The first phase of elections has taken off and the fate of 91 seats is sealed. Over the next 6 weeks, we will get to see 6 more phases of polling before the final results are announced on May 23rd. What exactly will drive the outcome of Elections 2019 this time around?
Uttar Pradesh holds the key
With 80 seats in the Lok Sabha the state of UP remains pivotal. In the 2014 polls, BJP won 73 out of these 80 seats which set the tone for its all India sweep. But equations have changed with the alliance between BSP and SP along with a white knight in Congress. In 2014, the state of UP accounted for 25% of BJP’s total tally. Whether the SP-BSP alliance consolidates votes or cannibalizes votes remains to be seen. Needless to say, this state will decide the elections.
Will AIADMK deliver as an ally?
That is perhaps the big gamble that the BJP has taken by forming a pre-poll alliance with the AIADMK. In 2014, the AIADMK got 37 seats and DMK got none. Current calculations predicate on this trend repeating itself. But AIADMK has lost its tallest leader and as of now DMK appears to have a better hold over the state politics. They also have an alliance with the Congress in Tamil Nadu. How much can a factional AIADMK deliver will be one of the key factors that will determine the swings in these general elections.
We are talking of Naidu, KCR and Jagan. The 42 seats of Andhra and Telangana are likely to be split amongst them. This election could be about post poll alliances. Which way Jagan and KCR veer toward will matter a great deal? The calculation as of now is that if the BJP gets closer to 220, then Jagan and KCR may support the BJP. In fact, one cannot also dismiss outside support from Babu. After all, he has been the wiliest survivor in Indian politics.
Federal alliance catalyst
Regional parties have traditionally got 50% vote share in the last 6 elections and that could either sustain or improve. Can we have a federal alliance of regional parties? A lot would depend on a driving force with vision but without urge for the highest office. Someone like JPN or HKS may be sorely missed now.
Will it be all about nationalism?
The big BJP gamble is that it could be all about security and nationalism. For all you know, they may be bang on target. Indian voters take nationalism very seriously as we have seen in 1971 and again in 1999. If the national security gambit really pays off, then the ruling NDA will immensely benefit from it. Else, there are too many X-factors at this point of time. We will have to wait till May 23rd for the final outcome! ©