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If wishes were horses…!

Thursday, May 16, 2019
By Bharatkumar Raut

Now that the sixth of the Seven-phase Lok Sabha election voting is already over, most of the Indian constituencies have voted for the next Lok Sabha. The last phase is scheduled for Sunday and then 23rd May would be the 'Day of Verdict'. Therefore it is good time to look back and take the stock of the entire process of the Lok Sabha election. The moot question that is now openly and widely debated in the national and local Indian media and the people is to who would cut the cake of victory? With the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi be able to defend the power for his Bharatiya Janata Party and/or his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or would the Congress-led opposition be able to snatch the thorn once again? This is the moot question and needs to be an extremely wise socio-political analyst or an avid astrologer to make the right prediction. In the absence of both, it has now become a free for all debate and gossip.

The fact is that the political situation has become most unpredictable and only lucky gamblers have the say. However, those who work and live in the game of politics have hearts of bronze and thus they stand tough and keep making attempts to win till the last vote is counted. It is said, the game is open till the last ball is bowled and the last wicket fells. The same rule applies in the game of politics also. Here apart from Modi and his BJP men, Opposition groups and members are also equally confident individually and collectively of winning the war. Therefore, most of the opposition leaders have started meeting each other to evolve solution to take over from Modi. This seems to be a bit optimistic but inevitable.

Request to the President
In Economics, there is a popular saying. If wishes were horses, all beggars would have ride on them'. The same ways, all including those who have a thin chance of coming closer to the half way-mark have started fluxing their mussels to grab power after May 23. Sensing that the present incumbent of the President's post, Ram Nath Kovind erstwhile belonged to the ruling BJP, a group of opposition leaders have reportedly posted a letter to him, stating that in the event of no single party crosses the half-way mark, he should restrain himself from inviting the largest single party to form the government and allow other parties to exercise the possibility to forge a truce and prove their majority. In simple words, the opposition parties do not wish to surrender without fighting till the end.

This argument would have been ethically and constitutionally valid, had the entire opposition, at least major ones had contested the elections with pre-poll alliance. However, the picture is different. While the Congress is running for the power along with many smaller alliance partners, like NCP of Sharad Pawar, there are at least three other alliances, those who vehemently oppose the Congress as well as the BJP-led NDA.  For example Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party did not allow the Congress to enter their alliance in Uttar Pradesh and declared their candidate list without the knowledge of Rahul Gandhi. In West Bengal, Mamta Banerjee's TMC did not go with the Congress and the club of Left Parties also did not join the Congress. Chandrababu Naidu is on his own trip and wishes to form his own 'Federal Alliance', a group consisting of regional giants.

In this situation it is very difficult, if not impossible to imagine all the opposition parties coming together and forging an alliance to challenge the supremacy of the BJP led NDA. If they really come together, will that be long lasting? The office of the President will have to consider that angle also. In the well accepted doctrine of President's functions and responsibilities it is clearly mentioned that it is the President's duty to invite a party and leader to form the government that could provide a 'reasonably' stable government. Though there is an ambiguity in the framing of the sentence, it seems to be left to the discretion of the President to invite a party or a leader to form the Government. However this discretion is not unlimited. It is left to him to decide which leader/party can provide reasonably stable government. In the given situation it is difficult to believe that Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Mamta or Chandrababu will be in a position to fulfil the basic condition.

Force of Regional Pressure
Moreover, all the above mentioned leaders being regional strongmen having enormous clout in their own region, if not the leaders themselves but their followers see them none less than in the supreme chair of Prime Minister. Thus by sheer force of pressure, none of them would be ready to play second fiddle. That's the main hurdle in this context.

On the other side, for the NDA, there is only one leader and that is Modi. Therefore, if at all war for the leadership takes place it would be only in the rena of the opposition. And for the NDA it’s a race with only one horse i.e. Modi running to win.

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