Third Front mirage: Why the numbers don’t add up

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by parijataka, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Looks like the hopes of Mulayam, Jaya and other PM hopefuls might not come true in 2014... good analysis by Sri Minhaz Merchant.

    Third Front mirage: Why the numbers don’t add up

    Ten political parties met on Wednesday, February 5, to stitch together a “non-Congress, non-BJP” front ahead of the 2014 general election. The parties represented at the meeting – though not all by their top leaders – were the JD(U), SP, AIADMK, BJD, JD(S), AGP and the four Left parties. The JVM, though invited, did not turn up.

    These 10 parties currently have 94 MPs in the Lok Sabha. What are their prospects for 2014? According to recent opinion polls, the projected numbers for the 10 Third Front (TF) members are: AIADMK: 25; JD(U): 5; JD(S): 2; AGP: 0; SP: 15; BJD: 12; Left (4 parties): 25; Total: 84

    Mayawati’s BSP cannot be part of the TF due to Mulayam’s presence. Ditto Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar (though Lalu will anyway hitch his wagon to the Congress).

    Mamata Banerjee’s TMC cannot join the TF because of its bête noire, the Left. The DMK will stay away owing to Jayalalithaa. (Her trial on income-tax cases will commence shortly. The Supreme Court has ordered that the trial must be completed in four months – ie, just after the Lok Sabha results are out, putting her in an extremely vulnerable position.)

    A TF with 84 Lok Sabha MPs in May 2014 is not something that will unduly frighten the BJP or the Congress. But of course, the equation is TF+Congres+AAP – the latter two propping up the hopeful TF government in a bid to stop Narendra Modi. Will it work? The hard numbers suggest it won’t. Here’s why.

    The most optimistic opinion poll projections give the Congress 80-90 seats and AAP 10-20 seats. Taking the midpoint, Congress + AAP will hover around 100 seats. If they prop up 84 TF MPs, the total will still be only 184 seats in the next Lok Sabha. Can succour be found by scavenging among the UPA’s vanishing allies?

    Consider the NCP, NC and DMK. Together they could pull in a projected 15 Lok Sabha MPs in 2014, taking the TF+Congress+AAP to a precarious 199 seats.

    Add convict Lalu’s RJD and the total rises to around 210 seats. How about the TRS and YSR Congress? If the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh does not take place before the Lok Sabha poll, the TRS will not merge with the Congress. That could have given it 8-10 extra Lok Sabha seats – a reason in these frugal times why the Congress is so keen to get the Telangana bill passed in this session of parliament.

    Even if it does succeed in doing so, the TF (84) + Congress (85) + AAP (15) + UPA allies (15) + RJD (11) + TRS (10) will take this eclectic grouping of 17 parties to 220 Lok Sabha MPs.

    Still short by 52 seats of forming a stable government, there ironically will be no shortage of prime ministerial aspirants – Jaya, Mulayam, Nitish, perhaps even the anodyne Naveen. But 220 Lok Sabha MPs across 17 parties does not a government make.

    And the alternative? The BJP is projected by opinion polls to win between180 and 220 seats. Again take the midpoint of 200. Add pre-poll allies Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Telegu Desam and others totalling around 40 MPs, taking the pre-poll NDA to 240 seats. Where would the balance post-poll allies with 32 MPs, to enable the NDA to hit the 272 mark, come from? There could be around 12 independents, the YSR Congress with 15 seats and 5 from a UPA breakaway.

    Crucially, therefore, the NDA could get to 272 without Mamata, Mayawati or Jayalalithaa and with the BJP winning just 200 seats in its own.

    But how plausible is even 200 in a fractious election? Consider the BJP’s projections state-wise averaged out over recent opinion polls:

    Gujarat: 23

    MP: 25

    Rajasthan 21

    Maharashtra: 18

    Chhattisgarh: 8

    Karnataka: 15

    Uttar Pradesh: 45

    Bihar: 20

    Jharkhand: 7

    Uttarakhand: 4

    Himachal Pradesh: 3

    Assam: 3

    Jammu & Kashmir: 2

    Haryana: 4

    Punjab: 3

    Goa: 2

    Daman & Diu: 1

    Nagar Haveli: 1

    Odisha: 1

    Total: 206

    To this add Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana and Kerala, where the number of seats for the BJP is difficult to estimate at this stage in the campaign, and 200 seats seems a reasonable estimate – perhaps an underestimate.

    There is a good reason why the TF + Congress + AAP + shrunken UPA + RJD + TRS (if Telangana is formed) will fail. Despite much huffing and puffing by 17 parties, four PM aspirants and plenty of machinations, it probably won’t get past 220 MPs.

    In 1996, the United Front government had 191 MPs and was supported by the Congress with 141 MPs – 332 in all. In 2014, even for 17 parties, stapled together by cold-blooded expediency, that number is unlikely to be more than 220 MPs, making a comparision with 1996 invalid.

    Those who prefer a stable government over a “khichdi” government cooked in a Machiavellian kitchen will lose little sleep over the TF’s chimeric prospects.
  3. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Earlier post by Sri Minhaz Merchant on same lines.

    Secular Third Front and other political fables

    Conventional wisdom is often more conventional than it is wise. The Congress, resigned to a seat tally either side of 100 in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, has clutched at the only straw within reach: a secular Third Front government. A regional Third Front, according to conventional wisdom, can garner 200 seats. The Congress can then lend it support from outside as it did in 1996-98. Voila! A Third Front-Congress secular entente cordiale is in place, the “communal” BJP thwarted.

    The Congress knows this is not a realistic outcome for 2014. And yet it keeps the fiction alive to throw its principal nemesis, the BJP, off guard.

    However, the notion of a secular Third Front (TF), helmed by a cabal of discredited or defeated regional leaders, is easy to dismiss.

    The leaders in question are:

    * Mulayam Singh Yadav in whose state, Uttar Pradesh, over 100 communal riots have taken place since the Samajwadi Party took office in 2012.

    * Nitish Kumar, whose popularity and credibility are plunging at roughly the same vertical downward velocity.

    * Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat who supported UPA-1 to keep “communal forces at bay” but ended up installing allegedly corrupt forces in the UPA government. Their judgement, to put it kindly, is suspect.

    * HS Deve Gowda, the former prime minister, whom the Congress imperiously shunted out in 1997, barely a year into the United Front government’s term, when he did not toe its line.

    That demolishes the qualitative element of a secular Third Front. What about the quantitative element? Is the Third Front likely to get the 200 Lok Sabha seats it needs for the Congress to prop it up from outside before pulling the plug (say, in 2016)?

    A summary of opinion polls projects the following number of Lok Sabha seats for the secular TF in 2014:

    SP: 15-20.

    JD(U): 5-8.

    Left Front: 25-28.

    JD(S): 2-3.

    BJD: 10-12.

    Total: 57-71.

    Take the midpoint – 64 seats. Note that the presence of Mulayam’s SP rules out Mayawati’s BSP (and vice versa). Similarly, the Left will keep Mamata’s TMC out. Nitish’s JD(U) rules out Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD.

    Now cast the secular TF net wider: In Andhra, the YSR Congress or TSR (not both) could join the front though the possibility is remote. That’s another 15 seats at most.

    How about the DMK or AIADMK? Karunanidhi’s party is projected to win less than 10 seats in Tamil Nadu while the AIADMK is unlikely to join the front given the inevitable presence of the DMK among Congress-led allies supporting a TF government from outside. Other Congress allies like the NC and IUML will add little to the basket.

    So here’s how the numbers stack up: .

    Congress and old allies like the DMK, NC, NCP and IUML: 120 seats.

    TF (midpoint): 64.

    Add YSR or TRS: 15

    Total TF: 79

    The final tally: Congress + old allies 120 + secular TF 79 = 199.

    Mayawati, Mamata and Lalu, with possibly 65 seats between them, will stay out due to internecine rivalries with Mulayam, the Left and Nitish respectively. In any case, their numbers would be too small to matter.

    Remember, in 1996 the United Front had 192 seats, the Congress 140. Total: 332. That’s a far cry from the projected 199 seats today.

    * * *

    Who then will form the next government? Will the BJP-led NDA have the numbers?

    In last week’s analysis, the average number of Lok Sabha seats won by the Congress in four general elections between 1996 and 2004 worked out to 135 (Congress: Why 2004 was a false dawn).

    Here’s a similar chart for the BJP in the four Lok Sabha polls between 1996 and 2004:

    BJP seats and voteshare: 1996-2004


    Voteshare (%)













    The average number of seats won by the BJP in four general elections between 1996 and 2004 works out to 166 from the above chart.

    Now consider the 2009 general election.

    Last week’s analysis probed the reasons for the Congress’ blip in 2009 of (+)71 seats over its 135-seat average in four general elections between 1996 and 2004. That took its tally to 206 seats in 2009.

    Here focus on the reasons for the BJP’s reverse blip in 2009 which led to a fall of 50 seats from its 1996-2004 average (166 seats) to 116 seats in 2009.

    The leadership of LK Advani was pitted directly against Manmohan Singh. The country’s urban vote swung the election decisively in favour of the PM’s record as an economic reformist. His reputation for personal probity was at its peak.

    The 2G spectrum, Coalgate and other scams would unravel publicly only after 2010. Inflation, the government’s attack on institutions like CAG, CVC and PAC and the sharm el-sheikh effect (post-July 2009) had not yet tarnished the PM’s reputation when the general election was held in May 2009.

    If the BJP could fall to 116 seats in 2009, 50 seats below its 1996-2004 average of 166 seats, what factors could take it to 50 seats above its 1996-2004 average (viz, to 216 seats) in 2014?

    Three factors present themselves:

    One: Unprecedented anti-incumbency against the Congress due to serial misgovernance, corruption, inflation, appeasement of minorities and a soft approach to Pakistani proxy terrorism.

    Two: Rahul Gandhi’s negative political equity. Every opinion poll has given him ratings of 15-25% nationally, most of it from the Congress’ traditional vote catchment of the very poor and minorities.

    Three: The impact of Narendra Modi who, in head-to-head comparisons with Rahul, wins by a factor of 3:1 nationally in virtually every opinion poll.

    Can these three factors combine to raise the BJP’s seat tally by 50 from its 1996-2004 average of 166? The answer to that will determine the course of our politics well into the next decade.
    A chauhan likes this.
  4. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    Good analysis 7/10 ! :thumb:

    IMO BJP will get :

    without Modi wave - 180,
    with weak Modi wave - 190,
    with average Modi wave - 200,
    with strong Modi wave - 210,
    with sweeping Modi wave - 220 to 235.
    parijataka and ramakrishna like this.
  5. ramakrishna

    ramakrishna Regular Member

    Jun 21, 2013
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    Hyderabad, Telangana
    Its only BJO numbers right ... not NDA .... what do you think about NDA winning numbers ?????
  6. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2009
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    Well lets give cong 120 to 130 seats

    they are not going below 100

    what we can expect is third front supported by congress as they did in delhi
  7. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2009
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    soon to be Bengalistan
    And if the rumor of doctored EVM has any truth, it will be much more.

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