Prospects of a non-BJP coalition after May 23 are bright

By Nitya Chakraborty. Dated: 5/11/2019 11:44:05 PM

Rahul, Mamata have to act in complete unison

After the end of the first five phases of polling in the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, the trends are giving a definite pointer to the emergence of a hung new house in which no national party will have majority to form the government on its own. So far, polling has been held to 425 seats and the indications suggest that the BJP has got a big jolt in the Hindi heartland of the country and this has eroded the great advantage which the saffron party got in 2014 in securing a whopping 282 seats out of 543. The BJP as also NDA will fall short substantially of the majority figure of 272, but the extent of this shortfall is of crucial importance in deciding the fate of the next government.
As of now, the rough trends show the Congress resurgence in the Hindi speaking states only and if the BJP does well in the eastern states and the North East, the BJP can emerge as the largest party exceeding the Congress tally. But if with its allies in the UPA, the Congress can cross the NDA figure, then Congress led UPA gets an advantageous position in terms of getting invitation from the President of India. If Congress does well in the next two phases, there is a strong possibility that the UPA will cross the figure of 200 and the NDA will be in the range of 170 to 180.The regional parties who are positioned against the BJP, will easily cross the figure of 120 and that makes the formation of a coalition government possible with the participation of both the Congress and the secular regional parties.
In the event of a hung Lok Sabha, the Congress is more favourably placed to make a bid for the formation of a new Government but the party has to play its card well with spirit of accommodation and humility. The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has dealt with the opposition leaders at personal level and there is a talk of a meeting of the opposition parties on May 21, two days before the results are out. This meeting may not decide on the details as the numbers will not be known but the Congress and the other leaders of the regional parties can work out a draft on their strategy so that it becomes easier to finalise the same after May 23.
As of now, apart from the UPA and the NDA, the regional parties which will play important role in post May 23 are Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Samajwadi Party, BSP, BJD, TRS and YRCC of Jagan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. Among these parties, TMC led by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is most prominent in leading the political fight against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and she has excellent relations with the regional leaders. Though the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is talking of a non-BJP non Congress Federal Front, this is not getting good response because at this stage of national polity, if the saffrons have to be kept out of power at the centre, that is not possible without active participation of the Congress.
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP and BSP along with RLD have fought the BJP well and the Congress on its own, has fought its battle in the state but that has yet not harmed the prospects of cooperation in post May 23.If the UPA's total strength is more than the NDA, the UPA' position becomes comfortable but the majority will depend on the extension of support by the regional parties who have fought against the BJP in the polls. But if the NDA becomes the largest group in new Lok Sabha, but lacking majority, the task of the anti-BJP parties will be tougher as the BJP leadership with huge funds under its disposal will make every effort to entice some of the regional parties in its favour. The Congress and the regional parties have to ensure that they can jointly agree on a programme and a government on a fast track basis so that the BJP efforts get frustrated. The Congress president has to forge perfect understanding with Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu to navigate the post May 23 situation with statesmanship and vision. The Congress has to keep together all its allies and the Party leadership has to discuss urgent issues with the regional parties by doing away with its attitude of the Party of natural governance.
The SP leader Akhilesh Yadav along with Mamata and Chandrababu can play a significant role in persuading the regional parties like TRS, BJD and YRCC to support or participate in a non BJP coalition government at the centre. BSP's Mayawati might be having grievances of her own. Those have to be tackled. The Congress cannot just expect that the regional parties will support them to come to power without taking care of their state specific interests. AAP wants statehood in Delhi as a condition of support to Rahul Gandhi. That is a part of the struggle for federalism. That has to be accepted
The formation of a programme based government of non-BJP parties at this juncture is a monumental task since the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's personal contacts and the BJP's massive organizational strength and financial resources will be mobilized to sow dissensions in the opposition camp and sabotage the efforts of a secular government formation. The Congress President Rahul Gandhi has to take every step to combat those saffron attacks in close coordination with Mamata, Babu, Akhilesh and others. Both the Congress and the regional parties have to rise above petty party interests to make the task of formation of a non-BJP government at the centre a reality in 2019.
—(IPA Service)



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