Counting of votes from five states for their assemblies begins on Saturday. Considered a litmus test for the ruling BJP government led by Narendra Modi, the results in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will see new political fortunes being created, and in other cases, being lost. To better understand what the results could mean for India’s political topography, read on.
1. Whoever wins UP should demolish it
The case for breaking UP up isn’t really based on ethnic or linguistic grievance or exceptionalism: It’s a matter of governance, and of administrative efficiency.
2. UP election: 10 reasons why it’s difficult to predict results despite BJP hype
The state’s political landscape is witnessing a sea change in 2017, making the elections complicated for pollsters to predict. The main reason for this is the triangular contest with changing adversaries from constituency to constituency.
3. All parties in UP say they’re winning. Here’s how they reason
No party admits defeat in the middle of elections. And, in fact, their success in future phases rests on how confidently they can project success till now. So it is no surprise that all three formations – the SP-Congress alliance, the BJP, and the BSP – are confident.
4. Can Narendra Modi win elections using Big Data as Trump did?
Winning the influence game online will depend on the quality of data and the amount of resources a party has to create and market tailored content. On both these counts, the BJP has advantages. It obviously outspends every other political party in India and is best placed to take advantage of a “people search engine”, as it develops.
5. Voters liking one leader, voting for another party seems to be a pattern in UP
The smarter India-watchers already know that if the scale alone makes the UP election automatically a political bellwether, this time around its function as a barometer of the national mood is all the more important because it comes midway through the term of the Modi government
6. Why Brahmins give BJP a reason to smile in Uttar Pradesh’s caste maze
Why does the BJP’s attempted personality transplant not upset the Brahmins? They want the SP punished and are unsure of the Congress as a socio-political sinecure. To them, Muslim consolidation was the sole motivation for the Rahul-Akhilesh entente.
7. On the move: Along Uttar Pradesh’s rivers, a new political identity finds voice
Despite a strong presence in 120 of the 403 assembly constituencies in UP, Nishads remain economically backward. However, they are tired of this status and a yearning for self-assertion in the community was evident when Hindustan Times traversed Nishad-dominated Gorakhpur and Maharajganj, some of the poorest districts in the country, on a boat.
8. Dhaba bites: A third of population, Dalits hold key in Punjab power game
Dalits form a third of Punjab – the highest of any Indian state – but have had little political representation.
9. UP polls: In Bijnor’s Kanshi Ram colony, votes split between Akhilesh, Mayawati
In Kanshi Ram colony in Bijnor city, a constituency that is 40% Muslim, and 20% Dalit, both Mayawati and Akhilesh have offered their own brand of development — houses in 2007, and rickshaws, laptops and cash transfers in 2012.
10. This Goa election, parties hedge their votes on thriving casinos
Both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress have made the closure of casinos a major campaign plank. The laws around casinos were framed by successive Congress governments, but the party’s election manifesto pledges to shut all floating casinos
11. Manipur election 2017: Eight bodies and a ‘stolen’ corpse may dictate outcome
Eight bodies awaiting burial for more than 500 days – and a “stolen” corpse – could play a role in deciding the outcome in some tribal assembly constituencies of Manipur.
12. Will the lore of Gangotri hold its prophecy again in Devbhoomi?
In ‘Devbhoomi’ Uttarakhand, Gangotri is unlike any other assembly constituency. A lore has it that the party which wins this seat, forms the government in Uttarakhand.