Jubilation is In All Quarters for Congress Who Succeeded in Three States Out of Five

Succeeding in constituting majority in three states- BJP’s bastion-Rajasthan, Hindi heartland Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Congress has traversed this hard-nosed competition with flying colours. In Rajasthan, the forte of BJP where the BJP had been at the helm since 15 years, the congress managed to clasp as many as 99 seats out of a total of 199 assembly seats. Vasundhara Raje has to face a crushing defeat with a piddling 73 in its account, RLM got 3 votes while others got 24.

Where the Congress squeeze out BJP in its own haven with a razon-thin edge, MNF and TRS took over the turn from the resurgent Congress in Mizoram and Telangana respectively. In Mizoram its MNF which is riding in the driver’s seat with a bewitching majority of 26 seats out of 40 in the North-eastern sanctum. Telangana doesn’t have a different scenario from Mizoram, here TRS managed to give a sweeping defeat to Congress with a majority ramped up by 95 seats out of 199 seats.

Madhya Pradesh- the Hindi heartland, where BJP hoped to win with on faith, seems to have backstabbed BJP with a majority been endorsed to Congress at a spellbound number of 114 out of 230 total Lok Sabha seats.

If looked at Naxal-smacked Chhattisgarh, the picture only corrodes for BJP. Congress finishes off first at gleaming number of 68 out of 90 seats manifesting a sizeable majority whereas BJP got only 15 seats in its lap.

KCR Led TRS Pitched Lead over Congress-Chandrababu Naidu Alliance

Telangana Rashtra Samithi led by K Chandrashekar Rao has considerably secured a leading position in Telangana according to the counting till now. K Chandrashekar Rao’s gambit to dissolve the Telangana assembly has paid off humungusly as it helped the party to lead by 82 of the state’s 119 seats, whereas the alliance is in 24.

K Chandrashekar Rao’s move to dissolve the Telangana assembly appears to have paid off handsomely as his Telangana Rashtra Samithi established a huge lead over the Congress-Chandrababu Naidu alliance in the Telangana assembly elections today. The party is leading in 82 of the state’s 119 seats, the alliance in 24.

Early leads also show the BJP leading in two seats.

For the Congress and Mr Naidu, a setback in the state will have ramifications for their efforts to forge a united opposition. Mr Naidu has taken on the task of forging a united front for which, a huge 21-party meeting was held in Delhi yesterday.

Exit polls had predicted a win for KCR, as Mr Rao is popularly known. But the victory margin was smaller.

The counting was preceded by high drama In the state. Yesterday, despite the exit poll predictions, the Congress and Mr Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party had met Governor EL Narasimhan and requested that in case of a split verdict, they be given the first chance to form government.

The state BJP, which had bitterly criticized KCR and his party during the election campaign, hinted that they were open to backing the TRS if it distances itself from the AIMIM. But it was shot down by the party. State BJP leader K Laxman, who made the unauthorized offer, was severely reprimanded by his party.

For the Congress and Chandrababu Naidu, a setback in Telangana will have ramifications for their efforts to forge a united opposition.

Congress leader Hanumantha Rao said they were open ally with AIMIM, but Asaduddin Owaisi ruled it out. Mr Owaisi said the TRS would win the election on its own and had a three-hour meeting with Mr Rao later in the afternoon.

Elections for the 119-member state assembly were held on December 7.

5 States Election Results Under Computation

Rahul Gandhi appears to be a lucky charm of the Congress party which barged on the verge of extinction in 2014 elections, is now swirling the poll counts as the leading party in the five states.

With the sudden slump in electoral fortunes of the BJP, 2019 is no longer a walkover for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The result is a fresh lease of life for the Congress which now has a stronger claim to leadership in the proposed grand alliance of non-BJP parties in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In Telangana, however, the party’s alliance with Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP has failed to dent K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti which is zooming towards a thumping return to power. It’s a vindication for KCR who had called snap polls to capitalise on interim popularity. In Mizoram, the ruling Congress has lost out to Mizo National Front with CM Lal Thanhawla trailing.

 

Among the big players in fray, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan are leading in Jhalrapatan and Budhni seats, respectively. Congress candidate and Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh is trailing against Raje in Jhalrapatan. Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh is also trailing against Congress candidate Karuna Shukla, who is Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece.

BJP chief Amit Shah also had a discussion with party general secretary and MP Bhupendra Yadav on results of Rajasthan elections. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP says that their vote percentage is higher than the Congress so all’s not lost. They are in the game. Party incharge of MP, Dharmendra Pradhan, is in touch with state leaders and is monitoring leads coming from all counting centres.

Crucial meeting is underway in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence. BJP national VP Prabhat Jha and other top leaders are present. Discussion is being held on BJP’s results in the state.

“People are tired of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Unemployment, farmers, rupee are worrying trends. Trend shows it is going to be a change in 2019,” says former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah.

“People know that ‘achche din’ have not come. They know that black money didn’t come. They know that there is no employment. PM Modi should not have been so proud and isolated others. We won’t do that. We will keep opposition with us and we’ll reach out to Independents,” says Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan.

If the prevailing trends continue, BSP presently leading at five seats in MP, could emerge as a kingmaker as both BJP and Congress are away from the magic figure of 116.

Record High Turnout in MP Not Against or For Anyone | The record high voter turnout in Madhya Pradesh is clearly not a wave for or against anyone. Early trends suggest that of the 81 seats which saw huge voter turnouts, BJP is leading on 35 seats and Congress on 42 seats. When MP saw a record voter turnout of 75% on November 28.

However, Congress supporters had argued that it was a vote for their party considering the remarkably high voter turnout of 80% in rural areas and was therefore a vote for change.

Congress’ Shashank Bhargava is leading from Vidisha. In the 2013 Assembly elections, BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had defeated Bhargava by a margin of 16,966 votes from Vidisha. However, BJP’s Umakant Sharma is leading in Sironj. Sharma is the brother of Vyapam accused and former minister of higher and technical education Laxmikant Sharma.

Vasundhara Raje now leading in Jhalrapatan by a margin of over 4,000 votes.

In Mizoram, Dr BD Chakma, who quit the Congress to join BJP leading from Tuichawng, while Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) is leading in two — Aizawl North I and II.

Raman Singh Trailing Behind Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Niece | Early trends in the Hindi heartland of Madhya Pradesh, where CM Raman Singh is battling for a fourth term against Congress and a third front. The Congress has fielded former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla against Singh in Rajnandgaon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bihar Ally Upendra Kushwaha Resigned

As the nation is at the brink of elections, Upendra Kushwaha, union minister resigned from his office and exited the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) today in a move that had been anticipated for months because of his growing resentment with another ally, Nitish Kumar, and his dominance in seat-share for the 2019 general election.

Mr Kushwaha is also expected to join a big opposition meet to discuss a common strategy to fight the BJP next year.

Mr Kushwaha, the chief of the RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party), had been flirting with the opposition for some time and met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi this morning before sending his resignation to PM Modi.

“Nearly five years ago I joined the National Democratic Alliance, under your leadership, with tremendous hope and expectations. During the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 you made several commitments to the people of Bihar and to the nation at large. It was in this context that I had extended my unconditional support to the BJP,” the minister of state wrote in his resignation letter.

Mr Kushwaha leaves the NDA minus his two state lawmakers or parliamentarian Arun Kumar, who had floated his own party earlier. But his exit triggers political realignment in Bihar, which has 40 seats, just before the national election.

It is a huge boost for the opposition, especially for RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, who has taken charge of the opposition in Bihar since his father was jailed for corruption in Dec 2017. Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar’s arch rival who quit his Janata Dal United last year, is believed to be ready to merge his party with Mr Kushwaha’s, so together they can have a better share of seats in an opposition alliance.

Upendra Kushwaha has been upset over seat-sharing for the 2019 national polls, in which Nitish Kumar seems to have struck a better deal than other allies in Bihar.

Mr Kushwaha has made no bones about his disenchantment with the BJP. He had been feeling short-changed since the BJP struck a even-steven seat deal with Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister, last month.

The message for Mr Kushwaha was that he would not be given more than two seats to contest in the Lok Sabha election. Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

His sharpest public expression of revolt against the NDA came in a strongly-worded statement by the RLSP expressing concern over what it believed were objectionable and unnecessary decisions taken by the BJP and the central government. “We are not opposed to construction of mosques and temples. But this is not the function of political parties and their meddling in such matters causes tensions in the society and diverts the attention of the public from real issues,” said the party’s resolution.

On the growing chorus for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya by BJP’s leaders and allies, RLSP’s resolution said it “gives rise to the suspicion that the largest party in the coalition ruling the Centre, and some of its leaders, are deliberately trying to make the people forget about poverty, illiteracy and unemployment and get swayed by emotive issues. The party strongly condemns this attitude”.

The resolution also criticised the Nitish Kumar government in the strongest terms.

BJP and KCR Flocked to Take On Owaisi Led AIMIM

In a bid to take it on Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM first, BJP on Sunday profess its post-poll support to KCR led TRS party in Telangana. Telangana BJP chief K Laxman pronounced that no government can be formed in Telangana without the saffron party’s support.

“The TRS has to make its stand clear. If the TRS aligns with Majlis (AIMIM), there is no question of the BJP extending support to it. BJP will support non-Congress, non-Majlis party. The final decision will be taken by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, but no party will get clear majority in Telangana,” Laxman said.

The offer is likely to bolster Congress and TDP’s claim of the TRS being a ‘B-team’ of the BJP. The saffron party had also made a similar charge against KCR, accusing him of colluding with the ‘Mahakutami’ or grand alliance of the Congress and TDP.

Owaisi had earlier said that his party would win the seats that fall in Hyderabad, while the government would be formed by KCR again. He, however, said his party would not join the government.

The exit polls have been almost unanimous in predicting that KCR’s gamble of advancing the assembly polls will pay off and he will retain power. Republic TV and Times Now forecast that his party would win 50-65 and 66 seats in the 119-member assembly. TV9 Telugu and India Today forecast a tally between 75-85 and 75-91 for the ruling party respectively. Some exit polls saw a tighter battle between the TRS and the Congress-TDP combine.

The counting of votes would be taken up on December 11.

Whose Favor Does Voters’ Tide Turn In?

After the 75% turnout in Madhya Pradesh, the highest in an Assembly election in the state so far, many might have believed, and as the common perception goes – that anti-incumbency in the state and a high voter turnout could favour the opposition.

However, contrary to the belief, this high voter turnout or voting percentage in Madhya Pradesh is not an adequate indicator of the anti-incumbency wave in the state. On the contrary, though, past trends from the earlier elections reveal that a change in voter turnout mostly helps the BJP.

In Madhya Pradesh, both BJP and the Congress increased their vote share in the 2013 assembly election. The Congress saw an increase of 3.97% in its vote share, the BJP recorded a vote percentage of 44.87 %, surpassing its previous high of 42.5% in 2003.

In 2013, the BJP also had higher victory margins on average. Of the 165 seats it won in the 230-member assembly, the BJP had a victory margin greater than 10% in more than 90 constituencies. In contrast, the Congress won only 17 of the 58 constituencies with a victory margin greater than 10%.

These high margin victories for the BJP were equally distributed in reserved and unreserved constituencies of the state which play an important in the government formation in the state.

The party also secured 31 of the 47 scheduled tribes (STs) seats.

However, the recent controversy over the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act) could threaten BJP’s prospects in Dalit dominated constituencies.

Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram Buckled Up for Voting

Voting has been initiated in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram since morning. Voter’s turnout in both the state is exhilarating, where Madhya Pradesh- contesting for 230 assembly seats- witnessed a turnout of 6.3% till 10 am, Mizoram on the other hand has seen 15% of turnout till 9 am.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is seeking a fourth term in power. The Congress is banking on anti-incumbency for what it calls a “make or break election”. Mizoram is one of the five states where Rahul Gandhi’s party is still in power. For the BJP, it is a crucial box to be ticked to reach their goal of ruling the northeast.

The BJP has been dominant in Madhya Pradesh since 1990. Amid reports of public anger, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has been in power since 2005, says his achievements — growth rate of 10 per cent, agricultural growth rate of 20 per cent and a five-fold rise in per capita income – will help him get a fourth term.

Mr Chouhan today said it is “pro-incumbency and anti-incumbency” which is at work in the state. Projected as the face of the party in the state, Mr Chouhan has been criss-crossing the state over the last weeks in a campaign that has been boosted by regular appearances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Congress failed to form an alliance with Mayawati, which was expected to yield huge dividends in a state with a chunk of Scheduled Caste voters. An analysis of data from 2013 assembly elections showed that an alliance between the two would have meant victory in another 41 seats.

The Congress campaign in Madhya Pradesh has been dogged by reports of fallout between its three power centres in the state – Kamal Nath, who has been made the election in-charge, former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, a close aide of party chief Rahul Gandhi. The leaders have denied any rift.

In Mizoram, where Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is seeking a third consecutive term, the ruling Congress and the main opposition party, the Mizo National Front, have fielded 40 candidates each. The BJP, hoping to open its account in the state, is contesting in 39 seats. The Zoram Peoples’ Movement, an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, is contesting in 35 seats.

The counting of votes for Madhya Pradesh Pradesh and Mizoram will take place on December 11, along with that of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, where assembly elections are also being held.

Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh Puts BJP in a Spot

RSS’s- always a supporting pillar to BJP-member has on Sunday lambasted on the BJP for practicing and spreading communal polarisation in poll-bound states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which is a “huge challenge” for the Congress. He also alleged that for every Amit Shah [BJP chief], there are “10 Amit Shahs” in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh who practice “covert polarisation”.

“There is a high degree of communal polarisation that the BJP is doing in every election and in these states,” Ramesh, a former union minister, told PTI. “The only explanation I have for the Uttar Pradesh win of the BJP [in the 2017 Assembly elections is the frightening level of communal polarisation. They are doing this in Chhattisgarh and certainly in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.”

Ramesh alleged the BJP indulged in both overt and covert polarisation. “One is overt polarisation, which is the language used by Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said. “Then there is covert polarisation done by the RSS and its people through the word of mouth.”

“For every Amit Shah there are 10 Amit Shahs of the RSS who are practising and preaching covert polarisation,” the Congress leader added. “That is what happened in Uttar Pradesh.”

The former Union environment minister claimed Shah was “the new word for taanashahi [dictatorship]”. “It [polarisation] is a challenge we have to face whether in power or outside,” Ramesh told PTI. He said the party’s battle with the RSS is a “long drawn out” one.

Ramesh accused Modi of “falsification of facts, falsification of history” in his electoral campaign. “He is not prime ministerial in his campaign,” the Congress leader alleged. “[Look at] the way he distorts history, the way he falsifies facts, the way he abuses his political opponents.”

However, Ramesh asserted that the Congress will perform well in Assembly elections to the five states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. The results for all five states will be declared on December 11.

J&K Assembly Dissolved Due to Extensive “Horse Trading”

Following the ongoing horse trading between former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who is backed by the BJP, Satya Pal Malik decided to pull the plugs on State’s Legislative Assembly Wednesday evening.

In a stride both arch rivals have unanimously supported this dissolution of the assembly amid the fray of forming new government in the state.

Ms Mufti said her Peoples’ Democratic Party has the support of arch-rival Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress. The state has been under Governor’s Rule since June, when the BJP ended its ruling alliance with Ms Mufti. In a statement, the governor justified dissolving the assembly citing reports of extensive horse trading.

Ms Mufti tweeted her letter to the Governor, claiming she could not reach him through fax or phone. The former Chief Minister said she has the support of 56 lawmakers, including 12 from the Congress and 15 from the National Conference, which is expected to provide outside support.

Sajad Lone, however, did have a phone conversation with the Governor. “I shall submit the Letter of Support from the BJP legislature Party and other members supporting the government… as and when asked to do so by your Excellency,” his letter read.

In the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly, the majority mark is at 44. Mr Lone, whose party has two lawmakers, said he has the support of the BJP, which has 26 legislators and “more than 18 other lawmakers”. The People’s Conference was founded by Sajad Lone’s father Abdul Ghani Lone, who was killed by Pakistan-based terrorists in 2002.

The governor’s advice for dissolution of the assembly will pave way for elections in the state within the next six months. The tenure of the governor’s rule is ending next month, which will be followed by President’s rule.

Governor Malik said he reached the conclusion to dissolve the assembly due to “The impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and “Reports of extensive horse trading and possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators”. The governor, sources said, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi two days ago and reportedly followed it up with a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah.

Shortly after the governor dissolved the assembly, Omar Abdullah tweeted: “@JKNC_ has been pressing for assembly dissolution for 5 months now. It can’t be a coincidence that within minutes of @MehboobaMufti letter staking claim the order to dissolve the assembly suddenly appears.”

In a later tweet, Ms Mufti said, “PS – In todays age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at HE Governor’s residence didn’t receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution”.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad contradicted Ms Mufti’s claim, saying, “nobody was keen to form a government”. “Neither was National Conference keen to form a government, the Congress was not keen at all to form a government. It was a suggestion,” Mr Azad told NDTV.

The BJP jeered in a series of tweets. “The proposed alliance between the INC and the PDP broke up even before it was formed. They have taken contradictory positions on dissolution. One supports it and the other opposes it,” one tweet read. “The best option in such a scenario is to go in for a fresh election at the earliest. This assembly cannot produce a stable government,” it said in another tweet.

Arch-rivals Mehbooba Mufti and the National Conference found themselves on the same side after Constitution’s Article 35A – the bedrock of the special status of the state – was challenged in the Supreme Court. The fight to preserve it has the backing of the Kashmiri people. The BJP has been against some of these special rights and privileges.