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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Karat is smiling

karat The most interesting feature of the election campaign being fought in the media (it's markedly different in the ground) is the speculation over how the Left will behave after May 16.

Will it forget its campaign rhetoric and re-discover "common space" with the Congress, as Rahul Gandhi hopes? Alternatively, will it turn the heat on the Congress to support a Third Front Government?

The pro-Congress TV channels are getting increasingly desperate. They have discovered fissures between an intransigent Prakash Karat and a flexible Sitaram Yechuri. Significance is being attached to the CPI(M) politburo meeting on May 18. On CNN-IBN, Sagarika Ghose suggested that the Left would bear the responsibility for a Hindutva government led by L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi. On Times Now, Outlook editor Vinod Mehta revealed that talks between the Congress and CPI(M) over government formation has already begun!

Pranab Mukherjee indicated last evening that he may not even be averse to having another look at the Indo-US nuclear agreement. With each passing day pressure is going to mount on the CPI(M) to cave in to the Congress, after extracting policy concessions. There may even be pressure from a dragon across the Himalayas and the Islamic lobby.

My own take on the subject is totally different. Those close to the CPI(M) leadership are very clear that there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY the party will endorse a Congress Prime Minister--not Manmohan Singh and not Pranab Mukherjee. This position is even more enthusiastically backed by the CPI, RSP and FB.

It would rather sit in the opposition.

Karat would have to be ousted in a central committee coup for the old Harkishen Singh Surjeet line to prevail.

The CPI(M) believes that its pre-poll Third Front will cumulatively have more seats than the Congress. It feels that Sharad Pawar, Lalu Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan will join this initiative. If the enlarged Third Front numbers fall below that of the Congress, its efficacy will be undermined.

If the Congress muscles its way into having Manmohan Singh sworn in as PM, the Left will probably vote against it, if possible bring it down in 13 days and then have another government--led by a compromise choice--sworn in. The Left wants Congress to support the Third Front from outside. However, they may compromise by agreeing to Congress participation in a UPA Government led by a non-Congress PM.

If the Congress finds that it cannot have its PM, the family may decide to sit in the opposition. That would make a NDA Government inevitable.

The exact course will be known after the results come in. On the ground, the Left Front in West Bengal is making the most of the Congress' overtures. The growing suspicion between the Congress and Mamata as a result of this may lead to the Left recovering ground in some of the marginals that vote in the 5th phase.

When the election was announced, the Left was fearful of crossing 30 seats. It is now hopeful of crossing 40.

Karat is smiling because the Left is once again back in the centre stage. Will he still be smiling if the BJP emerges as the number one party? Karat has assumed that BJP no longer poses any significant challenge.

If Karat is proved wrong, we may see a very different ball game with the Bengal party flexing its muscle.

[My assessment of Phase 4 will, hopefully, be ready on Friday evening/ Saturday morning]

17 comments:

mimi said...

1) You've made a very precise observation on Sagarika Ghosh. On every show, Sagarika and Rajdeep almost act as the mediators between the Left and Congress and try to get them to patch up. And what is this nonsense about a 'Hindoootva' government as S.G pronounces it. Only 5% of the BJP manifesto even mentions the Ram mandir etc.

2) Swapan, as an insider could you throw some light on exactly why these English news channels are so pro Congress? Its amazing to see such well known journalists behave like sycophants.

Dinesh PC said...

Dear Swapanda - the earlier skin looked greener :-)

MVR said...

Hi Swapan Da....First of all let me thank you for this blog.It presents some genunie news about BJP..I just log into your page to see all the latest news about BJP..and thanks for that.

I didn't quite get Karat's logic..does he think that TF will get more seats than Cong??which means he thinks Cong will end up less than 100?? If that is the case then BJP should get lion's share of the remaining 300 odd seats. But he again thinks BJP will not be in the picture at all!! Whats his logic?? Hows it that a politician of his experience could make such horrendous mathematical and assesing mistake??

Harsh said...

Swapanda,
It has been a absolute pleasure following your analysis here, at least this is one forum
where the right of centre view prevails without any editing ,
This in coming years would be the
bane of the pseudo secular media.

ayush said...

Hi Swapan Da ,

Good to see some change in the blog layout , i personally liked the earlier one :)

And as far as govt formation is concerned I have a very strong feeling that for a while a 3rd front PM backed by congress looks inevitable unless BJP has swept phase 4 today.

parasuram81 said...

http://deccanchronicle.com/nation/left-leaders-keep-congress-guessing-924

I think if Left does indeed support UPA,then its curtains for BJP coz that stupid Naveen Patnaik and others are likely t join in,or atleast provide outside support.But probably the silver lining for BJP then is Mamta and Amma will surely come back,along with TDP,TR among others.But for this to happen,BJP must pip congress as the single largest party since if this happens,NDA in any case will be the largest single pre-poll alliance so the rest will gravitate.But going by reports in UP RLD doesn't seem to be transferring votes to BJP in a big way.So I am not entirely optimistic about U.P and hence my fear that Congress may somehow sneak past BJP given its wider base through the country.So I hope my reading is wrong.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

Swapan,

What if I stick my neck out and say something?

PM: NITISH KUMAR

Moves camp to 3rd Front.

Supported by Congress.

parasuram81 said...

"To bolster their numbers further, the Congress hopes to rope in the AIADMK, JD( U) and the Biju Janata Dal ( BJD).

Said a senior Union cabinet minister, “Informal contacts have been made.

The real negotiations will start only after May 16. You will see some surprises.” AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad is camping in Chennai and is believed to be in touch with Jayalalithaa.

He formally denied these claims. A powerful corporate house is believed to be working on Nitish Kumar to back a Congress-led government.

A former bureaucrat is negotiating between the Congress, the corporate house and the Bihar chief minister. Meanwhile, Congress backroom boys in Hyderabad are working on other marginal players like the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of actor Chiranjeevi and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)." Does the BJP have a gameplan to counter this?

parasuram81 said...

Swapanda,

I know Iam quite curious so posting comments randomly since here in the U.S I only trust ur blog and columns and of course Pioneer for the ture perspective.So Iam nervous of the post-poll scenario esp given the Congress wheeler-delaers like YSR,Vilasrao,Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel with moneybags apart from the bigwigs from several industrial houses are already in action going by the reports.So I think we r missing Pramod Mahajan big time.Please comment if there is any such proactive measures BJP is involved now.

Anonymous said...

I think the consensus is that the elections are too close to call, and the Left is once again sadly the kingmaker.

I think the 3rd front option with Congress outside support is most likely. Either Nitish, Sharad, or Mayawati as PM. And as usual, the Congress will withdraw support periodically and keep changing PMs once in 6 months, and the country is in for a bout of instability.

Mahesh Prabhu said...

hi swapanda,

you definately make good assesements of the current politican scenarios in our Motherland India. You are definately right when you say the family makes the decision if congress has to sit in opposition.

I am preety sure Congress will make things tough ,as they would not like to sit in opposition at any cost until they destroy the "q" factor, swiss money account details and infiltrate bangladeshi youth by giving them fake citizenships at the cost of election which might fall again if its hung verdict.

Well my say would be ,TMC should come back with respect to NDA fold if it wins some seats, Naveen patnaik knows from his heart what happened in kandamal is not what BJP did.

I feel if BJP is single largest party, then TMC+aiadmk+BJD should be part of NDA and give Road and Health ministery to Amma , Create a new ministership sayign East India Minister for Devpt, give shipping to BJD.

Looks good in reality. I am taking leave on 16th may to watch ndtv,cnn-ibn,aaj tak from 8 am.

Hoping for BJPs victory...

Anonymous said...

I think Karat is planning to replace Congress as the left-wing pole in Indian politics. He can do this only by scuppering Congress's chances and occupying the space then vacated by the party.

In this scheme, any cooperation with Congress will only reduce his ability to reduce Congress to a bit player.

BENGAL UNDER ATTACK said...

SWAPAN,

Would love to hear comments on my Nitish Kumar as PM scenario.

Incidentally if you / anyone want to read the full transcript (English) of what Pranchanda said, click here: http://bengalunderattack.blogspot.com/2009/05/maoist-prachanda-red-over-controversial.html

Anonymous said...

"The pro-Congress TV channels are getting increasingly desperate".
Thanks Swapan for calling spade a spade. We have been waiting for this kind of endorsement from a prominent BJP/Right wing member for a very long time.
BTW. You are going very good with your blog. Waiting anxiously for your 4th phase analysis

Singha said...

Dada

I strongly suspect Karat/yechury are playing good cop/bad cop.

It may perhaps be naive to believe that they are not on same frequency.

Singha

neelakantan said...

The disproportionate importance given to these Chinese Puppets in India (CPI) is amazing. I somehow believe that they are power hungry and they will do anything to stick by "power".

Aside: Your earlier blog template was better than this one :)

Ajay2 said...

The media is openly campaigning for the left to support the Congress in the post poll scenario to keep the 'hindootva' forces out. Do you see a softening of Karat's stand?

Your and our optimism about the possibility of the NDA forming the govt stems from the hope that Karat will remain steadfast in not supporting the Congress under any circumstances, and being able to convince all other left leaders to stick by that stand, even facing the prospect of Advani becoming PM. Compare that with Karat's statement to Karan Thapar, to a specific question about whether the 3rd front could support the Congress, he said it is a definite possibility.

Your take?

I'm guessing that the numbers will dictate that even that is not possible, given the contradictions like TDP wont go with Cong, AIADMK wont go with DMK, RJD wont go with JDU, SP wont go with BSP, TMC wont go with Left etc.

BTW, any realistic estimates from your side on the chances of Nitish Kumar ditching NDA after the elections? I don't see it happening unless he is offered the PM chair. Numbers in Bihar assembly don't favour him without the BJP.