Five States are going to Assembly polls in the last round of Assembly polls before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Many political analysts are calling it as “semi-finals” before the LS polls. But it’s a known fact that such kinds of assumptions do not stand the test of time in multiple cases. In 2003, the BJP won handsomely in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but it lost the 2004 LS poll.
Proving Critics Wrong
In 2003, the BJP won in spite of several surveys showing the Congress having an edge. Besides these three States, Telengana and Mizoram are also going to polls. In Telengana, prospects are bleak for the Congress in spite of many surveys showing the party gaining ground. This was demonstrated in the Munugode Assembly by-polls. The Congress won the seat in the 2018 Assembly polls by a handsome margin of ..22457 votes. The Congress party also maintained the lead in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. But in the 2022 by-polls, the Indian National Congress lost its deposit and got only 10.58 per cent of votes in the Munugode by-polls. The irony is that the by-polls were held after Rahul Gandhi’s much hyped ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ passed through Telengana. Telengana is the newly created State in South India going for second Assembly polls after it came into existence. The BJP is all set to increase its vote share and seat tally in Telengana. It’s tough for the Congress party to maintain even its tally of 19 seats which the party won in 2018. KCR declined the offer of the I.N.D.I. Alliance to join it. KCR knew that the Congress would be of no use for him in the State and that the party would try to strengthen itself at his cost in Telangana. Perhaps KCR got his lessons from Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh. KCR knew that the I.N.D.I. Alliance has no long term vision and will have no future; therefore he distanced himself from the alliance.
The BJP is all set to increase its vote share and seat tally in Telangana. It’s tough for the Congress party to maintain even its tally of 19 seats which the party won in 2018
Confident of Making a Comeback
Since 1993, Rajasthan is the State which is changing its Government after five years. Rajasthan always stands behind the BJP and in 1993 Assembly polls among the four State Assembly elections, the BJP won only in Rajasthan under the leadership of late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. The BJP is confident that it will romp home handsomely like in 2013 when the party won 163 seats while the Congress party under Gehlot’s leadership was relegated to mere 21 seats. It’s also a fact that the BJP lost Assembly elections in 2008 and 2018 but it always won a respectable number of seats of 78 and 73 seats respectively. So the BJP is hoping to repeat its 2013 performance in 2023 too. In the 2019 LS poll in Rajasthan, the BJP and its ally the RLP established a lead on 183 Assembly segments, while the Congress Party took lead on only six Assembly segments in Rajasthan. In the 2019 LS polls, the BJP got nearly 58 per cent votes, while the INC got only 34.24 per cent votes in Rajasthan.
In Madhya Pradesh in the previous Assembly polls in 2018, the BJP remained behind the INC by five seats in the Assembly polls but the BJP got more votes than the Congress. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP got 41.02 per cent votes while the INC got 40.89 per cent of votes. So the BJP was ahead of the INC in getting votes but it trailed in the number of seats. In the 2019 LS polls, the BJP established a lead on 208 Assembly segments, while the Congress Party took the lead only on the remaining 22 Assembly segments. The BJP got 58 per cent of votes while the INC got only 34.5 per cent of votes in the 2019 LS poll in Madhya Pradesh.
Chhattisgarh is one among the three States in the Hindi-speaking belt and is a relatively small State in comparison to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In the 2019 LS polls, BJP took lead on 66 Assembly segments while the INC in only 24 Assembly segments. Performance of the INC in 2019 was just the reverse of the 2018 Assembly poll in Chhatisgarh. The BJP got more than 50 per cent of votes in the 2019 LS poll, while the INC got nearly 40 per cent of votes. In the 2018 Chhattisgarh polls, the vote difference between the BJP and the INC was 10 per cent, while just a year later in 2019 the BJP’s vote share jumped to 50 per cent-plus from 33 per cent vote share in the 2018 Assembly poll. The Chhattisgarh Assembly polls may spring a surprise in 2023 considering the BJP performance in 2019 LS polls.
Mizoram is the smallest State which is going to poll in this round of Assembly polls. The biggest challenge for the Congress Party in the 2023 Assembly polls is to not enter in the club of States like NCT of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim where the Congress Party has no representation in the State Assembly. In the recently held by-poll of Sagardighi in West Bengal, the INC opened its account by winning the by-polls but the MLA switched to the AITC sooner than later. In the West Bengal Assembly polls in 2021, the INC and Communists were unable to open their accounts in spite of the alliance. Again after the INC Sagardighi MLA joined the AITC, the INC has no representation in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly.