New Delhi: The electorate is waiting in anticipation for exit polls as it is quite difficult to gauge who will breast the tape and who will lag behind in these Assembly elections to the five states of Telangana, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.
Here’s a look at the five states :
Telangana caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) dissolved the assembly in September and got the EC to schedule elections here along with the four other states even though it was supposed to go to polls in May next year. Major political parties here are KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Congress, Telangana Jana Samithi, Communist Party of India, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and BJP.
The Congress, TDP, TJS and CPI have come together to form the ‘Mahakootami’, the grand alliance, while the BJP and the TRS are going it alone. In 2014, BJP and TDP were allies and since then TDP lost 12 of its 15 MLAs to TRS. KCR has reportedly been siding up with the BJP for which he has been severely criticised. In 2014 assembly election, TRS won 63 seats. Congress came in next with 21 seats, AIMIM secured seven while the BJP won five and its ally, TDP, got 15. The five remaining seats went to Others. Telangana assembly has 119 seats with 60 being the majority mark.
Rajasthan faces a fight between the Congress and the BJP. These two parties have alternately been in power in the state for over two decades. In 2018 assembly elections, the BSP and the AAP are also in the running but not much is expected of them. BJP’s Vasundhara Raje, the incumbent chief minister, is facing a tough fight from Congress. whose president Rahul Gandhi has held 13 rallies across the state.
While opinion polls have favoured the Congress, the fact that it has not announced a chief ministerial candidate may hurt the party’s chances of winning. Also, the party is plagued by in-fighting between Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot and former CM Ashok Gehlot. While Pilot has the youth card in his favour, Gehlot is a seasoned politician. The majority mark in the 200 seat-Assembly is 101. In 2013, the BJP won the 163 seats while the Congress got only 21 seats.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been in power for four consecutive terms. Hoping for an anti-incumbency wave, the Congress has fielded Arun Yadav, former Union minister and former chief of state Congress, against Chouhan. The BSP has 227 candidates, SP has 51 candidates. AAP has also fielded 208 candidates this time around. Rahul has held 21 rallies across the state while BJP’s Amit Shah has held 25 rallies. Madhya Pradesh has 230 Assembly seats and the majority mark is 116 seats. In 2013, assembly elections, BJP won 165 seats, Congress got 58 seats and BSP got a paltry four seats.
Chhattisgarh has a 90-seat Assembly with a majority mark of 46. The main parties battling it out this year are the incumbent BJP, the Congress and the BSP which has struck an alliance with former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s newly-formed party Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC).
Chhattisgarh’s longest serving CM Raman Singh is popular for many schemes; the one of note being his subsidised rice scheme. But he also faces anti-incumbency, having run the state for three consecutive terms. The BSP-JCC’s alliance is expected to hurt Congress which has alleged that Jogi’s JCC is the ‘B’ team of BJP.
On its part, the Congress has promised to waive farmer loans within 10 days of Congress’ win, a major issue this election season. In 2013, BJP won the state with a majority of 49 seats while Congress stood second with 39 seats and BSP scored one seat. Opinion polls for Chhattisgarh have predicted a BJP win but also showed a drop in its number of seats.
In Mizoram, the Congress has 34 seats in the 40-seat assembly. Major political parties are Congress, the Mizo National Front (MNF), Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC), the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Since 1987, two parties have ruled the state — the Congress and the Mizoram National Party (MNF). Incumbent Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has said that he will not ally with any of the Opposition parties even if his party fails to secure a majority. He is running for a third straight term. The BJP is contesting 39 seats this time. MNF is going it alone in the Assembly elections. Though the BJP is not expected to win, it may play the kingmaker once the results are out.