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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

General Elections-2014: Would 16th May Bring In A New Government?



General Elections-2014 for Lok Sabha—the lower house of the Indian Parliament—has been a record in terms of maximum number of phases. The polling process was completed in nine phases starting 7th April and ending 12th May. Voting percentage has been a record too for General Elections-2014 as this has been the highest since 1984. In 1984 voting percentage was 64% and it gave a landslide victory for the Congress led by late Rajiv Gandhi who became the Prime Minister. Following the assassination of Indira Gandhi a sympathy wave was cited as the main reason for the mandate. However, the high percentage of voting normally accompanying a wave was not anti-incumbency that time. This time the national average percentage is around 66% and this could normally signify an anti-incumbency wave. One more record has been made in terms of the lowest ever level of politics with unprecedented aggression, personalized attacks and polarization for General Elections-2014. Even the constitutional body of the Election Commission of India (EC) became the target of attacks by almost all political parties and often a part of the conspiracy theory that has been raging for the last few months making mainly the BJP to smell a Congress hand or the AAP smelling a Congress-BJP hand in any happening of any sort. Anyway, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi became the No. 1 campaigner holding on average two rallies daily for at least two months accompanied by a sound and aggressive marketing strategy. The Congress thought the counter offered by Rahul Gandhi might not be optimal and therefore the party unfolded the Priyanka Gandhi card at a later stage leading to a high-voltage climax.

The highlight of the last phase of polling was the Varanasi constituency in Uttar Pradesh where PM candidate Narendra Modi is having a direct fight with Arvind Kejriwal of AAP. Attention of not just India but that of the whole world has been focused on this exciting contest. The moment polling came to an end on the evening of 12th May exit polls invaded almost all the national news channels. The interesting trend that emerged from all these exit polls was that a new government was going to be formed at the centre. And the national opposition party BJP led by Narendra Modi is clearly signaled to be the single largest party and that the new government was almost sure to be formed by them. The seats given to the BJP led NDA ranges from 250 to 340 indicating situations of looking for support from new allies to clear majority or absolute majority or even a two-thirds majority. The stock market has responded in a big way with the Sensex crossing 24,000 mark for the first time ever and is set to surpass even 25,000 on 16th May if BJP is given a clear public mandate. Well, the share market looks forward to having a stable government possibly ending a period of policy paralysis. US President Barack Obama has also expressed his eagerness to welcome a new government in India. The euphoria, particularly in the BJP ranks, across the country is visibly palpable with the sulking and the outgoing Congress-led ruling coalition UPA-2 having to blame only themselves for the unending series of scams and unprecedented levels of corruption.

Exit polls are not right every time. Some have already pointed out that exit polls wrongly predicted a BJP comeback in 2004 when there was actually a wave for change of power. However, this time all exit polls predicting similar results is being looked upon seriously combined with the record voting percentage and a clear perception of an anti-incumbency wave. These factors taken together only heighten the suspense created around the Counting Day on Friday, the 16th May, 2014. Finally this day would reveal the full truth and could be historic in many ways. The countdown for the counting day is getting almost unbearable. Whole of India is focused on this day and waiting to see who would finally govern them.
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