NEW DELHI, Mar 18: In the Assembly elections in Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, the Congress has more at stake than the Bharatiya Janata Party. The grand old party rules Assam for an unbroken 15 years and Kerala, where it heads the United Democratic Front. In sharp contrast, BJP has less to lose as it is not in power in any of the five States.
If the Congress retains power in Assam and Kerala, it will be a big boost for the party, as after its ignominious defeat in the 2014 general elections, the party rapidly lost in Haryana and Maharashtra as well, and was out for a duck in Delhi.
The only bright spot was in Bihar where it was part of the winning combine led by the Janata Dal(U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The BJP hopes to increase its footprint in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and win Assam or, at least, emerge at the head of the charts.
It is banking on its performance in the State in the Lok Sabha elections, when it won seven of the 14 seats, securing a 36.5 per cent vote share, an increase of 19.29 per cent. The Congress lost just 4.31 per cent, sliding down to 29.6 per cent, but its seven seats shrank to three. The Trinamool, a flag-bearer for West Bengal's 30 per cent Muslim vote, is keen on polarising the election to ensure that the Left and the Congress do not eat into its minority support. ?THE HINDU