Hurly-burly is done: Parties sit fingers crossed
The two-month-long election campaign has finally come to an end.
The two-month-long election campaign has finally come to an end. The last phase of polls will be held on Sunday.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah exuded confidence that they would get 300 plus seats on their own, AICC president Rahul Gandhi appeared to be more sober and humble.
He said, "I am not going to pre-judge what the people of India will decide. The mood and vision of the people will come out on May 23."
Modi claimed, "The election has been amazing (shandar). Elections were held in a positive spirit. A government with full majority will come back after remaining in power for five years. This is probably happening after a very long time.
This is a big deal in itself. The public has decided on the next government. We have promised many things in our manifesto to take the country forward.
As soon as possible, the new government will take charge and we will take decisions one after another." He said India should impress the world with its diversity and democracy.
"I believe some things we can proudly say to the world. This is the world's largest democracy and it is our responsibility to take the power of this democracy to the world.
But a look at the way the elections were conducted proves that the 2019 election will be a good case study for future administrators and politicians and one would hope that this will teach many a lessons on how not to vitiate the political atmosphere in a democracy.
This election as compared to the previous elections lacked enthusiasm and was mired in controversies.
There was hardly any talk about what the present government had done for the country and what they propose to do, but the campaign was more of acrimony, statements hitting below the belt and claiming that "me and me alone is the best, all others are good for nothing".
The Opposition too did not fully succeed in creating confidence among people that they can offer better service than the incumbent government.
It is said politics is a dynamic situation, but it appears that journalism is more dynamic.
Political leaders claiming that they would romp home with absolute majority, pat their own back whether they have done something good or not and accuse and abuse the opponents is a common phenomenon.
The media normally feels the real pulse of the people. But the journalistic values have undergone a sea change and their compulsions are also many.
This has led to opinions which do not match anywhere. It is also a fact that the voters too have matured to such an extent that they don't reveal their mind.
Notwithstanding various analyses, whether it is by intellectuals or psephologists, the fact is that there is no wave. Modi was the centre of attraction in 2014.
People used to remain glued to television sets to hear him but this time his speeches are not as effective as in 2014. He has been repetitive and shriller and could not inspire the crowd.
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi whom Modi had called 'Pappu' has tremendously improved and focussed on what the Congress would do if voted to power. But the big question is, can he and his speeches overtake the BJP?
To form a national government, the biggest arena for any political party is Northern India. The BJP had won 282 seats in the northern belt. Analysts predict that this time the BJP is going to suffer a major blow in this belt.
The alliance between the BSP and the Samajwadi Party could badly effect the prospects of the lotus party. It is estimated that the BJP may lose about 45 to 50 seats in UP.
When it comes to South India, the BJP is the most non-preferred party. The way the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh was made to suffer had buried the poll prospects of the BJP for at-least for next one decade.
The saffron party never had any base in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala too, it cannot hope to come to be a challenge to the Left parties. In Telangana too, it had failed to grow in the last five years.
In Karnataka, the going is not smooth and it is facing tough challenge from the Congress-JD(s) combine. It is certain that the BJPs count would come down in the entire southern region.
Let's take a peek into North East. The political manipulations did help the saffron party to make its presence felt in this region.
But in West Bengal, the way large scale violence took place and the way the BJP had hit certain self-goals indicates that they may not be able to unseat Mamata Banerjee from power.
In Odisha, Naveen Patnaik seems to be going strong. But then, this is one State which may go with the BJP if it requires support to come to power. In Assam, the BJP faces repercussions of the Citizen's Bill and could face a backlash.
In the land of apples, Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP has failed to address the issues and resentment among people continues. To what extent people of Jammu region would stand by Modi is to be seen.
In the central part of the country, the Congress had unseated the BJP in the Assembly elections. The Congress is confident that it would repeat its performance. The BJP, on the other hand, is harping on the anti-incumbency factor.
But the controversial remarks of the BJP candidates like Pragya Singh Thakur on the police officer who was killed by terrorists in the Mumbai attack and calling Godse as a 'Deshbhakt' have caused enough damage to the saffron party.
The Congress has certainly slipped a bit in Rajasthan, but it has to be seen to what extent it would help the BJP. The Congress is confident of doing well in Chhattisgarh as it had waived off the loans of farmers immediately after coming to power.
In the last elections, the BJP had won 62 out of 65 seats from these States. In Punjab, the Congress still continues to be in full control of things and no trace of Modi wave is visible there.
The only States where BJP can be confident of retaining majority of the seats it had won last time are Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra. The Congress certainly could not flex its muscles in these States.
The BJP anticipates that it may suffer some setback in the Vidharbha region. This region continues to be stronghold of Sharad Pawar and more over, this is the region where farmers suicides had taken place in substantial number in the last five years.
The BJP can also pin its hopes on Delhi as the Opposition failed to unite.
The role of an umpire in any match is crucial and in case of elections, the Election Commission has the most important role to create a level playing field but its performance has been shocking and disappointing.
It appeared as if it was yet another wing of the Union government and had autonomy only on paper. It turned a blind eye to all complaints by the Opposition parties or to be more specific the parties which were against BJP and acted with lightning speed in regard to the complaints from the BJP's friendly parties.
Though the Opposition parties raised a hue and cry over the Prime Minister using issue like Pulwama and Balakot for campaign purposes, it did neither react nor act. This has resulted in the common man questioning the credibility of the EC.
Notwithstanding the confidence exuded by Modi-Shah combine on Friday that they would win 300 plus seats, it appears that the BJP may have to remain satisfied with about less than 200 seats and this fractured verdict would throw up a situation where new political permutations and combinations will come to fore and horse trading of highest order would be take place.
But one positive sign is that the regional party leaders are going to play a major role and this could help in saving democracy and the federal structure.