The BJP-led State government has just completed half of its five-year term and there is talk of the possibility of mid-term polls. Unlike in the past, the debate is not about the creation of any of the opposition parties but the major partners in the alliance government – the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his party was confident of returning to power if mid-term polls were held in the state anytime. This led to Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan jumping into the fray to claim that their parties too were confident of doing well in the event of mid-term polls. The Shiv Sena whose constant warring attitude with the BJP is said to have led to the mid-term polls talk with its leader Uddhav Thackeray saying that instead of spending huge funds on the mid-term polls, the same money should be utilised to mitigate sorrows of the farmers in the state.
The moot question is that can any of the warring factions of the ruling alliance or the opposition parties afford the gamble of mid-term polls or at any stage in the near future. One has to just cast a glance at the cases of mid-term or anticipated polls in Maharashtra or at the national levels to know the exact answer to this question.
The people in the country have not yet forgotten the days of the ‘India Shining’ slogan. The slogan was coined when Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government had completed four years. This supposedly prevailing ‘feel good’ atmosphere among the country’s electorate led to then Chanakyas among the ruling party to go the mid-term polls in the country. The bubble of the ‘India Shining’ was burst with the electorates electing the Congress back to power. Most surprisingly, the Congress also managed to secure a second term five years later.
Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray too played the gamble of anticipating state Assembly polls in 1999 when Shiv Sena had its chief minister in Maharashtra with the BJP being the minor partner. Thackeray had then removed Manohar Joshi as chief minister and appointed Narayan Rane in his place. While the Vajpayee-led BJP government then returned to power at the Centre, people in Maharashtra rejected the Shiv Sena-BJP government and instead voted for a hung assembly. Despite having fought a bitter poll against each other, the Congress and NCP came together post-poll and this alliance later ruled for successive three terms!
The fact is that it is near impossible to gauge the mood of the electorate before their verdict is sealed into the electronic voting machines. This was amply made clear when the country witnessed astonishing poll verdicts in the Delhi assembly polls, Bihar state polls or the most recent Uttar Pradesh polls. None of the psephologists or news channels had predicted these poll outcome in their exit polls. Therefore, whatever may be the public postures of the leaders of various political parties, none of them are prepared to risk the mid-term polls, lest their present political position change for the worse.