Since the middle of 2011, the Congress party has suffered multiple setbacks throughout the country. However the fragmented nature of Indian politics and the large number of regional parties can give the Congress party significant advantages in the coming general election.
The above map shows my assessment of what the General elections 2014 will throw up.
The odds are heavily loaded against a non-congress government. However there are three states which are key to the formation of a NDA or non-congress government
- Andhra Pradesh: AP is the state which sent the maximum number of congress MPs to the center in the past 10 years. As of now, Congress is in disarray in Andhra Pradesh. There are three factors in which are dominant in AP. The best case situation for the BJP is if TRS and TDP does well and Jagan eats into the voteshare of the congress
- Jagan: Jagan with his massive financial resources and the grassroot organization is expected to be the dominant force in AP. He is expected to do well and may get about 15 MPs.
- Telangana: Telangana will be a major issue. With the huge protests in the region and the support for the cause TRS and BJP can win close to 7 seats. Congress will be wiped out in Telangana.
- TDP:Since there is no PRP to split the votes, TDP may do well in some pockets and can garner around 10 MPs.
- Rajasthan: Anti-incumbency is the norm in Rajasthan. The performance of Ashok Gehlot government is nothing to write home about. 2013 state elections in Rajasthan should make the situation much clearer. The weakness of BJP may hinder its ability to make a comeback in Rajasthan. However if a strong leader like Narendra Modi is projected, Rajasthan may just fall into BJP hands. Congress will certainly not be able to match its 2009 numbers and will be down atleast by 5 to 15 seats. Given the anti-incumbency tradition, BJP is at a slight advantage
- Karnataka : The miserable performance of the BJP government in Karnataka will dent BJP's chances in Karnataka. But the weak opposition and the infighting in congress should enable BJP to get atleast 10 seats.
Other states like Maharastra, Jharkhand and Delhi can influence the resuts to some extent. Maharastra will be a 4 way split between BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress with MNS winning in pockets. However in the final tally NCP & Congress will beat BJP & Shiv Sena. Delhi will witness a direct fight between BJP and Congress and if BJP can repeat the performance of the MCD polls they can sweep Delhi. Overall BJP can gain 5 seats and Congress can lose 5 seats
So in the overall scheme of things Congress will lose 50 seats. Out of the 50 seats which congress will lose BJP can gain 20 seats, its allies can gain 15 seats and neutral parties can gain 15 seats.
In Kerala and West Bengal, the left parties will make a comeback. Mamta and congress may lose 15 seats overall and left may gain 15 seats.
Congress may lose a few more seats in Gujrat and Madhya pradesh if there is a strong anti-congress sentiment in the country
UPA: 170 seats
Congress: 130 seats
Strong Congress Allies (NCP, SP, Muslim Parties): 40 seats
Inclining towards UPA: 65 seats
Left: 45 seats
BSP: 20 seats
Strictly Neutral: 96 seats
AIDMK: 30 seats
YSR: 15 seats
TDP: 10 seats
TRS: 5 seats
JMM: 3 seats
BJD: 18 seats
TMC: 15 seats
Leaning BJP: 42 seats
Leaning BJP: 42 seats
JDU: 25 seats
SAD: 4 setas
AGP: 1 seat
INLD: 2 seats
SS: 10 seats
BJP: 130 seats
In the end it will be quite a close race. But UPA will have an edge. Unless BJP can sweep in some of the states it will be difficult to dislodge UPA from the centre.