India’s most important state elections are due to be held in 2019 in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Both states are ruled by BJP, the party that swept to power in the last assembly election.
But while the ruling party will likely be in power for at least another decade, the 2019 elections could be seen as a test of its standing after years of turmoil and uncertainty.
In both states, there are questions about the viability of the BJP, as well as the role of the prime minister Narendra Modi, who has been largely absent.
The BJP has fielded a strong slate of candidates and is confident that it can take power in both states.
But there are fears that the BJP could lose in both Uttar Pradesh, which will have its first assembly election in 18 years, and Harkhanpur, which has been a bastion of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the last two decades.
The 2019 state polls are being held to determine the BJP’s prospects in both the states.
The 2019 elections are being watched closely by the ruling Congress party, which is looking to form a coalition government with the ruling alliance of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janatetagh (RJD) in the two states.
It is also trying to consolidate its power base in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which have voted for the BJP.
In Uttar Pradesh the BJP has been able to pick up support from the middle classes in both rural and urban areas, which are seen as crucial to the party’s prospects.
But the BJP also faces challenges from the Congress, which holds a majority in the state assembly.
The Congress has already promised to form an alliance with the RJD, and it is likely to seek a deal with the BJP that would see the two parties work together to form the government.
The BJP will also face a challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party, which seeks to form government in both Haryanas.
Although the RDD and the Congress have been seen as close allies in the past, the two groups have diverged sharply in recent years, with the Congress demanding greater political freedom in the states while the RLD and the BJP have opposed any move to make them more accountable to the people.
The alliance between the Congress-led government in Uttarakhastan and the RDL, led by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, has not gone down well with the rural and backward sections of the state, which see it as encroaching on their lands and their rights.
In Haryanas, the BJP is expected to retain its majority, with both the RDF and the alliance of Congress and RJD having a combined vote share of about 12 per cent in the assembly.