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It’ll be for regional parties to make opposition scorecard count

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NEW DELHI: What is at stake for

regional parties

in the general elections? With a half-baked INDIA coalition, BJP is pushing to maximise its gains along with NDA partner and some informal allies, leaving it to the regional parties to embellish the

opposition numbers

, especially in states where Congress has not been able to gain electorally in recent times.

BJP’s strong presence across many states – either in government or as opposition – has turned it into a direct fight with the saffron outfit for many regional parties, be it

Mamata Banerjee

‘s

Trinamool

in Bengal, Hemant Soren’s JMM in Jharkhand and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP in Delhi and Punjab. Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad’s RJD in Bihar are up against BJP and face the saffron surge as a battle for survival. With BSP virtually on the fringes, SP is trying to garner the anti-incumbency numbers in UP.

Nitish’s JDU, back with BJP again, faces a critical test, which will decide whether his party retains enough seats to continue to call shots.

TMC, contesting all 42 seats in West Bengal, has an unenviable task of checking the unprecedented rise of BJP which bagged 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2019, with Mamata fighting third term anti-incumbency.
In Jharkhand too, former CM Hemant Soren, in ED custody over alleged money laundering charges, has his task cut out to maintain the dominance of his party.
AAP chief Kejriwal’s canvas has spread over two states, but with ED knocking at his doors, the Delhi CM faces unease just ahead of the start of campaign.

KCR’s BRS faces a similar situation in Telagana, after his daughter K Kavitha was arrested by ED on Friday.
For Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Uddhav Thackaray’s Shiv Sena, which are in alliance with Congress in Maharashtra, the stakes are perhaps the highest ever. Sharad Pawar has much to prove to save his political legacy and avenge the “backdoor attack” on his party and the erstwhile MVA government.
Thackeray, who led the MVA government, is in the same boat after the breakaway Shinde faction, in association with BJP and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction, replaced his dispensation.
AIADMK, the main opposition in Tamil Nadu, is facing an existential crisis in the absence of strong leadership since J Jayalalitha’s demise.
For the Left parties like CPM, CPI, it is an ideological battle against the saffron right, especially after it lost ground in strongholds of West Bengal and Tripura.

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