KCR will play a bigger role in Delhi
The biggest festival in the largest democracy has just begun.
The biggest festival in the largest democracy has just begun. Speculations, opinion polls, analysis, estimates, debates and panel discussions are going on in full swing over victory of various parties and fronts in States across the country.
Ironically, Telangana is the only State in the country in which the results of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are a foregone conclusion. Except desperate Opposition parties in the State, nobody, not even hardcore critics of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), doubts the total sweep of Lok Sabha seats by the TRS in Telangana.
Debates in Telangana have actually been around what role the TRS will play in the formation of the government at the Centre after the elections.
The role the TRS will or can play is contingent on the eventuality of neither the NDA nor the UPA getting a majority on their own. There appears to be a wide possibility that there will be a hung Parliament.
This is mainly because of the inability of the anti-BJP parties to form a pre-poll alliance on a required scale. The only notable alliance that poses a certain challenge to the BJP is SP-BSP alliance.
For the Congress, which had only 44 MPs at present and going alone in all States except in Karnataka, to get simple majority on its own is out of question. This assertion is based on the fact that no major party was willing to join hands with it before polls. But even the devil must be given its due.
Rahul Gandhi has displayed extraordinary fortitude in staying put despite the blitzkrieg unleashed on his personality, abilities, intentions and defamation of his entire clan up to Nehru. He has been called 'Pappu' forgetting that he is the leader of the biggest party in the country.
Any lesser man would have been buckled under the insults heaped on him. Sam Pitroda called Rahul a thinker and his father a tinkerer. He is giving a valiant fight against the BJP, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
When Raphale issue came, he was unstoppable. He would have gone the whole hog but for the godsend to the BJP in the form of Pulwama terror attack on the army and retaliatory Balakot attack on terror camps in Pakistan.
The Balakot attack and its unbridled use by redoubtable Modi have taken sails out of Raphale attack. For two weeks, it appears that these jingoistic emotions, razing across the country, would see Modi through another stint in the power.
But international pressure and Pakistan's refusal to bite the bait has dented the Modi attack and the heat generated has failed to help Modi's election balloon to soar high without in any way adding to the popularity of the Congress.
Post 2014 election, Modi became unassailable. His graph travelled only in the direction of north. He was declared by the press of all hues as harbinger of permanent prosperity to the people of India.
On the foreign affairs front too, he was very quickly declared as second or third most powerful leader in the world. This image was as much a creation of the press as was his ascension to the national leadership created by electronic media.
This euphoria continued until it went to head and led to the faux pas of demonetisation and hasty introduction of the GST. Twenty per cent BPL families and 50 per cent lower middle-class families, who depended on cash transactions, were subjected to unnecessary hardships for no fault of theirs.
They made sacrifices as the manufactured image of Modi made them trust him. They got nothing in return. Only the taxes increased pushing the people into misery. The GST has raised the average taxes by at least 5% across the board, particularly affecting these sections of the people who form vote bank.
The other happenings under the BJP rule such as violent cow protection, undermining or misuse of national institutions, clamping down on civil rights activities or anyone who questioned the government policies are too blatant to influence the voters for its favour.
In any advanced country, Constitutional mechanisms would make the government pay a heavy price for these kind of atrocious policies. In India, people only would do that in elections.
But the BJP's political tactics and Modi's ability to manipulate social media to his advantage buttressed by Opposition's inability of forming pan-India alliance against the BJP will help him get around 150 seats as it is going to lose sizable number of seats in Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and even in Gujarat compared to 2014.
Against this background, the future of the next government has been evaluated. As per the Congress, its relentless fight against the BJP and valiant exposure of the hollowness in government policies have helped it to retain its power in some States and wrench it from the BJP like in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The master stroke of the Congress is its promise of providing Rs 12,000 per month to poor families which is more than double the amount offered by the BJP. Its reemergence in MP, Punjab, Karnataka and anti-incumbency in Kerala will help the Congress to add another 100 plus seats to its present tally of 44.
The South will see total decimation of the BJP in the ongoing elections. Keralites are too intelligent to fall for the communal card BJP played vis-à-vis Ayyappa temple entry for women.
The Congress will however improve its tally in Kerala and also in Karnataka thanks to farm loan waiver. The rest of the seats remaining after 150 each for the BJP and the Congress will be won by SP-BSP in UP, TRS, TMC, Orissa Patnaik's, and North East seats, and other parties including the Left.
Thus, the next Lok Sabha is heading towards a hung parliament to be headed by the BJP or the Congress supported by the opponents of both these parties mainly SP-BSP, TMC, TRS, RJD and innumerable other regional parties.
Other alternative is to form a post-election federal political front to bring all non-BJP and non-Congress parties under one umbrella.
Dr M H Prasad Rao, Sircilla