Now that the Election Commission has announced the 2019 assembly poll dates for Maharashtra and Haryana it back to the days of rallies and high octane campaigns once again. But looking at the ground situation politically it is crystal clear that the incumbent governments of the BJP in both the states have a clear edge and look set to return to power.
Two Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Manohar Lal Khattar seem to be on the driver’s seat . This is due to the fact the duo are unlikely to face any challenge given the state of the opposition . Which is in absolute tatters to be precise.
The Shiv Sena may be making some rhetoric before the polls to the BJP , but is unlikely to part ways with the BJP. It adopted this hitting out at BJP tactic before the Lok Sabha polls 2019 only to cosy up with the BJP. So Sena’s posturing is not likely to bother the BJP much. More than the BJP, Sena needs the BJP to stay relevant. So this bravado is all talk but no action.
In Haryana, Congress though doing a last minute salvage operation to keep the party united faces a tough task to unseat Khattar. It is a trial by fire for the new Haryana state Congress chief Kumari Selja.
In Maharashtra , the Congress has an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP . But the NCP too is facing the heat ahead of the battle with several party leaders jumping the ship and joining the BJP. Pawar is putting up brave front and battling hard to keep his party together .
The Congress on the other is stuck between the camps of Sanjay Nirupam and Milind Deora and the decision by actress Urmila Matondkar to quit the party does not show that all is well within the Congress camp.
Home Minister Amit Shah has already hit the campaign trail , while Congress is yet to get off the mark. Rahul Gandhi after stepping down as party president appears to have taken a back- seat. His tweets on Kashmir have added to the woes of the party as Pakistan have highlighted them in their dossier to United Nations on Jammu and Kashmir.
Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi has health issues to deal with and it remains to be seen whether she campaigns or not . The twin elections are acid test for the party to lift its morale after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll debacle. Another poll drubbing could push the Congress towards an existential crisis.
In Modi 2.0 , It should be 2-0 for the BJP in Maharashtra and Haryana in this year’s assembly polls. It would be a miracle if it does not go that way.