What if BJP does not cross 180-200 mark?


Although the polling is over in the country that was spread over more than a month, the frenzy for the results has not come to an end. All the TV channels and other media platforms are busy giving out their verdicts before the results are announced on May 16th. Earlier it was the pre-poll opinions and now the Exit polls are trying to predict their figures the political parties will get at the end of the Lok Sabha Elections when the results come.

The BJP-led alliance is expected to win a comfortable majority, crossing the 272 mark (needed to command a majority in the Lok Sabha), according to the majority of the polls. While Congress has dismissed the exit polls, It is beleieved that the party will be reduced to a record low this time, hardly managing to get a triple digit figure. Sensing the dip in the exit polls, Sonia Gandhi is also said to have reached to the like-minded political parties to keep Narendra Modi out of power. Plus the possibility of allying with the Third Front as had been talked about by some of the Congress leaders.

As the exit polls are predicting a major sweep by BJP led NDA allaince, we should not forget that in the past the exit polls have not been always accurate. Like in 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, media had predicted the same win for NDA but turned out to be swept away by UPA. However, this time, the anti-incumbency factor might actually prove to be as clear as the exit polls and NDA might get the magic number of 272 to form the government at the Centre. But the question is what if NDA could not get more than 220 seats after the results.

Any number of seats less than 220 will set political analysts once again doing the calculations and BJP of course will again be forced to look out for more alliance parties. Like Siddharth Varadarajan in his article in NDTV writes, When Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar quit the NDA, many analysts assumed the BJP would find it difficult to attract allies as long as Modi was its PM candidate. The experience of the past few months has belied that assumption. Modi was not a constraint for Ramvilas Paswan. The Telugu Desam Party or the small Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra parties that are backing the BJP also did not have any problem with Modi as the BJP’s helmsman.”

In West Bengal, BJP hopes to get 3 to 4 seats on its own as the gaps between BJP and TMC have grown over these months with both Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi attacking and abusing each other regularly. So allying with TMC is not predictable so far. Had BJP kept good relations with TMC, even 220 seats would not have been a problem. Modi might also need the support of Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik to form a stable government. But relations with these two leaders have also not been so good that can complicate things for BJP. In the same way, after the alliance with Chandra Babu Naidu’s TDP in Seemandhra, Jagan Reddy will also be not willing to lend his support to Narendra Modi. TRS in Telangana might also have no issues backing Modi if Congress is the second largest party here.

As Siddharth Varadarajan writes, “To become PM on the back of 180 seats and a hostile Mamata, Modi would need Jagan, Jayalalithaa and TRS to win 60 seats between them. If 180-200 seats range represents a danger zone for the BJP, anything beyond that would provide a comfortable platform for Modi. His NDA partners and TDP would likely take the tally up to at least 235. From there, reaching 272 will not be a difficult task.”

Most of the exit polls are showing that it will be difficult for the Congress to get more than a 100 seats, but if it gets seats somewhere between 100-120, it is certainly a danger mark for the BJP then. Remember, we have a history of election results full of surprises.