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Indian Political Trajectory for 2014 Polls

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The triumph of the Aam Admi party in the Delhi assembly election has not only surprised the Congress and the BJP but has also set the trajectory for the 2014 polls.

There are few things clearly emerging out from this trend. One is the increasing number of regional parties emerging in India. Secondly Congress and BJP can no more bask on glory that they alone can govern India, because 'There Is No Alternative' (TINA). This myth is fast eroding. Lastly, whether the regional satrap will chug India or one or other national party may scrap through in coalition formation after the 2014 polls.

With the general election barely a few months away India's political trajectory is somewhat still hazy. Right now in there are two undercurrents prevailing in the country. First anti incumbency factor is haunting the Congress party in power since 2004 and people are feeling fatigued of its rule. However, will the opposition BJP will be able to replace Congress is something being questioned.

The second undercurrent theme is; will the third force of regional parties replace the Congress and the BJP in the 2014 general election. There is a thinking developing that regional parties can call the shots forming a rainbow coalition at the center after the election.

The prospect of the BJP in the 2014 general election looks bright. With the victory in Rajasthan, Chatisgarh and Madhya Prdesh assembly elections, BJP is in a buoyed mood. The hype is being built that BJP will sweep the polls under the leadership of its Prime Ministerial candidate Narender Modi. The fact remains that there may be anti Congress sentiments brewing in the country, but there is no indication of any pro BJP wave prevailing as well.

If BJP wants to come to power it has two routes to follow; one to polarize the country on communal lines to seek the majority vote. Second is to cobble a coalition of regional satraps. In the current situation both these presumptions seems unpalatable. The people of this country will not endorse the idea of communal polarization and getting a bag full coalition partner for BJP is not an easy task. For the BJP apart from its traditional allies like Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, there is little probability of any other political party joining its bandwagon. AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, Biju Janata Dal in Orissa, Trinamool in West Bengal, will keep their cards close to their chest till the final results are announced.

The fundamental question is can BJP win 272 seats on its own. As a realistic figure, the poll pundits predict 100-150 seats for the BJP. So it will be more than 100 plus seats needed to form government. The regional political parties' first choice would be to form a rainbow coalition of the regional satraps failing which it can opt for either national party.

With Narender Modi at the helm, regional parties with secular credentials may think twice to yoke with a person having rough edges in his personality. The common sense is BJP may find hard stitching up a regional coalition to form next government.

It is seen since the beginning of this millennium, the vote percentage of both the Congress and the BJP has drastically gone down. If the last two general elections are any indicator, then its regional parties that has gained over the national parties.

So far, the regional parties have been playing a second fiddle, tucking with the national parties. However, this trend is fast changing. The idea of regional parties leading the country is nothing new. It has been afloat since the breakup of United Front government (1996-1998). This is to provide an alternative to the two national political formations and an attempt of the regional satraps to assert on the national scene.

There is nothing wrong behind the idea of having the regional parties taking with the national party as coalition partner. This trend is fast eroding. The growing rise of regional parties is seen as an honest attempt to harmonize the regional and national political aspirations. It's also an attempt to make the national politics multi-polar and check it drifting into straight-jacketed two parties' alliance political system.

The idea of regional satraps taking the reins of the country is conceptually sound, but with so much of pulls and pressure surrounding it, this idea operationally seems nonviable. So far all its moves have misfired. In 2009 general election this idea was mooted but its own architects betrayed it. With much differences prevailing, the question remains will such alliance remain intact for long?

Indian democracy seems to have a long way to go to harmonize the regional and national aspirations. The experiment though noble may take time to ultimately fructify. At the moment it looks a non starter, because India's regional politics remain immature.

It's all for sure that the fate of next government is going to be decided after 2014 general election and not before it. However, it will be too early to write off Congress from the 2014 general election. India's oldest political party is still a force to reckon with at the national scene.

In case if the moral dilemma arises to choose a secular party over communal, the choice of many regional parties will obviously be the Congress. When there is a choice between the BJP and Congress, the minority, Dalit and down trodden vote will go to the Congress. There won't be any surprises if Congress forms the government for the third time in a row.

The political trajectory for 2014 general election is that both the BJP and the Congress will dominate national scene with much more reduced strength. The growing trend is for the preference for regional parties. However, it is unlikely that a coalition of regional parties can form the government at the national level. Sounding death knell of the national parties is too premature at the moment.

The BJP has advantage over the Congress, but to write off Congress totally from the race would be a naive prediction. The chances of hug Lok Sabha cannot be ruled out. Actually what will happen in the 2014 general election, can only be known after the final results are announced and not before it. This is the only thing that is for sure.

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