Only soothsayers or psephologists can claim to know a voter's mind and predict a poll outcome. I am neither. But I am still making three predictions about the forthcoming elections to the four state Assemblies and a Union Territory. And I am confident the electoral verdict will vindicate my claims.
One, the Congress will not get even one additional vote or seat over what it already has. Two, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will improve its tally, both in terms of seats and votes. Three, while the BJP vote share has fallen in every election after its peak performance in the 2014 General Elections (Delhi and Bihar are examples), Kerala will be an exception.
The BJP's votes will nearly double in the forthcoming Kerala Assembly elections compared to its ten per cent vote share in the last parliamentary poll.
Let us start with Tamil Nadu. There could be little doubt that the "Amma" factor will overwhelm everything else there. However, there can be no doubt that the BJP, which is leading yet another front in Tamil Nadu, will make substantial gains in terms of vote percentage even in a scenario where power game will be a two party, bitter personal rivalry, play. While I would not like to guess on the number of seats contesting parties may win, the BJP's vote share will surely improve.
|Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa.|
The stars indicate that the BJP has an even chance of winning power in Assam, replacing the 15-year Congress rule. The Tarun Gogoi-led state government has, over the years, made no breakthrough in the perennial problem of Bangladeshis flooding into Assam, thereby shooting up the percentage of Muslims in the demographic profile of the state.
The virtual shrinkage of support to the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has led to the rise of the Muslim communal party - AIDUF. No wonder, people in the state are looking at the BJP for a breakthrough to this communal cauldron that is also threatening India.
No political analyst will risk his reputation in the game of psephology by forecasting that the BJP has a chance of coming to power in West Bengal and/or Kerala. The main contenders in both the states are banking on minority votes.
That the earlier aggressive communist cadres have equal and no less brutal challengers in the Trinamool Congress is seen on the streets of West Bengal. The Congress has to live with the fact that many of its supporters have joined the Mamata Banerjee bandwagon. The once central ruling party has now to look for an election partner in the state.
With public disillusionment growing against the state government, Mamata is now on the defensive. The reports are that PM Narendra Modi's campaign has presented a third alternative with its sole emphasis on development.
As for Kerala, many political observers see the BJP as a strong group in the new Kerala Assembly where the Marxist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) will be the main contenders for power. The Congress-led UDF - like the previous UPA government at the Centre - is hit by a plethora of corruption charges.
Sometimes coincidences are almost miraculous. Mamata Banerjee is mired in the Saradha scam with several of her ministers charge-sheeted in it. Oommen Chandy has hit the rock bottom in Kerala with the Sarita Nair's solar scam.
Both governments have their members dragged into court. The two-front contests, traditional arena for political rivalry in Kerala, are now rocked by the formation of a strong new party that has been sponsored by the powerful general secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, Velappalli Natesan.
The Hindu OBCs, who have been badly affected by the Oommen Chandi government's sudden imposition of prohibition throwing lakhs of OBCs out of jobs and closure of bars and legitimate alcohol making and distribution business, have now rebelled and have formed a political party. This has aligned with the BJP and is contesting all the seats.
With the firm support of the OBC Ezhavas this year, the BJP is expected to make its debut in the Assembly in significant numbers. That could mean both beginning of the end of the two-front play as well as entry of the BJP as a serious contender for power.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)