Friday, December 1, 2023

Polls in five states, the high stakes and the two key seats

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The net effect of the outcomes of the Assembly elections in five states will have a far-reaching impact on the General Election to be held early next year. Hence, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are striving to gain an upper hand. There is no strong regional contender for the two parties in the poll-bound states except Telangana, where the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi is leaving no stone unturned for achieving a hat-trick win while taking on the two national parties head on.
It is a fact that a grand victory in Telangana will definitely enhance the political clout of the respective parties. For the BRS, victory is essential to establish itself as a strong regional party aiming for a national foray. As for the BJP, a victory in TS will increase its prospects in the Lok Sabha elections. For the Congress, a win in Telangana will lend legitimacy to its nationwide bid to lead INDIA strongly against BJP.
To brighten their chances of victory, the respective parties have showered multiple promises on voters, making it difficult to discern which of the parties has an edge. From mere promises and pledges, the political parties have embarked on the path of ‘guarantees’ in order to appear credible to voters. Whether the promises, or for that matter guarantees, are going to be implemented is anybody’s guess. But at present, they are the only weapons at the disposal of the contending parties to gain the confidence of people for gaining power. There appears to be no way out for the parties except to resort to freebies and other inducements to attract voters.
Right from the first election to the present one, parties have employed innovative ways of luring voters. Promises should not be the policy and guarantees cannot be the way out for tangible development and progress. In no other nation, do we see such a deluge of election promises. They work on policies and policies are their strength; they do not exploit weakness of vulnerable sections of people. Because of the hugeness of the Indian population and the need to cater to the needs of all sections of people, various allurements have come into play. Now it has become a la an antibiotic drug. Once you increase the dose of the drug in order to get immediate relief, you are bound to keep on increasing the dose as long as the ailment persists.
The contending parties are enticing people with newer electoral promises, while willing to bear additional burden in order to achieve an edge. This is what is happening in the present Assembly elections to five states. Except in Telangana, the main contending parties in the states going to polls are the BJP and the Congress. In these elections, both the parties are getting ready for the General Election and are hoping that the implication of the outcomes in the five states would set the tone for the national elections.
The Congress, emboldened by its spectacular victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections, is very confident of victories in at least four states, including Telangana. The BJP is equally confident that it has the cutting edge. Apart from other states, Telangana State has been drawing nationwide attention because of the high stakes involved in these polls. Will the people hand a hat-trick win to the ruling BRS or prefer the Congress, which had given the state of Telangana in the first place? The larger question is: given these two parties, where does the BJP stand? It is a different matter that the saffron party has been trying hard to make a mark for itself, with its national leaders, ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah to party chief Nadda, addressing public meetings and stressing the need for a corruption-free rule in the state.
As things stand now, it appears that corruption, sentiment, and allegations of family rule may influence the people of Telangana, rather than indicators of development over the last 10 years. We will have to see whether development overrides sentiment or will it be vice versa in the present keen fight among the main contenders.
More than two thousand candidates are in the fray for 119 seats in Telangana. Particularly in Gajwel and Kamareddy, where Chief Minister and BRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, TPCC chief Revanth Reddy, and BJP’s Eatala Rajender are contesting. It is surprising that all three are contenders for the Chief Minister post. KCR is facing Eatala in Gajwel and Revanth in Kamareddy. If KCR defeats both Eatala and Revanth, his supremacy will be established and if either of the two defeats KCR, their popularity will rise. Apart from all the constituencies, these two seats have been attracting nationwide attention. The outcome in these seats could be a turning point for the contending parties.

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