Friday, March 1, 2024

Mood of the nation

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The Mood of the Nation, as reflected in the assembly polls to five states that ended on Thursday, is clear from the series of exit polls that aired their findings within a matter of minutes. Exit polls by now have attained a sense of maturity and give a hint as to what’s in store when the actual counting takes place. Those who do not do proper legwork, however, come up with the wrong projections. Three exit polls in Madhya Pradesh gave the upper hand to the Congress while two polls said the BJP would retain power. In Rajasthan, six polls projected larger support for the BJP. In Chhattisgarh, exit polls unanimously concluded that the Congress would retain power. In Mizoram, MNF retains the upper hand in three out of four exit polls while the Congress is seen to be having the upper hand in Telangana in four exit polls, leaving the BJP a poor third. The Congress has reasons to cheer even as it seemed to be losing power in Rajasthan on the back of anti-incumbency sentiments coupled with the internal group fights among Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior minister Sachin Pilot. Both would deserve a well-earned rest after the long-standing fight. In Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan wanted to be chief minister for a fifth term rather than leaving the chair to others in the BJP. The last assembly polls there too had not given the BJP a majority and the Congress came from behind and formed a government with support from others, which however did not last for long. The central government had pumped in huge sums for infrastructure development in Madhya Pradesh, as with other BJP-ruled states, but this in itself might not satisfy the voters. This was evident in Karnataka, where the BJP was ousted and the Congress rode to power. In Mizoram, the exit poll projections are overall hinting that the MNF would retain power. There were no major anti-incumbency sentiments. Chhattisgarh too had no such trends, as is reflected in the exit-poll findings. This could be advantage Congress. The Congress obviously outwitted the BJP in Telangana, but whether it can win power is still a moot point. The mass support at the Congress campaign rallies this time was a major improvement on the past.The Congress can save face if it wins power in at least two of the five states; which, as per exit poll trends, look quite likely. If not, this will have a debilitating effect on the INDIA alliance, which is soon to start a nation-wide campaign for the 2024 Parliament polls. If the Congress wins three of these states, it would put the BJP decisively on the defensive.

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