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Sunday's Assembly polls, results are set to have a direct bearing on the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. If the scoreline is 4-0 (excluding Mizoram) in favour of the BJP, as predicted by the exit polls, the remaining part of the session is set to become a mere ritualistic affair, with the government abandoning all contentious legislation. It will also ignore the BJP's demand for extending the session, sources said.
With a Congress washout seen as an indicator for 2014, the entire decision-making process may grind to a halt about five months ahead of General elections.
While Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh Saturday rejected any link between the results of Assembly and parliamentary polls, citing past examples, there is palpable unease in the party. A sweep in these elections could make Narendra Modi an unstoppable force.
These elections were virtually a semi-final contest between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, with the two leading as well as planning their party campaigns. If Modi put his foot down to get Vijay Goel replaced by Harsh Vardhan in Delhi, Rahul reduced Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to playing his shadow in a number of rallies addressed by him, as a result of which the CM himself could not canvass for most of the party candidates.
Still, as the countdown began to Sunday morning, the Congress continued to nurse hopes of capturing Chhattisgarh and to fancy its chances in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — as per the feedback given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi by party functionaries. In Delhi, where the Aam Aadmi Party performance holds the key, the Congress took heart from an online survey conducted by it post-exit polls that gave the party 31 seats in the 70-member state Assembly.
"We are hoping for the best and prepared for the worst," an AICC general secretary in charge of one of the states going to polls told The Sunday Express.