Along with the Lok Sabha elections, polls will also be held in four states — Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha. Contrary to expectations, no elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been without an elected government since June last year when BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP. Above states will follow the same schedule as Lok Sabha for their respective seats.
Andhra Pradesh assembly elections
Election date: All 25 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls on April 11
Andhra Pradesh, which sends 25 members to the Lok Sabha, has a 175-member Legislative Assembly. In the last assembly elections, TDP, in alliance with BJP, swept the state under the leadership of N Chandrababu Naidu, winning 126 seats (TDP – 117, BJP – 9). However, the TDP-BJP alliance won with a vote share that was just 0.2 percentage points ahead of the Opposition’s.
The TDP walked out of the NDA last March, accusing the BJP of reneging on its promise of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh. Naidu has already announced that there is no tie-up in the state with Congress and their cooperation is only at the national level. After 2004, this is the first time TDP is contesting without a pre-poll alliance.
While Naidu is facing anti-incumbency due to the government’s failure to fulfil many promises made in 2014, Opposition leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress has emerged stronger after a successful 3,648-km padayatra.
Odisha assembly elections
Election dates: April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29
Odisha, which has 147 assembly seats, faces a tight contest between the BJD and a resurgent BJP. While Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik will hope for a fifth consecutive term, the BJP and the Congress will bank on anti-incumbency against 19 years of BJD rule.
In the last assembly elections, BJD won 117 seats while from the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, 20 were won last time by the Patnaik-led party. With 60 per cent of its population dependent on agriculture, farmers issues have emerged as the main poll plank. To address farmers’ anger, the Odisha government in December announced the Rs-10,180-crore KALIA scheme for direct benefit transfer to farmers and landless farm labourers.
Odisha’s tribal population, at around 23 per cent, also holds a key. Recently, BJD’s Baijayant Panda joined the BJP, giving it yet another boost in the fight against Patnaik.
Sikkim assembly elections
Election date: April 11
Sikkim, ruled by the Pawan Chamling-led Sikkim Democratic Front, has 32 assembly seats. Despite being part of the BJP-led Northeastern Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the SDF has decided to go alone in the elections.
The SDF has decided to include Universal Basic Income in its manifesto for the Assembly election and aims to implement the scheme by 2022. It remains to be seen if the scheme, which Sikkim will be the first state to roll out, brings Chamling back for a sixth term in office.
Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections
Election date: April 11
Arunachal Pradesh, which has a 60-member Legislative Assembly, had in 2014 voted Congress to power. But with a majority of the ruling party leaders defecting to the BJP, the saffron party came to power with Pema Khandu as the chief minister.
However, this time the BJP is in the backfoot with at least 19 politicians — including former state ministers, legislators and prominent local leaders — having joined the Congress since December.
Moreover, there is resentment with the state government as well as the Centre over the controversy surrounding the granting of Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) to members of six tribal communities as well as the Citizenship Bill.
The state government, however, has declined to implement the PRC proposal after widespread violence in the state that left three people dead and several injured.