(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)
After American President Obama won his election in 2009, he made the much noted statement : Elections have consequences “. He meant every election brings changes and that new leaders will emerge. Similarly, we can expect major changes in India after 5-states election in March, 2022. Many key players have emerged and some of them may become national leaders or they may also fall into the bottomless pit of terminal failure.
The difference between national and regional parties is that no regional party has governments in more than one state. Whether it is KCR, DMK, Mamata Banerjee, Kejriwal, they are all restricted to one state only. In fact, Election Commission has rules that if a party wants national status, with a country -wide election symbol, then it must win a minimum number of seats in 4 States.
Communist parties confined to Kerala
At one time, Communist parties had governments in 3-States in Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. But now, Communist parties have shrunk to only Kerala. Therefore, there is a great effort by Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Admi Party and Mamata Banerjee to make their presence felt in other States. Their hope is that they strike gold in Goa, Uttarkhand and Punjab and get national status.
The 5-State elections will have serious implications for many politicians. There maybe sharp rises or bottomless falls for some.
- Yogi Adityanath :
If BJP wins Uttar Pradesh, then Yogi Adityanath will not only become chief minister, but he will become Number 2 leader in the BJP and being only 51 years, can become a successor to Narendra Modi. A BJP win in Uttar Pradesh will mean that Yogi Adityanath broke all records, as no Uttar Pradesh chief Minister won a second term since 1985. A UP win will mean that Yogi Adityanath did all the right things in UP. But if BJP loses Uttar Pradesh, then that will mean sudden end of the career of Yogi Adityanath, as many enemies will claim that the mistakes were his and not the BJP’s . A defeat in UP will mean a big stop to Yogi Adityanath!
- Akhilesh Yadav also needs a victory desperately in Uttar Pradesh. His party has been out of power since 2017. If BJP wins, then it means that his party will be without power for 10 years and that will badly affect him. A win in Uttar Pradesh will make Akhilesh Yadav control the biggest state in India with 80 MPs. He can either try to become the prime minister or become a King-Maker. So UP elections are high stakes for Akhilesh Yadav.
- Mayavathi has been Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh 4 times since 1995. But since 2012, her vote percentages have declined. But for Mayavathi, even if she loses, it does not matter so much ,as long as her former ally Akhilesh Yadav loses.. If Akhilesh Yadav wins, then Mayavathi will lose her vote bank. If Akhilesh loses, then Mayavathi will survive till the next battle.. For political survival, it is alright if BJP wins in Uttar Pradesh, but Akhilesh Yadav should lose. So Mayavathi’s future depends on other politician’s destinies. Mayavathi will try everything to defeat Akhilesh Yadav .
- Arvind Kejriwal , Delhi Chief Minister has also great stakes in this election. If Kejriwal wins Punjab and does well in Uttarkhand and Goa, then he will become the top opposition leader in India. Neither Akhilesh Yadav or Mamata or any other Opposition leader can equal Kejriwal. A victory in Punjab will push Kejriwal to the top of political leadership in India and he can claim to be the challenger of Narendra Modi.
- Rahul Gandhi faces a serious test in Punjab. Rahul Gandhi interfered excessively in Punjab and changed Capt. Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister. If Congress loses Punjab, then Rahul Gandhi will face serious challenges from the opposition and within his own party. As it is, many Opposition regional parties are not ready to accept Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. But if Congress wins Punjab, then it will be a big boost for Rahul Gandhi. The stakes are very big for Rahul Gandhi in Punjab.
- Mamata Banerjee has taken a big risk and decided to try for national leadership. Her handicap is that she has no presence in any state, except Bengal. So Mamata Banerjee is making a big effort in Goa. If Mamata can get a reasonable percentage of votes, then she will grow on the national scene. If Mamata fails to have any impact in Goa, then she will be a big loser as her attempts to become a national leader have failed.
Narendra Modi and BJP :
Aside from various state- level leaders like Yogi Adityanath, Akhilesh Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi, the 5- state elections will impact Narendra Modi and the BJP. If BJP wins Uttar Pradesh, it means that the development agenda and other policies of BJP and Ram Mandir have been correct. If BJP loses Uttar Pradesh, then BJP will have to try new strategies and new leaders .
Elections in Uttar Pradesh always throw up surprises since it is such a large state. The results will confirm whether BJP will have an easy way to 2024 general elections or it will have to plan and fight very hard. (Author is a Delhi based political analyst)