The only predictable thing about elections is that they are unpredictable. Every elections the same million dollar questions pops up, ‘kiski sarkar banegi?’. The answer for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is still not clear, but the opinion polls have already predicted that it might be a hung house.
So, will ‘Modi come back to power’?
Political pundits are predicting seat count of 300+ for BJP only if there is no Mahagathbandhan. But it looks difficult if we analyse the State Assembly elections where BJP lost in all three of the Hindi belt states that went to the polls in November and December, including two states (Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh) it had controlled for 15 years.
While it’s a bit difficult to get the full picture of why voters rejected the BJP in all five states, economic issues likely played an important role. Despite the emphasis Modi government has placed on economic growth and employment, it has not delivered enough jobs for India’s burgeoning population.
Flashback to 2014
In 2014, BJP fought about 325 seats and its allies fought another 60-70 seats more, and the BJP had won 282. The BJP and its allies won the right to form the largest majority government since the 1984 general election, and it was the first time since that election that a party had won enough seats to govern without the support of other parties. Since 2014, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have worked hard to increase the strength of the BJP.
The fight for seats
It is always seen that political parties put up candidates all over the country for elections, but they put all their maximum efforts in those seats where they can come first or second. The political parties contest more number of seats with full might, so they have greater chances of winning more seats.
So looking at BJP’s increasing strength, the BJP can up their numbers of fightable seat to 380-400 and allies will have 50-60 seats which means NDA can fight 450+ seats with all its might. As the Modi factor is still the bankable factor for BJP, it can also yield more number of winning seats for the party.
While BJP is upping their ante, with some wanting to give the NDA another chance to form government, the Mahagathbandhan has not even shaped up yet. The opposition’s dream of organising one-on-one contests on the 1977 model has not worked out.
The 1977 model, saw a Mahagathbandhan which was a mega alliance of all opposition parties merging into one party the Janata Party – socialists, right wing all joined in. As a result, the Janata Party won handsomely. Rajiv Gandhi had a brutal majority of 400+ in 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s death, but in 1989, the opposition parties collaborated and there was a 1:1 candidate ratio. This had Left, Janata Dal (led by V.P.Singh) and BJP. Rajiv Gandhi came down to under 200 seats and lost power.
This shows Mahagathbandhan is very important, but the present opposition’s dream seems to have been not working out, as Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have left out Congress from the UP grand alliance. The grand old party, Congress, has also decided it will go alone in West Bengal, Andhra, and Telangana. In Delhi, AAP and Congress have not been able to sink their differences, and thus the present Mahagathbandhan is looking vulnerable.
The possibility of third front
Even as the Mahagathbandhan is yet to work out a formula, there have been political rumours about a possible third front. The second front will have Congress + NCP + DMK + TDP + INLD + JDS + RJD, while the third front could have parties like Mamata, Naveen Patnaik, KCR, Jagan, Mayawati, Akhilesh, AAP etc.
But why the third front? There are different kind of voters roughly divided into core voters and floating voters. Core voters may vote on basis of caste, religion or ideology. Floating voters will vote on basis of last-minute considerations. The Congress was in power for almost 60 years and most of the regional parties were born to oppose the Congress. So, a large block of their votes are anti-Congress. But when these parties ally with the Congress, the votes could either go to the opposition or Congress, but the higher chances are obviously of it going to the opposition.
The most recent example is Telangana where last assembly elections, TRS had a simple majority. In this election, Chandrababu Naidu aligned with Congress and others and it was a Mahatakutami or a Mahagathbandhan. Chandrababu Naidu was decimated as his vote went to TRS and partly to Congress.
This shows that the third front, if formed, may present a challenge for dethroning BJP.
The number game
UPA hasn’t expanded much, the only notable inclusion being Janata Dal Secular in Karnataka. In Bihar and Jharkhand, some small regional parties have joined the UPA, but they are not expected to significantly change the electoral dynamics. If anything, they have increased headaches over seat distribution.
On the other hand, BJP has managed to cool down Shiv Sena and added AIADMK into the NDA fold in Tamil Nadu, which may prevent a DMK sweep.
A latest ABP-CVoter survey has predicted that the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may fall short of the majority mark of 272 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The NDA is predicted to get 233 seats, while the UPA is predicted to win 167 seats.
The BJP alone is expected to bag 203 seats, while the Congress alone is expected to bag 109. The Third Front parties are poised to be kingmakers with a combined tally of over 130 seats. However, the NDA will still be the largest pre-poll alliance by a comfortable margin, the survey says.
Seeing all these political circumstances, the answer to our question is, Narendra Modi is most likely to hold on to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.