The Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance has completed four years out of its five year term in May. The five year term of the PM Modi led NDA government will face the 2019 Lok Sabha elections stronger than it has ever been before. Overall growth and development, rapid industrialization and advances in agriculture have been the highlight of the past four years. The receptivity of India to the Bharatiya Janata Party has drastically improved in the past four years which has become apparent in the various state elections. Starting from Maharashtra in 2014 to the recent Karnataka polls in 2018 and every election in between, BJP along with its allies have emerged as the victor in the majority of them with a thumping majority. States where BJP did not have a sizeable presence prior to 2014 have also welcomed the BJP and its brand of development oriented politics. With the 2019 elections right around the corner, a lot of surveys and opinion polls predicting the upcoming elections have cropped up. The results of these surveys have one thing in common- they all predict BJP is set to keep its hold on the centre, but with a twist that the grip of the BJP will be shockingly weakened.
ABP-CSDS recently conducted a survey keeping in mind the upcoming Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh elections which are going to take place right before, if not together, with the Lok Sabha elections. The ABP-CSDS survey predicts that BJP might have to face losses in Madhya Pradesh in both the state elections and Lok Sabha elections. This report is surprising considering the fact that there have been three consecutive BJP governments in the state till date. Even in 2014, BJP had secured 55% of the vote share and had clinched 271 seats in 2014. The survey suggests that BJP is likely to get 34% of the vote share in the upcoming elections, which is highly doubtful considering that the same survey has given the now defunct Congress 49% of the vote share. Rajasthan, another state which had given BJP all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, is also going to favour Congress this time according to the survey. A highly unlikely outcome, considering BJP had 45 percent of the vote share against Congress’s 33 percent in 2014, a scenario which is unlikely to change in 2019 considering the popularity of CM Vasundhara Raje in the state.
The ABP-CSDS survey goes on to predict that the BJP-JD(U) combine is going to maintain their dominance in Bihar quite comfortably. With RJD leaders in jail and Congress never having been the dominant player in Bihar, where it has always been part of an alliance, makes Bihar a home run for the BJP and its allies. The survey goes on to predict that Bihar’s neighbour Uttar Pradesh might give a setback to the BJP. This interesting deduction might have arisen from the results of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls which BJP lost against a combined alliance of the SP-BSP. The ABP-CSDS survey has somehow failed to take into consideration the overwhelming victory of BJP in the 2017 assembly elections. Gorakhpur and Phulpur were but an anomaly in the larger scheme of things. CM Yogi in Uttar Pradesh has set in a new era of modernization, by attacking the criminal elements and reforming the education system for the general good of the public. BSP is now a defunct party in the state and the SP is facing infighting in the ruling family. Even a combined alliance of the three broken parties will not be enough to stop the Modi wave from sweeping UP once again as it had in 2014 and 2017.
ABP-CSDS survey predicts that the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 would come as a surprise for the BJP in Maharashtra and Gujarat, where Congress might be able to make inroads in the vote share of BJP. The Gujarat and Maharashtra elections have reposed the trust of the people in BJP, and there would be no major difference even if Shiv Sena decides to break away from its alliance with the BJP. Shiv Sena is not the same force it was under the Late Balasaheb Thackeray, while Uddhav Thackeray has simply failed to capture the hearts of the Maharashtra people. Congress might be able to win some seats in Maharashtra but it would make no difference to the BJP. It would be a wise decision for the Shiv Sena to contest the elections with BJP if it wants to retain its relevance in the state post 2019.
The ABP-CSDS survey predicts that the vote share for BJP will increase in West Bengal and other North-Eastern states. BJP’s emergence in Bengal has been on an upward trend since 2014, and the recently concluded panchayat polls where BJP emerged as the second largest party inspite of poll violence on the part of TMC workers shows the massive support that the BJP has gained in West Bengal. North-Eastern states have also welcomed BJP with open arms in 2018, a situation which can only improve with the passage of time. West Bengal and North Eastern states will continue to offer support to the BJP in 2019. NDA is likely to get 86-94 out of the 124 seats from the North East region, while there will be an upward trend in WB as well. BJP will surely be able to wrench at least a dozen seats from the CPI(M) and TMC come 2019.
Western and Central India, according to the survey, will continue to support BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. The survey has failed to cover the Southern region of India which has opened their eyes to the possibility of BJP in the times to come. BJP will definitely emerge as a significant power source in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the upcoming elections. TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu has failed to deliver on the promises made to his people in the past years, and he has also broken away from the NDA and has chosen to join Congress. This will push the people of Andhra Pradesh towards the BJP and it will definitely be able to grab more seats than all the other parties combined in the Lok Sabha polls. Karnataka, where BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the recently concluded assembly elections, is also going to give BJP the much needed stronghold in the south. With Lingayats already in their favour and the Vokkaligas furious over sharing power with the Congress, BJP will emerge as the largest benefactor in the state.
The results of the recent state elections contradict the findings of the survey which was carried out in 19 states. BJP and NDA will continue to dominate and win the 2019 elections with great ease; Congress and the supposed Third Front will fail to have an impact on the BJP, which will continue to be the single largest party come 2019. This could have been proved by the ABP-CSDS survey as well had it covered all the states in India instead of focusing on just 19. The NDA alliance will comfortably win in 2019, and the debate will likely shift to the 2024 elections once the pre-poll surveys come out.