Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Indian Elections - How does it look on April 28th, 2004

With two phases of the polling process over the exit polls are revealing what psephologists (experts in election analysis) should have discerned from the prevailing mood and the results from the 1999 results. In my opinion, the BJP had max'ed out 5 years ago. There was no way they could make dramatic gains if one looked at the state-by-state results. Given the anti-incumbency nature of Indian politics their over-achieving performance last time around should have, if anything, made them more cautious.

Looks like BJP and allies a.k.a the NDA will barely make the majority mark (272). That means cobbling up a coalition will require some new faces. These new faces will hold the key to India's forseeable political future. The TDP, currently a prominent member of the outgoing coalition, in Andhra Pradesh is heading towards disaster so at the moment the AIADMK (Jayalalitha) is the most prominent partner of the BJP. It is a little difficult to predict who the savior is going to be for the NDA coalition. Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party is a top candidate, in my opinion.

The most important number will be the raw strength the Congress party musters. If it hits the 150 mark on its own then it is a serious enough contender for the BJP to be really scared. By my analysis thus far I see them only gaining in strength from their dismal 114-seats vantage point. Dramatic gains in Andhra will help them. They will pick up single-digit seat gains in many other states as well.

I must end by saying that two more phases are still to go and if there is one thing to be weary of in a democracy then that is guessing what voters will do on election day.