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2019 election narrative is unfolding

         The narrative of 2019 Lok Sabha elections is gradually unfolding. No single party is able to emerge as serious contender among all States and across all seats. Relatively BJP is having wider presence all over India. It was able to expand its base in East and North-East post 2014 elections. Its journey started winning Assam in partnership with AGP and slowly win over regional parties to its side. In Arunachal Pradesh, it maneuvered entire Congress legislature wing and became major party in the State. Similarly, it was able to coordinate regional parties in Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland and made them allies in power. Likewise, in Sikkim and Mizoram, the regional parties in power maintain cordial relations with BJP and they are members in NDA in North -East. Lastly, very surprisingly, BJP replaced CPM in Tripura with massive mandate. In case of East, it has emerged as serious contender to BJD in Odisha relegated Congress as third force in the State. In West Bengal, it has now emerged as distant second to ruling party pushing both CPM and Congress to irrelevance. In this East and North-East, BJP gained at the cost of Congress as well as CPM.  At the same time, BJP was not able to expand its base in South. Its presence in AP, Tamilnadu, Telangana and Kerala is either marginal or insignificant. Only in Karnataka, it is a serious contender. In North, Central and West, it retains its base as serious contender. In fact, in Maharashtra, it was able to emerge as single largest party after 2014. Overall, BJP emerged as relatively strong national party except in 100 seats out of total 543 seats.

     The case of Congress party is still not satisfactory. It is not a serious contender in 160 seats and even in the remaining seats, except around 200 seats, it is totally depending on allies as junior partner. In East and North- East except Assam, it is almost marginalised. In this election , it is no way matching BJP on its own. Post 2014, it is neither grown into new areas nor stopped erosion of its bases in many States. Only solace is the recent results in MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh. In UP, West Bengal, Tamilnadu, AP, Odisha and Delhi it is not in the first two contenders list. Even in Bihar, it is a smaller force on its own. It may take some more time to watch how its fortunes will be in future. It will be known only after 2019 elections.

  Next is the Regional parties. At the out set, the influence of these parties confined to respective States.However, in many States, they are serious contenders and most likely number one party. The case of TMC, TRS, DMK,SP-BSP, AAP, YSRCP/TDP, BJD comes into this category. JD(U), RJD and NCP are large partners in respective States. All these regional parties are going to play bigger role in the coming elections. Most of these parties attended the UNITY rally at Kolkata today. Exception is BJD and TRS. Mostly Regional  parties are anti-BJP as their main contender in respective State is BJP. Bringing them together under one platform is difficult because there is no common ideology among them. Added to it, sometimes, their regional interest clashes with other regional party. As on now, they are largely united because of fear of Modi but that may not bind them in the long run. Broadly, this is the scenario in the coming elections. 

  Coming to the details of contest, there will be direct contest between BJP and Congress in 154 seats spreading Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh,Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka and Assam. In another 121 seats, BJP Plus clash with Congress plus spreading in Maharashtra,Bihar, Jarkhand, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. In another 150 seats , the fight will be between BJP and regional parties spreading in Uttar Pradesh,West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi. Also, in other 101 seats, Congress along with its allies clash with regional parties spreading over Tamilnadu, Telangana, Kerala, and AP. In AP, though Congress and TDP are now allies, the model of contest is not yet decided. Whether TDP will contest alone as strategically or jointly, it is certain that TDP will join with Congress in the post election scenario. The parties namely BJD, TRS and YSRCP will contest independently without joining this group or that group. Though SP-BSP-RLD also contest as a block, it is certain that this block will align with non-BJP front in the post elections. 

   These permutations and combinations may broadly reflect the coming election hungama. In today's Unity rally at Kolkata, Rahul Gandhi, Mayavathi and Sitaram Yechuri did not attend. Of course, Naveen Patnaik and KCR did not attend due to their anti-Congress posture. But the earlier three not attending reflect the state of affairs with in this non-BJP front. There is no unanimity on who should be the Prime Ministerial candidate among them. Even before elections, this is the state of affairs, how things will be after elections. This is hundred billion question. This may impact the elections to some extent. However, the emerging scenario is to be taken seriously. In each State, Ghatbandhan is taking place strongly. In UP, though Congress is not included, SP-BSP-RLD combine is a strong force to face BJP. Arthematics favour this combine in UP but we must see how Chemistry works among their voters. Likewise, the RJD led alliance attracted more parties including RLSP from NDA. This combine also may be a strong contender. In Jarkhand, all non-BJP parties came to single platform to fight the elections. In Maharashtra, the talks between Congress and NCP are almost finalised whereas BJP and Shiva Sena are at logger heads even now. In Tamilnadu, DMK led alliance is at dominant position in the light of no charismatic leaders in AIADMK. In Kerala, UDF may sweep the polls due to blunders committed by LDF in Sabarimala issue. So despite no PM candidate, the fight looks like very serious and BJP must work very hard to face this situation. As on now, this is the narrative unfolding. But in politics anything may happen in between. Let us watch it carefully


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