Anybody’s Game Today

Results have come of the bye-elections in some of the States and all the newpapers are carrying the heading that Modi has scored a big victory and Nitish Kumar has suffered a setback. While it is true that Modi has retained his hold in Gujarat, it was not unexpected at all. On the other hand, Nitish has lost nothing. The seat for which the bye election took place was already held by Lalu Yadav’s RJD party and they again won the seat. Moreover, that is a totally a Thakur dominated constituency, from which Prabhunath Singh, the candidate of Lalu Yadav, was an MP earlier too and again won the seat. Nothing surprising. The discourse in the newspapers is about the next Prime Minister of the country. The funny part is that we have a parliamentary form of democracy and we are trying to choose a Presidential candidate for Prime Ministership. This will not work. All regional parties of various States like Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, UP are not national parties. They will elect their own candidate and send to the Lok Sabha. There will be a big say of at least four or five regional parties in deciding who the Prime Ministerial candidate will be. Yes, Nitish Kumar is part of the NDA combination but the moment they try to project Narendra Modi, he will have to leave the NDA. This will be to the benefit for the Congress party. On the other hand, the BJP can have a strategy of not naming a Prime Minister, which they have never done except in 1998-1999, which was the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Otherwise, BJP has adopted a policy on deciding the Prime Ministerial candidate only when election results are out. If the BJP does not decide the Prime Ministerial candidate, the NDA will remain intact and depending on who gets how many seats a possible coalition may be cobbled up. As of today, it is anybody’s game. The tragedy is that the Congress party has lost all its moral right to rule the country because of the scams that have surfaced and the average voter is disgusted with the Congress party.
However, the BJP is no condition to take advantage of all this because of its own internal contradictions. If the BJP had an unquestioned leader like Advani, he would probably have made an attempt for power. Those who are pro Modi should wait till a suitable time comes when Modi can be projected. Doing so now will only give an advantage to the Congress. Secular parties, other than Congress, should get together and make a strategy, as to what their stand should be once the results are out. Would they like to have a secular combination or would they like to go with the NDA and form a Government? The important players are Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mamata Banarjee, Jayalalitha, Navin Patnaik and Mayawati. No signs I have seen of these people even meeting to discuss the matter preliminarily. So I think the uncertainty will continue till the elections. Moreover, the Congress party is not clear about when the elections will be held. Are we talking of October -November 2013 or May 2014? If May 2014, there is still some time but if elections are advanced this year then time is too short for alignments to be made. Let us wait and see.

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