State Elections – Tidbits

Just some state elections tidbits I picked after interacting with some MPs. Conversing with knowledgeable politicians is always a treat and the ongoing elections in various states was one of the issues I informally plumbed in discussions on the topic of the underway  popularity contests. Two in particular may be of interest.

The Badals and the SAD/BJP combine are unlikely to be returned to power in Punjab, I was told, because of the scale of corruption the ruling Family indulged in in their ten years in the saddle. Consider one metric and a comparison with Tamil Nadu at the other end of the country. Punjab and Tamil Nadu have about equal number of liqour vends, around 1,600 in each state. However, the liqour consumption in Punjab is several multiples of the level of the hard stuff imbibed by the people of Tamil Nadu. But, and here’s the clincher,  the Punjab exchequer last year reported only some Rs. 6,000 crores as revenue from liqour sales while the Tamil Nadu government in its budget showed liqour sales revenue in excess of Rs 28,000 crores!

Uttar Pradesh:  BJP, I was informed,  was  in even play in the first three rounds of the ongoing elections in that state meaning, perhaps, a sub-par performance. But its game apparently picked up in subsequent rounds, and it expects much from eastern UP  in the next few days. An awful lot of money has been spent by BJP to ensure there are adequate returns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extensive touring of the state combined with some very intensive canvassing.  Nothing less could have been expected with Modi’s reputation on the line, and his chief lieutenant, Amit Shah, pulling out all the stops.

The country awaits, no doubt with bated breath, the results on March 11. Of equal interest , to me at least, are the above two professional polictical assessments. If Badals somehow  pull it off and Modi’s remorseless, often heated, campaigning pays dividend then the PM will get the majority he needs in the Rajya Sabha to ram through his pet programmes in the nick of time and will, almost certainly, be assured another 5 years at 7, Race Course Road, come 2019.



About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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12 Responses to State Elections – Tidbits

  1. Vishak Bharadwaj S says:

    I can guarantee you that the Badals won’t pull it off. It’ll be a massacre.
    They are so sure of their defeat that they went to their constituencies and pleaded with their own voters to vote for Cong instead of AAP.

    It’ll probably be an AAP govt in Punjab. But UP is a genuine nail-biter.

  2. Respected Bharat Sir,
    Badals and Akalis are finished in Punjab.AAP will win in Punjab and Modi will win UP.Modi will win 2019 general elections for sure .After 2019 Modi may or may be able to turnaround Indian economy but US and India may finish off Pakistan before 2024 general elections.So modi may also win 2024 elections

    • Just returned after an extended session with X News TV channel covering Trump’s 1st State of the Union address. Repeating here what I said during this TV session and umpteen times in my writings and in the media: Be realistic. The US is no more likely to join India in finishing off Pakistan, or even deal with China. We better understand India cannot rely on any other power to do our bidding or help us secure our interests. We have only ourselves to bank on.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        @BK: Despite whatever a US President may say during election time, when he takes office, he realizes the strengths of Pakistan which are central to US policy- it’s determination despite having relatively paltry resources, central unifying forces (the PA and Islam), it’s geostrategic location, it’s propensity of not allowing anybody to take it for granted, and a weak kneed tottering and bumbling giant like India as its only potential enemy.

        If only India had the single minded determination, and the will to depend solely on itself and if necessary “climb the mountain alone” no matter come what may, it would not be in this situation. India’s leaders would do well in heeding two sentences uttered by Lawrence to Sherif Ali in the classic film Lawrence of Arabia:

        “Sherif Ali. So long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people; a silly people; greedy,,…”
        ” Trust your own people…”.

        I haven’t seen anything in Lawrence’s autobiography “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” that substantiates the fact that he actually uttered these statements, but they are classic words most suitable for India.

      • America will not finish off Pakistan for India but for its own interests.Pakistan is the mother of all the terrorism.What do you think who was responsible for 9/11 strikes ?

        Only Time will tell whether Pakistan Survives untill 2025 or not ? We will all be here !!!!

      • &^%$#@! says:

        Could you please expand upon what you mean by “finishing off” Pakistan?

  3. Venkat says:

    BJP should have pulled out relationship with Akalis. They need a smart leadrer like Fadnavis in Punjab. BJP needs to develop such leaders in all states.

  4. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Can you tell us what party this MP you consultant belonged to.

    I am following Dr Praveen Patil for BJP insider view. He is a rank political b@$!-~D and can get carried away and is not above a bit of lying, but he has tried to be as truthful with numbers as his resources allow him to be.

    About the subsequent rounds gain for BJP, I would be really surprised because in these rounds last time in 2014 the lead was slimmer. Most of bigger BJP leads in 2014, were concentrated in areas which match the first 3 phases of this elections. Western UP was a whopping 51% vote share in 2014. If BJP has given up hope in Phase 1 (against BSP) and Phase 3 (against SP) and is confident only upon Phase 2 there is no hope in hell for BJP for Phase 4 and Phase 5. Phase 6 and Phase 7 may go any which way because most of the winnings in these areas in 2014 were with well under 40% vote share. That too after a swing being achieved and the muslim vote being divided. Such things don’t happen again and again. If you have luck on your side, you better respect it while it lasts.

    Just last night on the TV, Amit Shah was very adamant that BJP will get 2/3rd majority but then went on to say that he did not have the assessments for Phase 5 with him. The body language gave away everything. Amit Shah has a very apolitical body language. If he is upset then it shows on his face, easily. Likewise when he is happy and confident it shows up even in his logic and answering which suddenly becomes very well thought out. And by god he was upset last night.

    In fact my hunch (cannot offer reasons because I don’t have any except pure speculation here) is that BJP will find if mighty hard in the Phase 6 and Phase 7.

    Following gives the 2014 map with names of Lok sabha constituencies:

    Following gives the table of results for 2014:,_2014_(Uttar_Pradesh)
    Phase 6 and Phase 7 will correspond approximately to Lok Sabha Constituency #60 to #80 in the above list. It is a simple 20 second click on each link to see what I mean. BJP has only 3 belts, Gorakhapur-Adityanath, Varanasi-Modi and Deoria-Kalraj Mishr to bank on (all above 50% vote share). All the rest up up for contest and the last winnings were all based on swing votes while Azamgarh and Mirzapur defied even the Modi wave of 2014.

    And all this is despite reversing the polling schedules from 2012. This time it is West to East in 7 rounds, simply in order to avoid the demonetisation fallout in terms of votings. In 2012 it was East to West in only 6 rounds. Don’t forget the reverse immigration since demonetisation was towards these parts of India. Moreover the harvesting, selling and re-sowing of farmland, in these parts, fell exactly during the worst very early phase of demonetisation.

    Following map gives the actual 2017 assembly election phases:

    People usually just see maps like the following kinds of media maps and end up in a confidence trick, but the devil lies in the details.

    BJP supporters are probably thinking that BSP and SP will divide Muslim votes. What they forget is that BSP will also divide Hindu votes. So when Modi ‘warns the public’ about hung assembly from his election rally then you better listen. He already has the best intel apparatus on India available to him.

    UP assembly election 2017 was one that could only have been messed up by BJP and they seem to be on course to this self inflicted goal. Really sad to see them do this to themselves. How can somebody feel so challenged by freshers like Akhilesh and Rahul.

    Personally I would like to see Mayawati come up in UP. And while even Mayawati is having a near death experience, I sincerely doubt, if she can be ignored. The Shiv Sena and Akalis have shown that these smaller parties have a mind of their own, for good or for bad. A separate social entity by themselves whatever the view of outsiders. And may several such parties come and go.

    With bigger parties centralizing everything, the foreigners have to buy out just one or two guys and the faithful namazis then just begin to repeat things. If India has to survive and prosper then these smaller parties are a must have. They are the real Plan-B for India.

  5. Finish off Pakistan means to snatch or de-nuclearise Pakistan and then cut it into 3-4 pieces !!!!!

    • &^%$#@! says:

      In your esteemed opinion, do you think your theories/desires are realistically possible at this stage? Note I am no fan of Pakistan and find it a most odious country. However, I just happen to be a realist.

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