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Friday, May 15, 2009

Despite the hype, everyone is running round in circles

If you are to believe the hype on TV, Lutyens' Delhi is humming with activity. Every now and then I receive phone calls asking if X is talking to Y using the good offices of A. A lot of bit players are strutting about the city looking self-important and taking care to get themselves photographed. There are constant meetings and the rumour mills are over-active.

Based on information, my take on events are as follows:

  • The Congress has had some success in soothing the ruffled egos of the Samajwadi Party. Amar Singh is thrilled that Digvijay Singh has said sorry. The SP believes it is going to win at least 25 seats. Its main focus is to regain power in Lucknow but till that happens it will not be unhappy with at least two portfolios like defence for Mulayam and something visible for Amar Singh. The SP has been the most transparent of the groups and we can assume that the 4th Front is in the Congress kitty.
  • The Congress has mounted a full scale psychological offensive aimed at breaking the Third Front. The Third Front partners are still unwilling to budge because they feel that the Congress will perform poorly (despite the exit polls). There is still a big hope that a beleaguered Congress will be forced to bolster a Third Front Government for the moment.
  • Despite Rahul's bravado, Sonia wants to be sure that no BJP-led government is formed. She will do everything to prevent it. Her first priority is a Congress-led government but if push comes to shove she will make yet another sacrifice for secularism.
  • Prakash Karat's future in the CPI(M) hierarchy will depend on his ability to keep the Third Front together. If the Congress-TMC coalition does very well in West Bengal, the Bengal unit will want to strike an open deal with the Congress and ensure the TMC walks out. Already some, like Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, are openly advocating Left support for the Congress. The wicked people in Delhi say that Somnath is in line for a diplomatic assignment to an European country where they speak English, in case the Congress is back at the helm.
  • The possibility of the TMC joining the NDA is almost zero.There is a Muslim veto.
  • The Third Front will face difficulties in naming a leader. There are too many conflicting pulls.
  • Jayalalitha's nightmare is a split verdict in Tamil Nadu. She wants a clean sweep and bargain with the Congress to bring down the DMK Government in Chennai.
  • The BJP has made little headway in its bid to build a Greater NDA. Its hope lies in a good electoral performance on Saturday which will dilute its untouchability. But it will still need the Congress to sit in the opposition before its claims become credible.
  • In case there is a hung Assembly in Orissa, Naveen Patnaik's first choice will be the Congress. He wants a stake at the Centre but has developed a block about the BJP. His first priority is still the Third Front but he has shed his distaste of the Congress. He will be dictated by the Assembly results.

In short, there has been a lot of tentative positioning. But everyone is looking to the final numbers game to firm up their stands. Existing calculations can go awry and new equations may be forged by the results.

Update 1: There has been some concern over Nitish Kumar's comments about being receptive to any one who gives a special status to Bihar. Regardless of the interpretation given by a gloating NDTV and CNN-IBN, I have seen nothing as yet to indicate a U-turn. Just see how quickly a Congress spokesman advised Nitish to desist from making demands through the media. Nitish follows the norms of political etiquette; he doesn't desert a team even before he knows the verdict of the people.

Update 2: Just came from an end-of-campaign party hosted at the BJP "war room" in Tugluq Crescent, New Delhi. There were lots of young men and women who interacted with Advani. The nice thing was that Advani underlined the need to harness this enthusiasm for the future. Regardless of the results, the BJP needs lots of new blood into the formal institutions of the party. The modern thinking that was evident in the campaign must remain in the party's bloodstream. At the same time, care must be taken to not appear elitist.

50 comments:

zoomindianmedia said...

CONGRESS – Children Of Nehru-Gandhi Ruining Every Single State

Anonymous said...

it simply means another cong govt ... and yet another failure for BJP to gain votes of support from other parties

Meek shall inherit the earth said...

Sonia Gandhi understands that the BJP is the enemy. She is prepared to make another 'sacrifice' to prevent the BJP.

What about the BJP? Does it understand that Congess is the enemy? Should it not push for a third front Govt supported by the BJP, if the numbers do not favor it?

Anonymous said...

So, BJP should forget about BJD and TMC. They need to focus on Amma, TDP and Mayawati, which they are already doing and hope for the split verdict in TN.

Naveen Patnaik will regret the next assembly polls, if he aligns with the Congress. Another state going to BJP's kitty after Karnataka.

Going by the "hypotheticals" that Manu Singhvi was discussing on IBN, it looks like BJP (170) will emerge as the single largest party and NDA (220) as the single largest pre-poll alliance.

But Con party has a joker up its sleeve, who is going to use "discretion".

Please keep us updated, yeh dil maange more :)

Ajay said...

Regional parties are seeing a opportunity to reassert themselves. Cong is dying, and BJP is the future threat.

They will all shed their inhibitions to keep BJP out.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da, From what you are saying BJP has no chance of forming govt. I wonder how your blog helps the party :-)

Naveen's stand is the most bizarre. In fact Times Now was talking about rotating CMship in Orissa. I am really not sure if Naveen Patnaik has any political acumen.

doubtinggaurav said...

SwapanDa,

I think it will be best for BJP to sit in the opposition and regroup under a new energetic leadership while a Congress supported weak government totters from disaster to disaster.
I know probably it is much to ask from you but what are your opinions.

summu said...

It is unfortunate that BJP is missing another chance ,rather than taking the support of Mayawathi Its is better for the BJp to sit in the opposition .India missed another chance.
Indian Missed Vajpayee in 2004 alot.I am sure if congress comes to power we can sit in the home and play indore games because there will be no jobs no development except development of their party congress.

Anonymous said...

One can not blame Patnaik for not wanting to be in bed with BJP again if all it can offer is SS type thokashahi. No decent pol would like to be seen in the company of such thugs/lunatics. As Swapan said in a column, a ket challenge before LK Advani is to rid BJP of these lunatics (what Buckely called "kooks"). Until that happnes, anti-BJP elements will keep harvesting rich crop.

Venkatesh said...

Swapan DA,

If what you say is tru about Naveen, then it is curtains for him in the next elections. BJP becomes the sole beneficary of anti-incumbency and anti-congressism. Looks like the Kid from NY should have stayed there!!

Mahesh Prabhu said...

Swapan da.
please do write one more blog in the evening on your take of the day today.

I am sure BJP will emerge as the single largest party .

Let the kamal bloom. This is the time it can withstand Congress (virus)plant and bloom with beauty.

mahesh
Mahesh

Rider on the Storm said...

Dear Swapan,

There are oft repeated cliches in this whole process that parties/individuals have a stake in government formation/ functioning that is disproportionate to their strength looking at the overall scenario. Dont you think it is time for a system revamp? People say this election is issueless, while some feel issues like price rise, terrorism are all there and people will vote accordingly. Kapil Sibal claims on tv that a guy in a juggi/jhopad patti has no clue what the election is about and he cannot differentiate between a Lok Sabha election and a municipal election. I believe somewhere along the line all of these things are true and not true as well, but in varying percentages. But the fact of the matter is , this is a General Election to decide the Government at the Centre and it must be absolutely reflective of the choice of the voters for the Government at the Centre. I am not sure the present system allows that reflection to actually take place. Tomorrow, the BJP can win a 190 seats, but all the others can gang up against them on the 'secularism' issue and prevent them from forming the government. Unscrupulous wheeler dealers such as Paswan, Lalu, Amar Singh, Mulayam Singh have a greater say in government formation than a vast majority of the people in India? L K Advani , the great intellectual that he is, had suggested long ago that India should go in for a Presidential form of Government, where the contest is centered around people/parties/policies equally , but also takes into account the mandate of the people as a whole. If you go by the electoral college system of the USA, the one who gets the most seats in the electoral college is declared the President Elect. Something similar with a mix of what is already there could be a solution to this mess? Else we are always going to see the unscrupulous wheeler dealers rule the roost for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

The mood, expectation and chance of BJP can be read in this blog. I think its all over. We will sit in the opposition again and for that I think BJP itself is responsible. I'll write more abt this on 16th.......

parasuram81 said...

Swapanda,
I saw this coming..its all very well indulging in meaningless meetings like in good old days,but if you dont have anything to offer,no party however small it may be will never be incilned to BJP.As we speak,congress has managed to somewhat crack NDA by wooing Nitish.I had seen severla reports of some big industrial house aggressively trying to win Nitish over towards Congress.But like an ostrich BJP has gone to slumber.Hence another 5 years of misery and despair.God save this country!

Oldtimer said...

The market posted moderate gains today. Though that seems unrelated to hopes about the advent an NDA government, people are at least staying invested. So am I. Monday will tell if I made one of those "historic blunders" that the commies are fond of debating about.

Mahesh Prabhu said...

i see the headlines now that Nitish kumar is give some signals to Congress ..What the hell is this. Bad day for NDA camp.

Rider on the Storm said...

We just had Nitish announce that he will support anyone who gives Bihar a special status? I am not sure what to read of this, but I cant believe it's getting this whimsical! Amar Singh might demand deputy prime ministership for Amitabh Bachchan next? and he might also demand that India use it's influence with the French Government to get him to be on the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in return for the SP's support and also engineering a set of wholesale defections for the Congress?

Kenny Chauhan said...

There are only two ways to save country from this disgrace. One, people vote as one bring in one party to power. Two, having a different electoral system, the one like the Presidential system of USA.

I have posted my thoughts on the Congress wheeling-dealing in my blog - Kenny Online (blogspot.com)

Mahesh Prabhu said...

Why is everyone thinking based on exit polls. Wake up tomorrow and see the reality.BJP will emerge as single largest party.

One who has seen tomorrow
mahesh

venkatesh said...

Guys,

There is an old marathi saying "jasa dista, tasa nasta mhanoon jag phasta' rough translation what appears is not always true and hence the world gets trapped. Nitish, in my humble view is posturing so that the congress reacts favourably, so the NDA can draw a wedge in the fractured ties in the UPA.

This is how I interpret it and my firm conviction is that the BJP and the NDA are coming back.

Swapan Dasgupta said...

Many of you have detected a note of despondency in what I have written. If so that is unintentional. The fact remains that those parties who can possibly come over to the BJP want to first see what is the performance of the NDA. If the NDA crosses 200, it is in the game. Otherwise the Congress has an edge.

ramana said...

One thing is certain, since I live in New York, no sleep tonite, I am watching the election results. I am too excited to get a good nite sleep. Indian elections are far more exciting. They are the best, when it comes to non contact sports !

:-)

Venkatesh said...

Swapan,

On behalf of thousand of bloggers and centrist hindus, please do make a fervent appeal to the BJP to get their media act together. They need an unbiased channel. A lot of people are falling into the 'Secular' trap.

On the one hand the BJP seems to have kind of conceded the sceular space to the congress and the left.

I am surprised why the BJP in every programme where it is branded communal go into a long monologue on why the congress and the left is communal, so at least the news channels stop making these assertions.

A lot of people still surprisingly trust the media and the BJP should attack these real anti-nationals.

give you and eg

when prannoy goes into his analysis, he splits his vote banks to hindus, muslims and dalits. What is he trying to say, dalits are not hindus? Why do none of the BJP spokespersons contest this? Can someone not ask him if he is agent of the christian missionary or the left as only these idiotic groups try to make that distinction for their perverse ends. These guys sit and snigger at the BJP spokespersons and the spokespersons accept it. Can they then with any level of credibility say that they will provide a majboot neta. If the BJP cannot deal with a biased and sniggering media, how can it be expected to deal with fearless terrorists. Please communicate with them that their lack of aggressiveness, is not only bad for the BJP but for the hindu samaj as a whole. The party should respect the media if it plays the nubiased role it is expected to play. I think these left wing, anti-national media should be kicked where it hurts them.

I hope you will be kind enough to do so, as I am expressing a frustration on behalf of thousands of like minded people

Shankar said...

When there is clear anti-congressim wave at state level, why would the regional parties such as BJD, TDP, BSP , AIDMK, TMC cling to Congress. I fail to understand. Wherever BJP is set against Congress BJP is proving better. Still...

Ajay said...

TDPs own exit poll gives just 10 seats to Cong in AP. Technically they had 37 seats last time, together with TRS.

So this alone is a massive loss for Sonia's hopes of a Cong PM. Add losses from Maha, TN and Guj, and it is beginning to look like Cong is no where in the game,

Anonymous said...

Orissa CM has supported Congress today.

robin said...

Dear All,
We seem to be succumbing to the hype created by English media.That is to demoralize the BJP.
Tamilnadu had 72 percent vote that is 11 percent higher than last time.So the exit pollsters are going to have sorry time tomorrow. It has to be a sweep.Jaya is going to align with BJP because it is seen as a pro srilankan tamil party than congress.
I see no way TDP,Chiranjeevi going to support UPA. They came on an anti congress platform and so these two parties are going to be with NDA. Already Sanagama has sounded the war bugle in NCP.
So NDA needs to cross 200 on its own. If it gets close to that then the next PM will be Advaniji

Incognito said...

I really thought that, as a d├ębutant, my vote would magically+automatically determine the winner :p, but alas, reality is bestowing upon me, [i]Toni[/i] might not survive an entity of another dynastics* politic in my area, and the BJP may face a similar fate at the centre in a few hours from now.

As a political_noob, I think the Indian Right wing should be stacked up with more of these 30-seat party-types;
so that 1)They can't switch sides/fronts, 2)Make them exclusive of the RSS/religious institutions(Oh yes, there are: Likud Party in Israel for ex.) , to effectively silence the pseudo-secularists.
But can Indians relate to nationalism w/o religion?
Will it successfully infiltrate the votes of regional parties and most of all Congress in the name of some other parameter?

Anonymous said...

Venkatesh, slightly off topic but instead of pronouncing Dalits full-fledged Hindus maybe you should ask them if they consider themselves Hindu?

Anonymous said...

I think Sonal shah will have a good enough role to play in allaince making for the BJP. The US official meeting Naidu & Chiranjeevi seems to a be a move in this direction.

Postscript: Obama has few BJP inclined advisors around him. Sonal Shah is an Ex-RSS person, her father plays a main role in the HSS & Ekalvidya. Though it is not advisable to have externanl interference in Indian govt. formation, it is important to keep the communist out.

rambhakt said...

I am hoping for a good performance from the BJP. If the BJP gets around 20-30 seats more than the CONgress, it would automatically force other parties to support the NDA - this is not 1996. :)

zoomindianmedia said...

Venkat

BJP need to field Mahaan Sidhu.

When Times Now correspondent asked about his absence from his constituency, he asserted, he does not reply to stupid questions.

After the gujarat elections when there was a talk show, he made the congress spokesperson, jayanthi natarajan walk out through his sarcastic wit.

The central issue is people like prakash javdekar just dont possess the aptitude or domain expertise, if u will.

Your larger point is valid. BJP indeed needs to get its media act together. They should not send every tom, dick and harry (nathu, gattu and chunnu) to face the media.

Jaitley, RS Prasad, Mahatma Modi, Rudy, Sidhu are capable of holding their own against the media.

Anonymous said...

Looks unpromising for BJP. Hoping against hope, fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

IBN is predicting sweep for DMK-Congress. Do you agree with them?
NDTV has already formed UPA government? Things looking ominous for the BJP.

Anonymous said...

IBN prdicion as far as tamil nadu is concerned is completely laughable.

Blitz said...

Swapan da

I hail from TN (even though I am not in Inda at the moment, my family is in chennai)
I am shell shocked at this predicted sweep for DMK in TN

how is this possible ? can there be an element of truth to it ? (i find it very hard to believe)
How can a channel like IBN broadcast this new if it is completely false ?
I know he is biased, but can he be this biased ??

Plsss throw some light

A Doosra Perspective said...

Swapan da if you are going to be in CNN-IBN studios ask Rajdeep, How much DMK paid to come out with this kind of exit polls?
ask the same question how much congress paid NDTV to come out with this kind of EXIT polls

Anonymous said...

>> At the same time, care must be taken to not appear elitist.

It is good to see that Advaniji is interacting with a group of smartly turned out people in a party in Delhi. But BJP must owe it to the blood of cadre in places like Kannur, blood that has been repeatedly shed for no other gain, not even a backrow seat in such parties. Please think about them.

In an effort to re-invent their images, let them not forget what the real situation on the ground is, from Kandhamal to Kannur.

Mulayam Singh said...

To all anonymous people here:

please use the Name/URL option and give yourself a name. Any nickname you like.

socal said...

Hey Swapan,

Whatever happens tomorrow, it's going to be one tough day for you. Best wishes, and keep up the good fight!

robin said...

DMK has spent around 300 crores in each constituency by issuing tokens.Money would be collected later after polls. This ill gotten money is out of spectum profit where nation lost one lakh crores. It is time for who so ever in Power to understand that Karunanidhi family is amont top 20 richest families in Asia

Anonymous said...

IMHO, TDP will never support UPA. They might not support NDA but will never support UPA. If they do that, party will seize to exist. About PRP, they will have survival issues after this elections. They will not be able to form elections and money coffers will run dry and the netas return back to their original homes (congress or tdp).

I think Navin is making a mistake if he supports UPA. This opens up another state where BJP can grow, like Karntaka in very near future. Nitish is in same boat too.. he will be decimated in next election by Laloo, but BJP will be back as major force come next elections.

I don't understand why it is secular to divide populace by their religion by congress, media and 3rd front leaders but once BJP does it, it is communal. BJP needs new leaders like Varun and go out of box to develop these new faces. I don't see in next election, any body over 60 will not be acceptable for any party, be it BJP or Cong I or other parties that are dependent on old icons.

Also, in my opinion, reelections is preferred over some motley crew ruling the country. If repeated elections come about, that will clean up politics as personal money used by netas will dry up.

Sorry for my rants!
Anoop

Dalits ARE Hindus said...

No matter what the pseudo-sec brigade says, Dalits are Hindus. Terming Hindus and Dalits as two distinct vote bank is a ploy by the christian evangelists to increase their base. And we all know what Prannoy Roy and ilk are..

Anonymous said...

Swapan da,
How can NDA get less than 200 seats?
Where I am going wrong
SS 11-15
JD-U 18-22
TRS 4-5
AGP 4-5
RLD 4-5
INLD 4-5
Akali 4-5
so allies will have 49-62 seats

Now, I do not see why BJP will get less than 150 seats. Here is my break up
Assam 4-5
Bihar 8-10
UP 17-22
Bengal+Tamilnadu+Arunachal+ Andhra + Delhi+Goa 8-12
Punjab+ Hariyana 6-8
Uttranchal+Jharkhand+ Chatisgadh 19-23
Karantaka+Gujarat+Maharastra 50-56
Rajasthan+MP 30-36
J&C+Kerala +Himachal+Orisa 8-11


So, if I am not wrong BJP should get150- 184

So, I do not see why NDA should get less than 199 seats and optimistic estimate is 240.
Realistically, I expect final tally of existing NDA to be around 210-220.

Mimi said...

Regarding Update 2, Advani does have a certain appeal amongst youth. I guess he is a product of meritocracy, a man who wont sacrifice his ideals,is assertive, and changes with the times. Also I haven't seen too many people who throw their hat into the ring against all odds, rally an organization around them, and campaign with such vigour and confidence regardless of the results.

Even if the NDA loses, this will be a memorable campaign for how the BJP set the agenda from the word go, and kept the ball moving while the Congress was huffing and puffing behind. The Congress surely lost the campaign, even if they won the votes.

As a 'young' adult, this was probably the only election that I have truly followed in such detail, primarily because through the BJP's campaign I was able to understand at least where one of the parties was coming from (beyond all the hindutva nonsense that the media has foisted upon it).

campaign said...

all the best swapan for tomorrow, eat well and be spirited. Finally speak your mind.

zoomindianmedia said...

Swapan

ur update 2 is very important.

Anonymous said...

The people here are seem to be hardcore BJP, they all are in a fools paradise. Idiots! why you need to fight on communalism? It's threat to india's success. With this election, BJP will be history. Swapan are you a BJP writer?

smitha said...

I think this election should atleast bring BJP to it's knees and let it introspect inside, too much vilification by both LKA and Modi costed it huge.

Yes, Hindu religion survived several centuries, even from the barbaric mughal invaders, and resoundingly there were no thugs like VHP and Bajarang dal all those dreadful years.

Come clean, do carry good governance and work to make India a better country, power is not the means or the end for any party, it's insulting to let a man's goal (to become PM) dictate terms for a party, what a lose statement, everyone coming out and making the same.

Anonymous said...

What a cracking vote against bigotry this has been!
I see some suggestions from some posts here along the lines of BJP now needing a Goebels ... or perhaps a Bill O'rielly. Times are a'changin ... time to grow up.