2019 Elections: Nearly 85% Lok Sabha Seats Will See Direct Fight

There is a direct contest between BJP - Congress /alliances in most of the country’s parliamentary constituencies.

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2019 Elections: Nearly 85% Lok Sabha Seats Will See Direct Fight

The political climate in the county is changing. In the five recent assembly elections, the trend of the Congress’s rise, and the BJP’s graph plummeting, was solidified.

But the jury is still out on which direction their political fortunes will take. One opinion is that BJP-NDA will be facing a group of parties, with no clear image of a unified opposition.

However, this argument is somewhat superficial and overly-simplified. The truth is, there is a direct contest between the two parties/alliances in most of the country's parliamentary constituencies.

Adjustment Between Congress & Regional Parties

There will be back-and-forth adjustments between Congress and the regional parties, but the rough calculation is that there will be a direct fight for about 450+ seats. In the other 93 seats there may be a three-way contest. In these, there are 70 seats from West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi. We will discuss this in detail later, but first let us see how we can categorise these seats/states.

States with a direct contest for the Lok Sabha seats, where the Congress and the BJP are face-to-face – 110 seats

  1. Rajasthan – 25
  2. Madhya Pradesh – 29
  3. Chhattisgarh – 11
  4. Himachal – 4
  5. Uttarakhand – 5
  6. Gujarat – 26
  7. Haryana – 10

In this list, it can be said that Haryana also has the Chautala family parties, and they will play the third factor. But here, the voter polarisation will be so intense that the possibility of a third factor having any significant impact is unlikely. Perhaps in the assembly elections, these parties could be a factor.

Jury’s Out on Maharashtra & Tamil Nadu

Where the Congress and the BJP are in alliances - 273

  1. Maharashtra - 48
  2. Punjab -13
  3. Karnataka - 28
  4. Tamil Nadu - 39
  5. Bihar - 40
  6. Jharkhand -14
  7. Telangana -17
  8. Andhra Pradesh -25
  9. Goa - 02
  10. Jammu Kashmir - 06
  11. Assam - 14
  12. Kerala - 20

In this category, the jury is still out on Maharashtra. Many people believe that going by the way the Shiv Sena has been attacking the BJP, their alliance might just break. If that happens, this can become a three-way contest, and this can cause losses for the BJP.

Our estimate is that the two will come to an understanding, meaning a direct contest.

There is an ongoing debate on Tamil Nadu as well. Even if it is assumed that the DMK-Congress are one side and the AIADMK-BJP will be on the other, where do we put Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan? Even if these two superstars don’t join in with either alliance, it will be safe to say that they will be informally associated with one or the other.

A Definite Alliance in UP

In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress-TDP coalition is facing YSR, and in Telangana they will have a direct fight with TRS. The BJP will fight here, and there is also vote-cutter AIMIM. BJP is not a factor here. And vote-cutting does not have a major role in such heated battles.

Where the regional parties are in direct confrontation with the coalition and BJP / NDA- 80

Uttar Pradesh - 80

Uttar Pradesh is a state where the SP-BSP's alliance is definite. Here, there will be a lot of back and forth with the Congress. Perhaps in the end, they might reach some compromise. Even if that doesn’t happen, the Congress will not weaken its own main aim of defeating the BJP by contesting all the seats here. Some sort of informal understanding can happen here as well.

Where there is a three way fight - 70

  1. Bengal - 42
  2. Delhi - 07
  3. Odisha - 21

Potential Congress-TMC ‘Understanding’

Bengal is interesting. There are four players here: the ruling TMC, BJP, the Left and the Congress. If TMC gives some seats to Congress, its risk factor will be reduced. Whether the presence of the Left front will benefit Mamata or harm her is yet to be seen. Either directly or informally, the Congress will have an understanding with Mamata – that is for sure. So you can consider Bengal in the three-way contest state. The remaining northeastern states and union territories, where there are 17 seats, will mostly have a direct contest.

  1. Arunachal-2
  2. Manipur-2
  3. Meghalaya-2
  4. Nagaland-1
  5. Tripura-2
  6. Sikkim-1
  7. Mizoram-1
  8. Chandigarh-1
  9. Andaman Nicobar-1
  10. Dadra-Nagar Haveli-1
  11. Daman-Diu-1
  12. Lakshadweep - 1
  13. Puducherry -1

On the ground, alliances for both sides are clear. The BJP uses the slogan “Modi ke age kaun” (who faces Modi) because it knows that at the state level there is very little overlap between the Congress and the regional parties.

That is why it won’t be wrong to say that in 2019, we will see a direct contest in at least 85 percent of the Lok Sabha seats.

The opposition unity that we would like to see – all gathered on one stage in Delhi with a clear frame and defined leader – that is not going to happen, but we shouldn’t be sidetracked by it.

BJP’s Vote-Distribution Formula

In every election, the BJP uses every possible formula to distribute Opposition-votes, and it will do so this time too. Players such as small local parties, independents, rebels, everyone from Shivpal Sigh Yadav to AIAMIM, both big and small will be in the ring. But the BJP will also have to deal with the rebels. There is an estimate that the BJP can cut out tickets of around 80 to 100 MPs to introduce new faces, ie, the rebel game can be on both sides,a nd they can cancel out each other.

The real challenge before the Opposition is something else though – to ensure this direct match.

Can they manage a single election symbol – if not in every state – at least in every Lok Sabha seat? And how quickly can they deal with the internal back and forth? They essentially have less than 12 weeks.

(This piece was originally published on Quint Hindi. You can read the original article here. This piece has been translated to English by Mariam Shaheen.)

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