New Delhi: The Assembly election results in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa are being considered a semi-final to the 2014 General Elections. At the moment, theCongress party is in majority in Goa and Manipur. The Bharatiya Janata Party is attempting to retain power in Punjab and Uttarakhand. However, all eyes are on Uttar Pradesh- a state where Rahul Gandhi has put all his energy. If the Congress retains its number four position, it will raise questions on the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul can draw crowds, show people dreams, raise their aspiration level, but fail to pull votes. The politicians of the Congress party have always clung to the Nehru-Gandhi family. If Rahul's efforts do not work in UP, one section in the party will become vocal that the Gandhi scion has not been able to work his magic and hence the idea of projecting him as a future prime ministerial candidate must be reviewed. It is quite plausible that the 'Bring Priyanka back slogan' might again be mooted.
On the other hand, if the Congress wins in Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand and comes as a kingmaker in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul will wear the victory crown. He will be projected as a candidate for prime minister and the Congress will contest elections projecting him as the PM candidate. In UP, if the Mulayam Singh government is formed with the help of Rahul Gandhi the Manmohan government might still gain. Mayawati will have to continue her support to the Centre out of political compulsions. On the other hand, Mulayam will have to lend unconditional support to the government at the Centre in return for Congress support in the state. In such a scenario, the Congress can heave a sigh of relief after Mamata Banerjee's relentless pressure. Rahul can then turn his efforts to Gujarat and pose a challenge to Narendra Modi in the state Assembly elections due at the end of the year. The government can also rethink its decision on FDI.
Similarly, the credibility of the BJP will also be at stake. If the party loses in Punjab and Uttarakhand, its enthusiasm is likely to wane in the Budget Session. Its aggressive stance towards the Congress might also reduce. Nitin Gadkari is certain to become a laughing stock, leaders such as Yeddyurappa will become impatient once more and the path for Narendra Modi's visit to Delhi might become clearer. On the other hand, if the BJP wins in Uttarakhand and poses a tough challenge to Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh, then Gadkari’s political acumen and election strategy will get a new boost. If the Congress does not lend support to Mulayam Singh and the BJP is able to help Mayawati form the government, both Mulayam and Mayawti will be alienated from the UPA which will cause Mamata to exert more pressure on the government.
For Mayawati, the ideal situation would be that the Congress and the BJP are both forced to lend support her government should she come back to power. Samajwadi Party is on the verge to build the government. If Congress gives them outside support then it is likely that Mulayam would do well to recongnize his son Akhilesh Yadav’s contribution and efforts and make him Chief Minister. This will mean that the youth wing in the party will also get some inspiration from Akhilesh. And if they do good work then it will boost the party’s chances in the Loksabha polls.