Initial ground reports suggest fourth phase shocker for BJP

The party and its allies may receive the biggest shocks in UP and Maharashtra with its seats also coming down in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

File picture of a BJP election rally
File picture of a BJP election rally

NH Political Bureau

As the fourth phase of polling in the Lok Sabha election drew to a close, initial ground reports pouring in from various corners of the country paint an ominous picture for the Narendra Modi-led incumbent government. The fourth phase was extremely crucial for the NDA as out of the 71 seats that went to polls on April 29, the BJP had won 45 in 2014 and its allies Shiv Sena and LJP had scooped up 9 and 2 seats respectively. That means the NDA had won 56 of these 71 seats in 2014.

As ground reports suggest, the biggest jolt may come from Uttar Pradesh where out of the 13 seats, the ruling party may struggle to hold on to even three. It had won 12 of these in 2014, barring Kannauj.

The second biggest shock for the NDA may come from Maharashtra which saw as many as 17 seats go to the polls in this phase. BJP and Shiv Sena had won all these seats with 8 and 9 seats respectively. However, ground reports suggest that a resurgent Congress-NCP combine, coupled with Raj Thackeray’s relentless expose on the Prime Minister, may bring that down to half. The credibility of the Shiv Sena has been hit most badly by Raj Thackeray’s video exposes, feel some Maharashtra politics watchers. One went to the extent of saying that Shiv Sena should consider itself lucky if it manages to win six out of the 24 seats it is contesting.

In the 13 seats of Rajasthan that went to the polls on April 29, the BJP is slated to come down to about half of the tally of 2014 when it had won them all. A similar drift is being expected for the six seats in Madhya Pradesh and the five seats in Bihar that went to the polls in the fourth phase. In 2014, the BJP had won five of the six MP seats and three of the five in Bihar while its ally LJP had picked up the remaining two.

In West Bengal too, reports suggest that BJP may lose Asansol to the All India Trinamool Congress by a big margin in 2019. In 2014, the BJP had won the seat. In rest of the eight seats in West Bengal that saw polling on April 29, the BJP is not in serious contention.

That way, the BJP’s only chance of bettering its 2014 tally may be the six seats of Odisha. All of these were won by the BJD in 2014. But that may not be enough for the BJP and the NDA to win another mandate in 2019.

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