Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand–all three ruled by the BJP– may be advanced by several months to be held with the Lok Sabha elections in April-May this year.
While elections for the Assemblies of Haryana and Maharashtra are due in October this year that of Jharkhand are scheduled for December.
There is speculation that the advancing of the Assembly elections could be considered as the BJP may not like anti-incumbency to hit the states if Assembly polls are held separately. The party believes that if held along with the Lok Sabha elections, the performance of the Central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi may overwhelm all negative factors.
It suits the BJP to ride on the Modi’s image as also on some of the “populist” measures expected in the Budget to beat the anti-incumbency.
Polls to the Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim are scheduled to be held alongside the Lok Sabha polls. Besides, polls to elect an Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under President’s Rule at present, may also be held along with Lok Sabha polls.
In Haryana, buoyed by his party’s success in the local body elections in which it won all five mayoral posts, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has already expressed his willingness for simultaneous polls.
In Maharashtra, though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is not keen on advancing Assembly polls, he would ultimately have to go by the party’s decision if it goes for simultaneous polls.
In Jharkhand, too, the BJP may decide to advance the polls as an alliance between the Congress, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) is taking shape, and it would like to counter it with Modi’s high decibel Lok Sabha campaign.