Mega Modi vs Opposition showdown on cards as these states go to polls in 2023

India is a little over a year away from the high-octane electoral battle. The new year 2023 will set the tone for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be looking for a third straight term in office, with the Bharatiya Janata Party banking on his popularity.

‘Modi vs Who’ is the question echoing across the length and breadth of the country. The Congress, which is going through its worst times since losing power in 2014, is banking on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to re-establish connection with the masses which had eroded after Modi’s triumph eight years ago.

Then there are regional satraps like Mamata Banerjee who has sounded the ‘khela hobe’ (Game On) warcry against the BJP. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao is eyeing a third straight term as the state goes to polls
December.

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has had a splendid 2022. The ten-year-old party formed the government in Punjab in a landslide victory. At the end of the year, it made a mark in the Gujarat assembly elections by winning five seats and claiming a 13 percent vote share. In the national capital, AAP won the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and ended the BJP’s 15-year reign in the civic body.

The new year will witness a long electoral season with nine states going to the polls. Here is a list of the turfs which will be affected by election fever.

Madhya Pradesh

In December 2018, the Congress wrested the central state from the BJP and formed the government under Kamal Nath after a tussle over the CM post. But 15 months later, 23 MLAs owing allegiance to his then party colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party.

With the Grand Old Party reduced to a minority in the Assembly following the resignations, Nath resigned hours before a Supreme Court-mandated vote of confidence. BJP stalwart Shivraj Singh Chouhan returned to power in the state he ruled for 13 years from 2005 to 2018. The elections to the 230-member assembly will be held towards the end of the year, and will be a litmus test for Chouhan.

Rajasthan

The desert state has a history of not repeating governments in elections. The Congress had ended Vasundhara Raje’s rule in 2018. The party high command had picked veteran Ashok Gehlot over young face Sachin Pilot as the chief minister. But the leadership tussle escalated when the latter along with his MLAs staged a dharna outside Raj Bhavan in 2020.

Although Pilot returned to the fold following intervention by the Gandhis, his ties with the chief minister had been damaged beyond repair. In a recent interview, Gehlot called his political opponent a ‘traitor’. The elections to the 200-member assembly will be held in December this year.

Chhattisgarh

In 2018, the Congress decimated the BJP by winning 68 out of 90 seats. The saffron party was ousted from power after a 15-year rule in the tribal dominated state. The Congress high command picked Bhupesh Baghel to helm the state. However, the Congress government’s stint in power has been marred by a reported tussle between the CM and health minister TS Singh Deo.

Karnataka

Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday called Karnataka a gateway to the south for the BJP. The saffron party which formed the government in 2019 following the collapse of the Congress-JDS government, faces an uphill task to retain its only southern bastion. The Congress is hoping to return to power in the home state of party president Mallikarjun Kharge. However, the Grand Old Party will have to capitalize on the reported discontent against the ruling BJP dispensation in the state.

Telangana

On October 5, K Chandrasekhar Rao renamed his party Telangana Rashtra Samithi as Bharat Rashtra Samithi. The move conveyed a clear message that KCR, as the CM is popularly called, was eyeing the expansion of his party on a national scale. Like Mamata, the 68-year-old leader has been rallying regional leaders to unite against PM Modi in 2024.

Tripura

In the spring of 2018, the BJP decimated the Red bastion in this north-eastern state. Having ended the Left’s 25-year-long rule, the saffron party chose Biplab Deb to helm the state. On May 15 this year, Deb resigned and Rajya Sabha MP Manik Saha took over as CM. The BJP has been rattled with the exits of its top leaders. The TMC has been aggressively trying to make inroads in the state.

Meghalaya

In the 2018 elections, the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats. However, it was outfoxed as the BJP having just two seats cobbled up a majority government led by Conrad Sangma with the National People’s Party (19 seats) and other regional parties.

Nagaland

In 2018, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and the BJP won 29 seats in the assembly elections held that year. With the help of the National People’s Party, a JDU MLA and an independent, the coalition formed the government.
Last year, the main opposition Naga People’s Front announced the decision to join the government. In April this year, 21 out of 26 NPF MLAs joined the government leaving the state without an opposition.

Mizoram

The north eastern state has a 40-member assembly and is ruled by the Mizo National Front, which is a member of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance. However, the Zoramthanga-led MNF does not work with the saffron party in the state.


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