5 states deliver their verdict today, on 11th December 2018. A hard fought battle in Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana culminates with early trends showing Congress inching forward to the majority mark. The trends can of course change in the court of the day, but as of now, it does seem like Congress has fought a hard battle to be resurrected from the dead.
However, there are certain takeaways from the early trends that cannot be missed. The states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh were handed on a silver platter to Congress.
There was heavy anti-incumbency in Rajasthan with slogans of ‘Modi tujhse bair nahi, Vasundhara teri khair nahi’ (We have no grouse with Modi, but we will teach Vasundhara a lesson) being raised in the state. The Rajput and Jat community of the state were disgruntled especially after the Karni Sena fiasco. However, after PM Narendra Modi’s rallies, the slogans saw a shift. What could be heard in Rajasthan was “Vasudhara ko maaf karenge, Rahul ko saaf karenge”.
After the state being handed to Congress, the party has failed to get a thumping mandate so far (as per early trends) which ideally, Congress should have managed to get. Rajasthan, even if Congress wins (and the tables can turn later in the day), the party has to realise that 2019 is going to be about the Prime Minister and for them to take these early markers of a weak majority as a marker for 2019, would be a mistake.
Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh as well saw heavy anti-incumbency with BJP government occupying the seat of power for years. And for those states do not see a landslide Congress victory, will be something that should be taken seriously by the party.
Mizoram, on the other hand, was ruled by Congress. According to early trends, it would seem like the state has slipped out of its hands and is being won by NDA ally MNF. With that, and if the trends hold, the entire Northeast region of India will have no Congress government in power.
Another takeaway from these elections is that the mahagathbandhan are effectively over. With Mayawati bagging a few seats in Madhya Pradesh, she will certainly be at a better bargaining position and the Congress wouldn’t like that. In any case, one would imagine that regional players wouldn’t even want to ally with a strong Congress but perhaps, with a weaker Congress that is depending on the regional parties for survival.
In all, the results of these elections notwithstanding, the Congress would make a mistake in considering these as a marker for 2019 and the BJP would make a mistake if they don’t analyse why the first 2 phases were a wipeout for the party and why it took the Prime Minister to turn the tide. Perhaps strengthening and reigning in local MLAs is the one task that BJP has not mastered yet and perhaps the one task it should be focussing on now.
While these trends are in no way the final results, it would seem like the early trends have given both parties something to go back to the drawing board with.