Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have voted and their results will be known on December 11 along with those of Telangana and Rajasthan where polling will take place on December 7.
While it is impossible to predict the results for MP and Chhattisgarh, conversations with voters from various regions in both these states reveal one thing in common- the quest for Badlav or Change. If this feeling, which was shared by millions of voters in the two states, was actually acted upon then the BJP should be bracing for a big setback. In Rajasthan, which has not deviated from the pattern of voting in a new government every five years, the scramble for Congress tickets among MLA aspirants itself shows that the grand old party is in pole position.
From Jaisalmer to Jaipur people are displaying an inclination towards the Congress. They say that while BJP might have taken some good macroeconomic measures it has not done much work on the ground. Large parts of rural Rajasthan are especially antagonistic towards the BJP for failing to keep its promises on providing higher pension, medical services and benefits for farmers. The youth, however, is still in awe of Prime Minister Modi who remains a vote-puller among this section.
For the young Hindu voters in Rajasthan, BJP rule has not meant any harm even though they are forced to concede that Demonetisation has tanked job growth in the state. For the young, Modi’s charisma works because of his thrust on digitalisation as a panacea for several problems that affect the country. Many young voters admit that the present going might be a bit difficult but the future would be better and the suffering caused by the poor implementation of GST and Demonetisation is only temporary.
In Telangana, going to polls for the first time since its formation in 2013, KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti looks confident of returning to power. But in the last few weeks, TRS supremo KCR has betrayed signs of shakiness. The Prajakutami or the grand alliance between the Congress, TDP, TJS, and CPI has thrown up a considerable spanner in TRS’s plans.
Interestingly, both the Opposition and TRS are banking heavily on the loyalty of Muslim voters. AIMIM has not revealed its cards but is widely believed to be in the truck with the TRS which itself is said to share a secret understanding with the BJP. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly accused both TRS and AIMIM of aiding the BJP. Speaking at a rally recently in speaking at a rally in the state he lambasted the TRS saying, "TRS is not Telangana Rashtra Samiti, it's Telangana Rashtriya Sangh Parivar. It’s a B team of the BJP and RSS."
Congress and the other opposition parties are desperate to score victories in the five states of Mizoram, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh ahead of the 2019 general elections. Touted as the semi-final, the outcome of these elections is going to have a massive impact on the morale of the Congress which is fighting for its political survival.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)