Rama Krishna Sangem
This question is triggered after the Centre has slashed the price of LPG cylinder by Rs 200 to around 8 crore households that avail PM Ujjwala Yojana scheme in the country. PM Narender Modi on August 29 Tuesday said it is a Rakhi Pournami gift to millions of sisters who run the households. This bonanza is unusual in nature for BJP, unless it comes ahead of an impending election.
Is PM Modi considering advancing Lok Sabha elections to December this year, from the scheduled May 2024? This is the question being discussed in Delhi’s political circles in the last couple of days. If he does it, then the LS will go to polls along with that of Andhra Pradesh assembly too. There is no confirmation from the BJP sources, but opposition leaders are talking about this.
In December, five states –Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram – will go to polls. The Election Commission has already begun work on these polls. The election schedule for these elections will be out by the middle of October. So, PM Modi has enough time till then to take a call on advancing LS elections and club them with these states. The EC can club polls of any house, if their tenure is less than six months.
Indications for the talk came from two leaders – Mamata Banerjee of TMC and Nitish Kumar of JD(U). Reasons for this thinking of advancing LS elections is because of multiple factors – political, economic and climatic conditions. Some BJP leaders in the national capital too have acknowledged this proposal being considered at the PM level, but they insisted till now there is no such decision.
Mainly political factors
A major reason for advancing LS polls by at least 4-5 months is the fast changing political conditions in the country. After BJP’s shocking defeat in Karnataka, the party’s top brass is not taking things for granted. Having lost the Southern base, the BJP has set its eyes on the five state that go to polls later this year. Initial surveys say, BJP is unlikely to retain MP while lagging behind in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and is in a third spot in Telangana.
Even if its ally wins in Mizoram, it is a small state with not much impact. So, there is a view within the ruling party at the Centre to go for early polls – in December this year, to avoid the perception of it waging a losing battle in 2024. For that, BJP needs to mobilize consensus at the top level. Of course, PM Modi is of the view that late Vajpayee’s decision to advance LS elections in 2004 was wrong.
But, he will change his mind , if convinced that the early polls would benefit him. Another reason is a possible near drought conditions in the country, due to deficit rainfall in most parts. That will lead to sharp rise in inflation and rural unemployment – which is not good for BJP. Third and last factor is re-grouping of INDIA front that is slowly expanding its base
The opposition front will grow stronger, if BJP puts up poor show in five states assembly elections. There is a lot of godwill for PM Modi especially after the successful Chandrayaan 3 mission to the Moon. This will further go up after the ming G -20 summit on September 8- 10 in Delhi. Anyway, BJP heavily banks on Modi’s image to win the polls. So, an early polls is an option attractive enough on the table of the PM Modi and other top brass of BJP.