Five State Elections: BJP faces a herculean task before 2024 LS polls-(I)

BJP will go with Narendra Modi as the strong victor Mascot, Opposition I.N.D.I.A alliance will lack a credible Unity Formula

BJP will go with Narendra Modi-Amit Shah as the strong victory Mascot, Opposition I.N.D.I.A. having a battery of regional satraps in alliance but lacking a credible Unity Formula or Slogan

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With the announcement of Election schedule for 5 states (in all 569 assembly seats) by the Election Commission of India, the country is going to plunge into an 8-month long ‘election fever‘,  political mud slinging, tent-swapping and  freebies galore. Although the five states going through Assembly polls in November 2023 are more or less from Hindi belt (except Mizoram), the results will have significant impact on the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The contest will be a battle of Waterloo for BJP, the largest political party of India with its stellar performance by its national government led by PM Modi, in national and international arena,  may face a ‘national anti-incumbency’ factor with local issues, caste equations, local leadership confusions  overtaking voters’ preferences.

BJP’s Dilemma: As Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Rajiv Kumar and EC team announced the schedule for 5 states; Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram from Nov. 7 to 30, Bhartiya Janata Party poll strategists started unfolding BJP plans by releasing lists of candidates. The Party has shifted its strategy by avoiding to declare CM candidates in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the three crucial states owing to refusal of their senior leaders Vasundhra Raje, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Dr. Raman Singh vacating their claims for the younger leaders. In Rajasthan, Party has fielded it 7 MPs, including Rani Diya Kumari, Col. RS Rathore, GS Shekhawat who are contenders to the seat of power, in the state of Rajput warriors and Rajas. Though Vasundhra Raje being the senior most faces anti-incumbency and loyalty issues. None of these leaders would be able to get the Party a clear majority to form government, leading to party avoiding projection of a CM candidate.

In Chhattisgarh, the two-time CM Dr. Raman Singh who lost to Congress in 2018 is hoping to stage a comeback, though he may prove to be a ‘deadwood’ and out of place  in the tribal, Naxal strife torn state, where incumbent CM Baghela of Congress can give him a tough challenge. Though the Party has no strong second line of leadership in the State, it may be a neck to neck race here .

In MP, the BJP could have watered down anti-incumbency factor by projecting Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia as CM candidate but it could not offend incumbent CM Shivraj and old Party aspirants/loyalists like Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dr. Narottam Mishra, Vishwas Sarang etc. who have devoted their lifetime for Saffron party and its ideals, won’t let Scindia get priority having joined just 2 years back.

In Telengana, the political equations between ruling TRS/BRS and BJP are not very sore with KC Rao having been termed as more or less an associate of NDA and supported Central govt on several issues in Parliament. He has kept a safe distance from opposition’s loose  conglomerate I.N.D.I.A, as it has more leaders than workers or common agenda except ‘Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao’.

In Mizoram, the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) led by Zoramthanga is an ally of NDA, though a seasoned leader born out of Mizo famine agitation led by late CM Laldenga, faces a weak challenge from Zoram Peoples Front (ZPM) and Congress trailing at 4th position.

Congress’ leadership Dilemma: In the five states going to polls in November ’23, clear two-party contest places Congress in an advantage in three states; MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh with opposition outfit I.N.D.I.A, having little presence or stake. This gives the Party a golden opportunity to gain a Numero Uno Opposition Face, yet it has strong leadership crises in most states going to polls. Rahul Gandhi still a novice after being in politics for over 25 years, is not only a distant challenger to PM Modi, he also faces internal ‘hidden challenge’ from senior former Congress leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Lalu Family who won’t like  him to emerge a strong contender for PM’s chair !                                                                                

(…more on Opp. alliance in Part II)                                                                                                                                                                     –— Editor

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