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Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

From ‘resort politics’ to rushing senior leaders: All eyes on tomorrow’s Assembly polls results

In Uttar Pradesh, most pollsters, barring two forecasts that the ruling BJP may suffer losses, predict them crossing the half-way mark of 202 comfortably and retaining power, bucking a trend of nearly four decades.

Clockwise from top left: Yogi Adityanath; Akhilesh Yadav; N Biren Singh; Charanjit Singh Channi; Pushkar Singh Dhami; Pramod Sawant

Yogi Adityanath returning in Uttar Pradesh, a comfortable AAP victory in Punjab, a dead-heat race in Uttarakhand and Goa and a BJP sweep in Manipur — as the exit polls put out their predictions, all eyes are set on tomorrow’s results as the Assembly elections in the five states draw to a close.

In Uttar Pradesh, most pollsters, barring two forecasts that the ruling BJP may suffer losses, predict them crossing the half-way mark of 202 comfortably and retaining power, bucking a trend of nearly four decades. The state has not returned a government to power since 1985. The SP-RLD alliance, which waged a spirited campaign, may make major gains as compared to 2017 but is likely to fall well short of the magic figure. The Congress, the polls predicted, would remain in single digits.

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In 2017, the BJP won a landslide mandate in UP, winning 312 seats on its own in the 403- member House. With allies Apna Dal (9) and SBSP (4), the tally of the BJP alliance had touched 325 seats in 2017. The SP, which fought in alliance with the Congress, could win only 47 seats last time.

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In Punjab, most predictions see an AAP win, with the party being comfortably ahead of the ruling Congress and the Akali Dal-BSP combine. If the AAP manages to win Punjab, the outcome has the potential to trigger a churning in Indian politics, especially in the Opposition space as no other party barring the BJP and the Congress are in power in more than one state now. In 2017, the Congress stormed to power in Punjab, winning 77 of the 117 seats. The AAP, which made its debut last time, came second with 20 seats while the Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which was in power then, could manage to win only 18 seats (Akali Dal 15 and BJP 3).

In Uttarakhand, it’s a tight race between the ruling BJP and a rejuvenated Congress — while some pollsters gave the ruling BJP an edge, others predicted the Congress would emerge as the single largest party. None of the polls gave either side more than 40 seats. No party has retained power in Uttarakhand since its formation in 2000. If the BJP manages to hold on to power, it will be a record of sorts. In 2017, riding the Modi wave, the BJP managed to win in 57 of the total 70 Assembly seats while the Congress was limited to 11 seats. Two of the remaining seats were won by independent candidates who are now with the ruling party.

Like Uttarakhand, Goa, too, won’t be an easy race for any party. In the 40-member House, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in 2017, winning 17 seats but the BJP, which won 13 seats, managed to form the government with the support of the Goa Forward Party and the MGP which had won three seats each and two independents.

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As such, political parties in both the state capitals are preparing for post-poll scenarios — lining up resorts and rushing senior leaders to handle the situation. While in Goa, the Congress election candidates and party leaders convened at a hotel in Bambolim, the party was also considering the same in Uttarakhand. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Jaipur on Monday, amid talk that Congress-ruled Rajasthan may host party leaders to prevent poaching attempts. Meanwhile, sitting BJP Goa CM Pramod Sawant travelled to Delhi Tuesday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In Dehradun, the Congress watched with trepidation the entry into the picture of senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya. In 2016, the BJP national general secretary was said to have played a key role in the revolt within the Congress against its then CM Harish Rawat. As the state went under President’s Rule, an unhappy Rawat had been one of the reasons for a Congress collapse. In the 2017 elections, the party had won only 11 seats, with the BJP getting 57 of 70. In this election, Rawat is back front and centre in the Congress campaign.

Manipur, however, is expected to witness a BJP sweep with most polls predicting them to either emerge as the single largest party or cross the halfway mark. In 2017, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the state. Though the Congress had won 28 seats in the 60-member house, the BJP with 21 seats got the support of four MLAs each from the Naga People’s Front and the National People’s Party and one from the Lok Janshakti Party and an independent to reach the magic figure of 31.

First published on: 09-03-2022 at 05:01:03 pm
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