As we write, four critical states are going to polls. Each state has its unique set of challenges and thus becomes critical from a larger national point of view. Let us look at why the four key states could really matter.
The immediately challenge for the BJP will be to retain Rajasthan. The state has seen governments change every five years for nearly 3 decades and to that extent history may be against the ruling combination. But trends change as we did see in Karnataka; albeit through a motley combination. There is strong anti-incumbency for Raje to worry about and it could be a test of whether the magic of 2014 can really be repeated by the NDA government. Farmers’ woes and caste politics could be the key and it could be a pitched battle between BJP and Congress.
Chhattisgarh could be smoother
For the ruling BJP, Chhattisgarh polls may be more straight forward. Raman Singh has retained his popularity and there is no visible opposition in the state. BJP will also be counting on the Jogi-Mayawati combination breaking into the Congress vote bank. The big issue in this state will be development and the spurt in Naxalism. Remember, Naxalism is already a huge corridor and could have larger implications for making full use of mining resources.
Madhya Pradesh middle path
While pre poll analyses hint at a Congress edge in Rajasthan and a BJP edge in Chhattisgarh, MP could be the real cliff hanger. After nearly 15 years at the helm, Shivraj Singh may have a real hard task. The woes of farmers and the Mandsaur shootings are still vivid in the minds of people and the Vyapaam has raised questions on the functioning of the government. While Shivraj Singh may still be leagues above his competitors, Congress has found a magic consensus between Digvijay, Kamal Nath and Scindia.
Telangana could hold the key
It looked like TRS would romp through till the time Congress and TDP formed an alliance. Even TRS admits that it would be a formidable combination. The Congress has shown a willingness to change. It allowed Kumaraswamy to form the government in Karnataka despite being the larger party. It would be willing to do the same with TDP in the state of Telangana. This could be really critical for the general elections coming up next month because it positions the Congress as a party willing to play second fiddle to regional parties. That will mean smaller parties keener to tie up with the Congress. If that becomes a template for 2019 then Telangana may end up being the most crucial of these states. After all, memories of 2004 are still fresh! ©