Will election results upset applecarts of Modi, Rahul?

The robust showing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly poll is proof positive that under the current circumstances political fortunes could turn on a dime. Nobody in his/her wildest imagination thought that AAP chief, wet-behind-the-ears Arvind Kejriwal, would push both Congress and BJP to the wall. But he did.

That the Aam Aadmi Party accepted the support of the Congress, its Aunt Sally, to form a government is beside the point.

True, nobody knows when the Congress will pull the rug from under Kejriwal's feet. The Kejriwal government could still carry on, who knows, with the support of the BJP.

Nobody has a clue about how things would pan out. In any case that's off-point here. What is germane is that history could very well repeat itself with a third grouping edging out the national parties to form a government.

In this scenario, prime minister-in-waiting Narendra Modi could be reduced to the status of a rubbernecker or bellyacher and Rahul Gandhi that of a sermoniser, a role he has always loved as it has no burden of responsibility.

So the question is whether the general elections next year would witness upsets to the extent that both the national parties would be forced to sulk sitting by the wayside. Should that happen, there is no need to raise your eyebrows.

As we all know, Narendra Modi is the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP. As for the Congress, Rahul Gandhi's anointment as the party's official candidate is expected early next month.

All very good. But what if both the National Democratic Allianace (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) fail to reach the magical figure of 272? In such a situation, which is likely, the regional straps could come in from behind and rig up what is called a Third Front and form the government, however fragile it might be.

This would materialise only if the leaders of the regional parties choose a prime minister from among themselves, something which is a tad hard to happen but not impossible.

If a regional party is able to corral 40 seats or thereabouts, its leader will have a bright chance of getting the top executive job.

There are, no doubt, as many prime ministerial wannabes as there are regional parties. The latest to come forward with an unabashed ambition is Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. According to her, it is about time a Tamil left Fort St. 

George to capture Red Fort in Delhi. She says it is attainable if the voters in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry give the AIADMK all 40 seats.

In the present scenario, any regional party leader who can garner around 30 seats can be the kingmaker or sometimes the king.

Jayalalithaa thinks that she can sweep the Lok Sabha polls in her state what with her rival party DMK in the doldrums with 2-G scam injuries and the Congress, already a minnow, on further decline. In fact, way back in the sixties veteran Congress leader, the late Kamaraj from Tamil Nadu, was said to have been offered the prime ministership which he declined due to his lack of knowledge of English and Hindi.

Later, Congress leader from Tamil Nadu G. Moopanar saw the top post slip through his hand.  Some Tamils even bet on Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to step into the shoes of Manmohan Singh.

Though Jayalalithaa is not a Congress leader, she thinks she can milk the Tamil pride in the forthcoming polls to become the prime minister. There are other regional satraps who are also waiting for a window of opportunity to strike the iron if and when it gets hot.  Mulayam Singh Yadav will definitely keep his nose to the grindstone to ramp up his party's tally in Uttar Pradesh despite the recent riots. No wonder, Rahul Gandhi's recent visit to the refugee camps of Muzaffarnagar got Mulayam's goat.

If Mulayam thinks he is the front runner, BSP supremo Mayawati is not far behind. She has been dreaming to become the prime minister for years now. It is possible that she stages a comeback with a bang piggyback on Dalit power.

For Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, chances are not very bright this time around as the BJP could cut deep into his vote-share.

Biju Patnaik of the BJD in Odisha and Janata Dal (S) honcho Deva Gowda could become dark horses.

If JD (S) manages to get 20-plus seats in Karnataka, Gowda will certainly be in the race to snatch the prime ministerial chair one more time.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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