The exit polls put out by several polling organizations have indicated towards BJP retaking popular support in several states where it had met resistance during the assembly elections last year. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are few of the states where this trend is evident. In Southern India, Karnataka has also been presenting a favorable situation for the BJP, with the party poised to make a decisive sweep in the general election. With the BJP proving popular support of the voter’s different states where the governments are relying on hair thin or unsustainable political majority might experience a shift of power in favor of the BJP. Two top contenders where voters have indicated their disillusion from the current regimes in the state are Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
Karnataka: Voices of dissent from within the Congress have sounded alarms in the coalition.
Karnataka had presented an interesting situation following the assembly elections in the state with the post-poll alliance of JD(S) and the Congress preventing the more popular BJP with a maximum number of seats(104) from forming the government. JD(S) with the least number of seats(37), riding on Congress‘ desperation, was successful in grabbing the chief minister’s post despite Congress being the major contributor to the post-poll coalition with 78 seats.
This post-poll coalition was seen by many being contrary to peoples mandate as the Congress and the JD(S) had fought election opposing each other ferociously, however, later on, giving in to political greed had forged this alliance of convenience. Nonetheless, this alliance with no ideological basis has been facing turbulent waters situation since its inception. Several incidents indicting towards possible cracks in the alliance have surfaced. As alliance with JD(S) already in a critical condition, problems for the Congress have further intensified with the exit polls predicting an embarrassing defeat for the UPA.
These predictions indicating Congress’ dismal performance have sparked off dissent from within the grand old party. Senior Karnataka Congress leader Roshan Baig had blown the trumpet of this rebellion sending waves of uncertainty in the alliance. He said, “Portfolios were sold. How can I blame Kumaraswamy for it? He wasn’t allowed to function in this government. From Day 1, Siddaramaiah had said I am going to be the CM. You have gone to their doorstep to form the government.”
Furthering his attack on Congress in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, ex-CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao, Roshan Baig added, “No seats were given to Christians and only one seat was given to a Muslim in Karnataka. These communities were ignored. I’m upset with this. We have been used. KC Venugopal is a buffoon. I feel sorry for my leader Rahul Gandhi ji. Buffoons like Venugopal, the arrogant attitude of Siddaramaiah and the flop show Gundu Rao…The result is this,” the senior leader told news agency ANI on Tuesday morning.
Other than Baig, at least four Congress MLAs led by Ramesh Jarkiholi had already indicated towards joining the rebel train. Umesh Jadhav, another such dissident MLA who won on a Congress ticket is already in the BJP and contested against Congress heavyweight Mallikarjun Kharge on his home turf for the Kalaburagi Lok Sabha seat.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has also indicated the rising differences in the alliance. Kumaraswamy had recently cancelled his Delhi visit where he was supposed to meet other top opposition leaders of the anti- Narendra Modi camp.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) May 21, 2019
Many analysts have argued that differences within the party as well as with the alliance partner JD(S) have become too much to sustain the coalition government and if the exit poll results hold on the 23rd of May, that could mean the end of coalition in Karnataka.
Madhya Pradesh: BSP might prove to be a Trojan horse for the Congress.
Madhya Pradesh which has been a centre of rugged politics saw a marginal shift in the political sentiment with Congress winning the 2018 assembly polls despite getting 0.5% less votes than the BJP. This hair thin victory of the Congress has thereby translated into Congress sidelining Jyotiraditya Scindia and installing Kamal Nath as the CM. What followed was a barrage of lapses in the governance of the second largest state in India which is home to more than 7 crore citizens.
In elections for the 230-member assembly last year, the Congress won 114 seats and the BJP coming a close second with 109. The Bahujan Samaj Party has two seats, Samajwadi Party one and the independents have four seats. The Congress had captured power from the BJP after the assembly polls. Two short of the majority mark on its own, the Congress has the support of BSP and SP in the house. However with the BJP regaining the popular support as predicted by the exit polls the longevity of this hair-thin majority government is surely a question. As a government with a hair thin majority already in a critical condition, problems for the Congress have further intensified with the exits polls predicting a near repeat of the 2014 general elections in the state.
BSP supremo Mayawati had earlier also indicated towards pulling support from the coalition. Mayawati’s comments came after Congress had attempted to poach several BSP politicians into its fold. After Mayawati’s remarks the clouds of doubts have further darkened over the longevity of Kamal Nath Government which is already running on a marginal majority. The Congress has 113 members of its own and has 120 along with the BSP, Samajwadi Party and four independents. If Mayawati takes the leap, the Congress will be down to 118 and if BSP’s alliance partner in UP, SP follows suit the Congress tally will roll down to just 117. With just 117 MLAs in the MP Legislative Assembly where the majority mark is 116, the situation for Kamal Nath Government will be, if not impossible but definitely hard.
Recently Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh assembly Gopal Bhargava had also indicated towards the turn of tables in Madhya Pradesh. Gopal Bhargava had urged the governor to convene a special section of the assembly “to discuss important issues and test the Congress government’s strength”.
There are various problems that have emerged in the past six months. The state is witnessing an acute shortage of drinking water, law and order is under duress and farmers are facing non-payment issue for the wheat and gram crops,” he said in a letter to the Governor.
Loss of public sentiment can also be a catalyst in swaying the independents away from the Congress government, leaving an open ground for the BJP with 109 members, to garner support for the formation of the government.
Problems for the newly elected Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh have been spiraling since it took charge after the marginal victory in 2018 assembly polls. After mismanagement in urea supply and failure to fulfill poll promises, Income Tax department’s raids on close aides, including Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of Kamal Nath have further added to the problems of the Congress in the state. Kamal Nath government has also been under a lot of pressure from increasing farmers’ distress and deteriorating law and order situation in Madhya Pradesh.
Rumors making the rounds on different social media platforms, which point towards a theory of the multiple I-T raids being an internal conspiracy to undermine the Kamal Nath government have also indicated towards the factionalism that already mars the Congress organization in the state.
As EC declares the general election results on the 23rd of May, these two states will surely be witnessing increased political activity which might lead to Congress losing two more major states from its portfolio.