The Hindi heartland along with Gujarat and Maharashtra hold the keys to power in the ongoing General elections for all political parties.
Big ticket States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar along with smaller ones like Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana send 227 MP’s to the lower house and coupled with Maharashtra and Gujarat this number goes to 301 which is more than 55% of the strength of the Lok Sabha.
The importance of these States can be gauged from the fact that in 2014, the BJP won 230 seats on its own in these States which was almost 81% of the total seats won by the party in 2014.
Thus the Hindi heartland along with Gujarat and Maharashtra are crucial for both the BJP and the Congress, particularly the former if it has to retain power since this has been the party’s favourite hunting ground where it has reaped rich harvests in 2014.
However, it would be fair to say that the ruling party will not be able to repeat its 100% performance of 2014 in States like Rajasthan and Gujarat, where it won all seats on offer, and its spectacular performance in UP and Madhya Pradesh .
A loss of seats is on the cards for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of an opportunistic alliance between the SP and the BSP along with the caste arithmetic of the state. The party’s ultimate tally will depend on its ability to offset the likely losses in these States with gains in the North-East and West Bengal .
Modi is set to breach Mamta’s bastion and any gains in West Bengal, where 42 seats are up for grabs, would be crucial in the final analysis.
Modi could have found a new ally in Naveen Patnaik as the aftermath of cyclone “Fani” indicated where the Prime Minister had a word of praise for Patnaik and his handling of the situation in coordination with the Centre. These new equations could come into play if the party were to fall a little short of the magic figure.
But if the Modi factor and the Balakot strikes hold sway over the electorate of the country then all these equations would come a cropper and the BJP will romp home victorious with an absolute majority on it’s own.
At the other end of the political spectrum are a plethora of political parties, some in an opportunistic alliance completely opposed to their ideologies. Their sole aim is to prevent Modi from coming back to power.
But even though they are forging alliances out of desperation, there are differences and gaping holes already in the opposition ranks with Mamta’s Trinamul at loggerheads with the Congress and the latter in an uneasy relationship with SP-BSP combination.
The oldest national party will have to pull up a stellar performance in the 3 States won by it five months back (Rajasthan , Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) apart from making a dent in Gujarat and Maharashtra to be in the reckoning. Congress will have to cross the 150 mark on its own to be able to rally the regional parties behind it which looks a tall order given its minuscule presence in the biggest State (Uttar Pradesh) which sends 80 MP’s to the lower house.
The wisdom of the electorate of this country has never been in doubt and they have always exercised their franchise keeping the nation’s interest paramount more often than not. They are expected to do the same in this election also.
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