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India awaits political Super Sunday
Publication Date : 08-12-2013
The counting of votes in the assembly elections in four major states - Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan - takes place tomorrow, whose outcome is bound to have wide-ranging ramifications for national politics in the run-up to the coming general elections.
The ruling congress and the principal opposition, the BJP, are directly pitted against each other in bipolar polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, while they have been joined by the new entrant, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, in an unprecedented triangular contest in Delhi.
All exit polls and post-poll election surveys have written the congress off in these four states, virtually projecting a 4-nil sweep by the BJP. Some exit polls have, however, predicted a hung assembly for the 70-seat Delhi assembly, projecting an impressive debut by the AAP while widely differing on its estimated share of seats, ranging from 6 up to even 31. A few of them have predicted the defeat of congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit - who has been holding this post since 1998 - at the hands of Kejriwal in her New Delhi constituency.
The outcome of the four states’ elections is bound to be significant as they are perceived to be semi-finals before the April-May 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
As these states are currently evenly divided between the congress and the BJP - with the former ruling in Delhi and Rajasthan and the latter being in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - a BJP sweep would boost its momentum for the Lok Sabha elections besides fuelling the campaign of its Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, who did extensive electioneering in these states.
The BJP CMs of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh, are seeking consecutive third terms in their respective states. In Rajasthan, the congress CM, Ashok Gehlot, faces a fierce challenge from the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP.
A significant feature of these polls has been the unusually high voters’ turnout in these states, including the national capital.
The counting of votes in four states will start from 8 a.m. tomorrow amid tight security. Counting for the assembly elections in Mizoram, where polling took place on November 25, is on Monday.
If the congress suffers a rout in these polls as predicted, it would reflect poorly on the leadership of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi who is set to be pitted against Modi in the 2014 general elections. The BJP camp is jubilant over exit poll predictions while there seems to be disquiet and uneasiness in congress circles.
The congress camp feels the party would wrest Chhattisgarh from the BJP, give it a tough fight in Madhya Pradesh, and would win Mizoram with reduced margins. The congress is, however, keeping its fingers crossed over the Rajasthan and Delhi poll.