The two major political formations ruling National Democratic Alliance and opposition United Progressive Alliance are looking for new potential allies as polling to the 17th Lok Sabha comes to an end on May 19 with the possibility that the next parliament is likely to be a hung house.
In an attempt to win over new friends the managers in the ruling conglomerations have initiated talks with the regional players like Naveen Patnayak of BJD, Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSR Congress and Chandrasekhar Rao of Telengana Rastra Samiti. Similarly, the leaders in the principle opposition formation UPA headed by the Congress party have also called a meeting of all non-NDA parties in the national capital on May 22 to discuss the future course of action.
Top leaders of various political parties are holding multiple rallies for the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections. Fifty-nine seats, spread over eight states will go to polls in the final phase on Sunday. Among them are states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Chandigarh where voters would seal the fate of candidates. The counting for all the parliamentary seats would take place on May 23.
Around 900 million people are eligible to vote, which is nearly the combined population of the whole of Europe and Brazil. About 432 million of them are women voters.
The opposition parties including the Congress, the analysts say seems letter placed better in the last phase. The situation looks changed this time as the main opposition had wrested three major states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh from the BJP recently.
It is for the first time that the general elections are not being fought on the issues confronting the common men and women. The ruling dispensation led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been making all attempts to divert the discourse of the election campaign trail from real issues like unemployment, high inflation, deteriorating economy and farm sector distress. During his speeches Modi has hardly touched the promises he made in his party manifesto during the last general elections when he stormed to the power with an impressive full majority to his Bhartiya Janata Party.
Modi has also tried to create a wedge in the Opposition by repeatedly stating that Bahujan SamajParty chief Mayawati was the victim of a conspiracy between her alliance partner and Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, and the Congress. The BJP’s resistance to any focus on issues of livelihood and liberty has put the burden on the Opposition parties to pull public discourse back towards policy, something they have managed with varying and often dismal degrees of success.
For the ruling dispensation Uttar Pradesh, the largest populist state has come up as a deciding factor. In the previous Lok Sabha elections, BJP had secured 73 seats, highest in its history. With the two major political parties Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party joining hands this time situation seems to have gone out of the hands of the BJP because the SP-BSP combine holds the large percentage of votes in the state.
Similarly, in the states of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh the opposition Congress party seems placed better because the party had recently wrested power from the BJP in the state assemblies. The situation is seems better in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh where the BJP could win three out of 4 seats. However, the ruling party is locked in a do-and-die battle in the state of West Bengal where Mamata Banerjee’s Trinmool Congress is leaving no stone unturned to prevent BJP from spreading its wings in the state.
“India does not elect a Prime Minister in direct election. We elect MP’s who in turn elect leader of their respective party. The leader of the majority party becomes the Prime Minister. As far as opposition’s Prime Ministerial candidate is concerned, we are capable of taking a call on the issue at an appropriate time. There is no dearth of candidates for the office of Prime Minister in the opposition ranks. We had proved this in the previous occasions also,” said a senior Congress leader.