BJP and 5- state elections

Date:

Can Modi show his mantra?

Will they impact Party at Centre?

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao, New Delhi)

There are 5- state elections comprising Mizoram, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh,

Chhattisgarh and Telengana coming up in December, 2023. They will have

profound impact on the 2024 parliamentary elections and future of Narendra

Modi. Literally, the same scenario was there in December, 2018. The same

political parties s were in the fray. In December, 2018, KCR won Telengana and

the Congress ousted the BJP in the 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

It was widely expected that the results of these same 5 States in 2018 had

predicted defeat of Narendra Modi in 2019 parliament election. But in the

parliamentary elections held 6 months later, BJP swept the 3 states of Madhya

Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and won 4 MPs in Telengana.

Now 2 questions that come to everyone’s mind :

1. Who will win the 5- State elections ? 2. Second question is whether the 5-

state election results will impact the 2024 Parliament election ?

Question 1 : Who will win 5- state elections ?

1. Mizoram : In 2018, a regional party Mizo National Front won the

Mizoram election. It looks as if the Mizo National Front or a regional

coalition will again form the Mizoram Government.

2. Chhattisgarh :

The Congress won 75 MLAs out of 90 in 2018. The Congress is confident of

repeating its victory of 2018. There is no regional party in Chhattisgarh..

Hence the fight is between Congress and BJP. Chief Minister Bhupesh

Bhagel is active and there is no equal rival in BJP. However, Bhagel is facing

ED enquires and his close are arrested for corruption. Bhupesh Bhagel

enjoys total confidence of the Gandhi family.

  •  Chattisgarh :
  • Before 2018, BJP had continuously ruled Chhattisgarh for 15 years.

Therefore, there is no tradition of changing state governments every 5

years. Congress therefore is confident of a victory.

But remember that after a big sweep in assembly elections in Chhattisgarh,

just 6 months later, BJP won 9 out of 11 MPs for Parliament election.

Chhattisgarh is a predominantly tribal state with 31% TRIBAL Population.

But for the last 20 years, there have been only non-tribal chief ministers.

No tribal leader has emerged in Chhattisgarh

4. Madhya Pradesh :

Since 2000, Madhya Pradesh has been ruled by BJP, except for 15 months

by Congress Chief Minister Kamal Nath, from December 2018 to March,

2020. Since 2005 , Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been Chief Minister of

Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP has a very tall leader in Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Modi’s image is also

high. In 2014, just to heckle Narendra Modi, L.K.Advani and Sushma swaraj

used to project Shivraj Chauhan as a future BJP prime Minister.

The Congress formed the Government in December, 2018. But the

government fell in March, 2020 as Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia

defected to BJP. The question is whether the joint image of Narendra Modi

and Shivraj Chauhan will be enough for victory. It is an equal fight in

Madhya [Pradesh nd there is no clarity yet.

5. Rajasthan :

For the last 30 years, Rajasthan changes governments every 5 years.

The state has 200 MLAs and was earlier ruled by Rajas and not by the

British. The British and rajas had come to an agreement . There are

many traditions and caste plays a part. The Jats and Rajputs have a

sizeable population. These 2 castes determine victory. They have yet to

make up their minds in Rajasthan.

The real issue now in Rajasthan is whether Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

will get dominance in ticket distribution. The problem for the Congress

is that in September, 2022, Ashok Gehlot rebelled against the Gandhi

family and refused to resign as Chief Minister and become Congress

President.

The Congress leadership realized if they acted against Ashok Gehlot,

the government will fall. So they have continued with Ashok Gehlot very

reluctantly, as they cannot do anything.

Now the strategy of Congress is deny tickets to Ashok Gehlot loyalists

and then after elections, dump him. Gehlot fully well knows that

Congress wants to dump him. Naturally, Gehlot will be furious if his

people and sitting MLAs are denied tickets. If they don’t get tickets,

then Gehlot will try defeat the Congress.

The Congress faces a very dangerous situation in Rajasthan. Their Chief

Minister is their own enemy. But Congress has to present all is well.

They cannot anger Ashok Gehlot. But without reducing Ashok Gehlot,

they can’t get control back of the Rajasthan Congress.

The BJP does not have a tall leader. But there is not much dissidence, as

Narendra Modi dominates the BJP. The main issue will be the role of

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Ashok Gehlot knows that this is last battle.

If Gehlot is not declared the Chief Minister face, then he will rebel

quietly or openly.

Of all the 5 states going for election, Rajasthan looks the best for BJP

chances.

5. Telengana : In the other 4 states, there is no leader who has national

ambitions. But if KCR wins Telenagna , then he will become a big factor

in national politics. Telengana is a state where a regional party

dominates, unlike Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In

Indian political history since 1967, Congress has never defeated a

regional party . Of course, people may point out Andhra Pradesh where

Telugu Desam was defeated by Congress. But in any state , where

there are 3 or more parties and there is a regional party then Congress

is out.

KCR faces 2 national parties and he hopes that the opposition vote is

divided as in Odisha. Telengana is the only 3-party state going for

elections, as the others are 2-party states of BJP and Congress.

Gandhis are absent from the elections;

In Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telengana, it is local Confess

leaders who will determine if Congress wins. The Gandhis have no vote- pulling

power in these states. When Congress won Karnataka recently, the Karnataka

Congress President D.k.Shiv Kumar claimed he is the architect of the victory. No

mention of the Gandhis. In Rajasthan, it is Ashok Gehlot. In Chhattisgarh,

Congress depends on Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagal. In Madhya Pradesh,

Congress depends on Kamal Nath.

National impact of results;

In 2018, the BJP lost all the 5 states . If the BJP were to win at least 1 state, then it can be confident of facing the 2024 national elections.

The Congress did well in 3 states and came second in Telengana. The Congress

must win at least 2 states and do well in Telengana to keep up its spirits.

For KCR, it is a critical election If he does well, then KCR can play a big national

role in politics .As a third term chief Minister, KCR will definitely play a big role in opposition politics . But if KCR has to depend on the Congress for his

government, then KCR will have to restrict himself to Telengana. These 5- state

elections are important for the BJP, Congress and KCR. (Author is senior political analyst based at New Delhi)

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