Troubled Times

What is certain is that the outcome of May 2014 is uncertain. Last August, the opinion polls said Congress 127 and BJP 145. The next highest was Samajwadi Party with 30 seats and then many smaller numbers for others. Since then Narendra Modi has surged forward with his P2G2 agenda. His promise is that he can bring to the BJP the sixty-odd seats that Manmohan Singh brought to the Congess in 2009, fighting on the development agenda. Maybe so, but only if BJP/RSS let him since they are suicidal in their desire for a Mandir. Congress should continue its secret prayers that RSS will dominate BJP for some years to come. RSS is the best friend Congress has.

Rahul Gandhi may thrill Congress hearts, but it is arguable if he can bring many seats to the Congress. He has been engrossed in rebuilding the Party since his anointment. He will find, like his father did, that the Party does not reform itself. Congress may have a dynasty at the top but it is a Hindu kingship with independent subordinates who bring gifts at auspicious times and troops at battle times (elections) but do not obey orders to resign or reform. He will only cause chaos if he tries to sack many oldies and replace them with a younger cadre. There will be defections and local rivals who would play the caste card better. The only hope Congress has is to rely once again on Sonia Gandhi who is the most effective campaigner they have. She delivered in 2004 and also 2009 with some help from Manmohan Singh. She can relate to the masses which Rahul Gandhi cannot.

If BJP has Modi, it will need at least 200 seats on its own to find partners to form a majority. With any other candidate, 170-180 will do. Congress only needs to get to 150 to form a winning coalition. BJP/RSS do not realise that their penchant for medieval themes like Hindutva and Mandir gives them a handicap of at least 30 and with Modi plus Mandir, 50 seats.

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