Friday, February 28, 2014

Modi In Delhi, Nitish In Patna?

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...
English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rebellion in Nitish Kumar’s party, JD(U) expels four MPs
The expelled Lok Sabha members are Captain Jainarain Nishad (from Muzaffarpur), Purnmasi Ram (Gopalganj), Sushil Kumar Singh (Aurangabad) and Mangani Lal Mandal (Jhanjharpur). Three of them — Nishad, Ram and Mandal — were suspended earlier..... the party had information that while Nishad and Singh are likely to join BJP, Ram and Mandal are in touch with Lalu Prasad's RJD. Ram was earlier also in touch with BJP .... Nishad had last year organized a (Narendra) 'Modi yagna', supporting the BJP's prime ministerial candidate's bid for power. Ram had also met a close aide of Modi then. Both the leaders were making statements against Nitish Kumar.... While Nishad hails from the OBC community of fishermen, Ram is a Dalit leader and BJP has been courting them as it seeks to expand its vote base in Bihar ahead of Lok Sabha elections which it will fight on its own after its split with JD(U). .... Nishad was in Lalu Prasad's RJD and BJP earlier before joining JD(U) while Ram was once a minister in Prasad's cabinet in Bihar. Mandal had also been in RJD in past before joining the JD (U). Singh is a Rajput leader from Aurangbad and had been MP twice.
Several of Laloo's MLA moved to the Nitish camp, as did Paswan's sole MLA. And several of Nitish' MPs in Delhi have switched sides and gone over to Modi. Is that an indication that Modi will claim the throne in Delhi whereas Nitish will move towards perhaps a 60% majority for his JD(U) in Bihar's Assembly? Perhaps.
JD (U) expels 5 MPs for anti-party activities
Nishad, Ram and Mandal were suspended in 2012 for their anti-party activities during the 2010 assembly elections. .... Nishad belongs to fishermen community while Ram is a dalit leader and Mandal is from OBC community. Singh is a Rajput and Tiwari a Brahmin with socialist background. .... Mandal is likley to contest as RJD candidate from Jhanjharpur.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, February 27, 2014

BJP+ 200, Third Front 180, Congress+ 100, Others 65

There is certainly a Modi wave. If the BJP will move from 100 to 200 MPs, that is a wave. The question is, will the BJP go past 200?

There are allegations that polling agencies have been skewing results. That is very possible. In 2004 the polling agencies projected a victory for the BJP. That is not what happened.

My current guess is the BJP led coalition is around 200, the Third Front is around 180, the Congress led coalition is near 100, and Others including AAP are near 65. Those numbers don't look good for Modi. The Congress extending outside support to the Third Front is a very real possibility. You can hear Kejriwal badmouthing Modi, but never Nitish. AAP has never claimed Nitish is corrupt.

Modi is possibly making moves in Uttar Pradesh. But Laloo's MLAs want to join Nitish. Paswan's sole remaining MLA has already joined Nitish. Obviously they don't feel like there is a Modi wave in Bihar. But then Congress MLAs have joined Modi in Gujrat.

That should tell you. This is a contest between Modi and Nitish, not Modi and Rahul. Right now Modi is on his way to ending up with the single largest party but it is Nitish who is looking at the larger coalition. For now it is neck and neck. It is a close contest.

Nitish Kumar behind RJD split, says JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari
JD(U) takes dig at Paswan for proposing to join BJP-led NDA
JD(U) expels five rebel Bihar MPs including Shivanand Tiwari
Nitish Kumar asks Lalu Prasad to be ready to face more 'short-circuits'
Janata Dal United expels Nitish Kumar's critic Shivanand Tiwari
Nitish Kumar refuses to take support of BJP for March 2 bandh
AAP wants authority to monitor opinion polls
accused the BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of influencing opinion polls .... a sting operation conducted by it had shown that some of the agencies, including leading poll-conducting agency C-Voter, were willing to tweak their findings for money. ...... sting operation had "exposed" eleven agencies which conducted opinion polls ..... "There is a political conspiracy taking place in the country. It happened before the Delhi elections and it is happening now, before the Lok Sabha polls. Opinion polls first started predicting 20 seats for the BJP, followed by 27, then 30 and just before the election it predicted that BJP would get absolute majority and bag over 40 seats. Kejriwal demanded that the channels, which had tied up with the agencies that allegedly agreed to tweak the results of opinion polls, should come clean on the issue. .... "Opinion polls are being manufactured and this is a conspiracy against the Indian Republic," he said..... Kejriwal also demanded that all media organisations must disclose the list of their share holders, investors and lenders, their annual financial statements and make full disclosure of their political connections and business interest outside media.
Why Nitish Kumar wants to be part of Third Front
a call to ask for neetis (policies) and not netas (leaders). .... three broad areas where the parties can work together. One of the themes that links these parties is, of course, their anti-communalism plank..... an alternative economic model that will focus on providing relief to consumers from price rise. The alternative model will talk about a growth-model driven by large-scale investments in infrastructure sector to create more jobs..... huge public investments in the agriculture sector and fast tracking of legislations to ensure land reforms. The third major area of focus would be to bring in the concept of accountability in governance. This is an obvious attempt to counter the anti-corruption plank of the Aam Aadmi Party, which has emerged as an attractive platform for people disillusioned with the two main political players.
Nitish's new strategy
"This is a life and death election," Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar roared at a rally in Patna last week. A mistake, he claimed, could lead to the train being derailed. "If we are not strong in Delhi, there will be conspiracies to undermine the Bihar government. If you give us power, then Delhi will be forced to give us special status." ..... "Nitish Kumar is a good CM, but he won't become PM. So why waste a vote on him?" .... To wean away such voters who prefer his government in Bihar but see no reason to vote for the JD(U) at the centre, and establish the linkage between local and national, Kumar has decided to push this new campaign message. "If we do badly in the Lok Sabha, the state government will collapse. People don't want that, and we want to play into that fear. There is a lot of goodwill for Nitish's work," said a top JD(U) leader. ..... Battling a strong anti-incumbency sentiment, with voters comparing his current term unfavourably to his first term, Kumar is in a spot.
Nitish for 'Thali' beating before Bihar shutdown
Obama Looks to Boost Young Minorities

India’s Opposition BJP Will Storm the Next Election, a New Poll Finds
no one party has won an outright majority in India’s lower house for the past 25 years
Poll Suggests Crushing Loss Awaits India’s Governing Party
78 percent of those polled had a favorable view of Mr. Modi, with just 16 percent holding an unfavorable view..... No single party has won a parliamentary majority since 1989, and none is likely to do so this year .... “Whether Modi becomes the next prime minister will come down to 10 to 20 seats in Parliament” ..... “India is too big and complex a country for pollsters to predict anything by talking to 2,500 people”
Poll: India’s opposition BJP leads Congress party
The general election must be held by May. .... 63 percent of Indians prefer the BJP to lead the next government, 19 percent prefer Congress and 12 percent support other parties. BJP backing is consistent across age groups
BJP expected to better face India's challenges: US survey
Indians by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer the BJP to lead the next Indian government rather than the Congress ...... The Pew survey results are based on face-to-face interviews with 2,464 randomly selected adults across India between Dec 7 and Jan 12. ..... support for a BJP-led government strongest in the north of India. .... backing for the BJP is roughly equal in both rural and urban areas ..... More than six-in-ten Indians (63 percent) prefer the BJP to lead the next Indian national government. Just two-in-ten (19 percent) pick the Congress, according to the poll. Other parties have the support of 12 percent of the public. ..... BJP backing is consistent across age groups. And support is almost equal between rural (64 percent) and urban (60 percent) Indians ...... Social activist Anna Hazare is seen favourably by 69 percent of the public, making him the second most popular of the national figures tested in the survey.
India’s ‘third front’ seeks to shake up politics

Narendra Modi signals shift in favour of big retail
Modi said on Thursday the country's millions of family-owned traders must learn to work with large modern stores and online retailers ..... Our children have taken IT to the world. We'll have to embrace it." .... Modi also said he favoured introducing a nation-wide goods and services tax (GST), a long-planned reform to usher in a uniform market, cut business costs and boost government revenue...... India needed to cut red tape by reducing the number of laws, and called on the foreign ministry to focus on "economic diplomacy" to improve India's commercial standing in the world..... the core work of external affairs ministry today is trade and commerce
Modi offers a glimpse of his economic agenda at traders' meet
AAP accuses Modi of bribing opinion poll agencies, seeks EC intervention
Why RJD split will benefit Lalu Prasad Yadav the most
Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United which topped the 2009 LS poll chart with 20 seats is a bank up for heist. Almost all the poll surveys have indicated that the JD-U would not win even 10 of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state..... The JD-U is likely to lose many seats because of tactical voting by Yadavs and upper castes. In areas where the BJP has a stronger chance to win, even Yadavs seem to be voting for the saffron party. In regions where the RJD has better poll prospects, the upper castes are likely to vote for its candidates........ The Bharatiya Janata Party is on a surge here also. Riding on a strong Narendra Modi wave, the party is also getting its caste alignments right. It has roped in Kushwaha leader Upendra Kushwaha, a former JD-U MP and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief, who is expected to bring in OBC votes...... BJP's tie-up with Kushwaha, who parted ways with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is aimed at wooing non-Yadav, non-Kurmi sections of OBCs and MBCs in Bihar....... According to reports, the party might field non-upper castes in at least 20 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar....... If it succeeds in getting Ram Vilas Paswan on its side, it will help the party corner a share of the state's Koeri (5 per cent), Kurmi (2.5 per cent) and Dalit (15 per cent) votes. ..... If the tempo the split has built in Lalu's favour is maintained until April, in all likelihood, he, and not Nitish Kumar, will emerge as the principal opposition in the state.
Nitish Kumar dangles lollies for rebel RJD MLAs as Lalu cries conspiracy
While Prasad flew to Patna, Nitish Kumar left for Delhi just a few minutes after the arrival of RJD leader but they did not see each other at the airport. .... Gafoor claimed that the signature of MLAs were taken for different purposes like raising a matter for call attention motion during the Assembly session.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, February 24, 2014

There Is A Modi Wave

English: nehal,narendra modi
English: nehal,narendra modi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My reading is right now this election is Modi's to lose. Not only is noone else running for Prime Minister, Modi has innovated and has been running something akin to a presidential campaign in America. He is the only one running a national campaign. It is impressive to watch. He might build even further momentum over the next two months.

BJP's NDA 236
Third Front 186
Congress' UPA 96
Others 27

Modi could co-opt Jayalalita by offering him the DPM slot. He could co-opt Kejriwal by putting together something akin to a Lokpal Bill. He could co-opt Nitish by granting Special Category Status to Bihar.

The Third Front is not a cohesive force. There is the Mayawati-Mulayam animosity. There is the Left-Mamata animosity.

Modi coming to power in Delhi puts Nitish in a tight spot. One saving grace would be the Third Front, the Congress, and the AAP all coming together. But then that is an even taller order than the Third Front coming together.

Intelligence Bureau listing Narendra Modi admirers in Congress
Modi widens lead in new opinion poll
Modi hand in BJP’s Paswan outreach
Boost for Narendra Modi as LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan makes outrageous overture
South to north, how Modi is helping NDA win allies
Modi taking poll battle to Bihar
Sushma Swaraj re-invents herself in a party dominated by Narendra Modi
GPP merges with BJP to support Modi for PM
Why Ram Vilas Paswan’s BJP alliance will hurt Nitish the most
India's Modi widens lead, BJP may win half the seats in key state: poll
Modi to hold three rallies in Bihar in March
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, February 23, 2014


English: Pix of the leader of a political part...
English: Pix of the leader of a political party of Poshchim Bangla as shown in the Kakababu animation SOBUJ DWIPER RAJA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is Mamata Banerjee transforming herself before the Lok Sabha polls?
Jayalalita's Party Could Alter The Course Of National Politics
Mamata Banerjee's Rise In West Bengal Politics
Mamata Banerjee promises to take TMC to the national arena
Trinamool will never support Modi, says Mamata
We will fight Lok Sabha polls on our own: Trinamool
Regional parties will call the shots in 2014: Trinamool
After aligning with Mamata Banerjee, Anna Hazare says not supporting Trinamool Congress
In Bengal, Modi Chooses Not To Cross Swords With Mamata
AAP Laying Ground For National Launch
Time 100: Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee Personifies Populist Force In Indian Politics
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Aspiring States Of India

Could It Be Mamata?

Polling the Indian electorate is a tough proposition. But let's go by some numbers.

BJP set to emerge as single largest party in Lok Sabha polls: Survey
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to get 236 seats..... Congress, which came out with flying colours in the last General Elections, would be confined to 73 seats, while the fledging Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to get around 10 seats in the Lok Sabha polls ....... As far as the choice of prime ministerial candidate was concerned, Modi, backed by over 57 per cent respondents .......the federal front would beat the UPA with around 186 seats..... All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) would secure 29 seats, followed by AIADMK with 19 and BJD is expected to win on 16 seats
I think 200 is a magic number. If Modi can get the BJP past 200, then the democratic impulses of leaders in all parties will tell them the guy has a mandate, or at least something larger than everyone else. The BJP at 217 and the NDA at 236 is very close to the magic number of 272. Mamata or Jayalalita could opt for the Deputy Prime Ministership. And if they do, Third Front talk crumbles.

The Congress refused to name Rahul the PM candidate. And the Third Front refused to formally form. Both were magic moments. I was in disbelief both times. That makes Modi the only candidate for Prime Minister in the ring. If Modi manages to get both Mamata and Jayalalita, he will not need anyone else. Jayalalita's political move on the Rajiv Gandhi assassins was meant to get her closer to Modi. She wanted to make sure she was seen as anti-Congress. I am glad for the Supreme Court's move, but the political point was made.

If the BJP gets past 200, it will be hard for the Congress to prop up a Third Front government. For one, as a democratic party it might respect the right of the largest party to go into power. Two, if you prop up a Third Front government, and it misperforms and goes down the drain in two years, then you risk taking blame not only for the Congress' misperformance in power, but also that of the Third Front. The Congress might go below 50 at that point. And the BJP might command a simple majority all on its own if mid-term polls were then held.

The numbers still leave one scenario. The NDA goes to 236, but is made to sit in the opposition. A Third Front does take shape, and the Congress decides to throw its weight behind that Third Front. 186 seats of the Third Front propped up by 100 seats of the UPA gets you past 272. A mandate is a mandate. There is a reason why that magic number of 272 is there. The coalition that gets past that magic number can claim to have the mandate.

So Modi's claim to the throne is not secure yet, but he sure has momentum. The NDA's numbers have steadily climbed up over the past few months. He might take the NDA past 250 if the momentum holds. Then it is a no contest. You end up with a woman Deputy Prime Minister.

Modi's Cards To Play
India 2014: Most Interesting
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Modi's Cards To Play

If Modi manages to get the BJP past 200 seats, all bets are off. The BJP getting 40 out of 80 seats in UP finishes Mulayam as a PM candidate. The BJP grabbing 20 of Bihar's 40 seats also makes sure Nitish stays in Patna. That might also be the Bihari people's way of saying they like Nitish so much they want him to stay put in Patna for another 10 years. And no matter how well Jayalalita does in Tamilnadu she might just be angling to be Deputy Prime Minister.

Modi has been running an impressive campaign. It is pretty much unprecedented. His style makes it look like he is the only one running for Prime Minister.

Giving Bihar Special Category status gets Nitish. Doing the Lokpal Bill gets Kejriwal.

This is not me writing off the so-called Third Front, something that does not exist by the way, at least not yet. This is me saying Modi has been running a campaign the likes of which I have not seen.

Nitish has to grab at least 25 seats in Bihar if he is to be a contender. But it is possible the people of Bihar want Modi in Delhi and Nitish in Bihar. Nitish Kumar's JD(U) might win over 60% of the seats in Bihar's next state elections. A 14% growth rate for a landlocked agricultural state is mind blowing.

Monday, February 17, 2014

India 2014: Most Interesting

2014 is shaping to be the most interesting Indian election of my lifetime to date. The Congress that spearheaded India's independence struggle and then ruled for much of the half century after that is headed to below 100 seats. The BJP just might go past 200. AAP might emerge the third largest party: Kejriwal's resignation as Delhi Chief Minister was a political master stroke. Could AAP end up with 50 seats? I don't know.

BJP will get highest ever Lok Sabha tally, Congress lowest: Times Now poll
The poll projected that the BJP would win 202 seats if the elections were held now and its allies another 25, giving the NDA 227 seats in the 543-member LS. The Congress, in sharp contrast, would sink to just 89 and even with 12 seats from its allies the UPA would barely cross the 100 mark, it predicted. ..... With "others" likely to win 215 seats and many of them having joined hands with the BJP in the past, that would be very good news for those rooting for Narendra Modi as prime minister. In terms of vote shares, the NDA is estimated to win 36%, the UPA 22% and others 42%.
Right before Kejriwal resigned, the Third Front was in the lead in the projections with 42% of the vote to the BJP-led NDA's 36%. Some interesting permutations and combinations are possible, and most of them look good for India. I think 2014 will be that watershed year for the Indian economy like 1991 was when Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister opened up the economy a little. 2014 could be for India what 1980 was for China, the year when double digit growth rates started and stayed for over two decades non-stop. And we are all winners.

BJP is like McDonald's. It is the single largest fast food chain across America. But the Third Front is like the Chinese restaurants spread across America. Collectively they are bigger than McDonald's, but it does not appear that way. But 2014 could also shape up to be the election that mints out only winners. Modi, Nitish, Kejriwal, Rahul could all end up winners, no matter what.

Both Modi and Nitish would be wonderful if either were deprived of the big throne in Delhi and had to continue as Chief Minister. Their states would benefit. Neither seems to have clear successors who could replicate their magic in Gujrat and Bihar. On the other hand both have the political muscle that Manmohan Singh lacks.

One quality Kejriwal seems to share with Modi is it might be hard for him to put together a coalition. He might prove to be a one trick pony, at least this year. Just like Nitish has been saying he will support whoever will give special category status to Bihar, Kejriwal will go for whoever promises a Lokpal Bill at the center. AAP is number one on anti-corruption, but its economic vision has not gelled yet. Nitish has done the unthinkable when it comes to corruption in Bihar and is in a good position to seek Kejriwal's support after the election. Nitish has mastered the art of the Janata Durbar that Kejriwal tried and failed at.

Interim budget 2014: Chidambaram's 10-point agenda to make India 3rd largest economy

If you put the BJP at 190, the Congress at 100, AAP at 35, and the Third Front at 220, that does not put Modi in the lead, because the BJP at 190 and the Congress at 100 puts the BJP at 90. The Congress will support anyone but Modi, particularly Nitish. Rahul is a Nitish fan. What Nitish calls the Janata Parivar, the former Janata Dal party, might together bag more seats than AAP. That might also be true of his Eastern Bloc that includes Mamata.

Not creating a formal Third Front before the elections is a good step that does not push away Mamata and Mayawati. Both will support Nitish in the aftermath. Nitish as Prime Minister and Jayalalita as Deputy Prime Minister might be a good bet.

Nitish could end up a two term Prime Minister over 10 years if the Third Front parties were to form a federation. Each constituent party would stay as separate parties free to contest each other at state levels when necessary, but at the center each party would have a person who is part of some sort of a coordination committee in Delhi. Such a federation would ensure the Third Front government completes a five year term for the first time. Minus such a setup would leave too much room for horseplay.

AAP might not join such a Third Front. But it will support it if it gets a Lokpal Bill, and it should be given that. The Congress sure will not join the Third Front, but will happily extend outside support to keep Modi at bay. And Modi is going to continue to be an excellent Chief Minister.

But this outcome is not sure at all. Modi is very much in the running. The BJP crossing the 200 mark could throw up some interesting scenarios. And should the BJP cross the 200 mark, not form the government, and if the Third Front gives the country mid-term elections, the BJP could then cross the half way mark all on its own. It could become the new Congress.

I do think of Kejriwal as a future Prime Minister, but for that to happen he will have to realize the Indian electorate cares about double digit growth rates more than corruption. He has to look like he can deliver on both.

Jayalalita, Mamata and Mayawati are all in strong positions. It is good for India to have strong women politicians. It is just that none of them look strong right now on either anti-corruption or double digit growth rates.

Rahul can afford to stay out of power for another 10 years. He is young, he has time on his hands. That will also allow him time to build his party. He has some interesting initiatives in play in terms of power devolution in his party. But then parties like the Congress and the BJP are never really out of power. They always get some states to rule.

Enhanced by Zemanta