The question is that how much credibility Congress party and its candidate is left with given their track record of past governance
Some English Channels have conducted Exit-poll in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP governed states and have forecast comfortable victory for Congress in Rajasthan, an edge for Congress in a tight fight in Madhya Pradesh and in Chhattisgarh with higher numbers of seats for Congress. There is on a rough average about 100% increase in Congress seats compared to previous assembly elections.
Committed voters are not too many but the non-committed voters who perhaps form the bulk of voters are more concerned whether they can trust the candidate to deliver his or her promises.
This follows their narrative of high anti-incumbency trend observed in these three states. And, since Rajasthan in the past two decades has witnessed alternative Congress and BJP governments after every term, there is a common perception among the public that these elections will follow the same trend.
This scientific analysis of political elections is based on statistics which requires a psephologist to have a good understanding of the demographic patterns of the region, caste dynamics, working groups and important issues in the preceding elections coupled with a sharp political sense. The scope of such professionals encompasses analysis of aspects like trends in voting, swings in votes, number of votes polled or percentage of total votes polled translating into the number of seats in the government. Based on this data, a psephologist infers the outcome of the public opinion manifested in the form of elections.
But, the real problem with Exit poll survey is that it targets very few (just 5000 to 10000) voters which may not be representative of the entire population. Due to the small sample size, even a slight error gets exacerbated and can disproportionately influence outcomes. Plus, these polls are designed to estimate vote share by party, not the seat share and converting vote share data to seat share in each constituency is tricky especially in a multi-cornered, first-past-the-post fight at the constituency level.
We may note here two important trends or factors generally influencing the voter’s preference. First, the existence of committed voters as per caste and party affiliation. Secondly, the profile of the party and or the individual candidate as perceived by the voter and based on which he or she reposes faith and confidence on the candidate. Committed voters are not too many but the non-committed voters who perhaps form the bulk of voters are more concerned whether they can trust the candidate to deliver his or her promises.
In 1993, Congress ruled as many as 16 states. And even as late as 2014, when Modi became prime minister, it could boast of 13 chief ministers
The above three state elections have been fought mainly between BJP and Congress. Given the anti-incumbency for BJP, the non-committed voters will look at the credibility of Congress party and its candidate. Now the question is that how much credibility Congress party and its candidate is left with given their track record of past governance while in government and present performance and discharge of responsibility as opposition.
Congress could not reconcile itself to its hugely diminished status in India as a political enterprise. Yet the party continues with the self-satisfied pretension of being the only one that can shape India’s destiny. The party refuses to see its dismal scorecard in all respects of governance and especially with regard to corrupt practices as no more than an arithmetical aberration: In 1993, Congress ruled as many as 16 states. And even as late as 2014, when Modi became prime minister, it could boast of 13 chief ministers. Today, it rules only Punjab, Mizoram, Puducherry and Karnataka (in alliance with JD-S).
If Congress is dreaming of victories in the current round in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, it’s more because of the anti-incumbency against the sitting governments than because of any great resurgence on the part of Congress.
The voters are very much aware of all this and therefore have no reason to repose their trust on Congress in these elections. The existence of local issues, if any, are not likely to override this mistrust.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.