Elections in India are all about speculations, predictions, excitement and celebrations. Our current polity is all about practical approach towards Winn ability. Ideological battle is almost over and dynamic issues and current affairs are the main discussion points for the elections. Another important change too have happened over the years in Indian elections, the Indian voters have become much more mature than ever, they now understand the politics, their burning issues, who is good for them; you can only lure them to an extent, but beyond a point they cant be influenced and they know who could give them good governance and that alone is the decisive point for the voters of today, specially with new or youth voters to choose their leaders.
It is discussed almost in every platform that upcoming 4 state elections will be a gateway to the 2019 general elections or even called as a semi-final. Is it true? I feel, Indian electorate have matured enough to understand the real difference between the general election and the state election, the discussion points, their expectation are broadly clear from both these elections. Slowly our electoral character also started changing to the presidential style of elections where in most of these elections are fought under one leader and he or she is projected as the chief ministerial candidate. In Rajasthan Vasundara v/s Sachin Pilot (even though Ashok Gehlot will have his way if the results are in favour of Congress), In Madhya Pradhesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan v/s Jyotiraditya Scindia (Kamal Nath can play spoil spot for Scindia, if the congress manage to win), in Chattisgarh Raman Singh v/s Ajit Jogi, In Telegana K Chandra Shekhar Rao V/s.
The interesting part of all these elections are they are fought purely on state issues and national polity is playing very little in these elections. All these current chief ministers have carved a space for themselves and grown to a larger figures in their respective states and command their stature as leaders and they command their own share of space and not under any national leaders shadow. Over the years the state election trends have also changed with governments, which are doing well, is getting re-elected terms after terms as now the performance has become the main key to winning elections.
Another important aspect to these state elections are except one, all other states such as Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradhesh are BJP governing states and both Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh BJP is ruling for 3 terms continuously. Interestingly except Telegana ruling BJP and the main opposition party Congress is contesting directly and both the national parties have much to loose and gain from these elections. Having said that; is these major state elections are a gateway to 2019 general elections? have our voters grown enough to understand the federal structure of the country? Are they well aware of the importance of both these elections? Will they treat each of these elections standalone? Or will it give a significant directions or the mood of the nation?
Its important to note the 2014 elections were more of one sided and it was all about Modi v/s rest all, the 2019 election will also be on the same level as no leader of the stature of Modi could come up, or the opposition is scattered and not been able to come as one force with one leader so far. Despite best efforts made by Rahul Gandhi in the recent months, he is not been able rise to the level of a natural choice of united opposition to take on Modi. Its also important to note while in many by elections BJP had set back in the past and they also lost few states like Punjab and Karnatka to Congress, despite these small set backs Modi’s popularity amongst voters has not changed. Demonitization, GST the common voter of this country still feel despite they caused huge discomfort for them, they largely believe they are all for their benefit or at least the intention of Modi is clean. 2019 will not be much different from 2014 and Modi will play almost the same game as 2014 as still there is no strong opposition. Main opposition parties such as Trinamool, DMK, BSP etc.. have not accepted the leadership of Rahul Gandhi to lead them and they are still scattered as they all have their own vested political interest both at their respective state and with national ambitions.
Who will win the state elections in 2018, its just a matter of few weeks for us to know, but one thing is clear whomsoever may win these elections, it will not have much of an impact on 2019 election as the new India and their vibrant voters understand the difference between Prime Minister and Chief Minister,
National issues and State issues. If this is true, then we all can be happy as this is in the interest of a vibrant democracy and federal fabric of the country.