Wednesday, December 11, 2013


On one occasion Mr. P.V.Narasimharao told a story. “A layman told the King that he could make a
horse fly in six months. The King was taken aback but accepted the offer with a rider that he would knock off his head if he could not do it. One friend asked the challenger. “How could you do this? You could face the noose” The man replied, “ In six months, the King may die, I may die,the horse may die or who knows? The horse may fly.”

Six months is a long time in a man’s life. It is more so with elections. Parties that are posturing for re
election in Delhi may not be doing so on any of the above premises. But each player is confident “their horse will fly’ first and higher. The two players forget that ‘a dark horse’ may enter the fray and fly with the honours and spoil the party for them or that the other player adept in the game of bringing ‘dark horses’ as B teams may, as well, do that. So, where do parties stand in the game of numbers?

Let us start with the latest entrant AAP. AAP was a sensation for many reasons. But the main reason, per my opinion, is the “ hype” created by people connected with Media and who contested election on
AAP ticket.  Or, there is no meaning to say they have created history of sorts when they could not gather more than 30% of votes in comparison with 34% and 25% of votes polled by the most corrupt parties (in AAP’s own words), the BJP and the Congress. They mostly ate into the votes of BSP, a non serious player now. They reduced the vote share of BSP by 12%. Now, what may happen in case of a re election?

A joke here.  A wife was wailing on a Friday before her husband, “You ate baingan curry on Monday and applauded me, on Tuesday too you ate and said ‘baingan curry’ was delicious and kissed me too, on Wednesday you were all appreciation for the ‘baingan curry’ I made, on Thursday you ate the ‘baingan curry’ without uttering a single word and  I am shocked that you have thrown the baingan curry on my face today. What is this?” The lesson here is any thing in excess, even if it were good,  produces a negative effect. It is so in case of elections too. Too many of them can make voters fatigued.

If we bring a new toy to a child, he plays with it as if it were the only toy he has in his possession. But after 24/48 hours he switches back to his old toys and makes the new toy too as part of his collection. This is human nature. So, within six months AAP too becomes an ‘old toy’ to play with and part of the collection along with BJP, Congress and BSP. And any new attractive toy that may come into their possession may gain voters’ attention. So, what happens? Chances of AAP repeating the show of getting less than 1/3 rd of votes diminishes further as old players recoup their strength, correct their mistakes, present a unified show of strength and do all the tricks to see that the new sensation remains a paper tiger only.

Further, the re election will be held along with LS elections in 2014. Hype will be mostly on the national
election, where even if AAP contests, the main contest will be between UPA led by Congress and NDA
led by BJP. Issues will be different, far and wide and in the melee the media hype on the new sensation
will be reduced considerably. Attention of voters will be riveted on the national election and with a
strong leader like Modi and the heir apparent Rahul slugging it out, it becomes a fight between two
giants.  All the other minor parties will be on either side of the spectrum or in a loosely cobbled third or
fourth front. With the high moral ground adopted by AAP leader Kejriwal that all other parties except
AAP were corrupt, he would not be in a position to join sides with anyone. It will be a lone battle.

There are positives too. For good or bad, 30% Delhi voters decided that AAP could provide them the much needed soccour and came out enthusiastically to vote for them. If media is to be believed, even the aristocratic voters that never move out to vote, voted for them. So, basic human psychology suggests that these voters will not allow their vote to go waste and hence they may come out again in large numbers to vote to AAP. Added to this the undecided voters too may come out in large numbers and correct their mistake, if it were a mistake, of not being  part of the change. This may add to the vote share of AAP. But, there is a rider. The elections will be held during summer and most of the voters that voted for AAP may not venture to move out in the heat  or may be busy with examinations or may be relaxing with summer vacation. Will this not reduce their vote share? There is no core vote to AAP like Congress or  BJP. Core voters vote to their party, come what may.

If we come to Congress, it is a party that has withered many a storm. Victory or defeat does make no
difference to them.  As the longest surviving political party at the national level, they have
many tricks up their sleeve. They know how to get back from the same place what they have lost. Except in few states it remains a force to reckon with. A rough estimate suggests that they lost 15% vote share compared to 12% of BSP. This 27% vote used to shift between Congress and BSP alternatively in view of the  nature of ‘vote banks’ these two parties nourished over a period. AAP made the difference by grabbing this share of vote. The possibility of Congress targeting this section with sops and promises or Congress allying with BSP too can not be ruled out. If Congress can wean away even 5% of this vote it will be a force to reckon with and the clear loser will be AAP. Congress further losing ground of the vote share it has got now, is remote. If the party is further targeted by AAP with the same type of ammo they have used now, it will produce a negative effect due to sympathy. Now that Congress is not in power AAP will not be able to target them with the same intensity as they have done now. To that extent anti-incumbency factor will be nullified at the state level. It is our experience that memory of voters is short lived and they easily excuse their  oppressors.

BJP lost 3% vote share and got 34%. In 29 seats it stood second and in many seats it lost the election by a whisker. It is the analysis of BJP that due to the late entry of the CM candidate Dr. Harshvardhan, no less a clean aspirant for CM post than Kejriwal, they lost a few votes. The 34% vote is BJP core vote share and possibility of this vote going away in six months without any incumbency is remote. And many of those voters who voted to AAP in a fit of rage against established parties may be tempted to rethink in view of AAP not being able to form a government despite the chance offered to them. In normal course voters are likely to see the imposition of another election on them as arrogance of AAP leaders or their pusillanimity to govern. It is easy to spread a message that AAP leaders are just “men of empty noises”. This will help BJP more than Congress as Congress still suffers from incumbency at the Centre. And the high decibel campaign by BJP PM aspirant Modi nationwide will have a very positive impact on voter psyche that will help BJP to a large extent. The temptation of AAP leaders to target Modi personally may boomerang as it is happening in case of other parties.  A 3-5% addition in BJP vote share with a 3-5% addition to Congress share will swing the pendulum heavily in favour of BJP and possibly decimate AAP.

Even if BJP forms a minority government now and performs well and at a later date they are dislodged,
the pro-incumbency and sympathy of an elected government dislodged by Congress or AAP will help
them in the coming polls. Both ways it seems advantage BJP.