The Congress has identified 106 seats where it has a direct fight with the BJP and is working hard to ensure that it win a chunk of these. The seats are mostly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Chhattisgarh. Since the BJP is ruling these states currently, the Congress is hoping to cash in on the anti-incumbency. As for the other states, it’s looking at alliances where, barring Karnataka, it will probably be relegated to the role of a junior partner.


The BJP may be working towards a Congress mukt Bharat, but the Congress game plan is to ensure a Modi mukt BJP. The way they see it, if they can ensure that the BJP gets around 40 seats lower than its 2014 tally, then it will not have a clear majority and so will have to depend upon allies to form the next government. In which case, the NDA allies may ask for someone other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That seems to be the short term plan of the Congress.


“Abki Baari, Atal Bihari” was the slogan that the BJP took in the 1998 and 1999 elections. But with the way it is playing up the Vajpayee legacy, one wonders if this slogan will reverberate again during the 2019 elections. One reason for the PM to play up the legacy is that 2019 is “expected” to throw up a coalition government; it will need to evoke the Vajpayee way, especially with allies like the Shiromani Akali Dal recently recalling how Vajpayee managed a smooth functioning of the allies.


Usually the tradition in Raksha Bandhan is that the girl ties a rakhi on her brother asking for his “protection”, but apparently MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written letters to as many as five lakh women across his state asking them to vote for him in lieu of sending him rakhis. Clearly, it’s he who needs their “protection” here.

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