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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Politics of Seat Sharing: Irony of Ironies!



Normally in a democracy, India in particular, the numbers become all important after the results of elections are out. This in terms of one particular political party or alliance falling short of the majority number or in the extreme case of a hung verdict that requires desperate number measures. But for Maharashtra Assembly Elections-2014 the numbers have become all important even before a candidate of the major political parties happened to file a nomination. The numbers being rolled out, negotiated, debated and bargained are just not proving to be right for anyone. 

While almost everybody has given the BJP-Shiv Sena (Mahayuti) alliance a green signal for its best ever chance to coming to power in Maharashtra the two parties have failed so far to arrive at the right seat sharing formula. The Shiv Sena has decided to fight not less than 150 seats of the 288-seat house and the BJP after its overwhelming success in the General Elections wants much more than the 119 seats it had in 2009 assembly elections. If the Shiv Sena had realized that it got a new lease of life after the Modi wave in Lok Sabha elections and perhaps might have prepared for adjustments the losses suffered by the BJP in the recent by polls  gave the party a new platform to bargain with a somewhat embarrassed BJP. While maintaininfg that by poll results are insignificant the BJP never wants to let go of the Lok Sabha advantage. Apart from the basic Chief Ministerial issue between the two it has been a battle of superegos of the top leaders as all of them see their best chance this time. But ironically, they are depriving prospective voters who could have wanted an alternative after 15 years. Now even the minor partners of Mahayuti are threatening to leave the alliance. 

Congress and Nationalist Congress Party
Despite suffering heavy losses and charting out their worst ever performance in the General Elections-2014 the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance in Maharashtra instead of learning from the experience and trying to regroup is fighting as hard for equitable seat sharing. The Congress wants to stick to the formula tried in last elections, but the NCP wants equal share—144 seats each out of 288. As if both parties have sensed some divine signal that they are poised for a resounding victory this time too despite the palpable anti-incumbency mood. Well, anything is possible in a democracy or in India! However, it is ironical no doubt. 

The voters could find themselves at a disadvantage with the elections possibly becoming an at least four cornered contest in the eventuality of all four major political parties fighting it alone. The vote split implied by such a situation could make anybody come to power. While single party majority is considered impossible in the present circumstances the most feared post-poll coalitions with the usual bargaining and horse trading could make the confusion confounding. 

Pitru Paksha is going to end on 24th September. Maybe still a chance for alliances and the right numbers for seat sharing after that? You never know with politics as the last date of filing of nominations is looming large on 27th of September.
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