Sunday, March 15, 2009

My money is on XXX..

where XXX = UPA/NDA/TTF (the third front). Any other naughty thoughts need to be banished right now.

Anyways, this is an attempt at doing something I have not done before, at least in written form : predict the outcome of an event , a mega event at that one. The risk of possible humiliation if I get things horribly wrong is overridden by the possible fame and fortune of getting it even 90% right. (Ya right!) With a month to go for the first phase, I have chosen to do a four part piece on the results of the upcoming general elections. Each part will focus on one among the four geographical divisions of India(NEWS). I shall start in the more comfortable home ground of the south.

With a total of 129 seats, this zone has a very big say in how the Parliament shapes up. However this zone has not been the home to too many Prime Ministers , primarily due to the strength of the regional parties.

Tamil Nadu

A brief introduction:

Shifted from being a Congress bastion in the early days after Independence to being a bipolar battle field between DMK(Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and ADMK(Anna DMK). Anti - incumbency at its second most violent. The UPA won all 39 seats on offer last time.

Key issues:
LTTE. Neither front though has done anything to claim an absolute advantage on this issue.

Lawyers v Police : Not as big an issue, but kind of underlines a law and order problem which the opposition can be expected to take advantage as elections come closer.

Unclear alliances : Though just over a month is left, no one is clear about who is on whose side. It looks increasingly like ADMK may be able to take away a couple of parties from the DMK's front.

Dark horse: No longer. DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam) , actor turned politician Vijayakanth's political party has not done enough top stay in the public conscience or make any significant dents into the vote share of the other regional parties. An alliance with one of them is the best bet.

My bet is on: Expect a dead heat between DMK and ADMK, because the anti incumbency has not set in as much as the opposition would have wanted. But then ADMK will improve quite a lot from its tally of last time. (Not such a tough proposition considering they got zero, but still.)

DMK + Congress = 15-18 seats.

ADMK = 15-18 seats

PMK + MDMK + Left = 5-8 seats.

Andhra Pradesh :

A brief introduction:

Tough to standardise. The main areas are Coastal AP , Rayalseema, Telengana
and Hyderabad.Each one has a different issue. Yet another early Congress bastion, completely hijacked by NTR and has his son in law, Chandrababu Naidu trying to use his legacy to gain votes from the still loyal NTR fans.

Issues :

Telengana: A very highly volatile issue with promises flying thick and fast for the creation of the state. Basically has a pro telengana alliance building up between TDP and TRS. BJP has also thrown its hat into the ring promising a new state as soon as they come into power.

Satyam saga: Limited to the urban areas, expect allegations and counter allegations , till the election gets over at least. Is likely to be linked up with the issue of corruption.

Key players: YS Rajasekhar Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu. YSR is referred to ,at times ,as the Modi of AP for his authoritarian stands on many issues and this has resulted in erosion of support from AP congress leaders. Likely to ride the storm though. Naidu and TDP have been considerably weakened by desertions by some top leaders and there is widespread discontent in the party.

Dark horse: Unlike his Tamil Nadu counterpart, expect Mega star Chiranjeevi to have some influence on these elections. A fresh political force with massive grass roots support , an alternative to two parties the people are tired with, Praja Rajyam can expect to rock the boat a little.

My bet is on :

Congress can not hope to repeat their pretty big haul in 2004. But don't expect them to lose very heavily, thanks to fractures in the opposition. Yet another state from which BJP will have absolutely nothing to show.

Congress : 15-18 seats.

TDP : 13-16 seats .

TRS : 5-6 seats

Praja Rajyam : 3-4 seats


Karnataka

A brief introduction:

Has seen a lot of power shifts in the recent past. From Congress to JD(S) to the BJP every one will be hoping to get a share of the pie, in this state which is BJP's only contributor from the south. A state which has taken a communal tinge of late.

Issues:

Development :

While Yedyurappa has barely been in power for a few months, he has already established himself as a string leader. Has announced lot of plans for the state and is likely to go in with the development agenda.

Return of the Dreamer:

Considering the time spent by Deve Gowda sleeping on the stage, he must have dreamt a lot about returning as the PM some day. He has managed to get together some kind of an alliance to project his re-emergence as a national player. Do not expect the man to walk silently into the sun set.

Caste equations and communal issues:

There has been an upsurge in the caste talk in the political circles in Karnataka, and attempts being made by the opposition to get a sizable vote share even among the CM's Lingayat caste. With the recent events involving Sri Ram Sene and also previous allegations of anti minority behavior on the BJP in the Mangalore region, communal issues could play a part in these elections.

My bet is on:

Considering that only recently the people had given a big thumbs up for the BJP, one can expect a favorable public mood towards the BJP. However with a large number of seats from Karnataka,already in the pocket, the gains will be minimal if any. With the possible resurgence of the Gowdas, BJP will have to fight pretty hard if they want to increase their tally to 20.

BJP : 15-16 seats

JD (S) : 6-7 seats

Congress : 5-6 seats

Kerala:

A brief introduction:

Anti incumbency at its most violent. Known for extreme swings against the ruling party. The Congress especially have a not so fond memory of the mauling they got last time. Could prove decisive this time to both Congress' and the Left's hopes.

Issues:

Infighting in the CPI(M) :

Achuthanandan versus Pinarayi Vijayan has snowballed into a major controversy and with the top brass rooting for Vijayan, the CM is being seen as extremely distanced from his party.

Economic slowdown:

With a lot of Indian expatriates having been forced to return from the Gulf, the state is in a mini economic crisis, having not only lost a chunk of its income but also being forced to find employment for those returning.

Corruption:

An extension of the Achuthanandan- Vijayan fight, this government faces a crisis in public confidence. Those who believed in the rather strict communist discipline and looked at the CPI(M) as the less corrupt of the parties are now forced to do a rethink.

My bet is on:

An almost clean sweep by the Congress and therefore a considerable weakening of the Left Front's national clout.

Congress : 16-18 seats

Left Front : 3-4 seats


That concludes the first round of the big fight, and at the moment it looks like the Congress has its nose firmly ahead.

P.S : The above are personal observations and remarks, open to correction in case of factual errors and for debate in case of diverse opinions.

6 comments:

Srikanth said...

Nice one, whatever it is. I'm far from qualified to appreciate teh content. But Nice work anyway.

Anonymous said...

In all states MONEY POWER plays a very crucial role.....In the last bi-election in TN voters were bribed between 3000 to 5000 rs for each vote...eventhough its very difficult to repeat that in all LOKSABHA seats but our politicians are known to do the impossible

Hariharan said...

Srik,

Thanks for the appreciation. Hoping it was informative, at least in parts.

Anonymous,

3000-5000? Looks like you have some major inside info.

S Balaji Srinivasan said...

nice post kutti, should have taken a lot of effort. looking forward to NEW!!
i get the feeling you have slightly over estimated the Praja Rajyam. looks like chiru is playing caste politics. spot on wrt viji, i do think he is going to draw a blank.

Hariharan said...

bala,

Its more of a gut feeling about Chiru. The rivals are genuinely scared, esp the Congress. Considering that he has a lot of anti incumbency to feed on, he could gain quite a bit.

Hoping not to disappoint with NEW. :)

Srikanth said...

N,E,W?

Total political analysis-a? Slot waiting in NDTV...