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Poll outcome to speak volumes of strategies
The results of the five states will certainly set the tone for the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections for which the process may be set in motion in next 100- or 150-days time
What does the exit polls of five states indicate? The question here is not just who will form government in which state? Yes, it is important but only to a certain extent. What is the story behind the strategies adopted by the major political parties BJP and the Congress as well as the regional parties is what one needs to look at.
The fact is after the Karnataka elections, the Congress has seen a surge in the South and the polling pattern in Telangana which is keeping everyone waiting for the results on Sunday with baited breath clearly indicates the saffron party may have to wait for more time to make yet another attempt for its Southern entry.
This the BJP could sense immediately after the Karnataka polls and in a quick move it changed its strategy and shifted its narrative towards BCs in Telangana. It wants to dent the Congress and force a hung assembly in Telangana so that they emerge as king makers and in return ensure that they get full support in Parliament. They know what their position is in the two Telugu states and hence they want MPs supporting them from any party except Congress. There is no change in their policy of Congress mukt bharat. But they appear to be in for a disappointment as all exit polls indicate clear majority for the Congress which means that the game of horse trading would not work this time.
Though the exit polls indicate that BJP is likely to do well in Hindi heartland, they are not willing to take any chance in the Lok Sabha elections. BJP leaders say it is very difficult to know Modi’s mind. What cards he would pull up when, is something which no one knows. When BJP won in Haryana, no one expected that Manohar Lal Khattar would become the Chief Minister. Strategy would be decided based on various issues.
When everyone felt that the BJP had deliberately killed the party in Telangana, Modi pulled out the BC card and promised that if voted to power BC leader would become the Chief Minister. Why? Probably his calculation was that it would help in negating any possible pro Congress wave and may end up in cliff hanger like situation on December 3.
Well it is just a matter of 24 hours more before we know whose strategies worked how and how the voters reacted. Hence, I am not going to hazard a guess as to what extend brand Modi worked in Telangana and who would form government but would prefer looking at what would be the next moves of the BJP and Congress.
Revanth Reddy certainly infused lot of enthusiasm into the Congress rank and file and took on the Chief Minister and dared the government to arrest him. He speaks well and his style of addressing and mixing with people certainly helped the Congress in giving an impression that it was the real alternative. While pollsters were struggling to know the people’s pulse Revanth was confident of victory.
One thing is certain. The battle for Lok Sabha is going to be a fierce one given the rivalry between the saffron party and the Congress. The results of the five states will certainly set the tone for the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections for which the process may be set in motion in next 100- or 150-days time.
The BJP would start analysing the results of the five states from next week and would analyse the outcome. If it manages to come to power in Rajasthan, it would have to study was it more because of the pattern of changing the government once every five years or was it real pro BJP votes? It is a fact that as far as Rajasthan Assembly polls are concerned unemployment rate which was around 27% as against the national average of 7%, growing atrocities against women etc made the polls complicated for the Congress despite the fact that delivery of welfare schemes by Gehlot led government was good.
In may segments like Hadoti and Dhundhar in Rajasthan, BJP appears to have gained tremendously and even the absence of Vasundhara Raje from being the face of BJP is something which may boost the image of BJP. But then it knows pretty well that the Lok Sabha polls are different from Assembly and it will have sweat it out to consolidate the gains it had achieved in the Assembly elections.
The keenly watched Assembly elections of five states can at the most help the national parties to gauge the voters mood that could impact the chances of the national parties and the kind of alliances that need to be worked out.
The focus would be on how Modi would bag a third term at the Centre and will Congress finally see a change in its fortunes? What would be the chances of Congress party after being pushed to an insignificant position in the last decade.
Another factor is how effectively Congress would be able to take along the INDIA bloc and does this bloc stand any chance at the hustings? Can they really succeeded in their efforts of hassle free seat sharing and will they be able to overcome the dissident factor within each party once seat sharing takes place? In comparison, the BJP juggernaut and machinery is such that it would be a tough fight for the bloc INDIA.
It now appears that while the BJP in south would continue to emphasise on the BCs as the Congress will play the women card. Former AICC president Rahul Gandhi in Kochi on Friday pushed for more women leaders in Congress and wants 50% women chief ministers within 10 years.
He wanted the party should actively promote women within its its organisational structure and set a target to have 50 per cent of women as chief ministers within the next 10 years. Inaugurating ‘Utsaah,’ a Kerala Mahila Congress convention the Wayanad MP said there are numerous women leaders in his party who possess the qualities necessary to become chief ministers.
“Earlier, I was discussing what would be a good target for us to try and achieve, and I thought a good target for the Congress party would be that in 10 years from today, 50 per cent of our chief ministers are women, Rahul said.
“Today, we don’t have a single woman chief minister. But I know there are many women in the Congress party who have the qualities to be very good chief ministers,” Gandhi said.
One thing that needs to be noted here is Rahuls speeches and jibes in the Hindi heartland gets diminishing utility result while similar style in the south has given a different response. It certainly seems to have been received well with the voters.
If his speech in Kochi is any indication, he would continue to commit the mistake of attacking RSS saying it was a purely male organisation. This argument may not go well in the hindi heartland and in fact may prove counter productive. In South RSS is not a major factor and hence it may not give Congress much dividend in the Lok Sabha polls.
But if he pitches for women chief ministers, it could help him win women voters to some extent in south particularly in the two Telugu states.
The logic put forward by Rahul was , “I think women are superior to men in many ways. They have more patience than men. They have longer-term vision than men. They are more sensitive and compassionate than men. We fundamentally believe that women should be part of the power structure,” Gandhi said, alleging that including women is not part of the ideology of the RSS.
He made it clear that the fundamental fight between the RSS and the Congress was about role of women in Indian politics. Congress would bring the issue of women reservation bill passed by parliament which would be implemented after 10 years. This is going to be a major electoral issue for Congress in the Lok Sabha elections.
In 2018, Congress trumped BJP in three state polls -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh -- where the two parties were in direct fights. But a few months later, at the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the grand old party was trounced by BJP which bagged 61 of the 65 Lok Sabha seats on offer in these three states. These elections particularly in Telangana have proved one thing very clearly, the number of welfare schemes and direct cash benefit will not get any party votes. What is important for the voters is delivery of the assurances.