In the race up to the Parliamentary elections 2019, the political landscape has witnessed significant transition ever since the December edition of National Approval Ratings, substantially in terms of shifting political powers, pre-poll alliances and new entrants in the political sphere. National Approval Ratings published by Republic TV and CVoter has captured the mood of the nation, answering the question: What would happen if elections were held today?
To encompass the current political scenario:
According to the projected statistics, here are the 10 key takeaways:
NDA still stands strong as the single largest force
Out of the 545 Lok Sabha seats, although the BJP-led NDA numbers have predictably dwindled by 103 seats - from 336 in 2014 to 233 as predicted in the National Approval Ratings of January - it still stands tall as the single largest alliance albeit 39 seats short of the halfway mark. So even before Narendra Modi has hit the ground, the BJP is closest to the halfway mark.
No mega anti-Modi factor, despite the 'Modi Hatao' campaign
Leaders of 18 opposition parties, cutting across regional and ideological barriers, resolved to put up an united fight against BJP and oust it from power, as they staged a massive show of strength at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground last week. An estimated half-a-million people were in attendance at the rally — the biggest organised at the historic venue in recent years. Political leaders from 14 states shared the stage at the event, an initiative of TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, which virtually kicked off the opposition’s election campaign
Despite this motivated alliance of 'Modi Hatao' slogans of the combined opposition and all the negativity spread around Narendra Modi, no mega anti-Modi factor can be seen. Because unlike the UPA II route, there are no signs yet of any dramatic rejection of the Modi government which can be seen yet.
Galloping gains for a non-Congress front, but situation elastic
What the BJP will be ignorant to dismiss is the mammoth gains that the non-Congress, non-BJP -- Others -- seem to be making on the ground. Call them fragile, call them unstable, but these are powerhouses coming together and as per the NAR's January projection -- they hold the key to 143 crucial seats across India.
Regionals maybe kingmaker
Watch out for Mamata Banerjee, Jaganmohan Reddy, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, KCR! With the regionals, who are non-BJP and non-Congress, amassing a strong 143-seat number (which is just 20 odd short of what UPA has), you may as well see these regional stalwarts being kingmaker to the 17th Lok Sabha elections. So while the pragmatism of a non-BJP, non-Cong front ruling the roost seems unlikely, what we are seeing from this is that outside support and post poll alliances will become the biggest decision making factor.
Congress-front on the wane, so is Priyanka their answer?
The Congress, despite all the noise and fury, seems to be on the wane. In December 2018, they were projected to get 171, which has come down to 167 in January. So, the big question which arises is -- what brahmastra will they have in the last 3 months which will make them appeal to the non-Congress, non BJP players? Is bringing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and sidelining Rahul Gandhi the answer then?
Congress party is a spare part of the Mahagatbandhan
The Congress individually is pegged to get 109 seats -- for the party that prides at being the grand oldest national party, this number is pittance. For the UPA to survive the 58 seats of its allies are crucial and even then, other regional parties to sustain a winning fight -- so the question really -- is the Congress party the driving force of the alliance or a disposable spare part?
Pre-poll alliances for NDA is crucial
The BJP needs alliances and needs them now. A clean sweep like the 2014 -- 336 seat Lok Sabha tally doesn’t seem to be on the cards. They're not even at a clear halfway mark. If they leave it for later, the regionals will play a hard bargaining game. Will these numbers be a big wakeup call for the BJP to hit the road and stitch up their pre poll NDA?
The anti-BJP state level vote does not translate into Modi anti-incumbency
Modi wave is soaring despite anti-incumbency against the BJP at the state level in Rajasthan and MP. Given the fact that the BJP is winning Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and this is despite a lot of noise being made by the Opposition regarding the Modi wave on the wane -- aren’t these projections yet another proof that the Modi wave is far from waning in the Hindi heartland?
Chaos may be the 2019 termite
Given the fact that situation in states like Bengal are elastic and there are big numbers at stake with a growing projected voteshare for the BJP, will the chaos of the Mahagatbandhan be the biggest termite?
Modi vs Who still looms large
And with the fluidity with which this can turn any which way--the question remains: Modi vs Who? Who, does the opposition, non-Congress, Congress or anti-BJP have the take the might of the Modi campaign on?