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Lok Sabha elections 2024: One of the hinges that holds keys for rivals

Updated on: 20 May,2024 06:53 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Polling for state’s 48 seats ends today, to decide future course of national politics

Lok Sabha elections 2024: One of the hinges that holds keys for rivals

Like 2019, the 2024 campaign revolved around Prime Minister Narendra Modi. FILE PIC/PTI

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Lok Sabha elections 2024: One of the hinges that holds keys for rivals

Dharmendra JoreThe Lok Sabha election in Maharashtra ends today, May 20. And it is for the first time in many decades that equations in New Delhi will depend on the outcome here. Unlike many other elections of the past, this time around, all parties and their factions were out on their knees to seek votes. No party took voters for granted, because it was a question of their survival. If 2014 and 2019 were a foregone conclusion, not just for the Bharatiya Janata Party but also for the Opposition, there has been an air of uncertainty for the major players in the 2024 electoral field. This election saw the Opposition INDIA pushing hard its narrative—the BJP’s forte thus far. But, the Opposition’s success largely depends on the efforts of reaching out to the voters with its narrative, because the BJP has left no stone unturned to neutralise it. 

So far, INDIA seemed to be happy and overenthusiastic over creating an impression that they have erected a major roadblock for Narendra Modi in Maharashtra, which sends 48 MPs to Lok Sabha, the second biggest number after Uttar Pradesh. While the BJP says it will retain the 2019 tally of 41 seats, the Opposition is confident of reversing the trend by winning more than 40 seats. We will have to wait till June 4 to know the results in Maharashtra, and its impact on the formation of the Union government. Apart from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Karnataka are critical in the 2024 elections. 

Modi vs No-Modi
Like 2019, the campaign revolved around PM Modi. The Opposition attempted to convince voters why change was needed. The BJP’s thrust was on returning Modi to power for the second time in succession. The remarkable difference between the 2019 and 2024 elections was the unity of the Opposition in Maharashtra. In some states, ruling regional parties remained neutral, choosing the BJP and INDIA bloc as their rivals. Some such parties have pledged outside support to INDIA if it is in a position to topple the Modi sarkar.

The BJP made new friends ahead of the polls. It wooed the estranged ones back to the NDA fold. It dropped sitting MPs. It made the Rajya Sabha members contest. It was liberal in sharing seats with the allies such as Shiv Sena (Shinde). But it hadn’t expected the Opposition to come back with a renewed vigour. Its campaign changed with the progression of elections and in the wake of the Opposition’s newfound electioneering skills. It mixed well the development plank with anti-Congress rhetoric and Hindutva.

Khichdi on Maha’s plate 
Maharashtra was served a khichdi, concoctions of three parties each on both sides. Smaller parties spiced up both concoctions. The absence of local body elections added to the confusion. Local body polls give the parties an idea of their influence, based on which they fabricate their electioneering for Lok Sabha. In the past two years, two major parties—the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party—split to make things more complex for contestants and electors. The election result will decide the survivors from among Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde. It will determine their way towards the winter’s Assembly polls. By the end of the elections, the BJP would have had its lessons learnt, in victory or defeat.

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