This was by far the biggest of the three phases of elections so far and also it was the phase where BJP had done exceedingly well in 2014 by winning 62 out of the 116 seats that are voting today. Yet, it was also the toughest phase for the BJP for various reasons. It is always hard to repeat a clean sweep in any state after 5 years simply because people are no longer satisfied the way they were soon after independence. Aspirations are sky high today and it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to keep everybody happy all the time. So, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh would always be tough peaks to repeat after 5 years.
Therefore, on day three of this election season, BJP was facing some rough weather across board. The first 5 hours on this day have been quite tough for the saffron ecosystem. Yes, there is still a long way to go and usually, the core BJP vote comes out the strongest in the afternoon period, so we will have a much better idea of the scene by late evening. Yet, here are the 4 big happenings of this Tuesday morning.
Once again, Karnataka and Bihar seem to be the big Saffron saviors today. In Karnataka, BJP is maintaining its momentum of phase 1 and may well end up sweeping this round, despite of the fact that Congress is ahead in Gulbarga, Chikkodi, Koppal and Bidar till about 1 PM. The Congress leads are smaller, whereas BJP leads are more solid in these north Karnataka parts of the state. Plus, the demographic tracker is showing a nearly 70:30 split among Lingayat voters which should give BJP a lot of momentum later in the day.
In Bihar too, the NDA is doing better than expected. NDA is seen to be leading in 3 seats out of 5 till post-lunch hour and is heading for a much better afternoon turnout. In the prestigious Madhepura seat too, it is NDA that is leading this time. Sharad Yadav is likely to bite the dust once again this time – in the 2014 elections too, we had projected by late afternoon about the impending doom of Sharad Yadav much to the chagrin of many secularists and left wing supporters of his.
Since we are not tracking Chhattisgarh this time and extrapolating the recent assembly election data in that state, BJP is most likely to suffer losses there. Maharashtra and Assam could continue to give BJP the momentum, but it really needs to improve upon its position in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat in order to finish the day strongly. The task of the BJP is cut out this afternoon.
What we must remember about today is that BJP has done pretty well till now in the first two phases. Even if it slightly underperforms today, it would still be in pole position, no doubt about it. Of course, if BJP manages to fire on all cylinders today, then the election may well and truly be over for the opposition, because the path to Delhi for the opposition then becomes extremely complicated.