THE 2019 POLL CALCULUS

Rahul Modi

No one would have risked wagering a bet, few months ago, against Modi led NDA for 2019 elections. The expected photo-finish contest says a lot about mature & diverse Indian electorate.

BY DANFES

Enter 2019 elections & we notice that the political landscape of India is changing almost every day. With the incumbent Government being accused by the opposition of what its own blued eyed minister, Man for all seasons, Mr. Arun Jaitley calls “Investigative Adventurism”, it remains to be seen, if coming hard at its opposition, would lead to the dividend, BJP is looking for or would this end up as its nemesis leading up to the 2019 polls. Regardless of the predictable poll time circus & mind games that would only play out thick & fast till the code of conduct has set in, let us present to you a likely scenario expected to unfold across the length & breadth of India.

1. THE NORTHERN REGION
Comprising of J & K, Himachal, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi & UP, this is the most significant regions that shall determine who the winner would be at the hustings. Collectively the region accounts for 126 Lok Sabha seats of which BJP lead NDA had bagged 106 seats in the 2014 elections. But with the churn in J & K, Punjab & UP, their tally is expected to sharply decline to below 50 at the back of anti-incumbency, unfulfilled promises & a powerful pact of the SP- BSP-RLD combine in the bellwether state of UP.

State Wise Tally of BJP lead NDA in 2014 vs. 2019)
J & K:-3: 1(Total 06 Seats, Ladakh MP has already resigned from BJP)
Himachal: 5:3 (05 seats)
Haryana: 7: 5 (10 seats)
Uttarakhand: 4:3 (04 seats)
Punjab: 5 (4 SAD + BJP 01): 2 (Total 13)
Chandigarh: 1:0
UP: 73:25 (Total 80 seats)
Delhi: 7: 3 (Total 7 seats)

2. CENTRAL/WESTERN INDIA
We have factored in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh in this region. The turning point in these states came during the recently concluded assembly polls. Barring Chhattisgarh where BJP got a drubbing, the other places may still be neck to neck & that may be the saving grace of the BJP in its quest to hold on to the lead player tag in the NDA formulation. With Congress in power in 3 out of these 05 states & a frayed relationship between Sena & BJP in Maharashtra coupled with anti-incumbency, the going would be tough for the ruling dispensation at the centre. Of the 139 seats that BJP lead NDA command currently in the Lok Sabha, it is safe to assume that they may get somewhere around 75-80, losing 45-50 of its seats of the region.

State Wise Tally of BJP lead NDA in 2014 vs. 2019
Chhattisgarh: 10: 5 (Total 11)
Gujarat: 26: 18 (Total 26)
Madhya Pradesh 24: 15 (Total 29)
Maharashtra; (22 BJP + 18 Shiv Sena): 26 (14 + 12] Total 48
Rajasthan 22: 12 (Total 25)

3. EASTERN + NORTH EASTERN REGION
Prior to the United India Rally & the showdown between state police & the CBI, BJP must have been riding high horse of expectation from this politically sensitive belt. Odisha arguably represents the BJP’s best chance on the eastern coast having built a political base in western Odisha. It can hope to better its track record here along with West Bengal where despite the ugliness of the political one-upmanship, it may bag 08-10 seats this time around.

Bihar is the only state that votes exclusively on caste equations. Of the 40 seats in 2014, BJP had won 21, JDU & RJD 2 & 4 respectively, LJP 6, and RSLP 3 & INC 1. In the current scenario, with a pre-poll alliance between BJP & LJP already in place, a resurgent RJD under Tejaswi Yadav & RSLP having joined Congress, our estimate is that BJP may cede a considerable ground to its opponent’s as well as JD (U) in the 2019 elections. The North East and Sikkim as a block has 25 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP had managed only eight in 2014 despite an impressive performance in Assam where it won seven. Two seats went to the NDA partners. The party leaders believe that every single seat will count in 2019. But with the tender box of issues like NCR & Citizenship Amendment Bill that has vitiated atmosphere in the region, the same has put paid to the BJP’s surge of recent times.

With AGP having quit the NDA, Conrad Sangma in Manipur almost on the brink, Sonowal facing the heat in Assam, abetted by an overwhelming resentment against the CAB, it would be a miracle if BJP manages to either hold on to its share of 08 seats or bettering it beyond in 2019.

State Wise Tally of BJP lead NDA (2014 vs. 2019)
West Bengal:-2: 8 (Total 42)
Odisha: 1: 9 (Total 21)
Sikkim + Assam + Manipur + Arunachal + Meghalaya + Tripura + Nagaland:- 08 : 06 (Total 25)
Bihar: 21: 12 (Total 40)
Jharkhand: 12: 05 (Total 14)

4. SOUTHERN INDIA
With the sole exception of Karnataka, BJP shouldn’t be hoping much from this part of the world. Its weakest link being the troika of Tamil Nadu, Andhra & Telangana; Dubbed as ‘Anti-Andhra’ for reneging on its promise of assistance to the state & with no regional allies to align with, BJP mustn’t waste too much of time & energy in the state campaigning. Same for Telangana where the wily KCR has thrashed its opponents in the assembly polls including BJP which is now reduced to just 901 seats. Goa may go 01 seat each for Congress & BJP. The DMK, whose prospects of forming a government have brightened, has already aligned itself with the Congress. AIADMK even when it remains undecided on any Pre-poll formulation may not have much to offer to BJP in the ultimate analysis.

Save for Karnataka & parts of Northern Kerala, one doesn’t see much of a scope for the Hindutva party either consolidating its existing vote share or making any inroads in these alien territories.

State Wise Tally of BJP lead NDA (2014 vs. 2019)
Andhra: 2: 0 (25)
Karnataka: 15: 10 (Total 28)
Goa: 2: 1(Total 2)
Kerala: 0: 2 (20)
Telangana: 1: 1(17)
Tamil Nadu: 1: 0 (39)

5. Andaman Nicobar, Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Puducherry, Lakshadweep
Total: 5

The day after 90 day Pre-Poll Arithmetic:

BJP + = 154 + 57 (Shiv Sena, SAD, Apna Dal, JD (U), LJP, NE allies & others)
Congress 110 + 90 (NCP, RJD, RSLP, DMK, TMC, Jignesh, Hardik others)
Others: 132 (SP, BSP, TRS, YSCR, AIADMK, RLD & others)