A worker prepares the poster and banners of BJP parliamentary candidates at a workshop in Jammu, yesterday.
New Delhi: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may get between 212 and 232 seats and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) between 119 and 139 if the Lok Sabha elections are held now, according to the CNN-IBN poll tracker survey.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on its own is projected to secure between 193 and 213 seats and Congress on its own is projected to end up with between 94 and and 110 seats, the survey said.
The Trinamool Congress may emerge as third largest party, getting between 20 and 28 seats while the AIADMK too may emerge a key player with 14 to 20 seats.
The YSR (Congress) and Samajwadi Party are projected to secure between 11 and 17 seats each while the Biju Janata Dal, the Telugu Desam Party and DMK are projected to secure between 10 and 16 seats each, the survey said.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which debuted in last year’s Delhi assembly polls is projected to end up with between one and 5 seats.
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is projected to get between eight and 14 seats while heavy losses are in the offing for Janata Dal-United which might get between one and 5 seats.
The CNN-IBN Feb Tracker projected a seven percent lead for the BJP in vote share over Congress if Lok Sabha polls are held now.
Meanwhile, anger at corruption and despondency over the economy could see support for ruling Congress party hit an all-time low at next month’s general elections, newspapers said yesterday.
There was a consensus that the centre-left Congress’s 10-year rule was drawing to a close. While no one party is expected to win an outright majority in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, the BJP is widely forecast to unseat the country’s traditional governing party after the results are announced on May 16.
Dubbing the election “The Greatest Show On Earth”, The Times of India said anger over the Congress-led coalition’s “scandal-ridden, paralytic second term” of government would see it shed votes to the BJP, regional rivals, and an upstart anti-corruption party. “There is a danger that Congress may lose to both BJP and regional rivals and end up with a record low total,” said the paper.
The Hindustan Times said history showed voters were increasingly turning to smaller parties, pointing to the 1996 polls when they collectively won the greatest shares of votes.
“This trend persisted, and in 2004, state parties on their own outweighed the Congress and BJP in terms of popular support. This is testament to the increasing plurality and ‘regionalisation’ of politics”.
The Hindu, a left-leaning daily, identified “corruption and governance as major issues” in the election, which will take place in nine phases over five weeks.
Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has presided over a series of graft scandals, particularly since his re-election in 2009, and growth has slowed to its lowest level in a decade.
The BJP’s choice for prime minister, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has been campaigning on a platform of economic revival, with polls indicating deep-seated disillusionment about the state of the nation. “Unmistakably, the coalition, with many of the allies pulling in different directions, and some of the ministers caught in corruption cases, has come to be seen as weak and ineffectual,” said The Hindu.
The Hindustan Times published a poll predicting the BJP and its allies would win up to 70 of the 120 seats up for grabs in the key battleground states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Indian Express columnist D K Singh said there was “increasing despair in the ruling camp” and said there was a feeling within Congress that its election front-man Rahul Gandhi already knew the game was up and instead “has his sights set on 2019” when the next elections are due.
In contrast, The Times of India said Modi had proved himself “an energetic campaigner who is drawing large crowds” and strong poll ratings.
But the paper identified the legacy of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, when more than 1,000 mainly Muslim residents were killed, as his main “weak spot” that could not only alienate voters but also make it harder to forge an alliance with minority parties after May 16. In his favour, Gandhi had a “lower ‘acceptance threshold’” which could in theory enable him to build a coalition even if his Congress wins less seats than the BJP.
Senior Congress leader Thomas to contest for CPI-M in Kerala?
Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI-M continues to spring surprises as they appear to have roped in senior Congress leader Phillipose Thomas to contest Kerala’s Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha seat for them.
“I will be meeting all of you tomorrow (Friday) to explain this,” said Thomas when reports of his candidature being discussed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist at their meeting being held here yesterday. Thomas is known to maintain close relationship with Defence Minister A K Antony and newly appointed Congress state unit president V M Sudheeran and hence it has come as a total surprise to many.
In the past he was the Congress Pathanamthitta district chief for a few years and had contested elections to the Kerala assembly unsuccessfully on a few occasions. “This is no surprise to me because for a few weeks this was in the air. Thomas’s family has close relations with a former Lok Sabha member and a CPI-M fellow traveller and the first round of talks for this took place. The deal for his switching sides was finalised by a very senior CPI-M former minister clinched the deal,” a senior party leader from Pathanamthitta said.
The CPI-M had on Wednesday finalised the decision to field popular comedian and character artiste Innocent from Chalakudy and also former Gujarat IAS official and former secretary to then president Prathiba Patel. IANS