The seven-phased general elections for the 17th Lok Sabha is very near to its end. A total of 59 parliamentary constituencies across the country voted on Sunday which includes 8 seats in Bihar, 7 seats in Delhi, 10 seats in Haryana, 4 seats in Jharkhand, 8 seats in Madhya Pradesh, and 14 seats respectively in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. While Maneka Gandhi, Sadhvi Pragya, and cricketer-turned-politician and BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir are the significant candidates from the ruling saffron party, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Aam Aadmi Party’s Atishi, and Congress’s Digvijaya Singh are three of the other faces who are standing in the electoral battle line.
In comparison to 2014, when the Modi-wave was in full swing and anti-incumbency against the then ruling UPA 2 government was evidently visible, the prediction that BJP can get into the central power was accepted by the majority — be it citizens, political experts, or the media. However, in 2019 is nowhere the same. If you talk to people around, you don’t need to go far, just around your house, the auto-rickshaw drivers, the shopkeepers, the hawkers, the mixed response will clearly suggest you that the job of the Exit Poll calculators is going to be very tough this time and moreover, May 23 can bring forward any uncertain result.
Saturday is a regular holiday in my profession schedule. I spend the day doing all my household chores that hardly get my attention in the rest of the week. That also includes one very important thing — I roam around my neighbouring locality — with purposes like shopping, some window shopping, and lots of small chats with people around. This week was no exception in my routine and the uncertainty over the poll results can be felt throughout.
Although opinion polls till 2017 and mid-2018 claimed that Modi holds huge popularity among the masses and it’s expanding its footprints across the country rapidly, major defeats in three Hindi heartland states last year changed the verse. The party also failed to grip Mizoram and Telangana. However, there’s no such anti-incumbency against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government, but the list of unfulfilled promises, hurling abuses at opponent political parties, dramatic speeches have not gone well with the voters. At the same time, the victory in these three states elevated the tossed out Congress and brought them back in the run. It successfully managed to boost its grassroot workers after being horribly outvoted from Centre. Suffering a loss in Chhattisgarh, where the saffron party was in ruling for the last 15 years, and also in Rajasthan and MP moreover when the party is ruling at the Centre is considered a major setback for the outfit. If sources are to be believed, this keeps on haunting the BJP in the general elections.
The uncertainty over the May 23 outcome and moreover on the performance of BJP intensified with the calculation that these abovementioned fives states, which hold 65 Lok Sabha constituencies, favoured BJP with 59 seats in 2014. Though electoral prospects and voter sentiment defers in both state and Parliamentary elections, however, securing a majority in the three Hindi dominated states seems unlikely in 2019. Urban middle class and traders, the usual vote bank of BJP, too appear to be unhappy with the government’s decision of imposing GST and demonetisation.
While we talk about voters unsatisfied with the Modi government, the equal uncertainty rules over voters desiring to see Congress in power or Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister. When Rahul Gandhi appeared in his public gathering as more mature than before with his straight-forward dialects, many have admired the organisational skills Priyanka Gandhi has shown in the last few months, but they have parallel agreed to it that the delayed launch of Priyanka can cost Congress. Hope Congress keeps this in mind in its strategies ahead. The assembly elections where Congress tasted victory too haven’t seen a significant winning margin; however, experts believe that it managed to give a strong wake-up call to BJP.
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