BJP likely to gain 200 plus seats in Lok Sabha
by Ashok B Sharma on 10 May 2014 0 Comment

The nation eagerly awaits the conclusion of the final phase of the polls on May 12 and the announcement of the results four days later. Already the writing on the wall is clear – people want change. Picking up the thread, several opinion polls have begun speculating the numbers. The Congress party, facing anti-incumbency due to allegations of corruption, maladministration and inability to check rising prices and unemployment, is likely to face drastic reduction in strength. By how much is the real question? Will the loss to the INC accrue as gain to the BJP?


In 2009, the Congress won 206 seats and managed to lead the UPA-II coalition in the 543-member house. Among states, its major support base was from Andhra Pradesh where it won 33 out of 42 seats. In 2004 also, the Congress won 29 seats from Andhra Pradesh, which pushed the party tally to 145 seats and enabled it to lead the UPA coalition. This was possible due to the popularity of the then Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy.


This time, however, the Congress is likely to face a drought in Andhra Pradesh. The tragic death of YSR Reddy was a setback to the Congress. Then, the party president Sonia Gandhi refused to pass on the mantle to his son Jaganmohan Reddy, who claimed it and broke away to form the YSR Congress when denied. The subsequent Congress leadership in the State, riddled with factionalism, could not live up to the expectations of the people. Added to this, the ill-timed bifurcation of the State at the insistence of Sonia Gandhi caused deep unhappiness in the Seemandhra region. Hence, in the new State of Seemandhra, which has 25 seats, the Congress is likely to fare miserably. The Bharatiya Janata Party has sewn up an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party, and is expected to share the spoils with the YSR Congress. In Telangana, which has 17 seats, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti is likely to gain at the expenses of the Congress.


In 2009, the Congress garnered 21 seats in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 20 in Rajasthan. These marked an impressive gain over the 2004 polls when the Congress secured only nine seats in UP and four in Rajasthan. The other States were the Congress scored in double digits in 2009 were Maharashtra (17), Kerala (13) and Madhya Pradesh (12).


But this magic seems unlikely to be repeated in the 2014 polls. In UP, the BJP has put up an aggressive campaign to gain maximum seats out of the 80 in the State. In Rajasthan, the BJP’s Vasundhara Raje took over as Chief Minister only recently, trouncing the Congress and gaining a two-third majority. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh voted the BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan back to power, as did Chhattisgarh. In Maharashtra, where Congress is part of the ruling coalition, it faces the anti-incumbency factor.


In this scenario, it seems likely that the Congress could easily lose around 100 of the 206 seats it won in the 2009 general elections.


The moot question is which party is likely to gain at the expense of the Congress. The general mood of the nation is for a stable national alternative. The BJP has emerged as a front ranking contender with a coalition of 25 parties, viz., the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). It has unequivocally projected Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate with an agenda for development.


The BJP has the record of winning 182 seats on its own in 1999, which brought Atal Bihari Vajpayee back as Prime Minister of the NDA coalition. The Congress tally stood at 114, losing as many as 23 seats won in 1998.


States like UP (80 seats), Maharashtra (48) and Bihar (40) are crucial for BJP if it intends to cross the barrier of 200 seats in the Lok Sabha. The BJP has the record of gaining 50 plus seats from UP in three consecutive polls in 1991, 1996 and 1998, riding on the Ram Mandir and Hindutva wave, the highest being 57 in 1998. But in 1999 when the party won a maximum of 182 seats in Lok Sabha, its count from UP declined to 29.


However, in the 2014 polls, the BJP has set up candidates on the basis of its new social engineering programme. The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s aggressive campaign and his project of development seem to have gone down well with the people; the party is widely seen as ahead in the electoral race.


In Bihar, where the BJP is competing with Lalu Yadav’s RJD, the party could win about 20 seats. In Maharashtra, where the Congress-NCP alliance is likely to shrink to 15 seats, the BJP and its alliance partners will be the ultimate gainers.   


Other major gains for the BJP are likely Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, besides gains from other parts of the country. In all likelihood, the BJP will gain 200 plus seats in the Lok Sabha. The Congress tally is likely to be around 100. The loss to the Congress will be gain for the BJP.

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