New Delhi: Nine states — Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana — and one Union Territory, Jammu and Kashmir, are slated to go to polls and these election results will have an impact on the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
The elections in J&K would be significant too as these would be the first after abrogation of Article 370.
Of all the states, the Congress is in power in two — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — while the BJP and allies have government in the four northeastern states, as well as in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. In Telangana, the BRS is in power and will face a more structured BJP in the state.
The state elections are crucial for the Congress as a win will give confidence to its cadres and also will place it in a leadership role in the opposition. The big major states which go to polls are these states where the BJP has big numbers among the MPs, be it Rajasthan, Karnataka, or Madhya Pradesh.
The year will start with major elections in Karnataka, held by the BJP. In the 2018 elections, no party got a majority, and BJP’s B.S. Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister but he had to resign after not being able to manage the numbers. The Congress and the JD-S coalition formed the government but after 14 months, Yediyurappa bounced back with help of defecting MLAs from both parties but later, he was removed and Basavaraj Bommai took over as Chief Minister.
The Congress wants to win back the state and during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, both the factions of ex-Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state chief D.K. Shivakumar showed united a face but the rivalry between two could harm the party prospects.
This is another troubled state for Congress with two factions of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot have been at loggerheads since 2018 when Congress defeated the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government, becoming the single largest party with 100 seats in the 200-member house.
In 2023, there will be a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress, but will depend on the how the parties go into the elections – whether divided or united. The state has a history of not repeating governments, and to break this chain, the Congress faces a big burden.
After 15 years of BJP rule, the Congress managed victory in Chhattisgarh. There were three claimants of the Chief Ministership but the party settled for Bhupesh Baghel and the other group led by T.S. Singhdeo is now pushing for change.
A year ahead of the polls, Congress has appointed Kumari Selja as state incharge as the state has highest OBC population.
The unity in Congress will play a major role in determining if it holds its central Indian bastion.
This state will see whether veterans like Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh could defeat the BJP after losing power due to the revolt by Jyotiraditya Scindia in early 2020. The last elections in 2018 led the Congress emerging as the single largest party but a bit short of a majority in the 230-member house.
The Congress had won 114 seats and won power with the support of Samajwadi Party’s sole MLA, Bahujan Samaj Party’s 2 MLAs and 4 Independents. Kamal Nath took charge as the Chief Minister but 22 sitting MLAs from the Congress, loyal to Scindia, defected and joined the BJP. This led to the fall of the Congress government and BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan returning as the CM again in 2020.
The BJP in this state is hoping high as the party has replaced Congress in taking on TRS/BRS government in the state. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao won the second Assembly election in the newly-carved state in 2018, bagging 88 of the 119 seats. Defections later, took it past 100.
His Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), now called the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is looking to come to power for a third consecutive term in the 2023 Assembly polls, but faces headwinds as the BJP is making a determined bid. Trouble is further arising after the name of KCR’s daughter K. Kavitha surfaced in the Delhi excise policy scam and allegations arose that the BJP is trying to topple government by poaching MLAs.
J&K could see first Assembly polls after Abrogation of article 370. The delimitation of the constituencies have put the BJP in strong position in Jammu region, while the Valley could see the PDP, the NC and Ghulam Nabi Azad’s party fight among themselves. If the opposition in the state does not unite, it could be another state where the BJP could gain power.