With the beginning of Election arena, 2018 is the last year for Modi rule, as next year will be the year of general elections 2019, most probably in the month of April or May. The two major national parties – BJP & Congress will be locking horns in this 17th general election for securing a majority of seats in the lower house. Modi government had targeted for two continuous terms, and the way they were making clean sweeps in state elections initially, was proof of Modi wave. But the recent trend of elections and the uprisings in different parts of the country against the ‘Pro-Hindutva government’, shows a very different side of the coin.
Will BJP be able to retain its govt in General elections 2019?
Let’s examine the chances of BJP in general elections 2019 with a due emphasis on the present scenario and the upcoming hurdles in the general elections early next year. Out of 29 states, BJP is currently ruling in 19 states with or without an alliance. These 19 states are – Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, U.P, Rajasthan, Manipur, Maharashtra, M.P, Jharkhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Assam & Arunachal Pradesh with BJP government & states like – Andhra Pradesh (TDP), Bihar (JDU), Jammu & Kashmir (PDP), Nagaland (NPF), & Sikkim (SDF) which has BJP’s government in coalition with the regional parties. The important point to note is that BJP has covered large states like UP which has 80 seats, Maharashtra which has 48 seats , MP with 40 seats and Bihar with 54 seats in the Parliament. In total these states alone constitute 362 out of 543 (+2 Anglo-Indian seats).
Having control over such a large proportion of seats makes NDA government much stronger than any other party or alliance. Going further & analysing the performance of BJP & share of seats in each ruling sates we get –
These statistics are enough to showcase the grip of BJP in the present scenario.
How will current State legislative elections affect BJP in General elections 2019?
In 2018, assembly polls will be held in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Tripura.
In some of the places, the elections have already been held.
In three of the Northeastern, elections were held in February. The Meghalaya, elections resulted in a hung assembly. Conrad Sangma of the National People’s Party formed the government in a coalition with United Democratic Party, BJP, and other regional parties. In Nagaland also, it was the same case. The BJP led NDA and the ruling Naga People’s Front dissolved their electoral alliance prior to the election. The BJP instead chose to form an alliance with the newly formed Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party led by former CM Neiphiu Rio. In Tripura, after 25 years the Left government was defeated with the BJP and the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) winning a majority of the seats. Biplab Kumar became the CM of the state.
In Karnataka, the results were Congress government allying with the Janata Dal (Secular) electing H D Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister. The BJP could not win the Karnataka elections for the second successive time.
Can BJP win the Chhattisgarh elections 2019?
In Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh is holding the CM office for past 14 years. The state is influenced by Maoist insurgency and CRPF, is one of the highly disturbed states of India. The distribution of ‘Tendu leaf plucking’ is being given out to woo the tribal electorate besides extension of the work of RSS affiliates in tribal areas. Raman has doled out smartphones earlier this year and rice at Rs 1 per kg previously. The paddy procurement has been ordered and is being seen as the game changer in the next polls. He is confident that the BJP’s vote share and seats will increase this time. The assembly elections slated for November 2018 though will be Raman Singh’s toughest yet. The reasons are – one, he would be riding on a three-term incumbency; two, it is not clear as yet whose votes former CM Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) would eat into. Though it is expected that Jogi’s party will damage the Congress (since he is originally from the Congress), this case wasn’t true in the last elections as in 2013. The BJP had won 9 out of the 10 seats in which the satnamis — the community that rallies behind Jogi — have influence. Jogi this time hopes to target the 29 tribal seats in the state where the BJP didn’t do too well last time.
Can BJP win the Madhya Pradesh elections 2018?
In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan of BJP is ruling with full majority. But even in M.P., BJP may face anti-incumbent wave as the Vyapam scam and many sex scandals related to BJP leaders have tarnished the party’s image. The farmers’ movement and the death of 6 farmers during the movement, suicide by more than 50 farmers and sending the leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar, to jail are some of the issues which might seriously hamper BJP’s path to victory in the elections. Under this situation, there is a possibility that BJP will fight the election without projecting any chief ministerial candidate. This may be because the party thinks it is very difficult to win an election under the leadership of present Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. However, the recent Madhya Pradesh bye-polls election 2018 has posed a threat for BJP as BJP has lost both the Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly seats and that too by a huge margin, this is definitely going to be a crackdown for BJP before the Madhya Pradesh Elections.
Can BJP win the Rajasthan elections 2018?
Now coming to Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje is ruling with full majority. She was the Chief Minister of Rajasthan from 2003 to 2008. Rajasthan is important for BJP as it gave 163 seats in assembly out of 200 and all 25 seats in parliamentary elections but Rajasthan had voted out incumbents in last four polls. The state is not facing any major anti-incumbent problem, as the results for student union elections in the state indicate that ABVP has been doing well but nowhere it is seen that it has full control over student politics. NSUI is halfway behind but if Sachin Pilot, Pradesh Congress Committee president starts focusing on emerging leaders and new voters, BJP could be in trouble. BJP is hopeful that Raje-Shah combo can do what the party has been doing in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh through a hat-trick of victories. Since the Congress face in the state, Sachin Pilot, its PCC chief faces a lot of resistance from rivals Ashok Gehlot and CP Joshi, BJP has low threat level in Rajasthan. BJP has got the sad news from Rajasthan bye-poll elections 2018 too, BJP has lost all the three seats Mandalgarh, Ajmer, and Alwar. This will boost the chances of Congress further before Rajasthan elections 2018.
Will seven sisters state help BJP win General elections 2019?
It is thus clearly seen that the northeastern states might help the BJP win the 2019 elections with three of the states already electing the BJP government with the coalition as the ruling party. Only, the verdict of Mizoram is left.
Mizoram has been highly influenced by the militant uprisings & foreign funding from countries like China, Myanmar, & Bangladesh. Mizoram has Congress rule in it. In Mizoram, BJP has worked hard on the Northeastern states this time and its not too difficult to see that their efforts have proved successful. Their strategies in these states have been different from those followed in the Hindi belt. Although, their entry into the Northeast was not considered possible, the elections this year have shattered that belief and now only the elections will let us know if BJP will actually win or not.
How did 2013 assembly elections effect general elections 2014?
The 2013 assembly elections played a significant role in BJP’s victorious wave in 2014 elections. States like- Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, and Karnataka had their assembly elections prior general elections of 2014, where BJP had a clean sweep in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, while Congress managed to retain Mizoram, Meghalaya & Karnataka. Similarly, the victory of Gujarat & Himachal indicates the positive foundation stone for the upcoming 2019 elections. To maintain the victorious wave of Modi, the upcoming elections of Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan are very much important, not only through the perspective of seats and statistics but also to maintain the ‘Modi wave’. If they manage to repeat the trends as they did in 2013 assembly election, they can prove the opponents that history repeats itself. The comfortable victory in Tripura elections 2018 will give BJP a morale boost while BJP became successful in forming the government in Meghalaya despite getting only 2 seats.
What are the challenges ahead for BJP in the General Elections 2019?
Although Congress lost the Gujarat assembly elections, these were a game-changing shot for Congress. BJP secured 99 seats whereas Congress managed to retain 77 seats out of 182 seats. It is seen as a big turmoil not only in Gujarat politics but also in National politics. Somewhat it has dented the image of Modi as Gujarat was the home ground of BJP & RSS, & the elections were contested in the name of Modi. On the other hand, this has been a turning point for Congress as it performed unexpectedly well under newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The two major reason for this turmoil can be the ‘Patidar Andolan’ of Hardik Patel & Jignesh Mewani’s support to INC. Mainly the Gujarat election is seen as a positive uprising of Congress under Rahul in the race of 2019 elections. BJP is having a government in the majority of states but the Gujarat elections are an awakening alarm for them as now the country has started criticising the caste politics & Pro-Hindutva ideology which the party is known to indulge in. The government has been targeted for the communal division in states like U.P where recently colour politics emerged from dipping Yogi’s house, office to even some mosque into saffron, & ‘saffronising’ the state. It has been also criticised for targeting one’s food habit to constraining freedom of speech. The Hindutva party has been criticised for terming everyone as ‘anti-national’, and source of intolerance amongst the caste groups. The latest caste violence in Maharashtra’s Bhimapuri village is an example of it, acknowledged & criticised by media & public.
What factors might adversely affect BJP in General elections 2019?
If BJP wants to continue its victory then they have to keep some points in mind. As the latest Gujarat results were an alarming call to remind them to, not take Congress lightly. The latest absolvement of A.Raja & other Congress members from 2G scam can be seen as a major reform for Congress whereas expose of Vyapam scam has degraded the BJP image. The complicated bills like GST & demonetisation have only angered the public against the government. Not only the national party, regional parties can also pose a threat to BJP government, which they should not ignore. Whereas Hardik & Jignesh exhibits the power of regional ties, NDA is losing its grip on some of its regional ties like Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. So BJP must be aware of Regional coalitions. No doubt Modi is a big brand name in Indian politics, but it should also remember the dynamics of Indian politics.