Brace yourself! The roadmap for the 2019 Lok Sabha general elections has been laid out by the Election Commission of India. We are now on the cusp of probably knowing who might rule the roost at the Centre in 2019.
For now, the Chief Election Commissioner of India O.P. Rawat has announced poll dates for five key states.
Details of the five states going to polls
The five states going to polls are – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana. In an interesting move, Chhattisgarh will vote in a two-phase election while the other states will have a single phase poll date.
Three (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan & Chhattisgarh) are ruled by Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the other two are ruled by Telugu Rashtra Samithi (Telangana) and Indian National Congress (Mizoram) respectively.
The CEC has also announced that Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) will be used along with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) machines in all these elections for a fair verdict.
Key details and dates
Election Commission of India has announced that these five states will hold Assembly elections from November 12 to December 7. The final vote count and results will happen on December 11.
The Model Code of Conduct has been initiated with immediate effect in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Chhattisgarh. In Telangana, MCC is in force since the State Assembly was dissolved in September this year.
For a quick reference on election dates, please refer to the table below:
|State||Poll Date/s||Result Date|
|Nov 12 (Phase 1) and Nov 20 (Phase 2)||Dec 11|
|MIZORAM||Nov 28||Dec 11|
|MADHYA PRADESH||Nov 28||Dec 11|
|TELANGANA||Dec 7||Dec 11|
|RAJASTHAN||Dec 7||Dec 11|
State wise poll breakup by number of seats and past history
Number of seats – 90
The BJP has retained power in this state for the last three consecutive terms. There is a very low chance of BJP losing out on victory here unless the voters are miffed with the BJP over ‘acche din’.
Out of the only 4 assembly elections held in the state, Congress won only the first one.
Number of seats – 40
Power has always alternated between the Mizo National Front and the Indian National Congress, but the INC has ruled consecutively in the last two terms. The BJP is practically non-existent in this state as per previous mandates.
Number of seats – 230
Similar to Chhattisgarh, the BJP has held three consecutive terms in this state as well. Defeating the BJP in this state may prove to be almost impossible for the Congress.
The Congress was really popular here during the tenure of Digvijay Singh, but since he is no more in the purview of the party as a CM candidate, chances of Congress resurging here are bleak.
Number of seats – 119
Telangana is a brand new state which came into formation in 2014 after its bifurcation from Andhra Pradesh. The TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) won the first-ever assembly polls in the state with handsome majority.
The Congress has formed a strong alliance with TDP (Telegu Desam Party), TJS (Telangana Jana Samithi) and CPI (Communist Party of India) to give a tough fight to the TRS this year. The AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen) led by Asaduddin Owaisi which controls the Muslim vote bank is favoring TRS though they are yet to announce a formal alliance. The BJP is still a minority here.
Number of seats – 200
As has been the trend in the state, power generally alternates between the BJP and Congress almost every election.
It has to be noted that the Congress had ruled this state continuously from 1952 to 1977. Their last term was from 2008-2013. Anything can happen in this state during the polls when it comes to results.
What does this mean for the bigwigs – BJP and Congress?
This is practically the final gauntlet for the BJP and the Congress to surpass and prove to the masses who can rule the nation better for them.
The Lok Sabha polls next year may be held earlier in April (as per reports) as part of the One Nation One Election campaign to coincide with the polls of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim assemblies. So, practically, this is it! The final battle for 2019!
In order to sideline the Congress completely from the nation’s view in 2019, the BJP has to oust any remaining chances of the Congress to secure a 5-year term at the Centre by winning these state elections.
Since Congress has already been literally wiped out from the face of India’s map owing to recent assembly elections in other states, BJP has to cash-in on this opportunity with full force.
Does the Congress have a chance to steal victories from the BJP in 2019?
Maybe, it does! This high-stakes battle between these two national parties became more exciting when the BJP went faltering on many of its decisions and other external factors such as:
The by-poll menace
Out of the 12 by-polls held till now (in 2018) across various states during BJP’s rule at the Centre, BJP has won only ONE seat (Tharali of Uttarakhand). This is a major cause of concern for them since they figured as the runner-up in 6 of these constituencies and came nowhere near victory in the rest of them.
The infamous Rafale deal (or Rafale ‘Scam’)
This alleged scam might prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the Assembly elections if the Congress can gather credible evidence against the BJP in time. The deal already has most of the facts against the BJP.
The steep rise in fuel prices
The UPA too had steep prices of fuel in their term, but as a poll agenda, the rise in fuel prices has really picked up against the BJP. They may have lowered excise duty (in the Centre and in BJP ruled states) to appease the masses, but maybe it is too little, too late! Fuel prices have surged again even after the rate cut.
Farmers have been dying, marching for days and protesting in lakhs to get their woes heard, mostly in vain – their woes continue to rise. The BJP has to appease them more for votes or else, the Congress might woo them in their favor and that would mean Congress steals the pie!
However, for all this happen, Congress has to win these poll-bound states to gather enough public support in the rundown towards the LS elections in 2019.
If the Congress can cash in on the alleged Rafale Scam allegations, demonetization failure, falling value of Rupee and nationwide farmer agitations, the BJP might go bust in 2019. However, chances of that happening are slim since Congress doesn’t YET have a PM candidate.
That for us is a major Catch 22 situation! Anybody could taste sweet victory this time around!
So, do you think the BJP will prove what they claim? Will they really be securing another whopping majority at the Centre in 2019? Or, do you think the nation has had enough of BJP’s ‘acche din’ fiasco and vote for the Congress instead? Comment below!