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What is in the store in the 1st Phase Poll? - April 11, 2019

The 1st phase of voting for election to 17th Lok Sabha is scheduled on 11th April. In the 1st phase, voting is taking place for 91 Lok Sabha seats spreading over 18 states and Union Territories (UTs). Many of them are smaller states and whole voting process in those states would be over in the 1st phase itself. The UTs of Andaman- Nicobar and Lakshadweep have only one seat in Lok Sabha each. Voting for it is scheduled on 11th April. Similarly, states of Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland with 1 Lok Sabha seat each, while Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya with 2 Lok Sabha seats will also witness voting in the 1st phase. Thus, voting will be over in as many as 5 North-Eastern states by 11th April. In Manipur and Tripura, where there are 2 Lok Sabha seats each, voting is going to take place on 1 seat each in the 1st phase. Out of these 11 seats due for voting in the 1st phase in 2 UTs and 7 North-Eastern states, BJP-led NDA has a sharp edge over its opponents. The NDA might win 8 to 09 seats out total 11 seats under consideration here.

The 1st phase is also witnessing a polling in 2 of Jammu and Kashmir’s constituencies; Jammu and Baramulla. The former is with BJP and the latter is with PDP. These parties are likely to retain their respective seats in the 1st phase. Apart from it, all the 5 seats in the state of Uttarakhand will go to poll on 11th April. BJP had won all of these seats in 2014 but is witnessing tough contest from Congress this time. Yet, it might be successful in retaining up to 4 seats in the state this time. In Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, 7 seats are at stakes in the 1st phase including that of 2 Union Ministers. All of these 7 seats were won by NDA (BJP-Shiv Sena) in the last election. Subsequently, it lost one seat in a by-poll to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is an UPA constituent. While NDA still has an edge over UPA in Vidarbha region, a late surge in favour of Congress can spring couple of surprises. Powerful Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari is experiencing unexpected resistance to retain his Nagpur seat. His colleague in the Union Ministry, Hansraj Ahir is also fighting anti-incumbency in adjacent Chandrapur constituency. NDA might still win 4 to 5 seats in the 1st phase poll in Vidarbha.

In the eastern India, BJP is hoping to make big gains in the 2019 election in the states of Assam, West Bengal and Odisha. These states are having polls in several phases beginning on 11th April. In Assam, where BJP has come to power in 2016, 5 seats will undergo polling on 11th April. Out of these 5 seats, 4 are with BJP-AGP alliance and 1 is with Congress. This equation is unlikely to change despite uncertainty added to scenario by the ‘lapsed’ Citizenship (amendment) Bill of Modi government. In West Bengal, 2 constituencies are included in the 1st phase. Both the seats were won by Trinamool Congress in 2014. This time, BJP is confident to snatch 1 out of these 2 seats from Mamata Banerjee. All 4 seats in Odisha that witness voting in 1st phase were won by Biju Janata Dal in 2014. This time, BJP is doing an aggressive campaign in the state and might win 1 seat in this phase. Congress is also a strong contender in all the four seats and might spring a surprise by winning at least 1 seat. Position of BJD is certainly much more vulnerable compared to 2014 when it was in command.

The most interesting contests of 2019 election are in the state of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These two states, along with West Bengal, are having votes in all the 7 phases. In the 1st phase in Bihar, Lok Sabha seats of Gaya, Nawada, Jamui and Aurangabad are at stakes. In 2014, BJP led NDA won all of these seats. However, this time united opposition in the alliance of RJD-Congress-HAM-RLSP is posing a stiff challenge to BJP-JD(U) alliance. The RLSP was part of NDA in 2014 and HAM’s leader Jitin Manjhi was in JD (U) then. In 2014, JD(U) contested separately and its re-union with BJP for 2019 has made both the alliances equally powerful in terms of social appeal, caste combinations and resources. The seat division ultimately will be even between NDA and Maha-Gathbandhan, i.e. 2 each to both in the 1st phase. In Uttar Pradesh, the 8 seats that are part of 1st phase are in the west of the state. Three of Narendra Modi’s ministers, namely V K Singh, Satyapal Singh and Mahesh Sharma are re-contesting from their respective constituencies. BJP won 8 out of 8 seats in 2014, but lost Kairana seat in a by-poll to SP-BSP alliance. The SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance in this region is posing a grave threat to BJP’s hegemony in Western U.P. where these 8 seats belong. The grand-alliance can wrest 3 seats in the first round and BJP has to contain itself with 5 seats at best.

In the southern states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are going to be covered entirely in the first phase. Both the national parties, BJP and Congress, have minimal presence in these two states. However, in Andhra Pradesh, BJP’s alliance with YSR Congress has given it a distinct edge over Congress in southern belt. The YSR Congress can win up to 20 seats in Andhra and TRS is going to sweep the Telangana state. Congress will be lucky to win a single seat in Telangana.

In 2014, NDA won 50 of the 91 seats that are part of 1st phase poll in 2019. This time, it is poised to repeat the performance with the help of YSR Congress and thus the phase 1 of 2019 will more or less maintain a status quo with respect to victory and losses for NDA, UPA and other regional players.

In the southern states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are going to be covered entirely in the first phase. Both the national parties, BJP and Congress, have minimal presence in these two states. However, in Andhra Pradesh, post election possibility of BJP’s alliance with YSR Congress has given it a distinct edge over Congress in southern belt. The YSR Congress can win up to 20 seats in Andhra and TRS is going to sweep the Telangana state. Congress will be lucky to win a single seat in Telangana.

2019 Lok Sabha Election: Phase 1 Prediction


State Seats NDA 2014 NDA 2019 UPA 2014 UPA 2019 Regional 2014 Regional 2019
AP 25 16 20(probable) 00 00 09 05
Telangana 17 02 00 02 01 13 16
Uttar Pradesh 08 08 05 00 00 00 03
Maharashtra 07 07 04 00 03 00 00
Uttarakhand 05 05 04 00 01 00 00
Assam 05 04 04 01 01 00 00
Bihar 04 04 02 00 02 00 00
Odisha 04 00 01 00 01 04 02
West Bengal 02 00 01 00 00 02 01
J&K 02 01 01 00 00 01 01
Arunachal 02 01 01 01 01 00 00
Meghalaya 02 00 01 01 01 01 00
Tripura 01 00 01 00 00 01 00
Sikkim 01 00 00 00 00 01 01
Mizoram 01 00 00 01 01 00 00
Nagaland 01 00 00 00 00 01 01
Manipur 01 00 00 01 01 00 00
Andaman-Nicobar 01 01 01 00 00 00 00
Lakshadweep 01 00 00 01 01 00 00
Chhattisgarh 01 01 01 00 00 00 00
Total 91 50 47 08 14 33 30

- Prof. Parimal Maya Sudhakar