Modi’s Call For Simultaneous Polls May Signal Early Elections

Will the BJP call early elections because of ‘declining popularity’?

(Source: PTI)
(Source: PTI)

Early elections are a “real possibility” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewed pitch for simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and assembly elections, according to political analyst Sanjay Kumar.

The outcome of elections in Gujarat where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party got fewer seats than projected, and the its loss in the recent bypoll elections in Rajasthan are being seen as signs of Modi’s declining popularity, said Kumar who is director at the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies which conducts regular voter surveys.

“They are signs, not in a big way, but in a small way”, Kumar said.

CSDS conducted a ‘mood of the nation’ survey in the first week of January which showed that while the BJP still dominates the political landscape, it is still “vulnerable”. Kumar expects that the call for simultaneous polls has something to do with BJP’s “declining popularity”.

The best possible scenario would be to go for the Lok Sabha elections along with the three states which go to polls by end of this year, that’s November 2018.
Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSDS

Linking the BJP’s recent defeat by huge margins in two Lok Sabha bypolls in Rajasthan with declining popularity is unfair, said BJP spokesperson Hitesh Jain. Voters approach general and state elections differently, he said. As a case in point, he highlighted the NDA’s victory in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh state elections in 2004 and its subsequent loss in the general elections.

As far as 2019 polls are concerned it is very clear. We are very confident we will do extremely well. In fact, we will do much better than we did in 2014.
Hitesh Jain, Spokesperson, BJP

“We challenge the Modi government to advance the elections,” Congress party’s Sanjay Jha said. Congress leader from Rajashtan, Sachin Pilot told BloombergQuint in a recent interview that if early elections are called, the party is ‘united and ready’.

Watch the full discussion here.