In a few hours the exit polls for the 2014 Indian General Election will be out! So here is my quick take (prediction) about how the real result will be and regarding some of the crucial issues in this election. If you don’t want to read the whole post, here is my prediction in short – NDA will fall just short of the magic figure of 272 and shall form government with Modi at the helm after a week of wrangling with regional players to get support.
Now for the issues -
How many seats will NDA / BJP get?
The Sensex has rallied more than a thousand points in the last two days hinting that the markets are presuming the victory of the (allegedly) pro business Modi led NDA. The latest opinion poll conducted by NDTV-Hansa Research in April also shows the NDA crossing the 272 on its own, however many of its predictions such as BJP sweeping 51 out of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh and 6 out of 7 in Delhi seem extremely far fetched. A chat with any BJP volunteer or supporter will lead you to believe that BJP alone will cross the 272 mark and NDA will get 300. Everyone seems to have forgotten that the 2014 NDA is a mere shadow of the Vajpayee led NDA. I think that the present NDA i.e. without BJD, JD(U) and AIADMK will find it very hard to cross the 272 mark on its own.
BJP – 210
NDA (BJP+allies) - 240
Yes but after some hard bargaining with Jayalalitha and Mamta Banerjee. I think both AIADMK and AITMC shall be in contention to be the third largest party with about 20-25 seats a piece. I have a feeling that after the personal barbs that Mamta and Modi have exchanged, she will be unwilling to join the government but might be willing to extend outside support…
NDA (BJP+allies) - 240
Core Govt (NDA + AIADMK) – 265
Govt (NDA + AIADMK + AITMC) – 295 - TMC may extend “outside support” to a Modi govt.
With its terrible record in its 2009-14 term, there can be no doubt that the UPA is going to suffer badly. Most people see the present government as the most corrupt one in the history of modern India. Also, the UPA campaign has been a disjointed, underwhelming and unimpressive one. Neither the promise of Rahul Gandhi’s leadership nor their verbal attacks on Modi ever sounded credible. The UPA achievement ads were even almost laughable. Many pollsters are predicting a two digit tally for the Congress this time around. Congress’s worst ever tally thus far was in 1999 when it managed to bag only 114 seats in the Lok Sabha. I believe that Congress shall manage to cross into triple digits. Congress could possibly put up a good show in Telangana and NCP and NC may deliver a good show in Maharashtra and J&K respectively for the UPA. I predict that while Congress will easily become the second largest party, Congress led UPA has absolutely no chance of forming the government this time.
INC - 105
UPA (INC + allies) - 140
Note : However, a Third Front of regional parties might rush to Congress for outside support if they manage to get numbers respectable enough for them to band together and take a short at the PM’s chair. There is no lack of prime ministerial ambition amongst the regional party heads.
Aam Aadmi Party?
I was rather fiercely critical of the India Against Corruption and Anna Hazare in particular for holding an elected government to ransom by going on hunger strikes to further their own legislative agenda of LokPal. I firmly believe that if you want a particular style of governance and you claim that the nation is behind you, you should contest the election rather than simply demanding that the government accede to your request. Thus, I was rather pleased to see the formation of Aam Aadmi Party. It does (or tried to do) what I believe is crucial – changing the system from within and also focusing on decentralisation.
If GNLU exam schedule had permitted me to be home for the election, I would have voted for (and perhaps even campaigned for) the Aam Aadmi Party. However, I have come to realise that in the general election, not everyone shares my optimism regarding AAP. AAP is being judged not on its principles but on its record in Delhi. AAP’s debut Lok Sabha campaigns do seem impressive considering how new the party is. However, the party has done a pathetic job of explaining its decision of resigning from the government in Delhi.
Almost everybody whom I have met in Mumbai seems to think that the party can only oppose and not govern. I have lost the number of times I have heard the lines - “They ran away from responsibility in Delhi.” “They could not run Delhi.” “They resigned! their government did not fall!” Delhi AAP’s poor PR job might hurt the chances of many good AAP Lok Sabha candidates.
I really wish that AAP would get 100 seats or more but I don’t see that actually happening. ;(
AAP - 20 seats
Around 4 each from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and UP along with a couple of surprises elsewhere.
It may go upto 25 or even 30 if there is a strong showing by the AAP outside the Hindi-Punjabi belt. In that case, it could be in contention for the third largest party tag!
The Big Seats
I would really love to see AAP win but the seat is a Congress and Gandhi family bastion. Rahul Gandhi’s less than impressive campaigning coupled with UPA’s super-anti-incumbency, in this election there was a chance of wresting the seat from the Gandhi family. However, this is unlikely in a three cornered fight. There are likely to be very few swing voters in Amethi and the non-Congress votes will not be consolidated with any one candidate. Both BJP’s saas er… I mean Smriti Irani and AAP’s Kumar Vishwas are strong candidates and have campaigned hard but in a three cornered fight, I predict that Rahul shall have the last laugh!
Prediction : Rahul Gandhi wins Amethi but not a landslide victory
All eyes are on this constituency in which the voting is taking place today. AAP has concentrated a bulk of its resources in Varanasi to campaign for Kejriwal hoping to stop the Modi juggernaut. In the last election the BJP candidate (Murli Manohar Joshi) in this seat has polled 203122 votes while Ajai Rai (then a SP candidate), who is the Congress candidate in this election got 123874 votes. I have a feeling that it is going to be hard for the AAP to carve a place for itself in Varanasi despite its heavy campaigning.
Prediction : Modi wins Varanasi but with a less than 20000 votes margin.
Note : If I was religious, I would be praying hard right now that this prediction is wrong. A loss in Varanasi could seriously dent Modi’s image if it materialises and will be a boost in the arm for AAP.
Mumbai and Chandigarh
Unlike Kejriwal and Vishwas, Gul Panag, the AAP candidate in Chandigarh will most likely manage to win the seat on back of the AAP sympathy in Haryana and Punjab and because being Punjabi she can claim to not-be-an-outsider. However, that also being a three cornered fight, it may go another way too.
In Mumbai Congress may win most of the seats since it fields good candidates such as Priya Dutt and Milind Deora. However, I predict that the activist AAP candidate Medha Patkar will manage to win her seat on the back of her relentless campaigning and the positive image she already enjoyed before joining AAP.
So that is all from my side! I might do a reflection on the result post on the 16th…
Let me know your predictions in the comments section below!