Precursor for 2024

Moa Jamir

The Election Commission of India (ECI) announcement of the schedule for assembly elections in five crucial states on October 9, signals the commencement of what promises to be a riveting political battle for the 2024 Lok Sabha General Elections.

The five states at the centre of this electoral spectacle are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram. Each of these states has its unique political dynamics, and their outcomes will be closely watched as a bellwether for the forthcoming General Elections.

Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana will witness single-phase elections on November 7, 17, 23, and 30, respectively. Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, will go to the polls in two phases on November 7 and 17. A staggering total of 759 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) will be contested, with Mizoram contributing 40, Chhattisgarh 90, Madhya Pradesh 230, Rajasthan 200, and Telangana 118.

What makes these state elections even more pivotal is the intense campaigning and political realignments that have already begun well before the ECI's announcement, underscoring the significance of these states in the larger political landscape.

Geographically, these states represent a diverse cross-section of India's political landscape. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan are integral to the influential Hindi belt, while Mizoram stands in the North-East, and Telangana anchors the South. Each state has its unique set of issues and challenges, which will shape the electoral narrative.

Furthermore, in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh will see more or less a straight fight between the Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), with latter fighting anti-incumbency in one and the former in two.

In terms of sheer numbers, these five states are significant, boasting a combined voter base of approximately 16.14 crore, according to the ECI. The significance is further amplified when considering their representation in the Lok Sabha, where they account for 83 seats out of 543, comprising over 15% of the Parliamentary Constituencies.

These elections will also serve as a litmus test for the newly-formed opposition bloc, the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A), formed in July this year.  Comprising of over 26 parties, this alliance has set its sights on dismantling the BJP's undisputed dominance in the Lok Sabha and toppling the Party-led National Democratic Alliance. Additionally, it seeks to uphold the principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution, promote inclusive development, and safeguard secular values, among other objectives.

With the announcement of these elections and the stakes involved, one can expect heightened polarisation, realignment of political forces, and spirited campaigns. Parties will vigorously defend their territories and vie for lost ground, setting the stage for a high-stakes electoral showdown.

Ultimately, the results of these assembly elections on December 3 in the five states will provide a glimpse into the evolving political landscape of India and serve as harbinger of trends and alliances that could shape the outcome of the 2024 Lok Sabha General Elections, making them a true bellwether for what lies ahead in the world's largest democracy. The outcome of these states’ elections will play a pivotal role in shaping the strategies of the two major alliances as they prepare for the ultimate showdown in 2024.

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