far behind the NDA, both with the numbers much less than the required 272 seats to form a government. The INC and the parties and alliances outside the NDA and UPA are gaining at the cost of BJP.
The voting trend in the first six rounds indicates a fall not only in share of voting percentage of the BJP but also in number of seats which is likely to be limited to around 160 so far, and for NDA the tally may not be more than 194. INC may end up with only 115 seats with a prospect of 156 for UPA. The non-NDA non-UPA regional parties are likely to win 134 out of 484 seats already voted so far. It is in this background the election is being held in the last phase.
All the eight constituencies going to poll in Bihar in this phase have become a tough battle ground. All eyes were set on Patna Sahib Constituency, since the sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha has switched from BJP and fighting as INC candidate. He is giving tough fight to BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad. BJP seems to have a slight edge here, which UPA partners hope to upset. Nalanda seat presently held by JD(U) may be wrested by UPA partner HAM. JD(U) had won this seat last time with a very small margin of 1.05 per cent. BJP is in very bad shape in Pataliputra and Sasaram which they had won by small margins of only 4.14 per cent and 7.60 per cent. These seats may go this time to RJD and INC. Arrah, Buxar, and Karakat are witnessing tough fight between NDA and UPA. RLSP has upper hand in Karakat while BJP is stronger in Buxar. RJD may win Jahanabad seat by defeating JD(U).
There is a close fight between BJP and INC in Chandigarh. However, in Himachal Pradesh BJP is most likely to lose Mandi Lok Sabha seat to its rival INC. The BJP had won this seat by a very small margin of 5.54 per cent in the last Lok Sabha election. Hamirpur and Shimla have lately been witnessing a close fight between INC and BJP while in Kangra the BJP has a clear upper hand.
In all the three seats going to poll in Jharkhand, BJP seems to have at receiving end. JMM is most likely to retain its Rajmahal and Dumka seats, but the BJP’s retaining its Godda seat has become very difficult due to alliance of the regional parties and the INC. The BJP had won this seat in 2014 by a very small margin of 5.85 per cent.
BJP and INC are in direct fight with each other in Madhya Pradesh. All the eight seats going to poll in the state are presently held by the BJP. However, the party is most likely to lose Ratlam and Dhar seats this time which they had won by the margins of 10.31 and 9.83 per cent in the general election of 2014. In Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsour, Indore, Khargone, and Khandwa, the BJP seems to have an upper hand.
All the 13 constituencies are going to poll in Punjab in this phase. INC is most likely to retain Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, and Sangrur. Sad is most likely to lose Anandpur Sahib, Bhatinda, and Firozpur to INC which they had won with very small margins of 2.19, 1.65, and 2.86 per cent respectively in 2014. However, they are a little stronger in Khadoor Sahib. AAP candidates in Sangrur and Faridkot are giving tough fights, but INC seems to have upper hand in Sangrur. AAP is most likely to lose Fatehgarh Sahib to INC. BJP is stronger in Gurudaspur, but is most likely to lose Hoshiarpur which the party had won by a very small margin of 1.42 per cent last time. It may go to INC this time.
The thirteen seats going to poll in Uttar Pradesh are presently held by NDA. BJP has 12 seats and AP has one. BJP is most likely to lose Kushi Nagar and Ghazipur but it is most likely to retain Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Bansgaon, Salempur, Varanasi, and Robertsganj. SP-BSP alliance is giving tough fight to BJP in Ghosi, Ballia, and Chandauli which they are likely to win.
All the nine seats going to poll in West Bengal are presently held by AITC. All of them are witnessing tough political battle between AITC and the BJP. However, AITC seems to have an upper hand in five constituencies – Dum Dum, Barasat, Mathurapur, Kolkata Dakshin, and Kolkata Uttar. AITC is most likely to lose Diamond Harbour which they have won by a small margin of 5.70 per cent in the last Lok Sabha election. BJP may wrest this seat from AITC this time. BJP is also pitted against AITC in a very close fights in Basirhat, Joynagar, and Jadavpur.
The prospect in the last phase also does not seem to favour BJP which may end up by losing more than a hundred seats compared to 2014, while INC is most likely to triple its seats in the Lok Sabha. Other non-NDA non-UPA political parties may bag around 150 seats, which is likely to enable them to play kingmakers. NDA may get less than 218 seats and UPA less than 177. AITC with about 29, SP-BSP 36, TRS 12, BJD 13, TDP 10 and YSRCP 15 are to play most important role in government formation. (IPA Service)