oppn parties Exit Polls: The Voter Is Confused, But The BJP Is On The Backfoot

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Exit Polls: The Voter Is Confused, But The BJP Is On The Backfoot

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The exit polls show that the BJP is going to suffer a setback, to put it mildly. Rajasthan is slipping out of its hand while Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh can go either way. In Telengana and Mizoram, the party is nowhere in the picture. This is not a very rosy picture for a party whose president has been aggressively thumping his chest to prove that there is no alternative to his party.

The Rajasthan result is not a surprise for two reasons. First, the electorate there has made it a habit to vote out the incumbent. Since 1993, no party has managed to win consecutive elections in the state. Second, there was a lot of anger against Vasundhara Raje and the Congress under Sachin Pilot admirably converted much of it into votes for itself.

The Madhya Pradesh results are disappointing for the BJP as it has not been able to capitalize on the infighting in the state Congress and its aborted alliance with the BSP. Since Shivraj Chauhan has been ruling for the last 15 years, anti-incumbency was huge, but it was expected that things would be easy for the state satrap given the disarray in the Congress. The results show that the public anger could have converted into votes for the Congress if the party had presented a united face.

Chhattisgarh was also reeling under anti-incumbency despite Raman SinghÂ’s above average governance. The state has seen development but the fruits have not percolated down to the masses. There is talk that crony capitalism and commission culture are thriving in the state. Hence, the angry voters have thought it fit to give Singh a wakeup call. Even if the BJP manages to retain the state, Singh would have to listen to the voters and change his style of governance.

In Telengana, despite the Mahakutami, KCR and his Telegana Rashtriya Samiti have decimated all opposition to emerge victorious in the exit polls. With Hyderabad fast emerging as go-to metropolis and the state attracting investment and talent, maybe the voters did not want to disturb the status quo. TRS is set to get a majority with the Congress a distant second. The BJP is nowhere in the picture.

These results show that the voters are confused. Given a chance, they will not vote for the BJP. But the state of the opposition does not make them vote for them too. Hence, maybe India will once again witness a phase of coalition governments after the thumping majority the BJP got in 2014. Having said this, it must also be said that assembly elections are not usually the pointers for Lok Sabha polls. Local issues dominate the former while the latter is fought differently. The most important inference one can draw from these exit polls is that the opposition must unite if it wants to send Modi back to Gujarat. That is one thing which is easier to say than do.