New Delhi, Nov 24: It can be termed as the mother of all elections. The polls in Jammu and Kashmir will be watched by one and all as the BJP is aiming to make major gains. While this would be a major election, one must also not forget that there is an important election in Jharkhand as well.
What will be the fate of the various parties aiming to stake a claim on both these states? We at oneindia.com have leading psephologist Dr Sandeep Shastri to take us through in this three part series, which will cover the elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Delhi. In the first, part Dr Shastri discusses with us the elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir
If one looks at the trends in the past one year, there are a few things which come to mind. The voter has been casting his ballot on the non-performce of the state government.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the government has not covered itself in glory. There was a huge expectation from Omar Abdullah. However, with each passing month since he assumed power, the disillusionment has only increased.
Lack of confident:
Omar Abdullah does not appear to be confident. He has changed his constituency and has also faced major desertions from the party. Whatever little charisma that his father could have provided is also absent this time around. Basically he faces an uphill task and the going will be extremely tough for him.
The BJP battle:
As a result of the problems with Omar Abdullah and also the PDP's support being limited to just pockets in Kashmir, the BJP sees a chance of doing well and create a splash in the Valley. Clearly the BJP hopes to tilt the balance in its favour. However, I do not think there will be a clear major in Jammu and Kashmir. But the fact remains that the BJP will be a major player in these elections and will matter in the formation of the government.
Implications of the BJP doing well:
The implications will be critical if the BJP does well. There are several sensitive issues during this election in Jammu and Kashmir. The projection that Narendra Modi has been making on an international stage of putting up a good performance in JandK will put a feather in his cap where international diplomacy is concerned.
However, I highly doubt that the BJP can form the government on its own. The number of seats in the Valley will be critical. However, the BJP will do well in the Jammu region. Although in the Kashmir region, the BJP has put up Muslim candidates it appears to be difficult if they will make a major dent into the prospects of both the PDP and the NC.
The coalition and the Congress factor:
In the case of the Congress, I do not think that they have really recovered from their Lok Sabha debacle. In state after state they are not just losing power but being pushed lower.
Both the NC and the PDP have had to partner with the Congress in the past. The Congress has always been supplementing the seats. However as I mentioned the Congress has not yet recovered from its Lok Sabha defeat and with the BJP riding a major wave, it becomes an extremely key player. I feel that the BJP could find itself in the driver's seat.
Who will emerge the winner in Jharkhand? This state goes to polls along with Jammu and Kashmir and the results in Jharkhand will be eagerly awaited and watched.
In the first part of the series, Dr Sandeep Shastri, leading psephologist discussed with oneindia.com the elections in Jammu and Kashmir. In part of the series we discuss with Dr. Shastri, the Jharkhand elections.
The battle for Jharkhand:
The major issue will be the bad governance by the JMM. The JMM will find the going tough and its performance will be heavily gauged during these elections. The Congress however cannot stake a claim by telling the voter about the bad performance of the JMM. The people have not forgotten that the Congress was once part of this JMM government. As I pointed out in the first part, the Congress has not yet recovered from its Lok Sabha defeat and not only is it losing power in states, but has been pushed to the third position.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has staked his reputation in the campaign at Jharkhand. One gets to see a new style of campaign by the BJP. In fact, it is very similar to what the Congress did and that is the leader from Delhi gets the vote in the state. The Modi wave has helped the BJP a great deal and I feel that it will help the BJP in Jharkhand as well.
I think, in Jharkhand if the BJP is able to pull it off, it asserts a new political terrain in the state assembly. Although we see Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar coming together, many believe that it is still advantage for BJP. As I have pointed out, the battle for the BJP is being fought on the leadership of the Prime Minister and how big a factor this is will be seen in the elections at Jharkhand.
A bigger test:
The Jharkhand election will be a major test of the Prime Minister's leadership. Unlike Maharashtra and Haryana where the BJP claimed that they were not given a chance in the past, in Jharkhand they cannot take that stance. The BJP had been given a chance and hence I stated that this will be a bigger test of the Prime Minister's leadership. However there is a major tilt in the BJP's favour, according to me.
Another factor that everyone will be watching is the performance of the Congress. There is a good chance that the Congress will be pushed to the third position here. This will ring the alarm bells in the Congress.