VERDICT 2017: ELECTORAL LANDSCAPE OF INDIA IS GOING TO BE BJP VS COALITIONS

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Counting day trends of the five state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are now in. The way the electoral wind has blown has become clear in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand while it is still neck to neck contest in Goa and Manipur. As per the trends available so far, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with its allies, has won 325 seats in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, an overwhelming majority in the state’s electoral history, ending the party’s 15 year old political exile in the state. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was the BJP’s last chief minister in Uttar Pradesh in 2002. The party has repeated its emphatic show in Uttarakhand, winning 56 of the 70 assembly seats on offer. The Congress has taken Punjab with 76 seats in the 117-member Punjab assembly.

The verdict 2017 is going to write the electoral landscape of India for the next parliamentary polls in 2019, settling down the most important question of the representational camps in the state level and national politics.

And the message is loud clear.

It is going to be the coalitions Vs the BJP in the upcoming assembly polls that may finally culminate in a grand alliance taking on the ruling party in the Centre in the 2019 general elections. In 2018, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are going to polls while ten states including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan have their state polls slated for 2019.

It is to be seen whether these coalitions will learn from the lessons of the experiments done in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In spite of all the big projections, the BJP had to bite the dust in the 2015 Bihar assembly polls as it was a clear two way fight between the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the grand political alliance of the Janata Dal United (JDU), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress party that ensured that the anti-BJP votes did not split.

That could not happen in Uttar Pradesh.

While the BJP targeted non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav Dalit votes, in addition to its traditional vote bank of upper castes and middle class, the triangular contest between the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress coalition, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the BJP led NDA saw the anti-BJP votes split between the SP-Congress coalition and the BSP. At the same time, the BJP was able to consolidate its pie riding high on the factors like the Modi wave and polarisation along religious and community lines.

In Bihar, two arch rivals, the JDU and the RJD, could bury their past differences to prevent the BJP juggernaut. Uttar Pradesh would have been a different story had it been for a grand alliance of parties say the SP-BSP-Congress and even Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Crisis of political survival may push these parties to come under one umbrella in future as we saw in the overtures of Akhilesh Yadav who offered to go along with the BSP to prevent the BJP’s sail in UP after the exit polls predicted a BJP victory or a hung assembly with the BJP as the largest party in the UP assembly.

The Congress party has effectively lost the electoral space to act as a national alternative to the BJP. The BJP and its allies were already ruling over 60% of India’s geographical area with 43% of its population before today’s verdict and the today’s sweep has taken it to around 70% of the land and 58% of the population. Even if we don’t count Goa and Manipur in BJP’s stable along with today’s results, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand make BJP the ruling party of 14 Indian states while the Congress, that has ruled India for almost 55 years in its 70 years of independent, sovereign history, has shrunk to just five states with Karnataka as the only big state in its fold. The Congress has an alliance government in Puducherry while it is the junior-most alliance partner in Bihar’s ruling coalition. And we should not forget that the states of Goa and Manipur are wide open till majority governments are formed there. When it comes to that, the state may well end up with the BJP.

Though the huge anti-incumbency against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine has given Congress an emphatic victory in Punjab, the party has seen a humiliating loss in Uttarakhand where even its chief minister Harish Rawat could not save his assembly constituencies. To make Congress’ plight more visible, we have examples of Goa and Manipur. Congress claimed to win both of these states but the trends so far belie such claims. The north-eastern state of Manipur has been a traditional stronghold of the Congress party while it was expecting the anti-BJP incumbency to deliver Goa for it.

Manipur and Goa are small states, with 60 and 40 assembly seats respectively and the trends available so far say that it is a neck to neck fight between the BJP and the Congress in both of these states and the smaller parties and the independents will play the kingmaker in deciding who is going to form the government next. If the BJP has been able to form its government in Manipur, it will give the ruling party of India its second direct opening in the north-eastern region of India after Assam win in 2016.

If it happens so, the BJP will have presence in four of the eight north-eastern states, i.e., Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. After a series of dramatic upheavals, the BJP has its government in Arunachal Pradesh while Nagaland’s ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) is its alliance partner. So another BJP advance in the region at the cost of the Congress will limit the Congress’ influence like the one of regional parties while will add one more, and necessary, feather in the BJP’s drive to become a true pan-India political party.

This BJP spread is a crisis moment for the Congress, the SP, the BSP and many other state and regional parties and it will write the way further for the electoral politics in India. The crisis will eventually force them to come together to take on the BJP might. The future electoral landscape of India is thus expected to be dotted by coalitions and more coalitions against the BJP, in the upcoming assembly polls and in the mega electoral show in 2019 when we will chose our next set of parliamentarians. And Congress will have no choice but to become part of such coalitions, accepting junior roles, like it did in Bihar, and like it has done in Uttar Pradesh.

©SantoshChaubey

TOMORROW WILL WRITE THE ELECTORAL LANDSCAPE OF INDIA FOR 2019

So, the day has finally arrived. In few hours, the Election Commission will begin the exercise that will write the electoral landscape of India for the next parliamentary polls in 2019. The most important question that it will settle down will be about representation in the national politics.

The counting of votes for the assembly polls conducted in five states, i.e., Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, would be done tomorrow and by 12 PM, the trends will become more or less clear.

Anti-incumbency is expected to play the lead role in determining the poll outcome in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand, and even in Manipur.

Congress’ fall from grace, it seems, is yet to see its lowest point as evident by no visible anti-incumbency against the BJP government in Goa where Congress is the main political opposition. To make Congress’ plight more visible, we have before us Manipur, the North-Eastern state that may go to the BJP fold, giving the ruling party in Centre its first direct opening in the North-Easter region of India.

If it happens so, the BJP will have significant presence in three of the seven North-Eastern states, i.e., Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. That will restrict Congress’ influence like the regional parties while will add one more (and necessary) feather in the BJP’s drive to become a true pan-India political party.

And that will write the way further in the electoral politics in India. It will be dotted by coalitions and more coalitions against the BJP, in assembly polls that will lead us to the mega electoral show in 2019 when we will chose our next set of parliamentarians. And Congress will have no choice but to become part of such coalitions, accepting junior roles, like it did in Bihar, and like it has done in Uttar Pradesh.

©SantoshChaubey

WHY BJP SHOULD READ THE ASSAM VERDICT WITH CAUTION?

Today was a day when BJP, the ruling national party, the chief group of the National Democratic Alliance, got another feather in its cap – towards its aspirations to become a true pan-India political party.

BJP, more than comfortably, won Assam, and got a fantastic headway into the North-East of the country – that has otherwise been the forte of Indian National Congress and regional political parties like Naga People’s Front, Sikkim Democratic Front, Mizo National Front or CPI(M) in Tripura.

And with it, the largest political party of the country, in terms of members, in terms of MLAs (in the state legislative assemblies), and in terms of MPs (in the parliament), effectively answered to the observations that it was trying to get a backdoor entry in India’s North-East by uprooting a democratically elected Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh has a different government now – comprised of Congress rebels and supported by BJP.

But the verdict has its own cautionary tales.

BJP’s vote share has come significantly in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The party, in spite of putting intense efforts, saw its vote share down to 10% from 17% in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Tamil Nadu was the same story where it came below 3% – from almost 6% in 2014.

And BJP’s good show in Assam is going to have a flip-side.

The anti-BJP faction is going to consolidate. When Nitish Kumar said the outcomes were not unexpected given anti-BJP parties failed to stitch an alliance together in Assam, like it was done in Bihar, it was a clear signal of the things to come.

And BJP should read it in the context of the fact that the party is going to lose Uttar Pradesh and Punjab polls the next year. What is left to be seen is the scale of BJP’s loss.

So, for BJP, it is time for some introspection based realpolitik.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CAN BJP GET WHAT IT GOT IN MAY 2014?

It was again a thoughtful selection by the folks working in Facebook backrooms or some algorithm working on my account this morning, if I can say so, about picking up one of my memories that I chose to scribble on my Facebook wall some time ago.

Yesterday, it was about what I had written on counting trends – on May 16, 2014 – the counting day – the counting day of the General Elections in 2014 – that BJP won comfortably (an unexpectedly, because a victory was in the air, but not with complete majority).

On a day when the 2016 assembly elections got over – on May 16, 2016 – with counting slated for May 19!

Today, it was again on a related issue – on the electoral behavior of Muslim voters.

MAY172014-MAY172016

That was in 2014 – the year of the Narendra Modi wave. Two years later, the first real test is here.

The Narendra Modi wave is certainly in reels now. Even BJP has finally accepted this.

Muslims are even more polarized against BJP now. All the analytic opinions point to just one thing – that defeating BJP has become the primary objective of Muslim voters – and the miserable performance of Asaduddin Owaisi led AIMIM in Bihar polls is being seen as a testimony to that.

Two factors that were attributed to the massive victory BJP got in 2014 are not going to work for BJP here – because assembly polls are localized, and affected more readily by caste and local issues – and because of the rush of fringe voices ever since the BJP government came to the office.

The question is – can BJP achieve the Hindu vote polarization of 2014 – at least in Assam – the only state in this round of polls where BJP has some chance? Can the luck smile on it in other states, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, especially in West Bengal and Kerala, states with sizeable Muslim population.

Certainly not!

And the question is – can BJP see a fractured Muslim vote again – like it happened in 2014 – helping the party electorally – something that it is hoping for in a state like Assam? –

Probably not!

Let’s see what happens on May 19, 2016.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MAY AGAIN IS GOING TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT MONTH IN INDIAN POLITICS..

Politically, May 16 may not be the biggest day this year in India’s socio-political landscape, like it was in 2014, but it started the race to gear up for what lies ahead – on May 19 – when counting for assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and West Bengal takes place.

Whatever it comes out to be, it will write a defining chapter in India’s politics because the nation would directly face the most important assembly polls from here – in Uttar Pradesh – that would, in turn, write the script of the electoral politics on display in 2019 parliamentary elections.

When I glanced at the my Facebook page today, I found what I had scribbled then. That was the day of counting of the world’s biggest democratic elections. Exit polls were in and the real-time trends had started telling the picture that would emerge finally.

MAY162014-MAY162016

Exit polls have set the ball rolling for May 19 with conclusion of single phase polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry today. There are valid reasons on why or why not the exit poll results may fail. The analyses, the predictions, the projections, they will find their final edge on May 19 and it should be all clear by noon.

May 16 and May 19 may be two years and two days apart, but May again is going to be the most important month in Indian politics.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COUNTING DAY: UPDATES 7 PM TO 9 PM

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

#Congress and #SP rout in #UP makes it family affair for them. They fail to win any other constituency that the seats of Gandhi family (2 seats) and Yadav family (5 seats) members.

#Varanasi @ 7:42 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 3.36 lakh votes – 516593 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 179739 votes; Ajai Rai – 68080 votes; BSP – 57531 votes; SP – 42242 votes. Final tally not declared yet.

#Vadodara @ 7:42 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 5.7 lakh votes – 845464 votes; Madhusudan Mistry of #INC – 275336 votes. Mistry is #Congress’ UP in-charge. Final tally not declared yet.
@ 7:54 PM – #Modi leads his constituencies – #Varanasi by over 3.36 lakh votes and #Vadodara by 5.7 lakh votes. Mulayam leads his constituencies – #Azamgarh by 63000 votes and #Mainpuri by 3.64 lakh votes. The contrast and the difference on the scale of acceptability is clear.

Rahul Gandhi had won Amethi by 3.7 lakh votes in 2009 with 72% vote share. In 2014, his lead @8 PM is 1 Lakh votes, and it is to remain at this level. BJP’s Smriti Irani gave him good fight and run for time and money.

#Modi is expected to get around 60% of votes in Varanasi. Twice before it, candidates in Varanasi have got more than 60% votes – Chandra Shekhar in 1977 (Bhartiya Lok Dal-66.22%) and Anil Shastri in 1989 (Janta Dal-62.31%).

Narendra Modi is now the PM-designate of India. He is expected to take oath on May 21.
He delivered his victory speech in #Vadodara, where, once again, he repeated his favourite line that was just a labourer. Hope, the sanity remains and prevails in the days to come. Hope, he delivers on the sky-high promises and expectation. He needs to deliver for India, for #Varanasi. Otherwise, the trend is becoming clear for the non-performing and manipulating politicians in India.

@ 9 PM – Varanasi tally remains the same – #Modi leads #Varanasi by over 3.36 lakh votes. Arvind Kejriwal is No.2. He did satisfactorily by scoring 1.8 lakh votes. Ajai Rai came a poor 3rd in spite of INC’s all efforts. Thankfully, the regional parties, SP and BSP, with no development agenda were pushed to be at 4th n 5th spots by the voters.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COUNTING DAY: UPDATES 4 PM TO 7 PM

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

#BJP is to make clean sweep in 6 states, #Gujarat, #Rajasthan, #Delhi, #Uttarakhand, #Himachal Pradesh, #Goa, and 6 union territories (obviously for records only, because except all are single seat constituencies).

#Congress is in imminent danger of losing the ‘leader of opposition’ position. Trends now give it less than 10% of 543 Lok Sabha seats. Having 10% of the seats is the requirement set for a party to have the leader of opposition from its ranks.

Total votes of #Kejriwal, #INC, SP and BSP in #Varanasi, 2.6 lakh, is much less than around 3.5 lakh Muslim votes of Varanasi.

Sonia, Rahul speaking. Take responsibility of Congress drubbing. Let’s see the composition of the message.

#Congress comes 3rd in all seats of #Delhi. From 7-0 in 2009, it is 0-7 for the party now.

Rabri Devi loses. #BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy takes winning lead of over 50000 votes. Lalu’s ‘samosa’ didn’t get extra ‘aalu’ (potato).

#Varanasi @ 5:22 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 3.12 lakh votes – 484726 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 172273 votes; Ajai Rai – 65243 votes; BSP – 53944 votes; SP – 40628 votes. #Congress regains 3rd position.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COUNTING DAY: UPDATES 2 PM TO 4 PM

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

#Varanasi @ 2:09 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 1.7 lakh votes – 243039 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 69551 votes; BSP – 29711 votes; Ajai Rai – 26516 votes; SP – 21075 votes.

Jaswant Singh loses #Barmer. He should have won. His #BJP rehabilitation still possible?

Most of the #INC, #Congress young guns bite the dust – most of them the dynasty products – a welcome development.

Arun Jaitley’s loss from #Amritsar was expected. But he is still expected to be among the senior most ministers of Modi Cabinet.

Bravo! Salman Khurshid loses and loses big, deposit forfeited in #Farrukhabad. Now, this is brilliant. Real scoop. Real good news. His arrogance sucks.

#Varanasi @ 3:39 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 2.5 lakh votes – 357680 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 106828 votes; BSP – 44671 votes; Ajai Rai – 39723 votes; SP – 30997 votes.

Another arrogant leader of Congress, Mani Shankar Aiyar loses from #Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. He would certainly be thinking about his chai-walla jibe on #Modi.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COUNTING DAY: UPDATES 12 PM TO 2 PM

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Rahul Gandhi’s lead in #Amethi is just over 2000 votes as of now. What are we going to have in store?

Varanasi at 11.24 AM: Narendra Modi – 62218 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 18322 votes; Ajai Rai – 8037 votes; BSP – 5884 votes; SP – 4784 votes.

After the counting day trends, the scramble for Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, is going to make for the headlines next. #ModiCabinet and Modi Cabinet are going to be the top trends.

#BJP wins another much talked about constituency – #Ghaziabad. V K Singh wins by around 50000 votes.

#NarendraModi leading in #Varanasi by 50000 votes as of now. Around 6.5 lakh votes yet to be counted.

Mulayam Singh Yadav leading #Azamgarh by 17000 votes. BSP 2nd. Sitting BJP MP 3rd.

Rajnath Singh leading #Lucknow by 32000 votes. INC 2nd. BSP distant 3rd.

Murli Manohar Joshi poised to win #Kanpur. Joshi leading by 50000 votes with 1.33 lakh votes. Sriprakash Jaiswal 2nd. BSP distant 3rd.

#BJP poised to win riots affected #Muzaffarnagar from #BSP. Polarisation worked.

#NarendraModi formally wins #Varanasi. That was beyond doubt. Let’s see the final tally on margin. It should justify the Modi Wave. BSP won it last time.

#BJP winning another riots affected seat, #Kairana. BJP candidate leading the constituency with the winning majority of over 1.3 lakh votes. BSP won it last time.
#Results2014, #Verdict2014

Given the defining trends, it is to be said now the Modi Factor could transform into ‘Modi Wave’ to sweep India. India is going to have its most stable govt in 30 years (after 1984) decades. And moreover, it is going to be largely free of coalition compulsions.

Sonia Gandhi gains winning lead in Rae Bareli. But, can she equal the 3.72 lakh margin of 2009. She got 72% votes while the runner-up could get 16% votes.

#UP, #Bihar game-plan clicks for the #BJP, playing pivotal role in BJP’s never before seen, stellar performance.

#Varanasi @ 1:09 PM: Narendra Modi leads by over 1.14 lakh votes – 167646 votes; Arvind Kejriwal – 53540 votes; BSP – 21361 votes; Ajai Rai – 19669 votes; SP – 16305 votes. #Congress pushed to 4th place by votes as of now.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COUNTING DAY: UPDATES TILL 12 PM

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Party hopper, alliance hopper, and one of the most well read of the politicians, and the civil aviation minister, Ajit Singh loses Baghpat. The Harit Pradesh politics is to heat up, courtesy his increases spare time now.

#NarendraModi wins #Vadodara by margin of over 4 lakh votes.

Counting Day trends are bettering the Exit Polls projections for #BJP and #NDA as of now. And #UPA big guns are trailing.

Sanjay Jha is on Times Now. How stubborn and silly at times #INC makes its spokespersons, Jha is a classic example. And INC (Indian National Congress) has plenty of them.

‘Save Rahul’ scramble to come in its totality.

#BJP wins #Chandigarh. Railgate eats into Pawan Bansal’s pie.

It would be interesting to hear the Congressmen like Salman Khurshid, Beni Prasad Verma, Sanjay Jha, Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Digvijay Singh, Randeep Surjewala, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Janardhan Dwivedi, Salman Soj and yes, Ajay Maken. Grab them. Don’t let them disappear like #SoniaGandhi and #RahulGandhi disappeared from the posters at #INC HQ.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/