The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party may win both the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections with comfortable majorities if the exit poll predictions telecast on Monday night are any indication. During the month-long campaign in both the key states, the indications about voters' mood were fairly evident.
The most significant aspect of the Maharashtra assembly polls this time was that the Shiv Sena, which had been constantly quarrelling with its ally BJP for the last three to four years, sincerely joined hands and went to the electorate with a united face. Both the BJP and Shiv Sena put in their best efforts, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and all top leaders addressing election rallies.
On the other hand, the NCP and Congress which had stitched up their alliance months ago, and had finalized the candidates in advance, went to the electorate, but there was lack of vigour and stamina in the campaign. The NCP leaders toiled hard. Their septuagenarian supremo Sharad Pawar even addressed a rally during heavy downpour. One should marvel at his stamina given the condition of his health at this old age. On the other hand, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Maharashtra for only two days, and his speeches were lacklustre. It appeared as if he was campaigning without an iota of motivation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was BJP-Shiv Sena's star campaigner. He raised local issues in his speeches and also pointed towards confusion in Congress and NCP ranks over a national issue like revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir. One should not be surprised if the results on October 24 may prove the exit poll predictions true.
The most significant feature in Haryana assembly elections was that the two main opposition parties that had given a strong fight to the BJP last time, appeared to be completed divided into warring camps.
Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and former state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar first fought over posts, then over the selection of candidates and later worked against each other. This infighting has cost the Congress dearly. Ashok Tanwar went to the extent of extending support to Dushyant Chautala's Jantantrik Janata Party. INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala's family has practically disintegrated into various factions, with each faction setting up a different party. Instead of giving a fight to the BJP, they appeared to be fighting one another. The results of this infighting are there for all to see in the exit polls.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi went to Haryana to campaign only to fulfill a formality. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed more than ten rallies, and stars like Hema Malini, Sunny Deol and UP CM Yogi Adityanath were also roped in. One should, therefore, not be surprised if the exit poll predictions prove true.
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