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Assembly Election 2021
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Poll Results On May 2, Parties Wonder What’s In Store For Them

The high-stakes political battles saw parties like Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Trinamool Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India United Democratic Front and the Communist Party of India-Marxist vie for public attention as they targeted their rivals.

 

The current round of assembly elections in four states and Union Territory Puducherry witnessed intense political battles among the parties involved and aroused the interest of citizens who are eagerly awaiting the results on May 2.

The high-stakes political battles saw parties like Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Trinamool Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, All India United Democratic Front and the Communist Party of India-Marxist vie for public attention as they targeted their rivals.

BJP’s top leadership represented by PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah campaigned heavily in the state polls along with the regional leaders while the Congress campaign was led by party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with the state leaders.

Besides the local concerns related to jobs, industry, civic amenities, several central issues like the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens, pandemic-hit economy, Covid-19 management and internal security figured in the campaigning from all sides.

All through the campaign, BJP’s rivals alleged that the saffron party resorted to polarization in Assam and West Bengal, both of which have around 30 per cent, Muslim voters. The strategy could benefit the saffron party in the two southern states as well though not significantly, feel many poll watchers.

A review of what is at stake for the parties is timely.

Congress

Overall, how Congress performs in the four-state polls will have a bearing on its national politics also as the grand old party is the only player which competes with the BJP at the national level.

Interestingly, Congress is not contesting the polls anywhere on its own strength and had to enter into alliances with like-minded parties.

In Assam, Congress leads an alliance involving the AIUDF, the Left parties and AGM, while in Kerala it leads the United Democratic Front.

The situation is different in West Bengal where the grand old party is part of the Left Front-Congress-Indian Secular Front alliance while in Tamil Nadu it is a junior partner to the DMK.

The Congress-led alliance is banking heavily on the anti-CAA sentiment to defeat the BJP in Assam but if it fails to do so, the grand old party would have to introspect the way it picks up key poll planks, review the manner in which it conducts poll campaigns and practices alliance politics.

In West Bengal, the third front is not a major claimant for power and each constituent should be satisfied individually with whatever seats they get or if the grouping gets a chance to share power by supporting the TMC.

In Tamil Nadu, the grand old party is piggy riding on DMK and should be happy with whatever seats it manages to get. The worry for the party managers is to win at least 20 of the 25 seats the party got in seat-sharing out of a total of 234, which kind of explains the Congress’ influence in the southern state.

The most promising case for Congress is Kerala where it leads the UDF and hopes to wrest power from the LDF. However, a defeat would be demoralizing for the faction-ridden party unit in the coastal state.

BJP

The saffron party invested huge resources and energy in all four states but West Bengal clearly was a battle of prestige. A loss here would be seen as a setback for both PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah who led the party’s campaign to take on two-term chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

A victory in West Bengal would be seen as an endorsement of the saffron party’s charges of minority appeasement, poor law and order situation and corruption against the TMC government while being an indicator that its Hindutva politics has paid rich dividends.

Likewise, a victory in Assam would indicate that BJP has consolidated its position in the north-eastern state, be seen as an approval of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his welfare schemes besides indicating that anti-CAA protests didn’t harm the saffron party.

In both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the saffron party has played a zero-loss game and even a slight improvement in vote share should be satisfactory for the national leadership.

Trinamool Congress

A third consecutive win for Mamata Banerjee would send a clear signal across the country that she can single-handedly stop the BJP juggernaut and would bolster her claims of being the leader of an anti-saffron party front nationally.

However, a loss would be seen as a huge setback for Banerjee and her national ambitions besides being demoralizing for the TMC in state politics.

Left Front

The only state where the CPI-M-led front matters today is Kerala and a second consecutive win for the LDF    would come as a big morale booster for the fledgeling Left politics across the country.

The Left Front is leading the opposition alliance in West Bengal and the number of seats it can win will be a reflection of its relevance in the eastern state.

However, a loss would further push them into a corner.

DMK

The Dravidian party went to the polls sans its patriarch M Karunanidhi for the first time in 2021. A win for the regional party would not only make it count in state politics, but it would also add to its voice in any opposition grouping nationally. A win would also settle the legacy battle between incumbent party chief MK Stalin and his estranged cousin MK Alagiri.

A loss, however, would mean another five years of struggle and more targeting by the rival AIADMK, which won a second consecutive term in 2016 primarily due to the weakness of the opposition alliance.

AIADMK

The AIADMK too went to the polls sans its iconic leader J Jayalalithaa this year. Though the legacy issue has largely been settled with Jayalalithaa aide VK Sasikala withdrawing from public life on the eve of elections, a win would further consolidate the leadership of chief minister E Palaniswami and endorse his decision to align with the BJP.

A loss, however, may lead to further churn within the regional party over leadership issues.

AIUDF

The party formed by perfume baron-turned-politician Badruddin Ajmal claims the support of Assam’s 30 per cent Muslims and chose to contest the 2021 assembly polls under the Congress leadership rather than going solo. The party hopes to garner a large percentage of the minority community votes given the BJP’s special focus on the majority Hindu voters.

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