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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas chatter

A party at a non-official bungalow in Lutyens' Delhi on Christmas eve was a good occasion to assess how the chattering classes feel about Indian politics. In more normal circumstances the people in the party would be natural BJP supporters. Indeed I know that many of them have actively helped out the BJP in the past with funds. This Christmas I found them more circumspect and worried. There was a clear impression that as things stood at present the BJP and its allies wouldn't be in a position to cross the magic 270 mark in the Lok Sabha.

The feeling was that the UPA wouldn't be in a happy predicament either.

It's bad news for Mayawati that the hype created around her seems set to burst. As opposed to the past when there seemed an inclination to give her a chance to redeem herself and join the mainstream, the feeling now is that she is unlikely to change her ways.

This is good news for the Congress-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. The feeling was that if these two got together, it would give the UPA a massive leg-up and compensate for the likely losses in Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. I also get the feeling that the media is likely to root for the UPA in the general election, but not too enthusiastically.

One heartening news for the BJP was the evident goodwill for Narendra Modi. I think that the BJP-voting classes have decided in their minds that the successor to L.K. Advani is the present Gujarat Chief Minister. As usual, the party is lagging behind its voters.

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