Lok Sabha Elections 2019: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks all set to form the government for the second consecutive term under Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre along with its NDA partners after several exit polls predicted the incumbent's return. According to News Nation Exit Poll, the BJP-led NDA is likely to get 282 to 290 seats in the 542-member lower house of Parliament (Voting postponed in Tamil Nadu's Vellore). The Congress-led UPA may get between 118 and 126 seats whereas other parties, including the SP-BSP Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh, are expected to win 130 to 138 seats. The India Today-My Axis Exit Poll has predicted 339-365 Lok Sabha seats for the NDA. The UPA, on the other hand, may get only 77-108 seats. The Republic-Jan Ki Baat Exit Poll has given 305 seats for the NDA and 124 for the UPA. Other exit polls such as India TV-CNX, CNN-News 18-IPSOS and Times Now-VMR predicted 300, 336 and 306 seats respectively for the NDA. But what will happen if the 'India Shining' moment of 2004 returns to haunt the BJP this time also or the saffron party falls short of a simple majority? Let's discuss the different post-poll scenarios.
Scenario 1: BJP falls short of majority, approaches non-NDA parties
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao and Odisha Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik may play a crucial role at the Centre this time. (File Photo: PTI)
If the saffron camp gets less than 272 seats then who will they approach? There are at least three major regional parties which can come to the BJP's rescue namely the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the YSR Congress (YSRCP). The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD has already indicated that it is not going to follow the equidistant policy this time and might join hands with the Narendra Modi-led alliance if they form the government at the Centre. BJD's Amar Patnaik said that either the NDA or "any other combination" which understands the problems of Odisha and is ready to meet its demand for a special status will get the party's support. According to different exit polls, the party is tipped to win between 5 to 15 seats in Odisha. The KCR-led TRS is currently wooing other parties to form the 'Federal Front' minus the BJP and the Congress but had supported the NDA on many occasions in the past. However, KCR's alliance with the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM in Telangana can force the party to rethink its strategy. The TRS is predicted to sweep Telangana with 12 to 15 seats. The third major player is Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh where he is giving a tough fight to the Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The YSRCP is likely to tilt towards the BJP if the party decides to meet its demand of granting Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, Jagan is keeping his cards close to his chest and not revealing anything right now as his first target is to dethrone Naidu in his state.
Scenario 2: BJP approaches Mayawati's BSP for support
BSP leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati is fighting a battle for her party's survival. (File Photo: PTI)
Is Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) a potential ally of the BJP? The answer lies in her past associations with the saffron party. Mayawati became the Uttar Pradesh chief minister three times with the BJP's support in 1995, 1997 and 2002. The BSP chief's recent utterances against the Congress party are also pleasing to the BJP's ears. If the Mahagathbandhan falls flat in Uttar Pradesh and the Samajwadi Party fails to transfer its Yadav votes to BSP candidates then Mayawati can jump the ship in order to remain politically relevant. The party is out of power in Uttar Pradesh since 2012 and scored a duck in the last parliamentary elections. According to different exit polls, the party is likely to get 10 to 15 seats in Uttar Pradesh this time. However, the chances of such an alliance look bleak at the moment as the BSP chief and PM Modi attacked each other aggressively during the poll rallies.
Scenario 3: BJP alliance gets less than 225 seats, Congress cobbles up Grand Alliance
These Lok Sabha Elections will decide the fate of Congress president Rahul Gandhi also. (File Photo: PTI)
Another scenario is that the BJP alliance not only fails to get 272 but gets less than 225 seats. In this scenario, the Grand Old Party is likely to forge an alliance with several like-minded non-UPA parties such as Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party, Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party etc. The Congress is also likely to secure the support of Left parties for such a coalition. However, the longevity of such a broad coalition will always remain doubtful. The Rahul Gandhi-led Congress needs to get at least 150 seats to lead such a front.
Scenario 4: Another United Front-like experiment supported by Congress
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are facing a tough battle in their respective states. (File Photo: PTI)
Will the Congress party support another United Front-like experience this time? In 1996, the Congress decided to back United Front's PM nominee HD Deve Gowda to stop the BJP. The United Front comprised of 13 parties including the Janata Dal, the Left Front, the DMK, the TDP and the AGP etc. If the BJP fails to get more than 200 seats and the regional satraps including Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin, Mayawati, KCR and Naveen Patnaik manage to get close to 180 seats, the chances of a Third Front PM will be boosted significantly. However, who will become the prime minister is going to be the most challenging task for any such formation. The chances of a BJP-backed Third Front government is remote as the party would like to sit in the opposition if any such situation arises.
Disclaimer: The opinions and facts expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. They do not reflect the views of News Nation. The NNPL does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.