Viewpoint: The outcomes of the assembly elections and the INDIA alliance's future

This time, the results are really intriguing and will significantly impact the new coalition known as INDIA.

Viewpoint: The outcomes of the assembly elections and the INDIA alliance's future

The results of the 2023 elections for the five state assemblies will be known in less than 36 hours at the time this article is written. The future of the different political parties is already decided somewhere in those EVMs. This is a predetermined outcome, unlike the 2023 World Cup cricket final (trigger warning: may rekindle trauma), when the match needed to be played to find out the outcome.

Simply put, the scorecard isn't in front of us yet. By now, we usually have reliable exit polls that provide us with a decent idea of the general trend, whether it a "hawa," wave, breeze, tsunami, or anything else. Not at this moment. Not only are exit surveys everywhere, but a lot of them also predict a close race between the Congress and the BJP, with vote shares predicted to be within one or two percentage points of one another.

Exit polls are not very helpful in this kind of situation. Even the most thorough and reliable exit poll, India Today-Axis My India, is indicating tight races in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. In contrast to exit polls from other organizations, the India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll predicts that the BJP will win Madhya Pradesh handily.

Many exit polls in Telangana are favoring Congress, especially the most recent India Today-Axis A Congress win is suggested by my India Exit Poll.

What is the meaning of all this? This time, the exit polls have added to the confusion, which was anticipated to clarify the situation. This time, it may truly be anybody's game. In Mizoram, where neither the Congress nor the BJP are predicted to win, the exit poll is the only one that is clearly visible. ZPM, a local party, is predicted to win handily in that poll. That leaves us with four ambiguous states, the resolutions to which we won't know until Sunday.

This time, the results are really intriguing and will significantly impact the new coalition known as INDIA.

Here are three broad outcomes for four states (excluding Mizoram):

Congress does really well and scores 4-0, or strong 3-1

It will be viewed as a huge triumph for the party if the Congress wins every one of them, or every one except for, say, Chhattisgarh. Given that these results follow the announcement of the results of the elections in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, they will be perceived as a party capable of taking on the BJP and defeating them in state after state.

Rahul Gandhi's stature will increase, which will result in a revitalized Congress party. The Lok Sabha elections are different, of course, but the Congress will be seen as resurgent. But this poses a problem for the partnership with India. The INDIA alliance is not necessary if the Congress performs too well, at least not in this shape, which appears to be a merger of equals. If the Congress puts up a stellar show, the other members of INDIA will have less influence inside the alliance. The Congress will make an effort to assert more power. Therefore, the good news about Congress's performance is essentially bad news for the India-US relationship.

Even Stevens 2-2

Assume that the BJP secures a pair of victories in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh. Then, we have a 2-2 situation if the Congress wins any one of the three (preferably a larger state like Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan) plus Telangana. Both the Congress and the BJP will declare victory in this instance, and they would both be somewhat correct. However, it would also imply that while the Congress may win certain elections, the BJP cannot be totally defeated by them. The best situation for the INDIA alliance is really this 2-2, or the Goldilocks, not too hot, not too cool Congress scenario, where the Congress is neither completely rejected nor so adored that it doesn't want anybody else.

BJP shines with 3-1

Even if the Congress were to win Telangana, it would still be viewed as a significant defeat for the Congress and a tremendous success for the BJP if the BJP wins all three of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. In this instance, it will be implied that the Congress has absolutely no prospect of winning in 2024 and that the INDIA coalition as a whole has failed. It's not good news for the INDIA alliance or the Congress.

As a result, the non-Congress INDIA alliance partners are looking for an Even Stevens 2-2 for the Congress that is neither too hot nor too cold. A 4-0 result appears doubtful, thus the BJP and Congress are all looking for a large win, which looks like a 3-1 best case scenario. And on Sunday, when more voters and spectators will be gnashing their teeth than during the cricket World Cup final, we can't wait.