In election year, BJP eyes new turf, Congress and others look at retaining strength

With the Election Commission announcing the dates for upcoming assembly polls for four states and one Union Territory, the crucial battle of 2021 has officially begun.

In 2016, the BJP had worked hard and won Assam, which opened the gate for the party in the northeast. This time, the party has put all its might to capture the eastern front of West Bengal and add a new territory which could pave the way for other states like Odisha in the future. In 2016 assembly elections, the party won only three seats in West Bengal with a 10 per cent vote share.

The situation changed dramatically after the 2019 Lok Sabha election, when the BJP improved its share to 40 per cent with 18 seats. This made the BJP leadership optimistic of winning West Bengal. In Assam, the BJP leadership is confident of retaining power though there are some challenges because of the opposition alliance of the Congress, AIUDF and other parties.

In Kerala, it had won only one seat in 2016, with almost 15% vote share. The party expects to improve the number of seats as well as its vote share. BJP is in alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and is in a secondary role, but it is working hard to gain a foothold in Puducherry in the new circumstances. In Tamil Nadu, despite being in alliance with the ruling AIADMK, the BJP is aiming to improve its vote share and also expand the base for future prospects.

The elections are also a litmus test for regional satraps such as Mamata Banerjee and MK Stalin. The opposition’s courses of action would depend on how these two leaders perform in their prestige battles. In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress is fighting a lone battle as the Congress is in alliance with the Left Parties. It’s a huge challenge for Banerjee to withstand the BJP’s juggernaut.

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