Exit polls give majority for BJP in Maha, Haryana
Hung in Maharashtra, clear in Haryana
Shiv Sena in Maha and NLD in Haryana shown in second position
Congress would be reduced to a poor third
Modi gamble pays rich dividend
Actual results to be out on Saturday
BJP-129, SS- 77, Cong-43, NCP-34 in Maharashtra Times Now exit poll
BJP-37, NLD-29, Congress-15 and RJC-8 in Haryana
Needs SS seats to form government in Maharashtra
New Delhi, October 15: The exit polls held as the polling took place on Wednesday for Maharashtra and Haryana assemblies indicate a big victory for the BJP. If the exit polls come true, which appears most likely, the two states would have given a clear mandate in favour of Modi’s pro-development, inclusive and centrist politics.
The Times Now exit poll shows thatthe BJP would bag 129 seats, Shiv Sena 77 seats while the Congress and National Congress Party (NCP) are going to get 43 and 34 seats respectively. MNS of Raj Thackeray is likely to get 5 seats and others 5. In Haryana, the exit polls predict that the BJP would get a simple majority with 37 seats while the Natioanl Lok Dal (NLD) is likely to bag 29, Congress 15 and RJC 8.
Opinion polls often failed. Even exit poll predictions did not come true many times. But one agency, Chanakya, did an excellent job in the last assembly elections predicting a sweep for the BJP in MP and Chhattisgarh. It also said the Aam Admi Party would win a little less than a simple majority in Delhi elections. Again in the general elections, Chanakya told the nation that the BJP would win a majority in Lok Sabha. Every time it proved to be true. This time too, the BJP is expected by the agency to win 151 assembly seats in 288 seat Maharashtra Assembly and 51 in 90 seat Haryana Assembly.
Well thought out strategy
It is true that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have got their strategy right in Maharashtra and Haryana. It was also true that they did not do so well in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by-elections. In UP, they encouraged saffron brigade to try to polarize the society before polls. But it did not work. In Maharashtra and Haryana, on the other hand, they campaigned on positive lines taking up issues such as development and inclusiveness. Modi not only talked about the development of
Maharashtra and Haryana, he spoke of the development of the entire nation and his pet programmes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Campaign).
What Lal Krishna Advani did in late 1980s and early 1990s was followed by Modi now. Advani encouraged young leaders, including Pramod Mahaja and Narendra Modi, and succeeded in preparing the party for future battles. Now Modi and Amit Shah, in their turn, are picking up young leaders and giving them responsibilities. This was not done by the Congress in spite of the fact that young scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty Rahul Gandhi is sought to be elevated as the party president. It paid a heavy price.
Incumbency, one of the factors
That was, however, was not the only reason for the rout the Congress faced. In Maharashtra, it had to contend with the incumbent factor of being in power for as many as 15 years and in Haryana it was a ten year incumbency. Add scams, corruption, inefficiency, factionalism and nepotism. The Congress was bound to lose. It would have been a miracle had the Congress managed to win in either of the states.
Modi’s gamble had paid off handsomely. He projected himself and none else. Party’s patriarch Advani and another founder of the party Murali Manohar Joshi were not asked to campaing. Other top leaders did their big in parts. But the main campaigner has been Prime Minister Modi. He jumped into the battle soon after returning from the US. He took care to undertake course correction both in Maharashtra and Haryana.
When the talks intended to finalise the seat sharing between BJP and Shiv Sena were going on and on with the Shiv Sena playing tough, Modi and Amit Shah put their foot down and decided to break the 25 years old alliance. It was a great gamble to go it alone and it paid good dividends. It was a rude shock to Shiv Sena. Again, with future need in mind, Modi did not criticize the SS or its founder Balasaheb Thackeray. He concentrated his attack on the Congress and the NCP calling both the most corrupt parties. When the Shiv Sena leaders stated campaigning that Modi would divide Maharashtra, he promised that the state would be intact and nobody would be allowed to play with the integrity of the state. In Haryana, the Congress leaders cleverly managed to paint BJP and the NLD as friendly parties which are bound to join hands after the elections. They said that was the reason why Chowthala was granted bail and no BJP leader complained when Chowthala was participating in campaign although he got the bail on health ground. People almost believed that the BJP and the NLD are in hand-in-glove. Had this impression continued, the BJP would have had a setback. Modi had corrected the course in the middle of the campaign and mounted a severe attack on Chowthala and the politics of NLD. He called the NLD leaders as ruffians and the Congress corrupt. That seemed to have cleared doubts in the minds of the voters.
Modi as BJP mascot
The BJP did not project any leader for the post of chief minister in both the states. Modi was the face of the campaign. He was the mascot of the BJP. In both Maharashtra and Haryana, there are sitting CMs belonging to the Congress and had the party won they would have continued in the position. The 6.4 crore voters in two states did not care about the chief ministers or chief minster candidates. They voted for a stable and able national party as against regional parties. The Congress and NCP also fell apart after being together in government for 15 years. There were corruption allegations against leaders of both the parties. The Chief Ministerial hopeful of NCP Ajit Pawar was aggressive in his attacks on the Congress.
Governance has come to the fore of Indian politics. Modi, by design and default, represents the culture of good governance. It is not just anti-incumbency that cost the Congress dearly, it is bad governance more than anything else. Recently, the BJP won for the third time in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. Pankaja Munde or Devendra Fadnavis are expected to become chief minister of Maharashtra while Captain Abhimanyu is likely to succeed Bhoopinder Hooda in Haryana. Whoever becomes chief minister, good governance is expected of him or her. People have no patience for inefficient and corrupt governments. That was the message the voters of the two states have delivered for the nation.
2 more congress bastions fall
Thus two more Congress bastions fell for the BJP. What would the Congress do now. There is no point in blaming Rahul Gandhi who did not concentrate on election campaign or Sonia Gandhi who was only a shadow of hers and who was simply going through the motions of campaigning mechanically. On the other hand, Modi was speaking like a champion. Amit Shah was presenting a picture of confidence.
There has been a lot of criticism that Modi government has been slow in taking policy decisions and that it has slowed down the process of economic reforms. Now that the elections are out of the way, the nation can expect NDA government to go about the business of introducing the second generation reforms removing the cobwebs in the path of progress.
Will Modi reduce the importance of RSS and other Hindu organizations like Bajarangdal? It is a mood point. What he did in Gujarat may not be easy to be repeated on the national scale. Will he disown the BJP promise to create the state of Vidarbha and its policy of smaller states? It is a delicate point and a complicated issue after Modi made the promise in the election camapaign that as long he was PM nobody would be allowed to divide Maharashtra. Only time would decide the contentious issues. But one can be assured that Haryana and Maharashtra would be getting new governments which would be asked by Modi to concentrate on good governance.