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General election 2019: Ongoing opinion polls have no relevance as new battle lines are yet to be drawn
After the Election Commission declared the dates for the 2019 general election, the political parties officially jumped into the election mode. The media too wasn't behind. In fact two-three opinion polls were aired immediately. One said that the NDA would get 285 seats while another two opinion polls gave them 264 seats and 233 seats respectively.

But are these opinion polls relevant at this moment? I don't think so because there are many things which are yet to be settled and could change the dynamics. For example in UP, there's a track-2 discussion going on for accommodating the Congress in the mahagathbandhan. Although the Congress has around 7 per cent vote share, it has a dubious reputation of destroying its allies. For example, the CPM in Bengal, the TDP in Telangana and the SP in UP have burnt their fingers by allying with the Grand Old Party. However, if the Congress is not accommodated, it could ally with the PSP (Shiv Pal Yadav's party) along with some other local parties like Peace Party etc. This may lead to a triangular competition damaging the mahagathbandhan seriously. Further, will the BJP take in some rebel SP and BSP candidates to replace some of its own MPs facing serious anti-incumbency? These are a few pertinent questions to be considered before predicting the results.

In Bengal too, it is yet to be finalised whether the Congress and the Left front would form an alliance. And if they do so, will it hurt the TMC or not? A prediction says that if there's four cornered contest, the TMC will be benefit the most followed by the BJP whereas the Left and the Congress will draw blank. However, if there's a triangular contest with between a Left-Congress coalition, the THM and the BJP, it may damage both the TMC and the BJP. Interestingly some experts have indirectly said that there's an under the table agreement between the TMC and the BJP to wipe out both the Congress and the Left in the state.

Although it is being said that the YSRCP is way ahead in Andhra Pradesh, there are some indications that the Congress' popularity is also increasing. In such a situation will there be an alliance between the Congress and the TDP. And if so, will it be beneficial for the alliance or further cause damage like it happened in Telangana.

In Tamil Nadu, the coalition is almost final. It's an AIADMK-BJP-PMK-MDMK coalition. In Odisha, the BJD is still a strong force due to the popularity of Navin Patnaik. The BJP has emerged only recently. But the problem is that the Congress has also emerged as a strong player in the last couple of months. Is it the BJD or the BJP that will face stiff resistance from the emerging Congress? But then, there will be lot of leaders switching parties which will to an extent decide the political outcome in the state.

In the Northeast it is yet not clear how the alliance will take shape especially after strong opposition to the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Weather the regional satraps stay with the NDA or jump to the UPA, is yet to be seen.

All these matters will be settled in a week's time or say by the 20th of March. Only then the opinion polls will have some relevance. However, one thing that remains abundantly clear is that Narendra Modi still remains popular. But as we know, the popularity of leader doesn't guarantee an election win. That's why I would choose to hold back the horses as of now. The election will depend on how the tickets are distributed, how the alliances are formed and how the micro-management of polling booths is done by different parties. The point to be noted is that elections are won or lost at polling booths only and not in rallies or TV debates.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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