New Delhi, March 9: It’s BJP everywhere except in Punjab, predicted almost all the exit polls on the just concluded high-profile elections to the five state assemblies. The party has performed extremely well in the local body elections in Maharashtra and Odisha recently, and earlier in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Chandigarh.
The assembly elections were held for Manipur in the Northeast, Goa in the west, Punjab in the North-west, and Uttarakhand and UP in the north. Thus, these elections were seen as a sort of referendum on the working of the Narendra Modi government and its decision of demonetization.
These exit polls have also confirmed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is consolidating its position as a pole in the Indian polity replacing the century-old Congress party that has lost its sheen owing to continuous defeats in the recent elections.
Most exit polls have given the indication that BJP is likely to form governments in UP, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. In Punjab, however, the Congress is tipped to replace the Badal Government after March 11 when the results would be announced officially.
In Goa, the BJP will retain its power with an expectation of 15-21 seats. Goa elections had an interesting angle of rebellion by one of the vanguards of RSS who revolted against the organisation and formed a separate state unit of RSS. Subhash Welingkar also formed the BBSS and converted it into a party to contest elections in association with MGP and other smaller parties that have sided with the BJP earlier. Later, he has announced the dissolution of his party and separate RSS unit and merged it with the original RSS.
If the exit polls proved to be correct in case of Manipur a state strategically located on the north-eastern border and ridden with militancy and factional feuds, it would be a feather in the BJP’s cap and also a credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. The BJP has captured power in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and now the state of Manipur also likely to fall in its kitty.
Punjab is the only state where the BJP in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is not doing well. But there the party has played the second fiddle to the SAD. But the winning of the Congress is a good omen for the state. Congress is hundred times better than the anarchist AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal.
However, the exit polls giving just 5-7 seats to SAD-BJP combine in Punjab seems to be unrealistic and unbelievable. The real picture will be clear on March 11.
Most exit polls have predicted that next government in India’s most populous and politically important state of UP will be of the BJP. The party is likely to win 190-210 seats as compared to 110-130 seats of the ruling SP and Congress alliance and the BSP getting 57-74 seats.
Annoyed with the exit polls and prospects of losing power in the state, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has indicated that he could go to any extent to ‘stop the BJP at any cost’ from coming to power in his state. That means he is willing to ally with Mayawati’s BSP. He said so in an interview to the BBC as reported by the media channels. However, the BSP has rejected his offer for the post-poll alliance as an immediate reaction to his proposal. The BSSP has claimed that they will form the government on their own in the state.
The BJP vote share is around 33% while the SP could get just 27% and the BSP 14.65%. The way UP voted for BJP indicated the fact that Prime Minister Modi has retained his popularity even though demonetisation was seen as denting his popularity.
Since PM Modi himself spearheaded the party campaign in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP victory will put a final stamp on his popularity and approve of his policies—especially demonetisation. The image boost will launch a massive wind in his favour for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.