Verdict 2017: What is at stake for the big players nationwide

Rajat Kain

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally in Gonda district on 24 February 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally in Gonda district on 24 February 2017.

Dubbed as mini elections, the results of five assembly polls on Saturday may well indicate where the wind is blowing in the country, as far as political landscape is concerned. While, BJP’s performance will be seen as a precursor to what is expected in 2019, Congress party’s win or loss will decide if it is to play any role in national politics in near future and also if AAP will emerge a new challenger to the incumbent.

Besides, the elections will also gauge the strength of Mayawati’s BSP and regional players like Akali Dal and the Samajwadi Party, which had seen a bitter family feud in the run up to the polls.

While Akhilesh is firmly on the saddle leading his organisation, his ally and ‘friend’ Rahul Gandhi is yet still tipped to take over the party’s mantle sometime soon.

These elections are as much about Rahul Gandhi as about Narendra Modi and equally important for Arvind Kejriwal.

But first to Rahul Gandhi. He is up against two opponents who by now have at least two years tenure in office to show results, performance and even claims for future. Gandhi, on the other hand, is carrying ever-inflating bag of defeats since the winter of 2013.

New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Photo – PTI

Under his lead campaigning, Congress was reduced to the rubble of 44 seats in Lok Sabha polls, its worst ever electoral performance. That defeat was followed by loosing strongholds like Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam to the BJP and drawing blank in Delhi, the city-state it ruled for 15 years.

The string of losses also covered loss in Jammu and Kashmir, where it was in a ruling alliance with the JK National Conference Party and heavy loss in West Bengal last year where it contested along with Left front and the inability of Congress-DMK alliance to reach the magic mark in Tamil Nadu.

Though, it tasted success in Bihar but that was largely due to being a part of RJD-JD(U) winning combination.

The results in these polls will go some way in charting a road ahead or even hitting a roadblock for Rahul Gandhi.

Another person whose political ambitions are on the same road as Rahul Gandhi is Arvind Kejriwal. One will overtake the other after the results are out.

Arvind-Kejriwal-AAP-Punjab-Patiala

Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party first uprooted Congress in December 2013 and 14 months later, steam-rolled BJP in Delhi in February 2015. Since then, it has been billed as phenomena in Indian politics.

These elections are precisely the test of how far Kejriwal’s outfit will be able to spread its tentacles in order to be counted as a force in national politics. If it emerges victorious in Punjab and Goa, where it has fought in these elections, then Congress’s terminal decline will only be confirmed further.

And lastly, these elections were also termed as a big test for the ruling BJP and especially for Prime Minister Modi’s popularity. The results will well be dubbed a referendum on the demonetisation as well as the economic performance of the Centre. The ruling party will also be keeping a close eye on its performance for it will have a bearing the Presidenttial and Vice Presidential polls four months from now.

BJP’s victory in especially Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand will well pave the narrative for the party in days to come, while an adverse result will only crowd further the 2019 Lok Sabha clash.