People who are eagerly waiting for the results of the Lok Sabha elections. But the exit polls have already predicted that the NDA will register a landslide victory. Most exit polls forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha. However, a number of exit polls predicted big losses for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where it had won 71 seats in 2014, but the saffron party appeared to make major gains in other states.
However, some political pundits are saying that this year we might also have a hung assembly. So if either the BJP-led NDA or the Congress-led UPA, fail to get a majority, few leaders may play kingmakers’ role in the Lok Sabha elections.
Here’s a list of leaders who might play kingmakers post the elections
Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal from Odisha
Naveen Patnaik is the supremo of the Biju Janata Dal in the eastern state of Odisha. He can play an important role of kingmaker. Patnaik has been maintaining a distance from BJP and Congress and has had a phenomenal run in his state, having won four terms in a row to be the Odisha Chief Minister since the year 2000. In 2014, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD swept Odisha winning 20 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats. This time, widely-varying exit polls predict Patnaik will win between two and 15 seats, which means Patnaik’s BJD will play an important role.
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao, also known as KCR, the chief minister of India’s youngest state Telangana has been reportedly trying to pull together a non-BJP, non-Congress front to form government. KCR’s pro-farmer programmes are considered a role model for the rest of India. In 2014, KCR’s TRS emerged victorious in 11 in Telangana. According to exit polls, TRS is expected to get 13 seats.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy from the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh
Jagan Reddy, only 46 years old, is yet to taste power but is seen as the front-runner in an anti-incumbency mood against Andhra CM N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP). He has also maintained that he favours anyone who grants special status to Andhra under an arrangement made when Telangana was carved out. Jagan’s YSRCP won 9 in Andhra Pradesh.
63-year-old leader Mayawati is the supremo of Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents Dalits or lower castes who make up about one-fifth of India’s population. Almost every Opposition party is trying to woo her to forge an alliance with the BSP, in order to take a pie of the Dalit votes. Such is the demand that the temperamental BSP supremo is spoilt for choice. While the BSP drew a blank in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, her hold on the Dalit voters makes her the popular choice for kingmakers role.
Mamata Banerjee is the Chief Minister of West Bengal, which sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha and she can play an important role of the kingmaker. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a mixed 2018, with her rise in national politics being blunted to a certain extent by the rise of BJP in her state. Post demonetisation, Banerjee has emerged as the most vocal critic of Prime Minister Modi and has been at the forefront of an Opposition alliance. In West Bengal, TMC-led by Mamata Banerjee won 34 out of the 42 seats in 2014. This time, in West Bengal, some of the exit polls suggested the TMC will get 24 seats, and the BJP will bag 16, the Congress two and the Left Front may draw a blank.
M Karunanidhi, the patriarch of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, died last year after naming his third son M K Stalin as his heir and successor. The DMK chief has publicly endorsed Gandhi for the prime minister’s post. But local BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu have alleged the 66-year-old was in touch with them for a post-poll deal; an accusation he has denied. Exit polls have predicted that DMK will win 27 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Akhilesh Yadav, leader of Samajwadi Party, has gone on to strengthen his hold over the party and then project himself as the kingmaker — should the possibility of a coalition government emerge after results of the 2019 General Elections are declared. The exit polls have predicted that SP-BSP will get 10 seats.