Lok Sabha Election 2019: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked people to vote in record numbers and BJP President Amit Shah has asked people of the country to once again bless the party. However, there are five key states that hold key to Prime Minister Modi’s re-election bid as these states alone send 249 of total 543 members in the Lok Sabha. It will be difficult for Prime Minister Modi to secure a second term for himself unless his party BJP and its allies perform well in these five states.
In the last election, BJP and its allies and friendly parties have performed well in four of the five states, securing a record win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the last Lok Sabha election, BJP has won 119 of a total 249 seats in these five states on its own. Uttar Pradesh (71) Maharashtra (23), West Bengal (2), Bihar (22) and Tamil Nadu (1).
NDA and its friendly parties and allies were able to win three-fourth or 188 seats of total 249 seats in these five states last time, leaving just 61 seats for the combined opposition like the Congress, TMC, RJD, NCP and others.
India’s most populous state sends 80 members in the house. BJP’s spectacular performance in the state has ensured a single party majority government at the Centre after three decades. BJP won 73 seats (BJP 71, allies 2) of total 80 seats that nearly wiped out the opposition in the state. However, this time BJP is facing a formidable alliance of two powerful regional parties – Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
This pre-poll alliance of two arch rivals, led by two former chief ministers – Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav – has been described as the biggest road block in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election bid. Combined vote share of SP-BSP in 2014 Lok Sabha election was much more than that of BJP and its allies in 41 seats in the state.
If the voters exhibit the same voting pattern then it will be difficult for BJP to maintain its 2014 tally.
Western state of Maharashtra is the second largest state in terms of number of Lok Sabha seats. The state has 48 Lok Sabha seats and in 2014 it has voted overwhelmingly in favour of saffron parties like BJP and Shiv Sena. While BJP won 23 seats, Shiv Sena won 18 seats, Indian National Congress won 2 and NCP won 4 seats. One seat went to Raju Shetty led Swabhimani Paksha.
BJP has already firmed up its alliance in Maharashtra with its oldest ally Shiv Sena. BJP is banking on Maharashtra voters to back the party in case the party is not able to notch a high number of seats in Uttar Pradesh.
West Bengal is the third most important state after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra as it has 42 Lok Sabha seats. However, this is an opposition ruled state and BJP has been trying hard to make inroads in the West Bengal politics.
In the last Lok Sabha election, the state voted overwhelmingly in favour of ruling All India Trinamool Congress led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. While TMC won 34 seats, the Congress won 4 and both BJP and CPI(M) won two seats each in 2014.
With 40 Lok Sabha seats, Bihar is at the fourth number in terms of number of Lok Sabha constituencies in the country. BJP’s better than expected performance in the state despite its pre-poll break-up with its long time ally Nitish Kumar helped the party to form the government at the Centre.
While NDA won 31 seats (BJP 22, LJP 6 and RLSP 3), Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) wasn’t able to win a single seat in 2014 Lok Sabha election. UPA won a total of 7 seats (RJD 4, the Congress 2 and NCP 1).
Bihar was the first state where the BJP has announced its pre-poll alliance with two old NDA allies – Nitsh Kumar’s Janata Dal United and Ram Vilas Paswan led Lok Jan Shakti Party.
However, it is facing a powerful alliance of RJD, Congress and NCP which also includes some former NDA allies like Upendra Kushwaha led Rashtriya Loktantrik Samta Party (RLSP) and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi lead Hindustani Awam Morcha and several other parties.
Southern state of Tamil Nadu is crucial for any party because of large number of Lok Sabha seats it has. After UP, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the country as it sends 39 members in the lower house. However, the southern state has been mostly ruled by two regional parties – AIADMK and DMK since 1967, making it difficult for national parties like the the Congress and BJP to have a significant presence in the state.
In the last Lok Sabha election, BJP was able to win only one seat in the state. However, BJP’s friendly party AIADMK was able to sweep the state under the leadership of former chief minister and party supremo J Jayalalitha who died in December 2016.
This time BJP has teamed up with ruling AIADMK and it has got five seats to contest in the state. However, absence of a charismatic leader like J Jayalalitha has made it rather challenging for the ruling AIADMK and its allies like BJP and PMK to repeat the same performance.
In 2014, while AIADMK won 37 seats, BJP and PMK won one each. Opposition parties like DMK and Congress were not able to even open their accounts in Tamil Nadu in the last Lok Sabha election.
This will be the first Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu after the demise of two of its tallest leaders as two former chief minister – J Jayalalitha and M Karunanidhi died in 2016 and 2018 respectively, creating a political void in the state politics.