OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

The mere mention of Elections was enough for the pollsters to manufacture some late Monsoon Masaala. So we are now told that if snap polls are held the Left will do badly, the UPA will do well, the NDA not so bad and Mayawati may become the new Karat.

So here is some more late Monsoon Masaala from Offstumped as well on what could happen if snap polls were held. This analysis is not so much so about who will win or form the next Government but more so about where things stand today and what poll strategies will likely get employed.

So we go state by state…….

Andhra – In 2004 saw a remarkable performance by the Congress best ever in the last 3 elections and the worst ever drubbing for the TDP. 2004 was also a watershed on account of the emergence of the TRS in the Telangana region bagging 5 seats and the BJP drawing a blank. The TRS has since lost steam, credibility and is a divided house. The Congress is bound to incur losses with its backtracking on Telangana, infighting between YSR and PJR, Communist agitations on land issues. However the TDP might not be an automatic beneficiary with Naidu struggling to define himself after the 2004 debacle. Andhra is looking to be a battleground state with about 20 seats to the TDP, 15 to the Congress and the remaining 7 splitting between the Communists, BJP, TRS and MIM. It would suit both the Congress and the BJP to prevent a TDP/CPI-CPM pre-poll tie up.

Arunachal Pradesh – Flip flop politics in this frontier state have made it a winner takes all state. Congress will likely pick the 2.

Assam – Congress has done consistently well last 3 elections in Assam. The recent assembly elections saw the congress scrape through despite a highly fragmented electorate. Unless the AGP and BJP tie up we will likely see vote fragmentation negate any anti-incumbency the congress is bound to suffer from. If AGP goes the UNPA way we will likely see Congress pick up between 7 and 10 and the remaining splitting between the AGP, BJP, AUDF and others.

Bihar – In 1999 the NDA performance peaked in Bihar while 2004 saw a fortune reversal. Lalu Yadav’s RJD is set for significant losses having suffered incumbency and the loss of power in the assembly. Expect about 25 for the NDA and 15 for the RJD-Congress combine assuming the JD-U sticks with the BJP. Muslim entitlement is a potential wedge issue that the RJD-Congress will unabashedly use to pit the BJP against the JD-U.

Chattisgarh – Went to polls for the first time in 2004 since its formation. The BJP made a clean sweep last time. Chattisgarh could end up a battleground state this time around with a 6 to 4 split between the Congress and the BJP.

Goa – Split equally between the Congress and BJP with 1 each will likely maintain status quo.

Gujarat – The BJP registered peak performance in 1998 and 1999. Last time around incumbency saw Gujarat ending up a battleground state with the BJP and congress splitting the state. If Modi romps home in the assembly election one could very well see the BJP regain ground here with about 19 seats and the Congress picking 7.

Haryana – Split opposition saw the Congress sweep Haryana completely in stark contrast to 1999 when the BJP lok dal combine swept the state. If Chautala persists with his UNPA dalliance very likely Haryana will end up a battleground state with the Congress, Lok Dal and the BJP splitting honors perhaps 4, 4 and 2.

Himachal Pradesh – Clean sweep for the Congress in 2004 will likely reverse this time in favor of the BJP 3 to 1.

J&K – Battleground state could see a 3 way split between the Congress, NC and PDP perhaps 2 each

Jharkhand – Was a clean sweep for the UPA last time should reverse this time in favor of the NDA 10 to 4

Karnataka – 2004 was peak performance for the BJP but poor leadership at the state level bungled the goodwill it receieved over the last 3 years. Congress should expect to do well. The BJP may recover some lost ground if the JD-S reneges on its promise to transfer power to the BJP. Expect JD-S to be the biggest loser in Karnataka with the Congress picking around 17, the BJP around 8 and the JD-S around 3. The BJP could lose even further ground if it doesnt fix the state leadership in time. If the BJP-JD(S) combine sticks together the race in Karnataka could tighten.

Kerala – Peak performance by the LDF in 2004 with the congress drawing a blank. This time around Kerala could end up a battleground state with LDF and UDF splitting the honors equally with around 8 each.

Maharashtra in 2004 split evenly between the BJP-SS combine and the Congress-NCP combine. The rocky state of affairs between the BJP-SS could dent the NDA’s prospects but the Sreekrishna Commission report could end up bringing the estranged cousins together. In the most optimistic scenario for the NDA Maharashtra splits evenly with 25 to UPA and 23 to NDA. In the most pessimistic scenario the UPA takes 35 and the NDA 13.

Madhya Pradesh – Peak performance by the BJP in 2004 with Uma Bharathi at the helm. This time around the BJP will have to brace itself for losses. But then the BJP has always done well in Lok Sabha polls in M.P. for the last 3 elections even though at the state level it was a Digvijay lead Congress in power bucking anti-incumbency. It could be a 16 to 10 split between the BJP and the Congress and a couple of pickings for Uma Bharathi.

Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim  – Together account for 9 seats expect 3 to Congress, 2 to CPM and 4 to others who may side with NDA or UPA depending on who gets within striking distance of the half way mark.

Orissa – The BJP-BJD combine has consistently swept Orissa for the last 3 elections. While incumbency and fraying ties between the BJP-BJD combine could hurt the NDA’s prospects but the state leadership from the Congress has not really capitalized on this. Orissa will likely end up a battleground state with the NDA and the Congress splitting 11 to 10.

Punjab, Chandigarh – The NDA should expect to keep its tally at around 10 and 4 to the congress.

Rajasthan – BJP swept Rajasthan in 2004 improving on its 1999 performance. The Gujjar fracas should hurt the BJP this time around perhaps a 15 to 10 split between the BJP and the Congress.

Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry  – It was a clean sweep for the DMK lead DPA with Jayalalitha’s AIADMK drawing a blank in 2004. The MDMK with 4 has already split and the PMK with 5 has been making noises. Karunanidhi seems to have done his homework pursuing a combination of entitlement and minorytism to cut his losses. The strife within the family and the parting of the ways with the Marans will have some negative effect. All in all Tamil Nadu will likely end up a battleground state with the DPA and the AIADMK taking about 20 each.

Uttarakhand – The BJP will likely maintain its tally of 3 with the Congress and others picking the remaining 2.

West Bengal – The peak performance by the opposition in Bengal was in 1999 winning 13 seats across the Congress, Mamata Bannerjee’s Trinamul and the BJP. Assuming Mamata parts ways with the NDA and the Congress and the Trinamul repeat this performance about 8 to TC and 5 to Congress with 29 to the LDF.

Delhi – Will likely go the BJP way with maybe a 5 to 2 split with the Congress.

Andaman, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman Diu, Lakshadweep – Together account for 4 seats which could all go UPA

So here is what the battleground looks like based on the above

UPA – 193 (assuming BJP-SS split) or 181

NDA – 161 (assuming BJP-SS stay together) or 151


Left parties – 41

Others (JD-S, NC, PDP, North eastern parties, SDF, Trinamul ) – 19

This leaves us with the heartland battleground in Uttar Pradesh making all the difference.

Uttar Pradesh – The BJP hit rock bottom in 2004 with merely 10 seats. If 2004 was a precursor to the 2007 drubbing in the assembly the BJP can only go up from here in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress with will likely maintain its tally perhaps marginally improving. The big question is how many will Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP lose to Mayawati’s BSP. Offstumped is estimating about 15 each for BJP and SP , Congress and others about 10 and Mayawati about 40.

So what should the win strategy for the Congress be ?

It has to fight incumbency in Andhra, make sure Karunanidhi holds his ground in TN, hope the BJP-SS combine falls apart in Maharashtra and of course expect to do very well in Karnataka while denting the NDA in MP, Rajasthan and Orissa. This still doesnt get it over the hump. For the Congress to be assured of  safe tally  where it does not have to depend on the Left or allow the UNPA to make a bid – has to not just dent the BJP in its strongholds but sweep them while hoping Mayawati decimates Mulayam and the BJP in UP to the teens.

What about a win strategy for the BJP ?

It has to fight incumbency in its strongholds of Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan and retain its tallies while doing very well in Bihar, get on a recovery path in Uttar Pradesh while sweeping the smaller Northern states. That still does not get it over the hump. For the BJP to be assured of a safe tally where it is within striking distance to wean away UNPA constituents into supporting it – has to decimate the Congress-NCP combine in Maharashtra while making  it a 2 way fight in Uttar Pradesh with Mayawati, edging out Mulayam from contention.


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