The upcoming assembly elections, being widely perceived as a semi-final to the Lok Sabha elections barely five months away, may yet buck the trend and throw up surprising results. It certainly has in the past.
Over the past decade and a half, the assembly election results of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram, which account for 75 LS seats, show that the winner in these states has not been able to convert it into a national trend and ended up on the losing side in the general elections. The reverse is also true. In November 1998, the Congress, which had lost the Lok Sabha elections barely 10 months earlier, swept to power in Delhi and Rajasthan and managed to retain MP.
The assembly elections, held in the backdrop of skyrocketing onion prices, made voters punish the then NDA government at the centre. A year later, in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA did extremely well in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, winning a majority of the LS seats in these states.
In 2003, the Congress and the BJP were locked in a straight fight in four states. The BJP wrested Chhattisgarh, MP and Rajasthan. The Congress had to be content with Delhi. Buoyed by the resounding win in three of the four states, the NDA advanced the Lok Sabha elections by five months in 2004, but suffered a shock defeat in May that year.
Five years later in November 2008, these states went to polls under the shadow of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Chhattisgarh and MP were retained by the BJP; the Congress won Rajasthan, and scored a third consecutive win in the national capital.
In the Lok Sabha elections five months later in May 2009, the Congress-led UPA scored an emphatic victory. For the first time in two decades, the Congress crossed the 200-seat mark in the Lok Sabha; a result which showed that the assembly election results barely five months before may not have reflected the national trend.