Watch out for states that vote in 2013

Vasundhara Raje

In Nagaland, peace talks between Delhi and the NSCN(IM) continue to dominate politics. Recently, all state legislators offered to quit en masse to install an "alternative" government to exert pressure on the Centre to sign a peace accord before the elections.

BSY in Karnataka

Y P Rajesh

When the BJP came to power on its own in Karnataka in 2008, it was seen not only as opening the party's gateway to the south but also as an opportunity to consolidate its position by pushing development and erasing the memories of the political turmoil of previous years.

Those dreams and promises have clearly ended up as a nightmare. The BJP's rule has been marked by mining and land scandals and frequent revolts within, culminating in former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa quitting the BJP and forming the Karnataka Janata Party.

The strength of the BJP in 2008 was the state's largest community, Lingayats, voting for it en masse, wooed by Yeddyurappa. In the 2013 elections, that strength could prove the BJP's weakness as Yeddyurappa will likely take away more than a few per cent of those votes.

With the JD(S) of H D Deve Gowda not growing in strength in the last five years and being seen more as a one-family party, the scenario is set to favour the Congress, observers say. The party, however, needs to get its act together and ensure that its many claimants to leadership work in unison. With Yeddyurappa not averse to playing footsie with the Congress like Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav at the Centre, it is advantage Congress in Karnataka.



Sheila Dikshit is expected to contest for a fourth term. Many detractors in the fractious state Congress are unhappy with Sheila's style of functioning, and they have conveyed this to the top leadership, but she remains the most likely contender for the chief minister's post. The BJP is grappling with a leadership crisis, with the party yet to groom a likely contender for the polls. It would be worth watching how mass protests against graft in Delhi, which have caught the public mood in the last two years, will impact the elections.

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