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Assembly elections 2018: Congress forms govt in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh; TRS takes Telangana

Counting is on to call the results of state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.

K Chandra Shekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi looks like a clear winner in the maiden elections to Telangana. Leads show the TRS is on its way towards getting a significant majority in the 119-seat Assembly.

The news is interesting from the Hindi heartland of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Rajasthan which alternates between the BJP and the Congress has chosen the Congress this time, true to form. The BJP has ruled the other two states since 2003, but, this time, it is losing major ground to the Congress.

Madhya Pradesh: The BJP has taken a beating from the Congress which leads here after a drought of 15 years. The party won 165 of the 230 seats last elections.

As many as 2,907 candidates were in fray for the November 28 assembly polls as Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan of BJP is attempting a fourth term in office, while challenger Congress expects to return to power after a 15-year gap.

Rajasthan: The Congress has taken a clear lead in early trends.

The fate of Rajasthan’s 2,274 candidates, of whom 189 are women, will be decided today. Rajasthan alternates between the BJP and Congress and this time, it looks, the time is up for chief minister Vasundhara aje.

Chhattisgarh: Here too, the Congress has managed an edge over the BJP after a close race in early trends. The BSP too is doing well.

This is a prestige battle for three-term Chief Minister Raman Singh of the BJP and the opposition Congress’ fight for resurgence. This time, the coalition between Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and Communist Party of India (CPI) has added another dimension to the electoral politics of the state which has been dominated by the BJP and the Congress.

Telangana: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi is racing ahead here.

Maiden polls for the Assembly were held on December 7 with a voter turnout of 73.20 per cent. The previous polls were held in the united Andhra Pradesh. Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The assembly polls in Telangana were originally scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the House was dissolved on September 6 as per a recommendation by the state Cabinet. A clear picture about trends is expected by afternoon. The fate of 1,821 candidates from various political parties will be decided on Tuesday. Exit polls have given K Chandra Shekhar Rao a clear edge.

Mizoram: The Mizo National Front has taken a clear lead over incumbent Congress, according to early trends.

The election was held on November 28 and its result will decide whether Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of Congress will be able to return for a third consecutive term in office. Mizoram is the last bastion of the Congress in the northeast. In the 2013 elections, the Congress had won 34 seats, while its main opposition the Mizo National Front (MNF) got five seats and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat. The Congress and the MNF have ruled Mizoram since 1987. The BJP has set its eyes on the state this time. All other northeastern states are now ruled either by the saffron party or others supported by it.

Much is at stake for the BJP in these results that are seen as the semi-finals to next year’s general elections in April or May. More so, because the BJP has seen significant reverses in Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls held since 2014. In the last bypolls on May 28, across 11 states, the Opposition had picked up 11 of the 14 seats, while the BJP got 3. The BJP’s strength in the Lok Sabha has also come down to 272 from 282 in 2014.

The Congress hopes to end its electoral drought in the Hindi heartland this time.

According to analysts, what could have worked for the Congress was the promise of waiving off farmers’ loans in all states if voted to power. The party also played the soft Hindutva card to the hilt, promising cow protection in its manifestoes in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The party also kept at bay infighting in both these states.

The outcomes of these elections will have a significant impact next year as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have 65 Lok Sabha seats, of which the BJP had won 62 in the 2014 Narendra Modi wave.

Here is a quick look at how parties fared in 2013:

Madhya Pradesh: BJP had won 165 of the total 230 seats, Congress 58 and other 7. Exit polls this time called it a very close fight.

Rajasthan: BJP had won 163 of the 200 seats, Congress 21 and others 16. Exit polls this time handed over the state to the Congress.

Chhattisgarh: BJP had won 49 of the 90 seats, Congress 39 and others 2. This state too has been called a close fight by exit polls.

Telangana: TRS had got 63, Congress 21 and BJP 5 of the total 119 seats. Exit polls have overwhelmingly voted in favour of the TRS this time.

Mizoram: Congress had got 34 of the 40 seats with the Mizo National Front bagging 5 and other 1. This time the advantage is with the MNF, according to exit polls.

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