Poll stakes high for national parties

LONG TRUDGE: Poll officials carry EVMs and poll materials to a polling booth in Salem district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan  

Voters in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will cast their votes on Monday, bringing to an end polling in five States.

The results are to be declared on May 19 and the stakes are high for both the BJP and the Congress.

The BJP is seeing a chance to seize power in Assam from the Congress’s Tarun Gogoi. It is also hoping to open its account in Kerala in alliance with the Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena, an outfit supported by the OBC Ezhava organisation Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP)

The party desperately needs a booster shot after its defeat in Bihar and Delhi. For this, it is counting on Assam where it is fighting the elections in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad and the Bodoland People’s Front — a union it sees as an “indigenous people’s alliance” against Bangladeshi immigrants “represented by the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).”

It needs a few States under its belt to at least partially offset its Rajya Sabha disadvantage.

“Victories in Assam and Kerala will symbolically strengthen the BJP’s status as a truly national party in a geographical sense. We are already running the government in alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a BJP leader.

For the left, it is virtually a life or death battle. It is hoping to topple the powerful Mamata Bannerjee in alliance with the Congress in West Bengal. In Kerala, it is looking to defeat a Congress-led United Democratic Alliance government that is weighed down by corruption charges.

Tricky in Assam

Which way the Muslims voted is crucial for the Congress in Assam. If they have shifted tactically from Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF in favour of the Congress, particularly in the Muslim-heavy second phase of polls, the party will give the BJP a run for its money.

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK-Congress alliance is looking to trounce the AIADMK.

The outcome will have a bearing on the GST Bill’s 1 per cent additional charge that is being opposed by Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK government.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 3:15:51 AM |

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