With the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 (rightly dubbed as Mahabharata) underway, certain signs of result due on May 23, 2019 are already there in the air.
Last time, NDA polled 39% votes all over India. Its total dominance over the political discourse today can be gauged from the fact that no one even its strongest critic is talking of winning back some share from it and bringing it below that 39%. They are only relying on opposition unity and just adding the votes arithmetically polled by various opposition parties (based on same caste/community wise vote banks of the era gone by)
Faced with a near certain defeat in its family seat Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s opting for a safe seat in far South rather than fighting it all out in Amethi and UP, is a clear signal to its cadres and mid level leaders in north and west. (That I am here to safeguard my interest, you can look for yours) (The other opposition parties like SP-BSP, TMC, RJD etc are at least fighting bravely for survival and giving their best to salvage whatever political career they can)
On the other hand, BJP has not just retained its support among the middle class but has assiduously added the new vote banks of poor classes to its kitty through the various schemes (Ujjawala etc) started in last 5 years.
The seriousness with which BJP is taking this Mahabharata can be gauged from the fact that it has given more seats to its partners JDU in Bihar (more in the sense that it itself is contesting less than what it won last time) and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra (again, it had the potential to win more independently than it is contesting in alliance) without being egoist about it.
At the same time, it has added/retained marginalized communities with small 1-2% crucial votes to its side either through independent parties like Apna Dal to NDA or by inducting local leaders in BJP (like Gujjar leader Bhainsla in Rajasthan) as these votes trounce its opponents in close contests
Based on the ground reports and actions and utterances of the various players, election verdicts over last 5 years, and the alliances stitched by NDA, UPA & SP-BSP in crucial state of UP, following is my predictions regarding 543 seats going to the poll
No. of seats expected for NDA : 165-174
This is where NDA is likely to clean sweep. There is virtually No opposition worth its salt. It has demolished itself completely over the last 5 years by acting more like some NGOs rather than a responsible party which has ruled the country for almost 50 years out of 72 years since 1947.
These are the states where NDA is approaching 50% vote shares not just at the state level but also in many of the constituencies, thereby making it invincible no matter what is the level of index of opposition unity.
85-90% seats are likely to bagged by NDA. Rest 10-15% may be lost because of some wrong candidate selections in some seats with adverse caste-community combinations etc
So, 165-174 out of 194 can be safely given to NDA in this cluster
- The following table gives the overall seat projections for NDA in various state(s),
The overall seat projection for NDA is 312-378.
The range seems to be broad right now mainly because of UP (BSP-SP alliance unity has to tested till last phase. It might come unstuck at some point) and Bengal (poll violence likely to be very high) where the narrow range projection is not possible right now
|State (s)||Total Seat||No. of seats expected for NDA||Remarks|
|Cluster A||194||165-174||Clean Sweep|
|North East States (including Sikkim but Excluding Assam) & 6 Uts||17||13-14||Clean Sweep in NE|
|Chhattisgarh||11||4-6||One state where NDA’s vote share might not increase|
|Karnataka||28||18-22||Likely to sweep except a few JDS (Devegowda family seats to be more precise) constituencies|
|Tamilnadu||39||20-26||Modi factor to help AIADMK alliance triumph DMK alliance|
|Telengana||17||1||KCR magic to continue|
|J & K||6||2-3||Jammu 2 sure Ladakh – in contest|
|Punjab||13||3-5||Though Capt holds the sway, NDA can manage to get 3- 5 seats, just because it is election for PM , not CM|
|Odisha||21||14-15||Substantial gains for BJP. Though, CM Naveen Patnaik stands unblemished but a yearning for change might lead to his fall at least as far as Lok Sabha polls are concerned|
|Bengal||42||8-9 to 22-23||In a free and fair polls, BJP likely to trounce TMC but that’s unlikely given the poll rigging and violent elections there. In any case, BJP likely to get at least 8-9 Urban constituencies|
|UP||80||45-65||Only reason, UP is not in cluster A is because of SP-BSP-RLD Mahagathbandhan where addition of their votes can get it wrest back some of the 73 constituencies it lost last time However, Substantial increase in Vote share for NDA over 2014. Might get 50% plus n many constituencies|
Author : Sunil Singla, IIM-A Alumnus, keen political watcher, can be reached on his twitter id @sunsin11