Assembly polls are no semi-finals



It’ll be wrong to interpret the outcome of elections to five state assemblies as a referendum on Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial ambitions or the anti-incumbency that stares the UPA in the face.

Local elections are a way different from national polls. The alienation there is from provincial administrations and sitting legislatures. The bigger a party’s majority in the outgoing House the higher the anti-incumbency.

Another key factor is the duration for which a ruling entity has been in power: Sheila Dikshit in power for 15 years and MP’s Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Chattisgarh’s Raman Singh aiming for a hat-trick!

So the Congress better watch out in Mizoram it has ruled for ten years and the BJP in MP and Chattisgarh. Rajasthan could be an open game, given the Congress’s 96 seats compared to the BJP’s 78 in the 200 member House. The Desert State is known for regime change every election. But so was Punjab where the SAD-BJP won a second time largely on account of the Congress’s self-defeating ways.

From all available indications, anti-incumbency is the highest against Dikshit’s 15-year-rule with comfortable numbers in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. But conventional wisdom isn’t applicable, the joker in the pack being Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. Its entry has made the contest right and truly triangular.

In past years, the third force in the metropolis was the BSP. But it’s presence in the fray was noteworthy, not decisive. Known for cutting into the Congress’s Dalit base, it couldn’t stall the Dikshit juggernaut post-1998.

“People know their vote in Delhi will be for Vijay Goel, not Modi,” reasoned Kejriwal after the Gujarat CM’s massive rally. He claimed his party would sweep the polls and form the government.

The ground indeed looks fertile in the national Capital for AAP’s launch in electoral politics. It was here that Kejriwal drew huge crowds in the 2011-12 anti-graft campaign the echo of which is still audible. His party looks certain to mark a presence in the new House. But it’s difficult to wager on it getting to occupy treasury benches in the maiden attempt.

So, if Dikshit retains power, it wouldn’t be as much on the strength of her performance as on an internally fractured BJP and a fractured vote on the ground. In that scenario, it would be unfair to blame Modi for the BJP’s loss or credit the UPA for the Congress’s victory. The same would be true if the results go the BJP’s way.

Politically, however, it would suit the BJP to credit Modi and the Congress to discredit him, depending on the direction the wind takes. In the rival parties’ quest for psychological boost, that’s where the impending local polls will get linked to the 2014 contest.

But parliamentary elections aren’t always the sum total of assembly polls. Example: Congress lost the 1999 general election after winning Delhi, Rajasthan and MP the year before.

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  • Nagar Iyer

    Vinod Sharma,
    Delhi is going to throw Sheila in the dust bin.
    The available indications are : BJP and AAP are going to score 30 each. Congress, BSP and some other independents will share the remaining 10/

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  • विवेक

    ab BJP ka ek hi naara- 2013 me 4 pradesh or 2014 me pura desh hamara. modi banege PM or delhi me goel banege CM.

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  • Anonymous

    MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh will be won by BJP. No party will get majority in Delhi. AAP will decide who will govern Delhi and they will support Congress to keep ‘communal’ BJP out.

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  • Guest

    The BJP will in all likelihood retain MP and Chhatisgarh, courtesy the good work done by the CMs, and probably snatch Rajasthan, courtesy the converse for its CM. Delhi is more difficult to predict, since two sets of anti incumbencies will be at work, despite the good work done by its CM. If this comes to pass, that will give Narendra Modi a nice tail wind, courtesy his colleagues.

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  • Sujoy

    The vote swing percentage in favour of
    opposition is a matter even if the duration for which a ruling entity has been
    in power. There are and were many states where single party ruled for a longer time even after less achievements e.g. West Bengal. Actually it is true that winning the election in India is very much
    depends on how effectively the party deploys its social engineering strategy.
    Why so? Because in India, a large chunk of the voters are not provoked by the
    GDP or CAD numerics but by false promises and elections sops. It is because of
    the very fact that these socially engineered voters are not educated in that
    sense even if we can considering them as literate. There should be a minimum
    educational qualification is required for eligible voter, otherwise country
    will run by the people like XYZ. Democracy hardly means you will open the gate
    for options which will ruin the country. A serious amendment is required for
    the good of the country and its people.
    Aam Aadmi Party- Its entry has made the contest right and truly
    triangular: I hope AAP would create right kind of noise in the expectation of both the
    parties BJP & Congress. I would like to put AAP this way – Suppose even if
    we consider anti incumbency factor in Delhi, it will happen for both parties
    BJP and Congress because of AAP. If I am a supporter of congress and not happy with its
    governance in Delhi, now I have two options AAP and BJP, similar fact
    is true for BJP supporter also. AAP will eat votes of both the parties and as a
    result situation will be tricky where margin of winning vote % was close in the past. Now
    seat can go either way. At the same time if we are not ready to consider AAP as a black
    horse, then actually we are convincing ourselves that “Corruption and mis-governance
    is not a factor in Delhi. It is something else that we are up to.
    The result of assembly elections, especially of Delhi will
    matter for coming general elections only when BJP will win it because of change
    in capital power. This win will run Modi blower for a longer period, which is essential
    for BJP to sustain in its campaign strategy, which created so called hype
    little early.

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  • pankaj#1

    Vinod;
    What has happened to your blog?
    no longer, intelligent people are coming here. The reason is, you encouraged bigots and discriminated with others. Think. Think deeply. All those rascals were not worth some votes.

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  • Anonymous

    It has begun to look more and more like a fixed match between AAP and the congress. The boost the AAP is getting in the media is to create an artificial wave for the party, because the congress in any case is being rejected by the people and it wants that AAP should come to power in alliance with it rather than hand over the state to the BJP on a platter.

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    Praveen Saxena Reply:

    Shenoy saab..it appears to me too that AAP is being propped up by the Congress Party..only to join hands later ..

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  • Anonymous

    Vinodji

    Basically we need to have a COngress mukt bharat so that all the naukers and chaekers of the corrupt chor congress finally collapse.

    We need a new India. Aao ek naye bharat ka nirman karein jisme Congress aur uske nauker khatam ho jayein.

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  • Ni2

    Vinodji
    In anticipation Modi effect not delivering electoral results, formation of excuses has already started.

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    Bystander Reply:

    It all depends on how you see it. As of now – even the most extensive Surveys conducted so far have been inconclusive.
    Inconclusive for a bit of reason . We don’t know yet the influence of Social Medial on Electoral outcomes.
    In that sense, the 2014 elections are going to be the biggest Sruveys yet. A collateral damage will be for Facebook as well which probably will lose out to the electoral mandate.
    Disclaimer.: I happen to be a Computer Science PhD specialising in Information influencing outcomes for Web based public Media .
    I – as Indian national – don’t like Mr. Modi.

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    why?
    What is your choice??

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  • pankaj#1

    Vinod;
    Now this parrot has implicated Parekh and Birla. wow. Did CBI thought that making a “Dhamaka” will hide its short comings??
    All the while, Modi is being implicated that riots happened during his chief ministership, so he is responsible. Now, so many financial scandals, and who is responsible?? No No, MMS is beyond reproach.
    Now come to this man- Sinha from -CBI. First rate crook, How? see his role when U.N.Biswas and a TOI editor were probing -Chara Ghotala. U.N. Biswas’s report was trashed and Sinha was running a parralel report to save lalu. shame on him. This he did on instructions from higher ups in Delhi and that is why he was elevated to the post of CBI Chief, as a reward.
    Present Congress and its antics generate revulsion, using a mild word here.

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    Ni2 Reply:

    Corruption is bad and we must all work towards eradicating it. However, does it “generate revulsion”? Hardly, that is because the Indian society, dare one say system, is substantially corrupt and has been for a very long time.

    However, communal politics does generate revulsion. RSS and its front man, Modi are committed to communal politics and therefore are entirely repulsive.

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    OK. Tell me how Modi/ BJP is playing communal politics and how come so called Seculars are NOT PLAYING COMMUNAL POLITICS. I am secular in its real sense. Would like to have your understanding of word- seculars. I will be entirely civil in my discussion.

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    I would also like to elaborate on disastrous results of corruption, in all its forms, be it financial or moral or vote related corruption in its entirety.

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