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Old May 31st, 2016, 01:43 PM
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TINA will trump TATA in 2019 !!

Why An Anti-Modi front won’t succeed in 2019. An Awesome Analysis By Minhaz Merchant

There was much excitement at West Bengal when Anti-Modi brigade was present at the oath taking ceremony of chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on May 27. The assemblage represented one half of TATA (There Are Two Alternatives).

These comprised regional satraps, hope shining brightly in beady eyes: Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal.

How many seats can this national mahagathbandhan realistically hope to win in 2019? The math could erase the smiles from some of the faces assembled in Kolkata.

Consider the cold, hard facts: In the current Lok Sabha, Mamata’s TMC, Nitish’s JD(U), Kejriwal’s AAP, Lalu’s RJD and Mulayam’s SP hold a grand total of 48 seats.

Of these, Mamata has the most: 34. (The rest are in low single digits.) West Bengal offers 42 Lok Sabha seats so the headroom from that state in 2019 is limited.

Now take Nitish. The JD(U) currently has two seats in the Lok Sabha. Bihar offers a total of 40 seats. With the RJD and Congress as alliance partners, Nitish could increase his tally in 2019 but there is, unfortunately for the Bihar chief minister, a large caveat.



The BJP in 2019 will likely lose seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, UP and Bihar.
Jungle Raj may not have yet returned to the state but lawlessness abounds. Will the Bihar electorate, after another three years of such brazen misgovernance, still give Nitish its support in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll?

Take Kejriwal. AAP has four Lok Sabha MPs of whom two are suspended. AAP will likely win the Punjab state elections in 2017 but lose in Goa. With Delhi, Punjab and Goa offering a total of just 22 Lok Sabha seats, Kejriwal’s contribution to the national mahagathbandhan in 2019 will, however, be tiny.

Mulayam, meanwhile, will be locked in a multi-cornered fight in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. Given chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s insipid governance record, the SP is unlikely to return to office in the state or win more than 20 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. It currently has five.

The core national mahagathbandhan’s likely grand total in 2019: just over 90 Lok Sabha seats.

That brings us to the second alternative limb in TATA – the Congress-led UPA. Conspicuously absent at Mamata’s swearing-in, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi may not want to play second fiddle in a national mahagathbandhan. But if the Congress and its shrunken UPA allies (NCP, DMK, NC and others) cannot muster the numbers to form a government in 2019, they may, as in 1996, support the mahagathbandhan from outside just to keep the BJP out.

However, for both TATA alternatives, the math doesn’t add up – even if they join hands. Between them, the core anti-Modi grouping of Mamata, Nitish, Mulayam and Kejriwal, even if it sweeps its respective states (West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi) can at best muster 90 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

In last week’s ABP News opinion poll, the emaciated Congress-led UPA, was projected to win just 66 Lok Sabha seats. The Mamata/Nitish-led national mahagathbandhan plus the UPA would thus struggle to cross 150 Lok Sabha seats.

Five “neutral” regionals hold the balance of power: Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, KC Rao’s TRS, Mayawati’s BSP and Yechury’s Left Front. (None of the five were present at Mamata’s coronation.) Between them they could win around 100 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 (they currently hold a combined total of 78 seats.)

But the BSP and the Left will not do business with a front containing the SP and the TMC respectively, even if it means just lending outside support. The BJD, AIADMK and TRS lean towards the BJP though there is a question mark over the TRS. Jayalalithaa is unpredictable while Naveen likes to sit on the fence.

The BJP-led NDA is projected by the new ABP News opinion poll to win 342 Lok Sabha seats which should mute talk of TATA and bring back the idea of TINA.

Not so fast. The BJP in 2019 will likely lose seats in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, UP and Bihar. In 2014, it won 204 of its 282 seats in these seven big states.

A fall of even 20 per cent from its current tally, especially in UP (71), Bihar (22), Chhattisgarh (10), Rajasthan (25), Maharashtra (23), MP (27) and Gujarat (26), could wipe out 40 or more seats from its total. There is clearly no room for complacency.

The BJP has another, even bigger, problem brewing with its allies. The Shiv Sena is destructive and malignant; the Shiromani Akali Dal is corrupt and incompetent; the TDP is alienated and unsettled; the PDP is unreliable and unmoored; the LJP is disillusioned and listless.

The BJP and its allies have three years to get their act together or the dreaded “160 Club” within the BJP will start licking its lips. If the BJP falls significantly short of 272 seats in 2019, some of the NDA allies could, the “160 Club” hopes, seek a change in the prime ministership.

There are Lutyenised contenders in the BJP to whom disgruntled NDA allies, the shrunken UPA and regional satraps will willingly lend support. It will be back to the good old days of mutual bonhomie and a scam-a-month.

Fortunately, the chances of that happening are disappearingly slim. TINA, in all likelihood, will trump TATA in 2019.
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