While the exit poll predictions for Bihar will be disheartening for BJP, the forecast for the Assembly by-elections in several states will certainly make the party happy. On Saturday, the exit polls forecast that the BJP government will be safe in Madhya Pradesh, and the party will do extremely well in its strongholds of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
According to the India Today-Axis My India exit poll, BJP could win between 16 and 18 seats in MP, out of 28 that went to by-elections on November 3. The Congress is predicted to win 10 to 12 seats.
The exit of 25 Congress MLAs had necessitated the bypolls in MP. The BSP is expected to win one seat, according to the exit polls.
The BJP requires nine seats to ensure the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has majority in the 230-member House.
Out of seven constituencies that went to bypolls in UP, the BJP is expected to win five to six seats in UP. The Samajwadi Party may win one or two, and BSP is forecast to win one.
In Gujarat, the BJP is predicted to win six to seven seats out of eight. The defection of Congress MLAs to the ruling party had resulted in by-elections in the state. The Congress may end up with none or may win one, the exit polls forecast.
The by-elections in MP were seen also as a test of Jyotiraditya Scindia’s influence in the state’s politics. A handsome victory would enable Scindia to keep his bargaining power for the imminent Cabinet reshuffle at the Centre as well. It is equally crucial for BJP leaders such as Narendra Singh Tomar, who had played a key role in bringing in the MP Congress MLAs to the party. For Tomar, too, an impressive show by BJP would enhance his stature in the party and could back his CM ambitions.
The BJP would have to see that its house is in order, as there has been a lot of heartburn over Scindia joining the party, and the party’s move to reward almost all the former Congress legislators with by-election tickets. A roaring victory in the MP bypolls could paper over such differences in the state unit.
While responsibility over NDA’s performance in Bihar could be shared with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — in fact, the BJP has already admitted that the fatigue factor and anti-incumbency could affect NDA’s prospects in the state — the by-election results could be seen as a referendum on the Central government’s policies. It is more so since the polls come in the middle of protests against the new farm laws, deepening economic crisis, joblessness, the Covid-19 pandemic and tension along the LAC with China.
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