Assembly elections 2018: Five reasons why these results are so important
New Delhi, Dec 10: Tuesday, December 11, will be a big day in Indian politics for the results of five Assembly elections will be declared. Five states, including three BJP-ruled in the Hindi heartland, went to the polls held in November and December and this is the last cluster of state elections ahead of the big one - the Lok Sabha election to be held next year.
Although the BJP has dominated the Indian political scene since 2014, winning major ones and lost only to the regional outfits mostly and the Congress failed to win much of them, the results due on December 11 could leave implications for both the national parties and other regional ones.
Here are the five major reasons why the results in five states to be announced tomorrow are important.
Hindi belt results will be key for both national parties
First, the results in the three Hindi belt states will be watched by all most than the others. If the Congress wins those states 3-0 or 2-1, its fortunes will receive a boost. In fact, even a 1-2 loss will be considered good for its leaders and supporters, especially after the thumping it has received over the last few years in the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's saffron brigade. A good result will revive the Congress supporters' faith on president Rahul Gandhi's who has not managed to win much against the Modi-Amit Shah Blitzkrieg. Perception matters a lot in politics and from the Congress's point of view, anything less than a 0-3 rout will be considered a gain. The BJP will also likewise be hoping for a dominant show in these states as they did in 2013, winning all of them.
Could shape the alliance-formation politics
If the Congress produces something magical in these elections, its image among other parties as a potential leader in the anti-BJP club will brighten. There are regional satraps who have felt that Rahul Gandhi is not a powerful force to take on Modi but if these results go to the Grand Old Party's favour, those perceptions could change. The Congress still is the largest opponent to the BJP in terms of seats where it challenges the saffron party head on and that is something the geographically limited regional parties would find difficult to replace. Similarly, if the BJP wins these elections with authority, then there could be a hopelessness prevailing among the regional parties and the idea of the anti-Modi front could take a decisive blow, months ahead of the general elections. Even seeing parties jumping to the BJP's train - something which was seen ahead of the 2014 LS elections - will not be surprising.
Seat-wise scenario for Lok Sabha
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won 62 of 65 parliamentary seats that went to polls from the states of Madhya Pradesh (29), Rajasthan (25) and Chhattisgarh (11) while the Congress won just three. Even the Assembly elections preceding that big election in these three states saw the BJP winning 377 out of 520 seats while the Congress won only 118. If the Congress can improve their Assembly tallies this time, it would feel hopeful about making serious inroads into Modi's citadel in the next Lok Sabha election. Even winning half of those 65 seats in the Lok Sabha election next year will see the a significant revival of the Congress.
A test of Chandrababu Naidu
Although his own state of Andhra Pradesh is not going to polls now, its Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has a lot at stake in these polls. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief has made an alliance with old foe Congress for these polls and the plan is to fetch long-term dividends, on the national stage as well as the Assembly elections in Andhra next year. For many, this alliance will be suicidal while for others, this is a master stroke. December 11 will decide which way Chandrababu's fortune goes. If it delivers, the TDP supremo will emerge as a real gluing factor for the anti-Modi front in the LS polls but if it doesn't, he will have a major loss of face, along with the Congress which had given nod to the birth of Telangana but is yet to reap the benefits in the vote box.
Will there be a Congress-Mukt Northeast?
This is another question which will be answered tomorrow. Once the dominant force in the north-east, the Congress now survives in power in only one state in that region and that is Mizoram. If Lal Thanhawla, who is in power for 10 years now, fails to beat the anti-incumbency this time and the Congress gets toppled, it will be the first time since independence that it will lose its last foot-prints in the NE. Though more an interesting aspect for the academics since NE doesn't play too influencing a part in the national politics, yet eyes will be on how things turn out in the border state.