By Gyan Pathak
There is a hope of gain in the UPA, and there is a feel of despair in the NDA, in the second phase. The rays of hope and the corresponding ominous signs have been emanating all along the campaign period, which may affect voters on April 18, the date of voting in 97 Lok Sabha seats spread across 13 states/UTs of the country.
The fear of loss in already communally surcharged political situation in Assam over NRC has made the BJP leaders to issue such statements that are brazenly communal aiming at consolidation of votes on Hindu-Muslim lines. The statements increasingly communal have been more frequent especially after the first phase of election which indicates the underlying despair in the party. As in the first phase, another five constituencies – Karimganj, Silchar, Autonomous District, Mangaldoi, and Nawgong – of the state would be voting on that day. BJP leader’s frustration is explainable by the fact that they are under threat of losing even the two seats – Mangaldoi and Nawgong – they presently hold. BJP had won the Mangaldoi seat in 2014 by a very small margin of only 1.87 per cent. Though they had won Nawgong seat by a margin of 11.75 per cent, they are facing tough challenge now on this seat from the Congress.
This phase is going to prove difficult for NDA in Bihar too. Out of the five constituencies – Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Bhagalpur, and Banka – only Purnia is presently held by NDA. JD(U) seems to be comfortable in Purnia this time also. However, in all other seats UPA has an edge. The Congress is clearly ahead in Kishanganj and Katihar, but RJD is struggling to retain Bhagalpur and Banka.
BJP is in very bad shape in Chhattisgarh. Out of the three seats – Rajnandgaon, Mahasamand, and Kanker – the party is set to lose the last two which the party had won by a margin of only 0.11 and 3.57 per cent respectively even at the height of Modi wave in 2014. BJP in Rajnandgaon, however, seems to be stronger than the Congress.
There seems to be a status quo in Srinagar and Udhampur seats of Jammu and Kashmir, the former may elect the PDP and the later the BJP.
Due to anti-incumbency and counter-anti-incumbency, the 14 seats of Karnataka going to poll have become a puzzle for now. The seven of them – Mysore, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Chikballapur, Kolar, Hassan, and Mandya – are witnessing a very tough fight between the BJP and the UPA candidates where winning margins were very thin (less than ten percent) in 2014. A little swing of votes may drastically alter political fortunes of both sides. The BJP holds six seats out of 14. They are most likely to lose Mysore but may retain the five others – Udupi-Chikmagalur, Dakshin Kannad, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, and Bangalore South. Six of the seats are held by Congress but they are comfortably placed in only two – Chamrajnagar and Bangalore Rural. Both the seats – Hassan and Mandya – held by JD(S) are witnessing close contest between the BJP and JD(S).
Maharashtra presents a bright picture for NDA. Out of ten seats in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena seems to be winning Buldhana, Amravati, Parbhani, and Osmanabad seat again. BJP is most likely to retain Akola, Beed, Latur, and Solapur. However, Congress is struggling to retain Hingoli and Nanded seats where its winning margins were only 0.16 and 8.06 per cent respectively in the last Lok Sabha Election. Congress is comfortably placed in Inner Manipur.
Five Lok Sabha constituencies are going to poll in the second phase in Odisha. There is a tough triangular fight on Sundergarh seat which was won by the BJP in 2014 by a slender margin of only 1.89 per cent. BJD was runner up, but Congress was not also far behind. It has become very difficult to say which of the three would bag this seat in this election. BJD is still stronger in Aska, Bolangir and Kandhamal, but they may lose Bargarh to Congress which they had won by only 1.01 percent margin in 2014.
In all likelihood UPA is sweeping the polls in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. There are altogether 40 seats there. Congress is in alliance with DMK and others and contesting 10 seats. AIADMK seems to be in complete disarray and therefore NDA has a bleak prospect. DMK leader Stalin is faring far better than his opponents. Both the Congress and DMK may considerably gain in this election.
All the eight seats in Uttar Pradesh undergoing election in this phase are presently held by the BJP. The party seems to be comfortable in Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Hathras, Mathura, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. However, in Nagina and Amrohra, BJP candidates are facing a tough electoral battle with BSP candidates.
In West Bengal elections are being held in three seats – Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, and Raiganj. BJP is most likely to retain Darjeeling. Left front has put AITC in great difficulty in Jalpaiguri which was won by AITC by a small margin of only 5.41 per cent in the last election. However, Congress may upset the chances of CPI(M) in Raiganj which was won by CPI(M) by a very small margin of only 0.15 per cent in 2014. (IPA Service)