State Assembly Elections and National Politics - May 17, 2016

The exit polls of the assembly elections in 4 states and 1 union territory projects a continuity in post-2014 political equilibrium at the national politics. The projected outcome, except in Tamil Nadu, are well in accordance with the trends of 2014 Lok Sabha election. While Congress is set to lose another state – Assam – to BJP, it may find a solace in the victory of DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu. With the return of Left Democratic Front in Kerala after gap of 5 years, as has been the practice in the state, the CPI-M continues to have its limited relevance in national politics. On the other hand, CPI-M’s tacit alliance with Congress seems to have failed to impress the voters in West Bengal. The alliance has, indeed, created momentum during the election campaigning. However, without a credible political programme and reliable state leaders, the alliance could not translate the political momentum into electoral victory. There are signs if the Congress and CPI-M continue to work in tandem in West Bengal, the alliance may reap the benefits in Lok Sabha election in 2019. The political pandits still wonder why BJP could not sustain its political outreach in West Bengal after the large share of votes it garnered in Lok Sabha election in the name of Narendra Modi. The biggest prize for BJP in this round of assembly elections is undoubtedly the Assam. For the first time, the BJP may form its own government in the ethnically volatile state. This will also be a glorious opportunity for the ultra-nationalist party to work on one of its core concerns, i.e. infiltrations from Bangladesh. Its future in Assam and repeat of political performance in the state in 2019 Lok Sabha election will depend on how effectively and sensitively BJP tackles the problem of infiltration.

- Prof. Parimal Maya Sudhakar

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