Upcoming Assembly Polls an Acid Test for BJP and Opposition
The announcement of election dates for the states of Maharashtra and Haryana by the Election Commission, scheduled on October 21, 2019, has put the political pundits on their toes. October 24 would be the day of judgment, as on that date results will be declared. Last date for filing nominations is October 4, and the deadline for its withdrawal is on October 7.
Maharashtra & Haryana Assembly Elections 2019 Schedule
|Issue of Notification||September 27|
|Last Date of Nomination||October 04|
|Nomination Withdrawal||October 07|
|Date of Poll||October 21|
|Counting of Votes||October 24|
CEC Announces Date
Meanwhile, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora sounded the elections bugle on September 21. The loud buzz charged the napping party workers to roll up their sleeves for another fierce battle. All the political parties have already started pulling up their socks and gearing up for another Mahabharata (incidentally Kurukshetra is in Haryana, where the Mahabharata battle was fought). In fact, planning has started in full swing to execute all the pending works within the limited time frame to woo voters. Veterans of polls are busy in finalising the last minute strategy to rectify their old mistakes and emerge political heroes.
Bypolls an Acid Test
In contrast, bypolls for 64 assembly seats all over the country will also take place almost simultaneously. The election body has declared that bypolls won’t be held in West Bengal during the period of Durga Puja.
The following schedule of byelections has been declared by the Election Commission:
|Issue of Notification||September 23|
|Last Date of Nomination||September 30|
|Nomination Withdrawal||October 03|
|Date of Poll||October 22|
|Counting of Votes||October 24|
The Karnataka bypolls for 15 seats will be held due to the disqualification of the MLAs, says CEC Arora.
Imposition of model code of conduct
Further, with the declaration of the date of elections, the model code of conduct has been imposed with immediate effect. It means state governments can’t announce or roll out any fresh schemes to entice the voters. Election commission is the sole authority, which keeps vigil over the implementation/violation of the code of conduct, wherever elections are to be held.
Equal chance for ruling party and opposition
After 2019 general elections, this assembly poll is being seen as significant from different angles. Voters now have the golden opportunity to show their strength and frame of mind, and whether they like the functioning of the central government or the opposition has recovered some lost ground. In May this year, the BJP swept to power for the second term with a thumping majority. Now, it has to win the voters’ faith, while the opposition parties have an equal chance to woo the voters and get back on their feet to stand up against BJP government at the centre.
However, the term of the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly will be over on November 9 and November 2 respectively. At present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is lording over the situation in both the states. BJP wrested both Maharashtra and Haryana from the ruling Congress party in 2014. In Maharashtra, the honeymoon of BJP and Shiv Sena is an old one and almost indestructible.
Seat-sharing an issue
As it happens, seat sharing issue hots up before any elections, but both the parties are working to sort out this problem at the earliest. Although BJP and Shiv Sena fought the 2014 elections separately, BJP bagged 122 seats and emerged as the single largest party in the state, while Shiv Sena pocketed only 63 seats. Later, both came on a common platform and formed the government together. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra is confident that BJP will retain power, and added that he will work in Mumbai.
BJP, Shiv Sena duo favourite
At the same time, the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena partnership has been firing on all cylinders in their campaign in Maharashtra. Last month, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis wooed the common people by taking out a ‘Maha Jan Aadesh Yatra’ to get political mileage. The presence of prime minister Narendra Modi made this strategy more potent. His endeavour to reach out to the commoners through ‘Yatra’ must have given extra yard to the ruling party.
Congress & NCP on one platform
On the other hand, this time Congress has decided to ally with its old companion and stalwart of the state Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra. The grand old party and NCP settled on a seat-sharing formula of 125 seats each, while 38 seats are left for the smaller allies in the forthcoming polls in the state, as announced by former chief minister and veteran leader of the state Prithviraj Chavan.
Fierce battle likely in Haryana
Both BJP and Congress are preparing to lock horns in the upcoming assembly polls in Haryana too. They are gearing up for another fight to form the government in the state. Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar recently launched schemes after schemes to remain the cynosure of all eyes. Like his Maharashtra counterpart, he also took out ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ in an outreach to all 90 assembly segments to unveil his government’s achievements. As per some reports, Chief minister Khattar has a good chance to get overwhelming majority in the upcoming polls.
In contrast, an alliance between the Congress and BSP can’t be ruled out in Haryana. Congress is already busy finalising its shrewd game-plan ahead of the Haryana assembly elections. Top brass of the party has once again adopted the old formula of looking for candidates who are committed to the ‘Gandhian way of life’. The party has been seeking people’s advice for party’s manifesto through the social media.
Uncertainty on the cards
At the outset, it seems like the ruling BJP is a firm favourite to get through the assembly elections. Like cricket, election results in democracy are replete with uncertainty. Other players like the Indian National Lok Dal and other smaller parties can also play a decisive role in the government formation in Haryana, if no party gets full majority.
Scrapping of Article 370, triple talaq bill, passing of various bills in the last parliament session and Modi’s popularity in the USA with the success of ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston, Texas, have given lots of mileage to the BJP. Apart from this, NRC and slashing of income tax for companies, efforts of economic reforms and so on are the most significant issues to lure the voters to propel the BJP to power again. In Haryana, the party has set a goal of “Mission 75” plus, which might just be possible as BJP has many vibrant orators, who can curry favour with ‘aam aadmi’ with their fiery oratory.
Opposition to expose BJP
Meanwhile, the opposition parties are adamant to expose the government’s weakness in all sectors. Slowdown of the economy and lowering of growth target to 5% of the GDP, along with suicides by farmers, loss of jobs, and imposing of hefty fines through Motor Vehicle Act and so on will be raised by the opposition. Congress is ready to raise issues like the disruption of law and order and rise in corruption in Haryana. Despite the feebleness, Congress and its allies will leave no stone unturned in the upcoming assembly byelections.
No use of plastics
Echoing PM Modi’s concern for environment, the chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora has asked all political parties, candidates and volunteers to avoid the use of plastic, polythene and other environmentally hazardous materials for the campaign in next month’s assembly polls. He stressed on the use of eco-friendly material for publicity rather than plastics.