The most critical section of the General Election, 2019 shall begin tomorrow as these final three weeks of campaigning during the hottest part of the year is going to determine the fate of India for the five years.
The fourth phase of polling will be held in 17 seats in Maharashtra, 13 each in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, six each in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, five in Bihar, three in Jharkhand and a part of the Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.
From now onwards the election will be more in the areas which are traditional strongholds of the BJP and its allies and here BJP are determined to give a good show as the last time.
A small slip of 10% in the last four phases would only cost the BJP 17 seats and make little difference, but 30% down ( 51+ seat loss) would ensure the BJP would not have a majority of any kind. Moreover, we would be in the open season.
The stakes are high for the ruling BJP and its allies as it had swept 56 of these seats in 2014, leaving just two for the Congress and the rest for other opposition parties such as the Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal. The fate of 961 candidates, including Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Subhash Bhamre, S S Ahluwalia and Babul Supriyo of the BJP and former Union ministers Salman Khurshid and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress, will be decided by about 12.79 core voters in this phase.
Among other vital contestants in the fray are Kanhaiya Kumar (CPI), Baijayant Panda (BJP), Urmila Matondkar (Congress), Dimple Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satabdi Roy (TMC) and Milind Deora (Congress).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a host of Union ministers among others canvassed for their party candidates over the past few days, undertaking whirlwind tours of constituencies.
The real election for Modi, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar is only just beginning. They have to fire on all cylinders to ensure that the 2014 majority is repeated. Even a small dip in the final four phases starting Monday could doom them to dependence on new and fickle allies, each with an agenda of their own. Of the 195 seats in the Hindi-speaking belt from Punjab and Rajasthan to Bihar and Jharkhand, the BJP and its allies held 177 of them, a mind-boggling strike rate of 90%.
This is the citadel that the BJP has to defend to repeat the 2014 sort of result. It includes Rajasthan where they scored all 25 seats and Madhya Pradesh where they got 27 of 29 seats.