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Even before result is out, parties working on post-poll scenario

Saturday, May 11, 2019
By Prakash Bal Joshi

No one can predict how voters will vote and what kind of results will come out at the end of the 2019 battle of ballots for the Parliament. Even if there is a wave in one or the other direction, unless it is very strong, it is very difficult to comprehend it and both or more participants keep on claiming victory for themselves without waiting for the results.

Even before the fourth round of polling was over, political parties attached with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA as well as those opposed to BJP trying to prop up grand alliance are busy working out what kind of combination and permutation possible in case there is fractured mandate. As per BJP’s assessment, the ruling front is going to get absolute majority and there will be no fractured mandate. On the other hand the Congress claims that the BJP will not get the kind of seats it got in 2014 and the party will be able to offer a credible alternative. Despite, all photo-ops and rounds of meeting, the opposition parties failed to cobble out Mahagathbandhan and in most of the seats, there were triangular fights making difficult to predict which way voters will go. Politics of power is a different game where things are dynamic and keep on changing, even if you have fought against someone, in the name of stability of the government, you can always join hands with the enemies as there is no permanent friend or an enemy in power politics. Everything depends on circumstances and self-interest.

Bargaining chips or Third Front
 Regional parties and their leaders hope that neither the BJP nor the Congress get adequate number of seats so that they can play a major role in shaping up the new government in post poll scenario. Those who are aspiring candidates for the Prime Ministership on the basis of their hold in their respective states like Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Sharad Pawar, Chandrasekhar Rao, have been calculating what kind of scenario will emerge once the results are out on May 23. However, they cannot wait till the final date and then swing into action. So as per their own perceptions and guess, they have already started contacting their own supporters to try out new fronts for forming the government.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao is one of the major player right from the beginning with winning the state second time , he has been positioning himself for a bigger role in Delhi in case there is a fractured mandate. He has maintained equidistance from the BJP as well as the Congress so far. However, after the fifth round of polling in the country, he seems to have leaned towards the Congress. He has reportedly opened up communication channel with the Congress high command to find out whether he can work with the Congress in case the BJP fails to get majority or is not in a position to form the government with number of its allies. Much will depend on which combination is quick to forge proper alliance with adequate number, these regional parties are shifty and in the name of stability at the centre, they will shift their support to whichever alliance they feel is in a better position to form the government. .

 It is known in political circles, that almost immediate after the voting in Telangana was over last month on April 11, a senior MP from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) called on a senior Congress leader in Delhi and opened up the line of communication. They just tried to find out whether both the parties were ready to work together in post poll period to give an alternative to the BJP led NDA. There is no love lost in both the parties which have been attacking each other openly during the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections, but those involved in the communication channel just opened said that nothing should be read since the meeting was exploratory in nature.

Those close to Chandrasekhar Rao claim that he has been convinced now that unless one of the national parties including the BJP or the Congress are included in the efforts, the proposed government of only third front parties will remain vulnerable. He has now decided to find out whether, he can work with the Congress to offer an alternative government to the BJP led NDA.

The Congress has been trying to forge an alliance against the BJP led NDA for last two years by consulting and discussing possibilities with allies of the UPA II as well as parties which are not part of the UPA alliance to widen its scope. But somehow, it has remained away from Chandrasekhar Rao’s TRS as he was perceived close to the BJP despite his attacks on the BJP led government in Delhi.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is another ambitious leader who has been making rounds of Delhi to contact all those who are opposed to the BJP. Ever since he walked out on the NDA on the issue of central aid to Andhra Pradesh, he has been trying to forge an alliance of likeminded people to oppose the NDA. Recently he has ruled out himself from the race for the Prime Ministership and became acceptable to many including Chandrasekhar Rao who have been on loggerheads on many issues. Incidentally, Telangana was created in year 2014 making Rao and Naidu sworn enemies. However, Rao seems to have accepted Chandrababu Naidu in proposed alliance of opposition parties in post result era.

Southern patch-up
Chandrasekhar Rao has also held talks with YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the leader of the YSR Congress, who is not comfortable with Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh. Rao is trying to reach a patch-up between Reddy and Naidu to make proposed front more acceptable and formidable. With Andhra Pradesh sending 25 members to the Lok Sabha and Telangana accounting for 17 it is important where these states stand.

Twenty-one opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance in Uttar Pradesh and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, are expected to meet in New Delhi once the final phase of polling over to take stock of the situation.  

While, Chandrasekhar has become active and seeking support from all the anti-BJP parties, the BJP has also been silently working to ensure that there is adequate support from smaller regional parties in case the BJP led NDA require any additional support to form the government. Much will depend on what kind of results come out of the keenly contested battle for the Parliament. Till then, no political party is going to sit back and relax as their own survival depends on what stand they take at the national level.

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