New Delhi – Polls to elect a new Lok Sabha, or lower house of Indian Parliament kickstarted on April 11. The voting was held on April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and will end on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23 with the results unveiled on the same day.
With a staggering number of over 900 million eligible voters, the Indian General Elections are the largest the world has seen till date, so aptly named the Festival of Democracy.
As the Lok Sabha has 543 elected seats, the arithmetic says any party, or coalition of parties, need a minimum of 272 Members of Parliament to stake a claim to form a government.
Through our wide network of eyes and ears on ground – across the nation – we are attempting to assess the situation and the outcome but of course we have to put a disclaimer that an election of this size and scale is very tough to call and till the last vote is counted we will not know what will happen. Exit polls and Pandits have called the polls wrong many times in the past. Very few have got it perfectly right ever.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a centre-right political alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is a coalition of left and centre-left political parties with the Indian National Congress (INC) as the largest member party.
Let’s put out our observations:
We predict the BJP, the current ruling party led by the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will emerge as the single largest party, with Congress (INC) party coming a close second.
The non-NDA parties will be third largest grouping while the NDA allies will appear at the fourth spot.
With the emergence of such an exceptional result and various numerical strengths across the canvas, we have listed four scenarios – emerging from permutations and combinations of varied parties:
BJP stakes claim and forms the government with NDA allies and breakaways from non-NDA parties who hold leverage and key portfolios.
Congress (INC) with expected 150-175 seats leads a coalition with non-NDA allies and stakes claim to form the next government.
In the third scenario, Congress supports from outside a non-NDA/non-BJP government made of regional parties. A regional leader would head such a pack of parties and in this scenario Congress will hold the remote control.
The last scenario to emerge is a group of NDA parties and non-NDA parties stake claim on the basis on sheer numerical strength together and seek support from the BJP. Such a government will be run from the backseat by the BJP
With the aforementioned four scenarios, two favor the BJP while other two go for Congress.
One projection clearly emerges that the next Federal Government of India will not be headed and controlled by a dictatorial personality – the way the present Modi Sarkar ran. The incoming government will be more consultative and a coalition of many parties where each party will have a say because of its numerical strength.
The exit polls will start coming out at 6pm Indian Standard Time (IST) on May 19. They will throw more doubts up in the air, thus making the emerging situation more murky, and the clarity will emerge only by 3 pm on counting date: May 23.
Highlights on BJP Fortunes
The BJP is predicted to lose heavily in the Hindi heartland and its plan to compensate for the losses from South, North-East and Bengal will fail. In Bengal they may increase their vote share to over 20 percent but that will not translate to more than total 6 seats. They have two seats in Bengal now. In the south out of 129 seats in 5 states, they will get at best 15-17 seats. Their allies in TN may get 3-4 seats.
In Andhra Pradesh, watch for a post BJP poll alliance with Jagan Mohan Reddy, which is a possibility. He may get a substantial share of seats in the state.
In Kerala BJP may win the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram seat. They have a fighting chance to defeat Shashi Tharoor of Congress there.
In the state of Telangana BJP will fail to open its account.
Also in the Southern state of Karnataka, BJP can expect to get about 15 as the best case scenario, but the predictions are for a lower number.
India awaits May 23 with bated breath to see who will be the next Prime Minister of the nation.