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Regional Players Not Far Behind in Race for the Top Job

Will ambitious regional satraps spoil the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s party?


[dropcap]BJP[/dropcap] supported fully by the media and unlimited cash is claiming that a Modi wave is sweeping across the nation and NDA is bound to easily reach the needed 272 seats in parliament that is needed to form government at the Center. Yet since April 1 when Congress campaign and the campaign of the secular regional parties got energized big, and they all started drilling holes in Modi’s Gujarat model of development, the picture seems to have changed. Earlier only AAP/Kejriwal was showing those holes in the Gujarat model to the public.

Also, several BJP leaders (Amit Shah, Giriraj Singh, Togadia, and Ramdev) have recently made inflammatory statements and BJP has not condemned any of them; they just explained them. BJP has realized that many holes and untruths in the Gujarat development model are now exposed. That is why their leaders are now trying to communalize the population. Modi’s senior aides are indulging in such statements and he is also dropping those hints.

In the last two weeks, potential Third Front leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Nitish Kumar, Lalu, and Congress leaders (Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka, Sibal etc) have stepped up the criticism of Mod and BJP in a big way. About 40% of polling remains to happen in this changed environment where BJP is under sharp attack that is being shown in some of the mainstream media, at least the print media.

Modi has become increasingly arrogant and authoritarian in his public appearances and has gotten into new heated arguments with potential third front, regional parties, which will make it very difficult for the BJP to draw them into NDA in the future.

Having declared Modi as the PM candidate, it will be difficult for the BJP to expand the NDA coalition with these regional parties. It appears very difficult that BJP/NDA can reach the magic number of 272 seats and that Modi can become PM.

Congress has indicated that it will support a third front secular government either from inside or outside.

There is a possibility of one of the 3 women (Bahenji Mayawati, Didi Mamta or Amma Jayalalitha) becoming the PM of a third front government at the Center.
A rough guess on the results of the current parliamentary election is shown in the below spreadsheet.

Number of seats projected for each party for 2014 are based on the following criteria:
– Each party’s seats in the current parliament, gained in the 2009 election
– Change in political situation since 2009: For instance change of party in power in their state; eg TMC replacing CPI/CPM in Bengal; SP replacing BSP in UP (but impacted by 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots) , AIADMK replacing DMK in Tamil Nadu etc.
– Big loss for Congress due to recent corruption scandals, price increase, slowdown of economy; incumbency, not a very good election campaign this year; but a secular party, a friend of minorities
– Big gain for BJP due to Congress’ problems, very energetic campaign with unlimited corporate and media support, but handicapped with Modi’s bad baggage; bad image among minorities; not having good relations with regional secular parties; being a non-secular party itself
– AAP prospects impacted by the fact that it is a very new party with limited traction outside of big cities.
– No change for several small parties who have not been impacted by changed circumstances and devoted constituencies.

India 2014 Election Forecast      
Party 2009 2014    Change
BJP 112 180 60% increase
Shiv Sena 10 10  
Akali Dal 4 4  
Telagu Desam 6 6  
LJP/Paswan 2 2  
NDA   202  
Congress 198 130 35% decrease
AAP 0 15 New party
SP/Mulayam 21 18 Decrease
BSP/Mayawati 21 24 Increase
JDU/Nitish 19 19  
RJD/Laloo 3 5  
TMC/Mamta 18 22 Increase
BJD/Patnaik 14 14  
AIADMK/Jaya 9 15 Increase
DMK/Karunanidhi 18 12 Decrease
NCP/Pawar 8 8  
CPI/CPM 20 15 Decrease
RLD/Ajit 5 3 Decrease
Muslim parties 8 8  
subtotal   308  
Others    33  
Total   543  


All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan

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