Dance of democracy in India BJP and INC in ‘game of numbers’ fray

BJP or Congress in MP?

The BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is one of the five states that went to polls on November 17 for 230 Assembly constituencies.

Though resulted would be announced on December 3, but the BJP is likely to be on top parties due to caste factors, according to India TV-CNX Opinion Poll. Earlier, ABP-CVoter Opinion Poll data predicted that ruling BJP and Congress are expected to undergo a neck-and-neck political battle as the saffron party is only 0.1% ahead of the grand old party in the poll-bound state. The survey data showed that Congress can get 113 to 125 seats out of 230 constituencies, while BJP is likely to win 104 to 116 seats.

By Pradeep Kumar

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on October 10 by announcing elections to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram to be conducted during November 7-30 had blown the poll boggle for semi-finals for ensuing 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

It was natural for all political parties to jump into the ‘game of numbers’ across India, the largest democracy of the world, with over 143 crore population according to Worldometer and over 94.5 crore voters as on 01.01.23 (GoI). The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress aspiring to regain power, have launched massive poll campaigns.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nada have been touring all poll-bound states for campaigning so also Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Vadra. Both parties have been resorting to mudslinging at each other the common practice in poll campaign.

The BJP ruled states & with coalition parties now are: Arunachal Pradesh (BJP+NPP); Assam (BJP+AGP+UPPL+BPF), Goa (BJP+MGP); Gujarat (BJP); Haryana (BJP+JJP+HLP): Meghalaya (NN+BJP+HSPDP); Madhya Pradesh (BJP): Manipur (BJP+NPP+NPF+KPA); Tripura (BJP+IPFT); Uttar Pradesh (BJP+AD(S)+NISHAD); Uttarakhand (BJP); Maharashtra [BJP+RPI (NDA)]; Nagaland (NDPP+NPF+BJP); Puducherry (AINRC+BJP) and Sikkim (SKM+BJP). However, Congress rules only in four states, namely Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh with majority support.

Moreover, of total 543 seats in 17th Lok Sabha, party-wise seats are: BJP-301; INC-50; DMK-24; TMC-23; YSRCP-22; JD(U)-16; SHS-13; BJD-12;  BSP & BRS-9 each;  SS(UBT)-6; RLJP-5; NCP-4; TDP, IUML, JKNC, CPM(M) & SP-3 each; CPI, AD(S), SAD, AIMIM- 2 each; AIUDF, SAD(A), KC(M), JD(S), RLP, NCP, LPJ (RV), JMM, AAP, VCK, RSP, NDPP, AJSS, APF, NPEP, MNF & SKM-1 each; independents-4 and vacant-4.

It is worth mentioning here that 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln had defined “Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people”. If the people have the last say in a democracy, one can only watch and wait for the final outcome to know which party would rule in which state or in the Centre!

Meanwhile,  Shiv Sena president and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in a written complaint to the ECI on November 16 has objected to BJP’s promise of free Ayodhya trip in Madhya Pradesh and sought clarification, if it has relaxed the model code of conduct.

HM Shah, while campaigning at Raghogarh in MP on November 13, had said, “Do you want to have darshan of Ram Lalla or not? You will have to spend (money) on it. But don’t worry about the expenses. Give mandate to BJP to form its Govt on December 3 and BJP Govt will make you have darshan of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya free of cost.”

Earlier, PM Modi had urged Karnataka people to chant ‘Bajrang Bali ki Jai’ and press the button on EVM. We have written a letter to ECI in this regard,” Thackeray said at a press conference on Thursday.

Wondering if BJP could arrange a free trip to Ayodhya for people from all states, including Manipur,  Thackeray said his party had sought clarification from ECI because Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray was once banned from exercising his franchise for giving a slogan, ‘Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai’ and the poll panel had termed it a “corrupt practice”.

“We would like to know if and when ECI changed its model code of conduct. It should be the same for all. We will also ask people of Maharashtra to chant ‘Jai Bhavani Jai Shivaji’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ while pressing the voting button,” he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reacted to Thackeray’s statement, saying: “How can those who for personal benefits have associated with Ravana know the importance of Rama? Thackeray has no longer the right to take the name of Lord Rama.”

But, Thackeray said the double standard applied by the ECI is intriguing yet understandable, given the fact that it is publicly perceived to be in agreement with whatever BJP does during elections and even otherwise. “Just because BJP is in power, the commission would allow free hits to them and since we are in opposition it would take our hit wicket. It is not fair.”

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray also took a jibe at BJP over the promise of free Ayodhya tour. “BJP might have opened a new department of tour and travel for free tours to Ayodhya.”

Legal expert Assem Sarode said, “Appealing for votes on the basis of religion and religious sentiments amounts to illegality and attracts violation of the model code of conduct. ECI should take suo moto cognisance of such speeches.”

Maharashtra BJP vice president Madhav Bhandari said the letter by the Thackeray faction is out of their chronic disease of the stomachache against BJP. “First of all, they have no presence in any of these five states that are facing the assembly elections and secondly, the temple in Ayodhya and the darshan there would not have any implications on the polls. This is nothing but a publicity stunt.”

 

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