India Insight

State Elections in India: Opinion polls and 2008 results

November 8, 2013

India will hold state elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi, starting November 11. The polls are seen as a warm-up for next year’s national elections.

Three of these five states – Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi — are governed by the Congress party, while the Bharatiya Janata Party rules in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. These state elections will serve as a popularity test for Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 national elections.

(Also read: Schedule of assembly elections in five states)

RAJASTHAN: In 2008, Congress swept the Rajasthan elections with 96 seats, adding 40 seats to its 2003 tally of 56. Ashok Gehlot took charge as chief minister, replacing Vasundhara Raje of the BJP. However, a recent opinion poll by India Today Group-ORG said Raje will make a comeback this year, with her party expected to win 105 seats. A Times Now-CVoter poll predicted BJP will win 118 seats in the 200-member house.

MADHYA PRADESH: The BJP has been ruling in Madhya Pradesh since 2003. BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan is chief minister, and a recent India Today Group-ORG opinion poll showed that his party will again win 143 seats in the elections to be held on Nov. 25. Another poll conducted by CSDS for the CNN-IBN news channel predicted that the BJP would win between 148 and 160 seats.

DELHI: With Sheila Dikshit at the helm, the Congress party has governed the Indian capital since 2003. But Dikshit, who has been chief minister for three consecutive terms, will face competition from the BJP and activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Dikshit told Reuters in an interview on Oct. 29 that the emergence of AAP has not dampened the her party’s confidence. But opinion polls are not favouring her. A Times Now-CVoter poll showed Delhi is heading for a hung assembly, with no party getting a clear majority. The Congress party is expected to win 24 seats this year, as compared to their 2003 tally of 43 seats, the poll said. Another poll, conducted by AC Nielsen for ABP News, indicated that AAP will win 18 seats in the 70-member assembly, while BJP and Congress will secure 28 seats and 22 seats.

CHHATTISGARH: Congress lost the state election in 2003, and the BJP’s Raman Singh has governed the state in recent years. The India Today Group-ORG poll predicted that the BJP will win 46 seats this year, less than the 50 it won in 2008, while Congress will increase its tally from 38 to 42. Fifty seven percent of those polled named Singh as their favourite choice for the chief minister. A projection by India TV-C Voter said BJP will win 47 out of 90 seats.

MIZORAM: In 2008, Congress won 32 seats in the state elections and elected Pu Lalthanhawla as its chief minister. Lalthanhawla took the reins from the Mizo National Front’s Pu Zoramthanga. The Mizo National Front won 21 seats in 2003, but won only three seats in the 2008 elections. Lalthanhawla will contest from two seats in the 40-member assembly this time. A India TV-CVoter survey showed that Congress will win only 18 seats, while the Mizoram Democratic Alliance is projected to win 16 seats.

(Editing by Robert MacMillan; Follow Aditya on Twitter @adityayk and Robert @bobbymacReports. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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