So you know I have this habit of doing, some estimates on what seats for different parties will be in a typical lok sabha election.
The numbers that I came up with were that BJP would end up getting somewhere between 215 and 225 seats. As you all know the halfway mark is 272 they got 282 in the previous lok sabha election. So that would essentially mean a loss of maybe 50 to 60 seats 60 plus seats for the BJP. And that led me to think that if that is the scenario, then, why, would they not think of an election early on.
Because from now on till the actual due date of the election, the momentum or the trend line is basically downwards for BJP. So that set me off on a course of thinking and I started listing out the possible reasons why the BJP could actually call for elections as early as March and April of this year.
I think the most important reason really is that if you look at the coming state elections Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. They may suffer, some setbacks especially the Rajasthan that’s what the general consensus is. Rajasthan as we all know, voted 250 for the BJP in the lok sabha.
And if they lose 10 – 15 seats there that’s a big setback.
In fact if you extrapolate the Gujarat results which just happened in the assembly to the lok sabha seats. Congress would end up winning about 7 seats instead of 0 in 2014.
So you start adding up some of these seats, you can actually see a 40 to 50 seat loss in 4 or 5 of the states where they are done pretty much a clean sweep in 2014. The second reason, so one is the setback.
The second reason is, I think in India it’s actually very hard for Political parties or governments to essentially deliver on many of the promises that they made. There is significant distress today in farmers across the country. We have a challenge on jobs also across the country. And these are problems which are very hard to solve in the next 10 to 12 months of a government.
So I would basically go with announcing a budget which has a lot of goodies for everyone and then call for elections immediately thereafter. The third, is that in a typical election, surprise is very important. In when you are going to war, you know surprise is really 50% of the battle won! Now if you look at when the election is likely to take place, people are predicting december this year or of course on schedule next year. If you do elections now, no one expects it.
The BJP is very well prepared for an election because they are in government. They have all these resources, they have all possible things about it. But for any other party it becomes a big surprise. No one is really expecting or talking about early elections or elections as early as a year in advance. So the surprise factor becomes very important.
Even if the government, wanted to bring about change, the funds that they have are quite limited. There is the gst, where the revenues are actually much less than expectation and they have to spend a lot of money recapitalizing the bank. So basically it’s money from the people which is now gonna go into the banks. So the money for doing anything significant and large is actually quite limited. The fifth issue is the monsoon we’ve had two good monsoons in a row, and in these times of climatic changes hoping for three good monsoons in a row is actually quite something.
So, we had a great monsoon last time the farm loan, waiver came so there’s a feel-good factor also in rural areas, there’s no money now left for doing another farm loan, waiver if in case things don’t go out well. So why take a risk you know 50% of the voters at anyway in rural area so why would you take a chance.
And finally on the big factors I think the sixth one is that the opposition Basically is is just not united at this point of time So, why, would you give them so the Congress and the other parties, time to actually regroup or form alliances and come together in a united manner to take on the BJP.
So if you take this backdrop, actually it makes a lot of sense to have a feel-good budget and then call for elections immediately thereafter. Now with this backdrop, look at what’s really happening in the last 5 to 10 days. And what will happen in the next 10 to 10 days or so.
The prime minister has given 2 interviews. 2 interviews in the last 2 to 3 days This is a prime minister who’s given very few interviews in the previous 3 and a half years. These interviews have been very widely publicized. So this is always when an incident happens always ask why, and why now? So that that’s one. Second is the republic tv had a seawater survey where they showed the NDA winning 335 seats.
I think that’s a huge exaggeration But obviously, if the numbers if you go by the numbers there’s obviously a reason again, why now? Obviously the messages that look BJP is the only game in town, and for all the smaller parties if you, don’t ally with the BJP you will be out of power.
Third, is the prime minister’s decision to go to davos this year. So in the next few, days you will have pretty much wall-to-wall coverage of the prime minister meeting world leaders, speaking and so on.
On jan 26th in a few days time, you will have the 10 leaders from the asean countries – the southeast asian nations who will all be in india.
Again great coverage for the prime minister. And then on february 1st there is the budget which is which is coming up again, it will be a feel-good budget for everyone and there’ll be something in there for different sections.
Like I said the last budget really, before the elections at Any point of time so the feel-good budget will be there.
And the sixth sort of immediate reason is there’s a lot of talk, if you started noticing on simultaneous elections. So what is very likely that the prime minister will possibly do is not just have lok sabha elections but also combine them with multiple state elections and the narrative will be that “I am sacrificing one year of power to basically save costs.” Almost like demonetization. It’s a great sell job which was there and the same thing can be repeated out here.
So the states Karnataka is already going to polls for state elections in April May this year. Elections could be advanced in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh because stand-alone elections there could not be very good results for the BJP as we saw in some of the local election results in Madhya Pradesh over the weekend.
8 or 9 elections. State elections combined to the national election I think it fits in with the whole discussion on simultaneous elections which is there.
So if you start taking these 6 big factors and these 6 sort of immediate factors of what we’ve been hearing in the last few days and what we’re likely to see.
I think it really makes a lot of sense for the prime minister to actually look at elections as early as March April of this year.