Assembly poll verdict 2018 - Are we heading for coalition politics once again?

The just concluded Assembly polls for five states are treated as semifinals for the general elections and the notable victory of Congress in three states make everyone to visualize the possible scenario that could happen in May 2019. Are we heading for coalition politics again in 2019? Let us discuss the impact of these elections in this article.


The results of the five state assemblies - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana will definitely have their impact on the political spectrum of India. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls going to be held in April/May next year, these assembly elections were very important for the ruling BJP led NDA and rest of others, particularly Congress. BJP was proclaiming that they have expanded their empire in 21 states out of 29 while the Congress became very pale in its colour due its frequent failures under the new leadership of the young Rahul Gandhi. But the complexion of the game completely changed when the results were out on 11th Dec., 18 as the ruling BJP lost its three major states MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The Congress regained its form and got rejuvenated with the remarkable win and snatching them away from BJP which were held by them for the last 3-4 consecutive terms. Mizoram went in favour of the MNF an NDA ally while Telangana again chose its champion and the party which fought for its separation from AP, none other than TRS. These results would have their impact on all the political parties in India to work out their strategies to meet the challenges to be posed in their respective states.

Let us have a detailed analysis of the result in an unbiased way

The perception that the Congress lost its soil everywhere and it couldn't counter BJP under the strategic leadership of Modi and Shah has proved to be a wrong notion. Several defeats in a row had demoralized the cadre of that party. This will now change. It generates energy to their party chief and its cadre as well. The assembly elections could contribute for realignment of political forces and change the atmosphere making it necessary for the major political parties in India to find new allies to win the battle for Lok Sabha in 2019. The Congress, now in an upbeat mood, has already started a dialogue with other regional party and national leaders to form a Peoples' Front just on the lines they did in Telangana. The AP Chief Minister and TDP Chief Chandra Babu who parted ways with NDA is making all his efforts to carve out a new front involving Congress and other parties.

At one point of time, the array of defeats made Congress isolated with a feel that it couldn't attract voters and only regional parties could counter the BJP. But the results proved otherwise putting Congress back in action to take on the BJP and making it necessary for the smaller parties to accept its leadership while forging an alliance against BJP.

Here are the main reasons as to why the r for the political narrative in the run-up results of these Assembly elections are a matter of concern to all political parties in their run-up to 2019.

  1. Though BJP has lost the elections in Chattisgarh, we can't attribute the reason to the party ruling as a whole. The consecutive three terms as Chief Minister by Raman Singh has shown a very good development and performance index but we can't ignore the fact of the influence of the anti incumbency factor for any ruling party. The fall of BJP Governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh should not be treated as lost battle as the margin between the percentages of votes is a minimal of 0.1 - 0.9%. In addition, the anti incumbency factor seems to have no impact as BJP was almost nearer to the half-way mark in both the states. Also, the winner fall short of the half way mark by one or two seats and any defections may tilt the positions. Thus Congress has not got a comfortable majority here.
  2. 'Jo jeetha hai, vo ee sikhinder' - is a popular Hindi film quote. Though the margin of votes between loser and the winner is very thin in many constituencies, Congress regained its lost form after the change of guard.
  3. Rural distress among the masses particularly the youth and the farmers played a key factor for the loss of BJP in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. These states predominantly contribute for agricultural sector and the victory of BJP in 2013 Assembly polls paved its way to Road to New Delhi in 2014 general elections. But the reversal of the result in 2018 might influence the chances of the ruling NDA and give momentum in the depressed cadre of their rivals.

The other parties which can influence the coming Lok Sabha elections 2019

CPI, CPM, Shiv Sena, AAP, NCP,SP, JD (U), JD (S), RJD, National Conference, Trinamool Congress (West Bengal),Biju Janata Dal (Odisha), DMK, AIADMK (Tamil Nadu),AGP (Assam),YSR Congress (Andhra Pradesh),TDP (Andhra Pradesh),TRS(Telangana), Lok Dal (Haryana) and Akali Dal are the main other components in our political spectrum which do play their role in making the Government at the centre. As per this election result scenario, it may not be surprising that one of the main political parties BJP or Congress emerge as a single largest party in the elections 2019 and the support of these parties may be necessary to stake their claim to form the Government.

These political parties as per the surveys have better edge than Congress and BJP in their states and going to dominate the Loksabha elections and the two parties either BJP or Congress have to depend on these parties only to form the Government in addition to seeking support of SP, BSP and Janta Dal (U).

The 2014 elections have changed the scenario because of the emergence of Modi as an alternate leader of the country and the fed up of the people with the prevailing situation that rocked the country. BJP led NDA won the election and BJP got a simple majority on its own, first time by a single party after 1984. This helped them to take some serious decisions.

Sum up

The era of regional parties has changed the political dynamics of the country since the last three decades and we have seen the coalition politics bringing political instability. Heading parties of these alliances would be challenging to take major decisions due to lack of support from their allies as observed from UPA regime in particular. The leader may be good but what could be the use when his coalition partners try to ride him because of their political and regional compulsions.

The major concern is that the regional parties which forge an alliance with a major political party will be under the influence of their regional interests and force the Governments to meet their expectations. Else, threatening to withdraw their support leading to instability of the political environment.

Let us hope that the Indian voter would show his prudence once again to ensure a simple majority to a single party so that there would be political stability and growth of the nation in all aspects. Otherwise, the diversified views with regional outlook would prevail which is detrimental to our democracy.

Article by Jagdish Patro
Jagdish Patro is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to ISC and other websites. Fond of reading books, novels and spends his leisure time by listening to music. He did his B.Sc in Applied Chemistry and his M.Sc in Resource Development Technology. He edited and published an in-house monthly journal by name ‘Srujana’ during 2009-2011 which was totally a private circulation.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao19 Dec 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

True. Coalition governments in the country are not good for the stability and progress of the country. The regional parties will always concentrate on the issues pertaining to their region and coming to a common understanding among different big leaders of different parties will be a herculean task. This we have witnessed earlier many times. So it is better to have a strong single party in the centre.

Now Congress is trying to make a pool of various other parties and fight with BJP. Mamata, Chandra Babu, Deva Gowda and some regional party leaders are with Congress. On the other hand, the TRS chief says he will pursue a federal front wherein Congress and BJP will not be there. What I understand from his statement is that parties like AIDMK, TRS, YSR Congress and other small parties in different states will form a group and they want to fight against Congress and BJP. I feel it is dangerous. There will be many small parties and coming to a common understanding will be a very difficult issue in such combinations.

I agree with the author that a single strong party rule for the country is very essential for the overall growth of the country.

Author: Umesh20 Dec 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

The results in the state elections are not very surprising as the state level politics and national level politics do not always go along each other. Sometimes local considerations are in favour of a particular affiliation and the public is not so prudent as to understand the complexities of these game plans.

Today what we require is a stable and honest Govt which believes in the development of the country as a whole rather than that of a privileged group. The unfortunate part is there are some elements who are only bothered for their success in the elections and are not the proper candidate to run the country but due to circumstantial favours and caste and creed considerations, they get the undeserved distinctions and simply mint money from public coffers. This has happened in the past and I am feared it could repeat in future also.

For comparing two regimes, people should do unbiased analysis and can definitely find the better one. There will be plus and minus points everywhere but we have to examine it in totality rather than to exaggerate a single point and to take sympathy for the gullible public against it. Anyway, the coming elections will decide the fate of our country and whoever comes in power will have to go for a digital and transparent governance otherwise the public will not give them another chance.

Author: Sankalan Bhattacharya23 Dec 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

When there are so many regional parties in almost every state, they will always raise their voice for their own share. There are internal bickerings among the coalition partners and if certain demands are not met they do not hesitate to leave the coalition and join the others.

Many regional parties, who are now united to fight against the NDA were in the NDA fold earlier. All of us are aware of Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu. He was with the NDA and left the coalition suddenly. He did this earlier also and the first NDA Government of Atalji was the best example of a grand coalition. Since he believed in consensus, he effectively managed the coalition partners. Regional politics is good to represent the burning issues of that particular region, but when it comes to the development of the country as a whole, it is not possible to please everybody all the time.

The main hindrance of any coalition government is the consensus. Everybody has a set of demands and almost every party wants a portfolio in the cabinet. Though people are aware of the tactics of the politicians and they know very well that most of the politicians do not follow any ethics, but when there is no alternative to choose from, they go for what they feel suitable. In the previous parliamentary elections of 2014, there was a Modi wave and everybody was talking about the corruption of the previous UPA regime. This time no such wave is visible and it is very difficult to predict the outcome. Though the present government has taken many new initiatives, especially the digital push, there is wide criticism also because of their certain policies. Nowadays people are much smarter and keeping an eye on the happenings around because of the wider net connectivity. I hope people will make a choice accordingly keeping in mind the compulsion of coalition politics.

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