In less than 24 hours the verdict of the people in the five states, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand, shall be pronounced, as the results of the 2017 Assembly polls, shall be declared on Saturday, March 11. Speculations and predictions are on, basis quite a few exit polls. The psephologists are busy with their electoral arithmetic. Post poll alliance, on the scale of Bihar-like Mahagatbandhan, is a possibility. Akhilesh Yadav pointed out that alliance with BSP is possible to keep the BJP out of power, while the BSP has denied any post-poll arrangement, claiming that it would come to power on its own. Exit polls in UP favour BJP. In Uttrakhand, BJP has been favoured by three exit polls, while one exit polls favoured Congress. In Manipur, BJP will make inroads and it might come to power in Goa. In Punjab, the new entrant, Aam Admi Party, seems to be the dark horse. Here’s a report by our Associate Editor, Navodita, exclusively for Different Truths,
As elections wrap up in five states, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand, television experts are on with their exit polls trying to predict the number of seats each party would win when the results will be out on Saturday, March 11. This seems to be a three-way fight this time between the BJP, SP-Cong and the BSP.
While the election is crucial for the BJP, both a win and a loss will be seen as a referendum on the Central government’s move of demonetisation. The BJP is also looking to win another state this time – Manipur, or at least make inroads into the same. Manipur saw record voting in the first round and also a high voter turnout in the second phase (83%) of the elections, interpreted by the BJP as a vote-for-change. The Congress claims that it has swept every election that has seen high voter turnout in Manipur. However, this time Irom Sharmila makes her election debut. If poll predictions are to be believed, the Congress is likely to be marginally ahead of BJP in Manipur, a state it ruled for three consecutive terms. According to India Today-Axis and India TV-C Voter polls, neither party is likely to get outright majority in the state’s 60-member Assembly. The exit poll predicts 26 seats for the Congress and 24 for the BJP. The Congress’ Ibobi Singh tried to win back the loyalty of several Congress leaders belonging to the Kuki tribe (controlling the hill areas) but his damage-control measure – bifurcation of seven districts said to be for administrative convenience – has only alienated the Nagas. So winning the same old strength for the Congress seems tough.
In Punjab, an average of five exit polls shows that Congress and AAP are placed neck-and-neck. The Congress is tipped to win 54 out of 117 seats, while the Akali-BJP is at 10 seats only. One poll shows the Congress ahead, while the other shows AAP winning. The winning party needs 59 seats to gain a simple majority in the state. The Akali-BJP alliance won the 2007 and 2012 Assembly elections in straight contests with the Congress. This time the AAP has emerged as a third force on most seats.
The Assembly elections in Uttarakhand was seen as a direct contest between the ruling Congress and the BJP. Three exit polls have predicted that the BJP will get a landslide victory in the 70-member Assembly, while a fourth poll shows that Congress and BJP is in for a tie. The 2012 elections had thrown up a hung Assembly where the Congress won 32 and BJP won 31 seats. Congress had formed the government with support from the BSP, Independents, and others to cross the majority mark. This time around the deflected Congress MLAs’ support to the BJP seem to be leading the other way.
While even in the Goan Assembly, Congress’ hopes to recapture power seem dashed to the ground as the BJP seems to be retaining Goa for the second time. Only one out of four exit polls suggested a hung House. If the BJP misses the majority the role of its former ally Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP) may be crucial The Shiv Sena has clearly ruled out any alliance with the BJP in future.
In Uttar Pradesh, the picture is again quite bright for the BJP with most exit polls indicating that the BJP has a clear advantage with numbers fluctuating widely from 155 (India TV-C Voter) to 279 (India Today-Axis). If the election results are along these lines, it would indicate that the Samajwadi Party-Congress tie-up that Akhilesh Yadav hoped would help him retain the Chief Minister’s chair, did not work. However, Akhilesh Yadav hinted towards a post-poll alliance in his interview to the BBC saying nobody wants President’s rule in the state; and that it is ready for an alliance with the BSP, in case it doesn’t get majority. Congress once again might prove to be a liability for the SP as alliance fails to gain much from the new friendship. If at all Akhilesh Yadav decides to ally with the BSP, it will be a departure from the acrimonious past the two parties have shared.
The BJP has always had an uneasy relationship with the Muslim voters and full attempts were on to divide the minority votes, too. BJP made full efforts to ascertain that the minority community does not throw its weight behind either the Yadavs or the Dalits. Voter behaviour will be which way is anybody’s guess – behind Modi’s personal appeal or Chief Minister’s face. Voter’s decision is always idiosyncratic and subject to lot other factors like candidacy, developmental work, contentment with the incumbent candidate, etc. As experts seek to neatly categorise the vote on lines of caste and religion, it may be said that such reductionism does not always work. However, pre-poll alliance giving way to a post-poll one is nothing to be surprised of in UP politics.
Photos from the internet.
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people in Kanpur.
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