The seven-phase parliamentary polls to elect the 17th Lok Sabha begins Thursday. Amid a heightened battle of words between political parties, 91 constituencies in 20 states and union territories will vote in the first phase on April 11.
The ruling party has indicated that it will most likely seek votes by whipping up nationalist emotions rather than on its performance over the last five years. While in 2014, the BJP relied greatly on the merits of Modi’s ‘Gujarat Model’ – apart from its underlying message of Hindutva, it has little to speak in aspects related to development in 2019. Modi government’s unimpressive record in economic matters may have led to BJP’s changed strategy.
However, the regional parties have shown some positive spirit to come together, the biggest example of which is the alliance between arch rivals Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, parties like the Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Telugu Desam Party emerged as the most vocal opponents of the Modi government in the run-up to elections.
Once firmly in support of chief minister Nitish Kumar, Mahadalits have shown some degree of resentment against the Janata Dal (United) for abandoning the mahagathbandhan mid-way to join the BJP-led NDA.
The results here will be interesting to see as following the riots, the Hindus, especially the dominant Jats, had moved towards the BJP entirely, breaking the Jat-Muslim social coalition that former prime minister Charan Singh had nurtured.