The counting of votes, that takes place today, may decide which parties win at the hustings in five states—Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh—but the real battle for whosoever takes the crown will start only after. Each of the five states have their unique set of problems, ranging from high poverty to drug incidence to unemployment. All these parties, of course, have promised to deal with, but an analysis of financial data shows that the victors will have an uphill task of taking care of finances, as the country readies for the national poll in two years. While the fiscal deficit of all the states is well within control, their debt-GSDP ratio is higher than the rest of the country. Also most, save Goa, lag in terms of health indicators. According to data from the recent health survey, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab would all have to improve access to education for women. Most important, the ruling dispensation in UP would also need to take care of restarting growth and kick-starting infrastructure investment in the state.
How the winners are able to bring in reforms will certainly play a decisive role in the evaluation of their performance as the general elections in 2019 dawn. With the Indian electorate demanding jobs and development, the parties would have to balance expectations against the limitations of democracy.