As far as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is concerned the ongoing Assembly elections are not just ordinary polls, but “very important” for the country, and the party to lay a strong foundation for the Narendra Modi government’s return to power in 2019. Even Prime Minister Modi had made the mention of second stint after winning the 2014 parliamentary polls. BJP is aiming to make India an economic and military superpower by writing off the decision lethargy Congress exercised for a decade over. Assembly polls are being held in five states and the stakes are especially high for the BJP in three of those — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — where it is in power. The saffron party is in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh since 2003 and its rivals believe that any serious slide in its performance in the three states would energise the opposition ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls. Telangana and Mizoram are the two other poll-bound states. In the second innings BJP is looking for a long innings at the helm. Winning the 2019 election will make the BJP invincible from Panchayat to Parliament for a long time. With Karnataka experiment fresh in mind BJP leadership would be hoping to retain the Hindi belt for its future dividends especially with Congress vote percentage rising recently. The BJP in Karnataka tried chasing a strategy of reducing the numbers of its rivals ahead of the floor test to enable its 104-number to appear as a simple majority, but it turned out nought. The Karnataka result is bound to influence the battle of perceptions in south for the BJP. As the party at that time had viewed Karnataka as a ‘gateway to the south’ for acquiring a pan-India profile. So the Madhya Pradesh outcome holds important as the same would have impact in West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Some of the other factors which are going to impact would be demonitisation, GST besides the regional divide and intolerance.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper