Here are the states voting in 2023 and their significance:
The Big North East Polls: In February-March 2023, three Northeast states - Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland - will be voting. By November, Mizoram is also expected to go to polls. The BJP is in power in Tripura with a local ally IPFT, and is a junior partner of regional allies in Nagaland and Meghalaya. In Mizoram, the contest is between the Congress and the ruling Mizo National Front. A special focus will be on Tripura, which the BJP won for the first time in 2018 but is now facing a massive rebellion in its ranks.
Karnataka: The BJP's sole stronghold in South India will vote in May 2023. The electoral battle will primarily involve the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress, with the Janata Dal (Secular) likely to be a major factor in parts of Southern Karnataka. The Congress will aim a return to power after its coalition with the JDS was ousted in 2019. On the other hand, BJP will have to battle growing discontent and rebellion within the party to retain power.
Telangana: India's youngest state will see a new entity take on the Congress and the BJP - Bharat Rashtra Samithi, the new avatar of the erstwhile TRS. The K Chandrasekhar Rao-led party is aiming for a larger national role in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly election in November-December 2023 will be a litmus test.
Madhya Pradesh: Come November-December 2023 and the state will witness a straight contest between the ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress. The 2023 electoral battle will come nearly four years after a rebel crisis in the Congress forced Kamal Nath to quit as the Chief Minister. The rebels later enabled BJP's Shivraj Singh Chauhan to return to power. A win in India's second-largest state is expected to be a morale booster and redemption for the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress-BJP duel: Congress will be aiming for a second consecutive term in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Retaining power in both the states is likely to brighten the Grand Old Party's electoral prospects in the 2024 general elections and strengthen the Opposition against the BJP. Of the two states, Rajasthan is expected to garner wider media attention due to the Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot turf war and the state's recent history of alternating governments.
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