Must Read From Our Polls Coverage
📌 With a fight on its hands in Rajasthan and MP, Cong hopes Chhattisgarh will be plain sailing: Chhattisgarh and Telangana. Of the four states where votes will be counted on Sunday, the Congress, according to the exit polls, has an advantage in only these two states even as Rajasthan is expected to be a close contest and Madhya Pradesh is predicted to go the BJP’s way. In Chhattisgarh, the pollsters have predicted Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s return to a second straight term in power but with fewer seats.
📌 Notes from the Madhya Pradesh ground: This round of assembly elections is nearly done, with voting over for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, and Rajasthan and Telangana left to go. There will be winners and losers, of course, but if you only paid attention to the white heat ratcheted up by contestants, you could miss out on what the voters are saying. Given that voters speak only once in five years, it is important, at this time, to go beyond the parties’ slogans and certitudes, keep an open mind and listen well.
📌 Owaisi in his labyrinth — Canvassing in Old Hyderabad streets to live TV performance: An articulate face on national TV, Asasuddin Owaisi, 54, seems to be playing truant at the height of a crucial campaign in his home base, Hyderabad. Not just parachuting journalists, even local veterans can’t trace him. He announces a roadshow or a door-to-door canvassing in one segment of the city and turns up at another. To catch up with these sudden diversions is far from easy in this old capital city that every contesting party promises to develop into the next Bengaluru.
📌 As PM Modi turns up the heat on KCR, the long and short of BJP’s Telangana strategy: Three days before Telangana votes in the Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and reiterated that it was the party’s responsibility “to bring Telangana out of the clutches of the BRS”. Modi also reiterated that the BJP had “turned down” the BRS’s offer to join hands. The prime minister’s consistent attack on Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, and his party illustrates the BJP’s earnest effort to shrug off the Congress’s allegation that the BJP and the BRS have joined hands in the election.
📌 W for welfare, R for religion, O for OBCs — Parties have found a common poll language: As the poll fever for the five Assembly elections winds down – even though both Rajasthan and Telengana have become unexpectedly exciting, with the Congress putting up a fight – it’s time to capture some broad trends. What is striking are the areas where a consensus is now developing across parties, and one of them is the need to provide social welfarism – call it freebies, doles, handouts, what you will – as part of a safety net. The Congress and BJP are vying with each other to promise – and mount – new welfare schemes.