Narendra Modi on Friday said he is looking forward to a "healthy and spirited" elections to the five state Assemblies, as his BJP and rival Congress exuded confidence of putting up a good showing.
Though the polls to Chattisgargh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan spread over 24 days from November 11 have been billed as a semi-final to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress does not think so while the BJP was evasive.
"I welcome announcement of polls in 5 states. Elections are a celebration of our democracy. We look forward to a healthy and spirited elections," Modi, who is BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, tweeted on micro-blogging site Twitter.
BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh while Congress is in office in Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) is a new entrant in the Delhi Assembly polls.
Congress expressed confidence that it will get the mandate because of its programmes and policies but rejected contentions that the Assembly polls could be called a semi-final for the 2014 general elections.
"There is nothing like semifinal or quarter final. For us every election is final in itself. We consider these elections as final as far as they are concerned.
"We will go to elections on our programmes and policies and we are hopeful that we will get the mandate," party spokesperson Meem Afzal told reporters.
He also dismissed a contention that Congress will consider the outcome of the assembly elections as a clear indication of people's likely verdict for the Lok Sabha elections since the state polls are being held after Modi was declared the prime ministerial candidate.
"Congress does not fight elections keeping in mind any one person," he blunbtly said.
BJP said though local issues will dominate in the Assembly polls the popularity of Modi will definitely boost the party's prospects.
Asked if these elections will be a test of Modi's acceptability and popularity, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said, "Modi is undoubtedly the most popular leader of the country. All surveys indicate this. We will definitely get the advantage of this in the polls." In reply to another question on whether these elections are a semi-final to the Lok Sabha elections, he was evasive.
"These are state elections where state issues will be in the forefront. But national issues will also have a bearing on the polls."