Anti-penultimate because the way wind blows now – in these five state elections – in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala (and Puducherry with its symbolic, numerical advantage for political morale) – will decide how volatile the tide would be – in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur elections the next year – especially for BJP, Congress, SP, BSP, SAD, AAP, AIADMK, DMK, Left Front – and all others in anti-Congress, anti-BJP or anti-Congress/BJP camps.
The outcome of these state elections will tell if BJP will be able to fill the void that owes its genesis to the glaring mistake the party has committed in Uttar Pradesh by neglecting the state electorally after winning the absolute numbers in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls – 73 out of 80 (2 with its ally Apna Dal).
BJP had the golden opportunity to regain strength and revitalize cadre in Uttar Pradesh, the base from where the party began painting its wider canvas, but the party has wasted it – and is wasting it. It has no leader from Uttar Pradesh today who can mobilize party workers and masses for a positive outcome in the assembly elections next year.
So, from a sure-looking chance, Uttar Pradesh looks now a lost opportunity for BJP.
A loss in these polls would certainly bring the morale of party workers down and coupled with the ‘law of average factor and anti-incumbency against the BJP led NDA government at the centre’ that have diminished the ‘Narendra Modi wave’, if the party doesn’t score big even in Assam, because it has virtually no chance in other states going to polls this year, the humiliation will render any comeback possibility effectively worthless.
And if it is the scenario in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab is going to be lot worse – because the projections are already being made that it would be an AAP Vs Congress fight there – and the BJP-SAD government would crumble under the burden of sky-high anti-incumbency, mammoth levels of corruption and miserably failed governance that left state’s finances high and dry.
For now, BSP is slated to win Uttar Pradesh next year and that is natural given the wave of anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh Yadav government. The BSP chances are further enhanced by absence of any political alternative – like AAP became in the Delhi assembly polls and is now threatening established political players in Punjab. And whatever be the outcome in other states, it is not going to affect the Uttar Pradesh equation, at least in 2017.
For Tamil Nadu, it is all about AIADMK. DMK is not in the race. Projections say. Pollsters vouch for. Ground reports confirm. And other parties including BJP there, at best, could only act as vote-cutters – that is the best case scenario for them. It seems J Jayalalithaa (nicknamed Amma)’s ‘Baahubali’ avatar has a different feeler for voters in Tamil Nadu and, at the moment, it seems it is going to dominate every other factor including the widespread criticism that the Amma government faced in handling the devastating Tamil Nadu floods last year.
Kerala would be interesting to watch for a Congress Vs Left Front battle with Congress facing heaps of problems after chief minister Oomen Chandy’s name emerged in the Solar Scam. A good show here by the Left Front, coupled with a strong performance in West Bengal, even if the Left block fails to form the government there, would revitalize the dying Left Front politics in the country, a must for healthy political discourse.
West Bengal looks a clear chess board for Mamata Banarjee and her party AITC though BJP is trying hard to register impressive footfalls here in its camps, like it is trying in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, but the chances are, if West Bengal would throw any underdog, it would be the Left Front block only.
Like it can happen with Congress in Uttar Pradesh!