Assembly elections 2018: Litmus test for parties, alliances before 2019 elections

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 11, 2018, 11.29 AM (IST) Puniti Pandey

The elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram to be held in November and December is all ready to set the stage for the political battle for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The polls in the states being held five months before the 2019 general elections hold strategic importance as it sends 83 members to the Lok Sabha. The elections will also act as a litmus test for the parties and their alliances.

The elections will commence from Chhattisgarh which has been reeling from the conflict between the Maoists and the state.

The 90 seat state will hold elections in two phases. While the South Chhattisgarh’s 18 seats will go to polls on November 12, the remaining 72 seats of the North Chhattisgarh will hold elections on November 20.

The BJP came to power in Chhattisgarh in 2003 and has since then been ruling over the state under the leadership of Raman Singh.

The party, which ruled over the state for 15 years, is facing serious anti-incumbency. In the last elections held in 2013, BJP had gained a marginal victory by winning over 49 seats while the Congress got hold over 39 seats. BJP had got 41.04 per cent votes while the Congress received 40.29 per cent.

The party may also have to face the consequence as it failed to fulfil the electoral promise of the last election where it had assured a Minimum Support Price of Rs 2100 for paddy cultivation.

Chief Minister of the state Raman Singh has been urging the voters to not to compare the status of the state with the developments that have taken place since 2013 but to compare it with the Congress regime in 2003.

BJP, however, has an edge over the major opponent Congress as the BSP refused to form an alliance with the latter.

The state which has majorly seen a political battle between two parties is set to witness the entry of a new party in the state.

Mayawati’s BSP has decided to fight the elections in the state along with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) refusing to form an alliance with the Congress.

Madhya Pradesh with 230 seats will go to polls on November 28. The state has been led by BJP for the past three terms. BJP ended the ten years of Congress rule in 2003 under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The party held a landslide victory in the state in 2013 by winning over 45 per cent of the votes which accounted for 165 seats. The Congress won 58 seats by gaining control over 36.38 per cent vote. The BJP has good control over the Hindu votes in the state and has assured to create a separate ministry for cow protection in its electoral promise. 

The Congress is also adopting measures to picture itself as a party of Hindus. Besides Rahul Gandhi’s continuing temple visits, the Congress has also promised to develop the route taken by Lord Rama on his way to exile as Ram Van Gaman Path and build a gaushala on every panchayat.

Along with Madhya Pradesh, northeastern state Mizoram will also go to polls on November 28. Mizoram is one of the three states which is currently being ruled by Congress. In the last election, the Congress won 34 out of the 40 seats in the state, while the BJP, which has never been able to form a government in the state, could not win a single seat. The state is being ruled by Congress leader Lal Thanhawla since 2008. The major opposition party Mizo National Front (MNF) won five seats. MNF is hoping to win the elections due to the anti-incumbency factor present in the state.

The BJP is also working to change its anti-Christian image. They are planning to field a Mizo Christian candidate. The party has also said that it was ready to form an alliance with any regional party.

Rajasthan and Telangana will go to polls on December 7.

The 200 seats state Rajasthan will go to polls on December 20. Currently ruled by BJP leader Vasundhara Raje, BJP had won 163 seats out of the 200 in the last elections. The Congress, on the other hand, could manage only 21 seats.  BJP's winning mandate in 2013 was the highest in Rajasthan’s election history. The incumbent government hopes to break the twenty-year-old tradition of the state, which has never allowed any existing government to repeat its victory in the consecutive election. The assembly elections in Rajasthan have always replaced the existing power. In the bypolls held in the state this year the BJP was defeated by Congress in three regions. Following this, the BJP launched damage control measures in the state. It changed its state unit president to MLA Kirodi Lal Meena who is known to have a popular hold over the large Scheduled Tribe community in east Rajasthan.

 Telangana which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 will go to polls as TRS chief and state chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao dissolved the assembly this year.  In the first assembly of the state, KCR’s Rashtra Samiti had won 63 seats, Congress-21, BJP-5 while the Telugu Desam Party had won 15 seats. The Congress which is accusing the TRS of betraying the people has formed an alliance with TDP and CPI for the upcoming polls in the state. While according to some reports, there seems to exist a possible rift between Congress and TDP.
 

Story highlights

The elections will commence from Chhattisgarh which has been reeling from the conflict between the Maoists and the state.